Let’s begin with something simple…
- Toy Story brought digital animation to life. And was perfect for both adults and kids
- Bugs Life demonstrated Pixar wasn’t a one trick pony.
- Toy Story 2 proved a sequel can be as good, or even better than the original.
- Monsters, Inc. married celebrity and humor (and showed us digital fur)
- Finding Nemo took an unexpected collection of situations and voices to make pure enjoyment.
- The Incredibles proved action and a familiar genre could be give brilliant new life.
- Cars was basically a cartoon remake of Doc Hollywood, but it made a lot of money and was still enjoyable.
- Ratatouille let me love it (even though I don’t like rats and think rodents cooking – even in cartoon form – is disgusting).
- WALL-E proved silence was captivating.
- Up showed that a few minute montage could be better than most films. Squirrel!
- Toy Story 3 reminded us you can go home again and that adults cry at cartoons.
- Cars 2 was terrible and a merchandising whore. The first Pixar film I have not really loved or even liked.
And now Brave. Brave was…well, it had great hair and better digital fur and a plucky female hero (and princess). But ultimately – it provided nothing new, all that interesting, and a decided absence of “special.”
Basically, I liked Tangled quite a bit more.
Pixar has slipped since they became the official animated arm of the House of Mouse. John Lasseter may be one the most talented minds in movies, but his new role, loss of some of his best staff to action films (MI:GP, John Carter), and the pressure of merchandising and mainstream expectation from Disney could crush the best movie studio run ever.
(And the prequel Monsters University makes me nervous.)