Category Archives: Best Animated Feature

Toy Story 3 (2010)

So long… partner.

— Woody

Currently the #6 Film of All-Time on IMDb, Toy Story 3 is the inevitable conclusion of the series Pixar created over fifteen years ago. It finally goes full circle as we get to know how these characters that we grew up with will do once they are not needed anymore. This latest offering redeems everything bad that I have said about Pixar as of long, a coherent story with memorable characters that is not trying to be overly ambitious.

After years of being holed up in the toy box, the toys try to find ways of getting Andy’s (John Morris) attention. Now that he is seventeen, the dreaded time has come when Andy is going to give them up. He leaves for college in a couple of days. He has to decide whether who will come with him, go to the attic, donate or be thrown away. Half of the toys has already been given away over the years except for Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Hamm, (John Ratzenberger), Jessie (Joan Cusack), Bull’s-Eye, Rex (Wallace Shawn), Slinky Dog (Blake Clark), Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head (Don Rickles, Estelle Harris) and Molly’s Barbie (Jodi Benson).

While Andy decided to bring Woody to college with him and leave the other toys for the attic. Andy carelessly put the others in a garbage bag which makes Andy’s mom (Laurie Metcalf) think that they are garbage. Woody tries to save them before getting tossed into the garbage where the break out to go to the donate box.

Andy’s mom drops the toys off at a daycare center called Sunny Side. When the toys first get there, they thought it was a fantastical place where they would be played with everyday. This was the Butterfly Room with the pre-schoolers. After the pre-schoolers leave the leader of the Butterfly Room, Lotso the Bear (Ned Beatty) welcomes the newcomers with the help of Ken (Michael Keaton) as a tour guide.

Lotso and Ken show Andy toys around the place and lead them into the Caterpillar Room which is for the toddlers that are not as gentle with the toys like the Butterfly Room. Woody wants the gang to stay together with Andy or in the attic. The others want to stay at the daycare center. Woody wants to stay with Andy. Woody leaves and is picked up by a little girl named Bonnie (Emily Hahn). At Bonnie’s house, Woody hears that the other toys are in trouble and Woody has to decide whether to go back to Andy’s house or save the toys.

This movie explained better the themes that were introduced in the second movies with the inevitably of every toy that they will not be needed anymore. Their owners grow up. They have different priorities and playing with a toy is not one of them. If my toys could talk, they would have the same conversation the toys had in this movie. This movie ultimately shows up that when somebody grows up. No matter how big they are. There will always be an inner child poking out of them.

The ending of the movie was heartbreaking, heart affirming, poignant and brilliant. Being leery of this installment, I would say that this is a perfect ending for this series.

Judgment: Bravo and thank you, Pixar.

Rating: ****1/2

Finding Nemo (2003)

If this is some kind of practical joke, it’s not funny, and I know funny. I’m a clownfish.

— Marlin

The last couple of Pixar movies that I have reviewed, I had a lukewarm response to most of them. The creators are trying to have the action more grounded, but they always have to cock it up with putting kiddy stuff in it. Finding Nemo is the last great Pixar movie in my opinion. This #149 Move of All-Time on IMDb won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. It was well deserved.

A clownfish, Marlin (Albert Brooks) moves his wife, Coral (Elizabeth Perkins) and their 400 eggs to the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. When they get there, the community is threatened by a barracuda that takes Coral and almost of all of her 400 eggs, saved one.

Marlin tries everything in his power to protect his son, Nemo, perhaps overprotecting him. It’s understandable. Nemo is eager to go to his first day of school. Marlin is worried that the children are going to make fun of Nemo’s shorter fin, which they call his lucky fin.

His new friends want to explore the open ocean, which is forbidden. When Marlin comes to take Nemo away, Nemo wanted to be on his own. He swims up to a boat near by. Nemo is caught by the swimmers and taken with them.

Frantically searching for Nemo, Marlin bumps into the scatterbrain Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) to tries to take him to where the boat was last seen.

A shark sneaks up to the duo, Bruce (Barry Humphries). He brings the two into a Sharks Anonymous meeting with Anchor (Eric Bana) and Chum (Bruce Spence). Marlin sees a clue to help find Nemo. One of the divers drops his mask with his contact information on it. He needs someone that could read it. That someone is closer then he might think.

Nemo wakes up in a fish tank at a dentist’s office. Nemo meets the creatures that inhabit the tank Bloat (Brad Garrett), Gurgle (Austin Pendleton), Bubbles (Stephen Root), Peach (Alison Janney), Deb (Vicki Lewis), Jacques (Joe Ranft) and Gill (Willem Dafoe). A pelican, Nigel (Geoffrey Rush) pops by the office window to chat about the goings on at the office.

Nemo learns that he is going to be the pet of the dentist’s niece, Darla for her birthday. He has limited time to escape before he is torn away from his father forever.

