That’s the feeling I got about the film. Now, before I say anything else, I have to confess that I missed certain segments of the (the opening scene) because I took a bunch of kids, and they had to go to the bathroom several times. But I don’t really feel like I missed a lot of key scenes—or at least I would be surprised if my opinion about the film would radically change (43/100). The films isn’t utterly terrible, but, for a company like Pixar, which seems to pride itself on quality stories, in addition to quality animation, this is shockingly mediocre, even bad. For example, I can’t believe this proposal beat out other proposals.
To me, what is bad about the film is how stale and cliched the ideas are. The themes, characters, story—we’ve seen these before and they really felt lifeless to me. (The film really lost me when the bear element entered into the story, too.)
But I don’t think this was the first Pixar film that was somewhat questionable. I didn’t think Toy Story 3 was very good or warranted. Up had some nice moments (the silent sequence), but the story seemed rather flimsy. Ditto Wall-E. I could also mention Cars and Ratatouille. Maybe I just don’t like Pixar films. But no, I loved Toy Story, Bug’s Life and The Incredibles. I thought these films had solid characters, story and animation. I think the stories have gotten weaker over time.
What’s your thoughts on Pixar films? Do you like the films? Do you think they’ve gone downhill?
Dude, Toy Story 3 was very good, and Wall-E was a beautiful film.
I don’t think they have gone downhill at all, I think expectations are that Pixar is supposed to raise the bar with each effort.
Audiences have been spoiled, some just can’t except another strong film, they are wanting “masterpiece” followed by “masterpiece.”
Oh come on! Some consider Toy Story 3 to be Pixar’s best film (certainly the best in the series). For my money Wall-E is their masterpiece. But I’m not a good judge of Pixar since I’m not much of an animation guy. However I liked Up a lot.
Wall-E is good. I don’t like computer animation so I couldn’t care less if they’ve gone downhill or not. I’d rather stick to cell animation.
@Uli and Santino
Dude, Toy Story 3 was very good…
Well, I’m open to hearing a case for it, but I thought it covered very similar terrain from the previous two films. The idea that the toys would remain loyal to the boy didn’t make much sense to me. (My memory of the details isn’t quite clear at this point.) I also remember having problems with the escape sequence.
As for Wall-E, I really shouldn’t judge the film, as I missed chunks of it towards the end, so I take back that comment.
Up was mildly entertaining. I loved the silent sequence, and the premise is fun. But then when they get to South America, the story seems really flimsy. The talking dog was cute, but the story feels like it’s based on the idea of these talking dogs.
A little bit yes and a little bit “no”.
I can’t defend the Cars series, and I have to admit that while Toy Story 3 had some absolutely beautiful moments (particularly at the end), it spends most of the time playing like a conventional sequel. As for Brave, I think it’s a noticeable dip into typical Disney territory, perhaps their least inventive film.
But Up (in spite of a flimsier second half) and Wall-E contain some of their best work ever, and I can’t subscribe to any worldview that sees Ratatouille as underwhelming—in fact, I think it may be their richest, most idiosyncratic film and crowning achievement.
In short, ask me again next summer.
^Ask you next summer? You mean, when Monsters Inc. 2 comes out? I wouldn’t hang your opinion on Pixar based on what happens next summer. lol
As for Brave, I think it’s a noticeable dip into typical Disney territory, perhaps their least inventive film.
Yeah, it feels more like a Disney film than a Pixar one.
There are great moments in both Up and Wall-E, but the films as a whole? They’re kinda weak, imo (although I need to see Wall-E in its entirety).
The concept of Rataouille was appealing (especially since I enjoy good food), the animation was good, but, again, the story seemed pretty weak.
The first half of Wall-E is really impressive. it kind of falls apart after that imo.
Not big on Pixar
I cannot believe no one mentioned Cars 2, that and Toy Story 3 were its low points. It should avoid sequels (does anyone want a Monster’s Inc 2?). I am not a fan of any TS film but Cars had a good deal of nostalgia, heart and occasional comic gold (Cable Guy entertaining in small doses) but Cars 2 used only the comedy. It was not up to the level in the first one and since it was all the film used, it grew tiresome.
admittedly have not seen Brave yet.
This thread seems to suggest that the issue is generic familiarity, at least with Brave
but Up, Wall-E and Rataouille were highly creative endeavors and the OP did not much like those.
Tough critic (:
I started following Pixar starting from Toy Story 2. They have made some of my most time favorite animated films, including The Incredibles, Wall-E, Ratatouille and Monsters, Inc. However, I was very disappointed by their Cars and quite skeptical of Finding Nemo.
I think it actually started with their announcement of making Cars 2, that was the first sign of their gradual regression. I remember the days when Pixar resisted making sequels, but nowadays they have their first trilogy concluded and another one to go. I have never had any interest in their Brave and I still haven’t watched Up either.
I am leaning more towards to wait and see how their Monsters University will demonstrate itself. After that, I think I will make up my mind which route the company may possibly roll on. But, aside from TS3, I haven’t heard anything reminiscent of their earlier success since Wall-E, and that was quite some time ago.
I really liked UP…..how many animated films have senior citizens as their protagonists?
