Unless you've been living underground in the lost corners of the world, you have probably heard of Pixar
. Pixar is the animation studio who is responsible for family films such as Toy Story
and Finding Nemo
. With nine successful feature films completed, and more on the way
, Pixar has quickly become a household name-especially in households with children.
Choosing the top three Pixar films is difficult since they are all remarkable in their own ways, but here are the three we think have that extra oomph!
3. Monsters Inc.
Beyond the closet door is Monsters Inc., a company that employs monsters to scare children in order to obtain their screams to use as an energy source. Sulley, the top scarer of the company, competes with Randall who always comes in second. Because of a scheme that Randall concocted, a little girl enters Monsters Inc., which is supposedly dangerous since one touch by a child can kill a monster. Sulley takes care of the little girl, who he names Boo, because he believes it was his fault that she got into the monster world. Monsters Inc. and the Child Detection Agency are after Sulley and his friend Mike who are keeping Boo hidden. The movie focuses on Sulley and Mike's struggle to save Boo from what Randall has in store and also to keep Boo from being taken away by the CDA.
The charm of this movie is in Sulley and Boo's relationship. They quickly become attached to each other. Boo lovingly refers to Sulley as "kitty." Sulley is like a guardian to Boo and he does whatever it takes to keep her safe, even risking his own life traveling in a horrible snowstorm to try and get back to her. It is easy to tell that Boo feels the most safe when she is with Sulley. As long as he is there to console her, she will not cry or scream. Sulley and Boo are supposed to be afraid of each other, but their friendship overcomes and triumphs. Their bond is unique and inspiring, considering they do not let stereotypes or appearance stand in the way. For viewers, especially kids, this lesson is an important one.
Monsters Inc. is short and sweet. Pixar manages to take creatures that kids normally may be afraid of and make them lovable. The movie features colorful (figuratively and literally) characters who are comedic, realistic, and delightful. Monsters Inc. is a gem in the unique and fun collection of Pixar films.
Pixar's newest addition is Wall-E. Wall-E is the last robot left on Earth. Because Earth became unlivable, all humans were sent to a space station, Axiom, to live while the robots cleaned up the planet. Eve, a modernized robot, is sent by the space station to search Earth for signs of life in the form of plants. The second Wall-E lays his binocular-shaped eyes on her, he falls in love. Adventure begins when Eve is taken away in a spaceship back to the Axiom after Wall-E shows her a plant he found. Oblivious to what is going on, Wall-E latches onto the spaceship to try and rescue Eve.
There are two major conflicts in the movie: rescuing Eve and getting the plant into the space station's holo-detector. The holo-detector detects plants and instantly prepares to go back to Earth when a plant is put inside. Unfortunately, the space station's auto-pilot is a mutineer and tries to shut down the process. It is up to Wall-E, Eve, and the captain of the Axiom to get the plant to the holo-detector and get everyone back home to Earth.
Wall-E is unique because it depicts life for humans of the future in an unsettling way. In the space station, humans travel around in hovercraft lounge chairs and drink their meals, therefore forgetting how to walk and becoming obese. They are oblivious to the world around them because they communicate with electronic screens that are in front of their faces. The reason they were sent to the space station is because the Earth was covered in trash. One can only wonder if the Pixar writers are trying to send a message and a warning to their audience. They depict the future and the cause of the fate of Earth in a realistic way.
On the lighter side, Pixar pulls off creating a romantic element for kids. Wall-E has a childlike personality. He is extremely curious and collects some of the remnants of Earth such as butane lighters as well as parts to patch himself up with. When he meets Eve, he is intimidated and scared of her, but quickly warms up to her. He follows her around and tries to hold her hand. Wall-E is timid around Eve and easily becomes flustered. He even faints when she kisses him for the first time. But when Eve shuts down after scanning the plant and is taken away, Wall-E takes control and tries to fix and rescue her. Wall-E is a klutz and a bit naïve, but he has the biggest heart out of all the characters, despite the fact that he doesn't actually have one.
Wall-E is a cute and timeless tale about love, fighting for what you believe in, and following your heart. It inspires hope and reminds viewers of all ages that anyone can help make a difference.
1. Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo is a story about a father, Marlin, searching the ocean for his son, Nemo, who was abducted by a deep sea diving dentist. Along the way, Marlin befriends Dory, an amusingly forgetful fish to which Ellen DeGeneres
lent her voice. Of course, hilarity, adventure, and cuteness ensue.
Finding Nemo focuses on the struggle of independence between a parent and a child, which is relatable. Marlin does not have faith in Nemo to do things on his own because one of Nemo's fins is smaller than the other, making it slightly more difficult for him to swim. Nemo strives to break away from his father's overprotection. Marlin thinks Nemo is naïve and Nemo thinks that Marlin does not believe in him. Finding Nemo depicts a classic predicament that both parents and kids can relate to.
Besides the underlying parent-child conflict is the main problem: trying to find Nemo. Marlin and Dory must overcome various obstacles such as getting stuck in a whale's stomach and trying to get through a maze of jellyfish, among other mishaps. Whatever the problem, Pixar comes up with creative and entertaining ways for the duo to escape.
The creators at Pixar manage to incorporate a vast array of emotions, from devastation to happiness, into the adventure. The opening scene can easily make viewers grab for a Kleenex when a large, sharp-toothed fish eats Nemo's mother and all of her and Marlin's eggs, except for Nemo. On the other end of the emotional spectrum, one can't help but feel warm and glad when Nemo and Marlin are reunited and Nemo overcomes his "lucky fin."
What is special about Finding Nemo is the movie's humor and wit. It is more humorous than any other Pixar movie. The main source of humor is Dory, whose short-term memory loss and upbeat spirit are used for comedic bits and banter. She constantly refers to Nemo with various wrong names such as Chico and Fabio. She tells Marlin to follow her, then later questions why he is following her and asks, "What, the ocean isn't big enough for you or something like that?!" Even in times of peril, Dory and Marlin's interactions are comical. Despite her flaws, Dory remains a likeable character.
Almost all of the characters in Finding Nemo are likable. The movie is full of quirky and fun characters. Other than Dory, various other sea critters contribute to the comedy. There are the mindless seagulls whose squawks Pixar cleverly translates into the shouting of "Mine! Mine! Mine!" In the fish tank where Nemo ends up, there is the fish who thinks her reflection is her sister and another fish who is obsessed with bubbles. Who can forget Nemo's classmates who think a boat is called a butt? Other notable comedic characters are the threesome of sharks who have sworn off eating fish and Crush, the sea turtle who helps Marlin and Dory get to Sydney, Australia.
In Finding Nemo, Pixar packs genuine emotion, an inspiring story, comedy, and adventure into one warm and family-friendly bundle.
Got a different opinion? What are your favorite Pixar Flicks?
Story by Sara Martone
Starpulse contributing writer