The look of this movie is absolutely gorgeous. The effects of the water, the sun rays beaming into the water, the vibrant colors of the Great Barrier Reef were fantastic. The textures of the landscape made my jaw drop. I swear, I thought that some scenes were live action. At the end of the movie, I weep like a baby. I hate myself for crying. I’m a sucker to a final reunion. It’s not like I’m spoiling the ending. It’s obvious.

Judgment: If you want to watch the best Pixar movie of the Aughties, watch this .

Rating: ****1/2

Up (2009)

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Thanks for the adventure. Now go have one of your own.

— Ellie

As you probably know by now, my love for Pixar movies have been waning lately. Their last two efforts were not as good as they were advertised in my opinion. I had some hesitation when I saw their latest release, Up this weekend.

The movie is currently #22 of the Top 250 of All Time on IMDB. It also has a Metacritic score of 88. The movie is good, but the movie has some serious plot holes.

The story revolves around a 70-year-old cantankerous balloon salesman, Carl Fredericksen (Ed Asner) that recently lost his beloved wife, Ellie. Their promise to each other is to visit Paradise Falls in South America when they get older.

Plans change when Ellie dies, a land developer wants Carl to leave in order to build a new building. He gets in trouble when he assaults of the contrcution workers and they want him to go into a retirement community.

Carl decides to take the trip to Paradise Falls by tying thousands of balloons to his house and flies over to South America.

Carl doesn’t realize that Russell (Jordan Nagai), a pudgy boy scout was on his porch when the house lifted.

In South America, they encounter a large colorful bird, a talking dog named Dug (Bob Peterson) and an unexpected villain.

I enjoyed this movie, but there was some things that doesn’t ring true. I was discuss that in the spoiler section of the review.

Judgment: This is solid effort by Pixar with some flaws.

Rating: ****

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Ratatouille (2007)

Food is fuel. You get picky about what you put in your tank, your engine is gonna die. Now shut up and eat your garbage.

Django

Ratatouille is currently number 154 of the top 250 of all time on IMDB. I have to disagree highly with the praise that movie has gotten. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature against Persepolis and Surf’s Up. I did not see the latter, but it must have been slim pickings that year if the movie won.

The movie centers around Remy (Patton Oswalt), a rat that has impeccable palate for good food and different combinations of tastes. He lives with his nest family in the roof of an old lady’s house.

His father, Django (Brian Dennehy) wants his son to be a thief like his other son, Emile (Peter Sohn) and himself. Remy doesn’t want that. He wants to be a world famous chef like his hero, Chef Gusteau (Brad Garrett).

One day, he hears news that Gusteau died when he lost a star from his five-star restaurant. Also, the nest is discovered when Remy and Emile were trying to scour for food.

As usual, Remy is separated from the nest and he ends up at Gusteau’s restaurant. Imagine that. He helps out a bumbling, flailing guy, Linguini (Lou Romano) to help bring out his creations.

Hilarity ensues and the move falls out the rails so much that I had to turn it off.

Here are my major problems with the movie:

  • I have an issue with a family, even if they’re rats, being from Paris and none of them have the slightest accent.
  • Why would you let a rat cook? Whose idea with this?
  • Why did Linguini tell that cook that he doesn’t when in a scene ten minutes before he was sipping wine with Remy?
  • How it is physiologically possible control a person’s movements by hair?

Are you kidding me, Pixar? Are we suppose to buy this dreck? What happened to the Finding Nemos, the Toy Storys of yesteryear? We have to deal with convoluted plots with ridiculous characters and situations that is supposed to be heartwarming. Spare me!

Judgment: There are some genuine laughs, but it’s not worth getting invested in it.

Rating: **1/2

Spirited Away (2002)

The tunnel led Chichiro to a mysterious town.

I wanted to see Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away for awhile ever since it won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2002. It is currently on number 60 of Top 250 on IMDB. I can understand why people think that this is a great movie, but I have some problems with some of the voices in the English dubbed version that I had.

This movie centers around a mousy ten-year-old girl, named Chichiro (English voice by Daveigh Chase) is moving with her parents (Lauren Holly, Michael Chiklis) when her father decides to make a shortcut through a deep forest. On the other side, they see a tunnel. Curious the family walks through the tunnel to find an abandoned amusement park.

In instance, they follow curiously looks around until the father smells some food. The parents gorge on the free food until they are turned into pigs, literally.

Chichiro tries to find somebody to help her parents. She meets Haku (Jason Marsden), a spirit guide that helps her try to find a way to save her parents.

Chichiro has to work for the bathhouse that is for the spirits residing in the land.

She meets wacky characters like Kamajii (David Ogden Stiers), Lin (Susan Egan), Yubaba (Suzanne Pleshette), and No Face (Bob Bergen).

I have a problem with the leads girl’s voice. It was so screechy that I wanted to turn the movie off. Also, the first thirty minutes of the film moved at the pace of snails having sex. So slow. I was up and down with this movie.

Judgment: If you are into anime movie with effed up looking character, I would suggest this movie.

Rating: ***1/2

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