WALL-E was also pretty fantastic….that silly little robot made me feel something on an emotional level and it had a great message (albeit a little preachy) about how we are trashing up our planet. Don’t even get me started on the fat people on floating chairs….has any film ever captured our lazy modern culture as acutely as this one?
Wall-E is the only cartoon that I own on DVD.
Toy Story 3 and Wall-E are my favorites.
I should note that when I saw it I hadn’t seen 2 so the existential bits seemed newer to me. Bit I think staying loyal to Andy makes perfect sense. Toy Story has always been about the life that we project onto our treasured toys growing up, or the Velveteen Rabbit like notion that the act of loving them makes them real. Toy Story literally gives them that projected reality: their personalities reflect Amdy’s feeling toward them. So they have to stay loyal to Andy because that’s how children feel about their toys.
I still believe Toy Story and Cars are their two masterpieces. I’m not sure if they’re necessarily going downhill or currently taking an inferior direction. Plus, in 2015 they have a project called Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind. You gotta admit; you want to see that.
Den has it right. If they stay away from sequels, they should do well. Unless, of course, they can hit the sequel out of the park, as they did with the Toy Story installments. Haven’t seen Brave yet, but even if it lacks inventiveness, I see no reason to think that Pixar is going downhill. As long as the movies are good, I see no reason to take off points for not keeping themselves at the same insane standards they’ve had for most of their existence.
I agree with both Den and Nathan in regards to sequels as a rather drawback for Pixar’s future strategy. I always viewed it as the company that strives to reinvent itself and push the bar for many other animation studios. However, after Up and Brave, I believe it may not only be sequels, but the creative decisions that Pixar makes in producing its films. AT somepoint, I even started to believe their short films were far better than the feature.
At their best, Pixar has made some marvelously entertaining films of great wit and smarts and ravishing beauty, works like TOY STORY I, II, and III, THE INCREDIBLES, WALL-E, UP, and so on. At their worst, they create pandering bullshit that insults the intelligence and seems created to sell tie-in toys to gullible brats — the unspeakable CARS which was so foul that I actively avoided CARS II, the only Pixar film I’ve not seen and will go to my grave avoiding like the pestilence.
The standard they set for high quality seems to be biting them on the ass now. It was inevitable that they finally produce some work that was merely “good” instead of “brilliant.” I don’t think they’ve started to suck as regularly as others I can think of. I’ll go to the next Pixar film more eagerly than I’ll go to the next Scorsese film.
I really disliked Wall-E… the whole tone of it I found pretty obnoxious. Even though the message was good, I can’t stand preachiness in films, and I didn’t think there was much else to make up for it in Wall-E. Although I did like the evil ship… so it’s 2/5 for me.
Toy Story 3 is really great – what were your problems with that, Jazz? I wonder if you’d like it more on a re-watch?
The idea that the toys would remain loyal to the boy didn’t make much sense to me.
But Andy is God!
I have not seen Brave, but I haven’t heard that it’s terrible, more that is just doesn’t meet up to Pixar standards. Assuming this is true, I’d say the Cars films are the only others that don’t quite make the cut (although I enjoyed the sequel a little more than the original.) The Toy Story franchise stayed remarkably strong throughout the three film, although 3 tries to replicate, but can’t match the emotional punch of 2. It more than makes up for it with the Ken gags and the action sequences. I’m surprised thre’s not more love for Finding Nemo, which I think may be Pixar’s best.
There is likely some correlation between the Disney acquisition and the quality…disney has always been high quality, but Pixar has always been light years beyond. Mere high quality. Sadly, CARS 2 & now BRAVE fall short
I didn’t see Wall-E as being more preachy than any other mainstream films. Just, most mainstream films are preachy in favor of the status quo, and Wall-E is preachy for a current big political issue. The tone of the preachiness was more cute and funny to me than harshly judging. The film never steps aside and says “You are all stupid and evil because YOU ARE DESTROYING EARTH.” The film shows you a fat idle human race and makes you giggle. I think it does it in a way that allows you to disagree with the message and still find it entertaining.
Fifty years ago having a woman refuse to marry the man she’s told to would have been considered just as preachy, just that’s not an issue most Americans would currently have strong feelings against, so you call Wall-E preachy and not Brave.
@Jirin and DFFOO
Re: the toys’ loyalty to Andy in TS3
I don’t remember all the details clearly, but I recall an argument between staying with Andy—which meant staying in box in the attic—or going to the daycare center. Woody makes the argument to be loyal to Andy (if I remember correctly), but he doesn’t make a compelling argument? Why stay in the attic, especially with the idea that Andy will need them some day. Plus, isn’t being played with part of the essential nature of the toys (in the universe of TS)? To me, this makes going to the daycare center a no-brainer, but the film asserts the loyalty because its nicer and more sentimental, imo.
The part about Andy being really connected to the toys before he goes off to college seemed a bit much to me as well. Yes, the toys were really special to him, but I had a hard time believing or relating to this strong attachment. Plus, the previous films seemed to cover this territory (leaving childhood behind).
