For more than 25 years Pixar has created animated feature films and shorts that the whole family can fall in love with. With the release of Finding Dory this week, we share the Pixar A-Z of movies, with the upcoming ones to keep your eyes peeled for too.
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A Bug’s Life
Mashing up Aesop’s ‘The Ant and the Grasshopper’ fable with Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Seven Samurai’ period piece, A Bug’s Life follows an ant named Flick and his insect friends as they protect the colony from grasshoppers. The film is populated with all manner of humorous bugs with their own eccentricities, but Kevin Spacey’s dictator grasshopper, Hopper, overshadows them all.
The first Pixar film to follow a female protagonist (the arrow-shooting princess Merida), the first one to be set in the past (medieval Scotland), and their 13th film to open at No. 1, Brave wisely forsakes the well-worn relationships of other animated fairy tales in favour of the more complicated, yet loving bond between a headstrong mother and her equally stubborn daughter.
The 2006 film is one of the least-loved of Pixar movies. Directed by Pixar honcho John Lasseter and the late Joe Ranft, the film tells the tale of Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), a rookie race car who learns that winning isn’t everything.
Cars 2 benefits from cherry-picking the best elements of the first movie and switching genres completely by taking Lightning McQueen and Mater out of Radiator Springs and dropping them into the middle of a fast-paced, dynamic spy flick.
We’re still surprised that there is going to be a third in this franchise.
It’s already been released in the US, in fact, it’s been named the highest-grossing animated movie in the US ever, a total of $445.5 million at the US box office since its release on 17 June in fact. And the reviews are already rolling in, it looks nothing but positive for the sequel.
Finding Dory follows the loveable, but forgetful blue fish as she navigates the sea and a whole host of other places to find her parents.
The sequel has remained at the top of the US box office for its first four weeks after scoring the biggest domestic opening for an animated movie ($136.2 million). We wonder what kind of records it will set in the UK as it’s released here this weekend.
It’s not an Oscar winner and one of 2003’s highest grossing films for nothing: only Pixar could capture the majesty of the big, blue sea and all the while creating a moving film about a father’s quest for his lost son. Finding Nemo is universal, relatable and emotional.
Inside Out takes place largely inside the head of an 11-year-old girl that moves to San Francisco and has trouble adjusting to her new life. Like everyone in her universe, sentient beings known as Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust take turns controlling her brain. Up director Pete Docter expertly cuts the action between the vivid colours inside Riley’s brain and the drab drudgery of her everyday life. Child psychiatrists have heaped praise on the film, saying it offered meaningful insight into a child’s emotional development.
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Conceived by the famous Pixar brain trust of John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton and Joe Ranft during a lunch break on the first Toy Story, Monsters Inc. took years to get made as animators wrestled with complex fur effects for the lovable Sulley. Monsters, Inc. has the rather brilliant premise that the monsters are real, but they’re actually gentle creatures terrified of kids. It’s their job to travel to the world of human beings and scare them during the night, but children are actually poisonous so they avoid touching them at all costs. When a little girl wanders through a portal and enters Monstropolis, all hell breaks loose. Monsters Inc. is a heartfelt yarn about an unbreakable friendship.
Monsters University came in 2013, but in fact, it was a prequel to the first instalment. It took us back to where it all began for Mike and Sulley, and while it might not have been as good as the first, it was definitely a hit.
This is an inspiring tale about following your dreams, even if it’s not what others expect. Focused on a rat named Remy who wants to become a chef, this movie’s so charming you’ll want to believe a friendship between a rat and a human is actually possible.
It’s terrific, it’s smart, it’s wonderfully-voiced by Patton Oswalt. People related so well to these animated characters that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded the film an Oscar.
The Good Dinosaur
The Good Dinosaur, asks people to imagine what would happen if the dinosaurs never went extinct, this movie follows a young dino named Arlo who gets swept away from his family and has to journey through the great unknown to get home. The film is one of the most visually stunning projects Pixar has ever created, but it retreads some familiar Pixar tropes and its troubled production shows.
Brad Bird was the first “outsider” to make a film at Pixar. The core group of filmmakers that pioneered the Pixar brand directed all the movies prior to The Incredibles, so all eyes were on what the director behind the classic The Iron Giant would bring to the fold.
The key to The Incredibles’ success is its economy of action: We are introduced to an entirely new universe, meet and empathize with a likable and close-knit family, discover the parents’ quiet dissatisfaction with what their lives have become, and then watch as everyone unites to overcome an evil force that wants to destroy the planet.
Toy Story was Pixar’s first feature-length computer-animated offering and using never-before-seen CGI techniques, the studio stunned moviegoers. The Toy Story franchise has captured our hearts with the witty and moving story of a bunch of toys that just want to be played with. Thanks to a talented voice cast and its all-ages appeal, the critically acclaimed box office smash also inspired filmmakers to go to infinity and beyond when it comes to their art.
Toy Story 2
Toy Story 2 was designed to be a straight-to-DVD feature but then slotted for a theatrical release by Pixar’s Disney bosses, who were much happier with the in-progress film than the Pixar brain trust were, the sequel had to be reconceived on the fly and rushed to completion. Miraculously, Toy Story 2 shows no signs of the panic that went into making it.
Expanding Woody and Buzz’s universe without losing focus on the characters, laughs, or sentiment, this follow-up deepens the themes of the original while keeping a wistful eye on childhood’s end. Joan Cusack is cowgirl Jessie, and her “When She Loved Me” flashback sequence remains one of the great cries in Pixar’s rich history of tear jerking moments.
Toy Story 3
Toy Story 3 felt like the end, it was all wrapped up as Andy grew older, and out of the need for his toys. And while we may have shed a tear or three it was the perfect ending to a franchise that many people had grown up watching. But now there’s going to be the fourth film, read more about it below.
The story of a grumpy, 78-year-old widower facing eviction from his beloved home hardly sounds like the plot of a beloved kid’s movie. But the geniuses at Pixar managed to make Carl Fredricksen a hero to children everywhere when he tied thousands of balloons to his house and launched it into the stratosphere. A young Wilderness Explorer named Russell accidentally comes along for the ride, and together they have amazing adventures and form a tight bond.
WALL-E, winner of the 2010 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, works on so many levels of cinema storytelling: as a silent film, an old school romance, a space adventure and a cautionary tale–all with a happy ending.
Part of what makes the film so fantastic is that we’re somehow able to connect with its robots since they’re able to say so much with so few words. But it also has wondrous visuals and a cautionary-but-optimistic message.
Upcoming Pixar Movies
Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician with her own plan to win.
Coco, which is scheduled for release in fall 2017, centres on a 12-year-old boy named Miguel, who sets off a chain of events relating to a century-old mystery and discovers the world of the dead. Coco is set to be the celebration of a lifetime, where the discover y of a generations-old mystery leads to the most extraordinary and surprising family reunion.
Toy Story 4
When Toy Story 3 came to an end it felt like the franchise was wrapped up, and it has been. The fourth film is described as a new chapter in the lives of Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang, focusing on a love story between Woody and Bo Peep.
Toy Story 4 is scheduled for release in 2018.
The Incredibles II
We have to wait till 2019 for this film, but Brad Bird is once again working on this film. He has also told Cinemablend that the movie will not reflect the trends in the superhero genre since the first film’s release, explaining:
“I don’t think that kind of idea stays interesting for very long… For me, the interesting thing was never the superhero part of it. It was more the family dynamic, and how do superhero things play into that.”