Well, we have covered all the speculative fiction films of Pixar, and now it is time to discuss the rest. Personally, all of the Pixar films have some speculative element, and these are the ones that have the least amount.
A Bug’s Life: When I first watched this film, I immediately watched it again. I cannot remember any film that I have liked that much. Generally, I don’t watch a film over and over for fear I will wear it out.
It’s difficult to talk about A Bug’s Life without mentioning a CG Dreamworks film called Antz. To say these films are similar is like saying Deep Impact and Armageddon are the same film. They are not. Just because they involve ants doesn’t mean that they are the same, because there is about an infinity of stories that you can tell with ants. In fact, A Bug’s Life and Antz have completely opposite themes. Antz is about overpowering de-individualization, while A Bug’s Life is more about teamwork.
A Bug’s Life is a film about oppression, but it handles this dark subject matter in a very interesting manner. It opens with a colony of ants that are forced to offer food every year to some greedy grasshoppers. Unfortunately, an ant named Flik has an invention that malfunctions and destroys this offering. The grasshoppers are angry, and Flik decides that he is going to find some tough bugs and fight off the grasshoppers for good.
Sadly, this film becomes a “liar revealed” plot, and I won’t bother explaining what I mean by that. What makes this film work is how Flik teaches the ants to fight the grasshoppers, and overcome their fear. There is something inspiring about all that, and the film has hysterical moments with excellent characters as well. Kevin Spacey has the head bad guy is just so good that I don’t know whether to hate him or love him.
Monsters Inc.: I wish I could say that I loved this film, but I only like it, honestly. The premise is that monsters who live in kids’ closets are real, but they only scare because children’s screams can somehow provide energy. The way the monsters get into the closets is pretty creative, using technology with doors and stuff that brings it to a wonderful climax.
The really interesting part about this film is the relationship with Sulley, Mike, and a child from the human world who ends up in the monster world. It really is a tear-jerker what the characters go through, and I almost wish this film didn’t have a plot just so I can see it. I’ve already talked about the sequel in detail which you can read about here.
Finding Nemo: This film was when Pixar really began to shine, creating a world of fish that is as beautiful as it is colorful. The story is one about letting go as well as never quitting, and it works on so many levels. The ending always makes me cry and laugh, and the characters are the usual Pixar quality.
Cars and Cars 2: Okay, Cars is a film that I think I played as a kid. My sister and I had Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars and we pretended that the cars had minds and personalities of their own. I can’t really imagine a world where this was real, and there are several reasons why this just wouldn’t work. I mean, the cars seem to have buildings and stuff, but how did they build them? There is a scene where Lightning McQueen has a push button phone, but how does he push those buttons?
Yeah, there is a lot of nit-picking going on here, and sadly, I could tell where the first Cars movie was going from the first five minutes. Generally, if you see a character who is so full of themself, they will either learn the value of teamwork or die before the end. I didn’t think Lightning McQueen would die, and I was right. Unlike other Pixar films, the characters don’t make up for the unoriginal plot.
In fact, Cars 2 has Mater as the main character, and he was only a barely funny side character that really can’t carry a whole movie. It is more of an action film then the first, but still doesn’t work. I get the feeling it was made because Pixar could make a lot of money with toys from this film. I have already said in my Frozen review that Disney bought Pixar so the latter could make mediocre films and make Disney CG films look good.
Ratatouille: For some reason, a lot of kid’s films use this plotline. Some particular animal does something well, but the rest of the world won’t let this animal use their talent. It was done in Babe, Turbo, and other films, and in this case, it is a rat that can cook.
In all honesty, I thought this was just a bad premise for a film. However, this film really took it seriously, and yet it is still funny. Even though it features rats that talk to each other, this film feels genuinely real. I like how the character sees a deceased chef, but it isn’t a ghost or anything, he acknowledges that it is his imagination.
Even though this isn’t my favorite Pixar film, I will say that I love it. It is fun to watch, and the characters are really great.
Brave: Yeah, I’m beginning to think that Disney is telling Pixar to make some real sucky films with this one. It deals with a princess that doesn’t want to be a princess, which is in every Disney movie. Then the princess’ mother turns into a bear, which is straight out of Brother Bear. In other words, there is nothing original in this film except the cool Scottish setting. Oh wait, they did that in Braveheart. This film was like Braveheart, but without the “heart”. Yeah, I consider this the worst of the Pixar offerings, and the rest is just mediocre sequels.
Speaking of sequels, Pixar is making another Finding Nemo movie. I guess that will be…good. I personally want to see more original material from this studio, and I admire their new ways of storytelling.