I also had a problem with the escape scene and sub-plot with the evil toys. The escape seeemed way too intricate, if I recall correctly. Still, that wasn’t a major problem. The sub-plot with the evil toys was OK, I guess, but it didn’t justify making this film, imo.
I think there are good ideas, good animation and wonderful moments in all three films. But if you just focus on the story, I don’t think they’re very good. (The films aren’t terrible, but not as good as the praise they seem to get, imo.)
Haven’t seen Brave yet, but even if it lacks inventiveness, I see no reason to think that Pixar is going downhill. As long as the movies are good…
I guess this depends on how we define “good.” I don’t think any of the films are terrible, and even the mediocre ones are somewhat entertaining. But I just don’t think they’re as good as some think, especially if we just focus on the stories.
Ellen Degeneres made the movie (Finding Nemo) for me. I liked the theme of parent child being separated and the search for that child. But I also didn’t think the story was really strong either, particularly the way the two reunite (the escape). My sense is that Pixar have good ideas regarding characters and situations, but they don’t always have a great story to put these all together; the concepts come first, and then they try to find a story as a vehicle for these concepts/moments. The thing is, I thought Pixar prided itself on good stories—in addition to great animation. But, as time has gone on, I think the stories have gotten weaker and not so well-conceived and executed. (I’d be interested in knowing what you think of Brave.)
You never had trouble saying goodbye to your childhood toys? Did you stage elaborate fantasy worlds for your toys when you were a kid? I think you need to have done that to get it.
When you’re a kid the personalities you project onto your toys are those of completely loyal and reliable friends. So naturally, those personalities are completely loyal and reliable even after you lose interest in them. You don’t think your toys would rather be in a day care center than be there when you need them, so Woody can’t make that leap even though Andy has not needed him for years.
Andy’s toys are the part of him that still doesn’t want his childhood to be over, because of all the fun he had in his pretend world with them. He feels that if he gives away all his toys, the world he created from them will die, and that subconsciously feels like he’s killing his best friends. So naturally he wants to hold onto just one relic of that childhood world, to keep the door wedged open. That’s why he wanted to bring Woody to college.
FWIW, I had the same problem as you regarding Andy’s attachment to the toys. I thought the toys being attached to him made perfect sense, but the scene at the end with Andy introducing all the toys to the baby I thought was really cringe-inducing.
However, seeing the original Toy Story as a kid made me feel bad for anything that got thrown away, so I do kind of sympathize. Maybe in the Toy Story universe Andy somehow knows that his toys are really alive!
Yeah, and if a movie made 50 years ago that was all “About” women’s rights and preachy, I would dislike that, too. It has nothing to do with the issues themselves to me – just the tone.
You know, Brave might not be up to the usual Pixar standard (by the way, I love how Pixar is literally the only movie studio that we talk about in this way anymore. You just don’t hear talk of “Is Paramount going downhill?”/“Can’t wait to see the new 20th Century Fox film!” nowadays. The only one that comes close is Disney, but even that usually only refers to their animated pictures) but I thought it was quite good, and a hell of a sight better than the unspeakable Cars films. It was in many ways a typical princess tale, very much in the Disney mode, but it went to places those types of stories very rarely go, namely the relationship between mother and daughter. Actually, as I left the theater, I realized that the number of Disney princesses who even had a mother in their films you could count on one hand (I’m not counting step-mothers, especially evil ones). And I for one found it hilarious. Laughing all the way through.
Where Pixar usually does really well, I think, is in the emotional hooks of their stories. Their best films all have one: Carl’s holding on to Ellie in Up, the loss of WALL-E’s personality/love for EVE in WALL-E, the desire to be great in The Incredibles and Ratatouille, and the loss of dear friends/loved ones in Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and the Toy Story films. That the emotional hook in Brave was not as strong for me, I think, might have something to do with the fact that I’m not a girl.
And I will not hear one negative word against Toy Story 3. I respect people’s rights to their opinions, and I understand the film might have its issues, but when any film is able to get me bawling uncontrollably for the entire last ten minutes, and at even the slightest thought thereof for years afterwards, then that film did nothing but work. I can’t even put into words how or why it worked, I just know that it did. I may someday quibble with its merits as a film (but this is unlikely), but I cannot deny its emotional impact.
The toys all held hands and thought they were going to fucking die. That alone counteracts a loooooooooot of flaws, and Toy Story 3 didn’t have many to counteract in the first place!
Oh, and Jazz, I meant to say earlier that I really liked the intricacy of the escape. I’m not sure why you would see that as a negative.
I guess I disagree about the tone of the film, then. The environmental stuff is the premise, but the film is really ‘about’ a robot abandoned on Earth being exposed to the human race that created it.
I see Wall-E as being far less preachy as a film like Away We Go or Friends With Kids, which get away with being preachy because they preach the cultural status quo.
Away We Go or Friends With Kids, which get away with being preachy because they preach the cultural status quo.
Yeah, that’s why I’ve avoided those films! I did give Wall-E two out of five, after all! But I also didn’t really sympathize with Wall-E much as a character… I guess I need more anthropomorphic beings to latch onto!
I h-a-t-e-d the last part of Toy Story 3. Made me want to vomit :/