It’s almost time! It’s almost time! It’s almost time for this year’s runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend, and I am pumped. This year’s races are themed to Pixar movies, which is as noble a selection as one could hope for. In honor of this auspicious choice, I decided to ask the hard question, namely: which Pixar movie is my favorite really?
For many years now, I have offered the following top 3 Pixar movies: 1. Wall-E; 2. Up; 3. Coco. But it’s been quite a few years since I challenged that order with a good old-fashioned re-watch. To that end, I organized a little mini Pixar festival for myself.
And just to make it fun, I decided to add a couple bonus entries to the mix! Thus additional, though not officially ranked, favorites of mind entered the fray – Finding Nemo to start, and then just for the heck of it I added Ratatouille to the roster.
Before we move on to my reactions to these re-watches, I do want to address the (part-) elephant in the room: what about Toy Story* et al?! What about Soul**?! What about Inside Out***?! What about [your #1 here]?!?!?!
* 2 is best
** Absolutely not
*** Also no except for “BOO! Pick a plot line!” which is hilarious
Well, kids, we only have so much time and so much objectivity. I’m not out here trying to determine the platonic ideal of a Pixar movie; I’m merely identifying my personal champ. But wouldn’t it be fun if your fave won all the same? LET’S FIND OUT.
And so now, presented in random order, I ask you to choose your fighter:
WHICH OF THESE PIXAR MOVIES IS ACTUALLY MY FAVORITE?
I historically love Coco for its whimsy, but I am also absolutely entranced by its beauty. The entire Land of the Dead is beyond gorgeous, with its iridescent colors and fairytale architecture. I’m not gonna lie to you guys; if Disney decides to convert the Mexico pavilion boat ride in Epcot to a Coco attraction, I wouldn’t even be mad. They’ve done worse.
I will say, having watched this one in both Spanish and English, I do think it’s way funnier in Spanish somehow. I say that as someone who is in no way fluent, but I listen well enough that with the added boost of subtitles I’m good to go. Highly recommended giving that a try if you have the wherewithal.
My primary takeaway is that it’s probably better to die young, lest you be condemned to spending eternity in your old body. Like, why is Mama Coco older than both her parents in the final scene?
Favorite part? FRIDA. Oh my God, the Frida Kahlo scene absolutely SLAYS me. The first time I watched the movie, I had to pause it after the papaya bit so I could finish laughing. ¡Y CADA SOY YO! kills me every time.
2. Finding Nemo
I threw Finding Nemo as one of my wildcards because I personally think, line for line, it is the absolute funniest. “HE TOUCHED THE BUTT”; “I’m obnoxious!”; “MINE MINE MINE;” “Normally they don’t talk, sea cucumbers, but in a joke, everybody talks.” I mean, I could go on for paragraphs just quoting this baby!
Upon revisiting it, however, it still gets placed below Coco as the ranking progresses. Coco has more emotional resonance for me.
Favorite part? The “speaking whale” part is AMAZING. The further it devolves from recognizable speech, the funnier it gets. Now that’s layered comedy!
Ooh, now it’s getting real, people. Up, upon reflection, really brings the emotion of Coco and the humor of Nemo into balance. I mean, first of all, Christopher Plummer is in it, so there’s that. It also demonstrates incredible compact storylines – Up is the indisputable king of the montage, and the musical motif of “Married Life” is nothing short of inspired. I laugh at the jokes, of course, but my God, do I care about these people. Up shoots to the top of the list.
Favorite part? Is Kevin and/or Dug on screen? Good. I’m in.
Now we come to our champion. I thought, going into this battle, there was a chance that Coco might unseat an opponent, or that Up might surprise me by eking out a win. But no – the moment the first strains of “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” began to play, I was already smiling.
Wall-E is just so cute, okay? And full of personality! All these robots are full of personality! Without ever once so much as coming within the same planet as the Uncanny Valley, they… look, would it be too much to say that they’re not anthropomorphized? I mean, obviously they are, in that we are ascribing emotions to machines, but… I believe them. I believe them. Perhaps it’s the misfit in me, but I love Wall-E. Wall-E takes first place.
Favorite part? Tie: I LOVE M-O (I almost made a M-O race costume before deciding it was too obscure, but maybe I’ll revisit one of these days), but I also can’t helped be moved by the dance scene.
Perhaps, so far, you are utterly bored by my rankings. I said I liked Wall-E best, then Up, then Coco – and my most recent assessment has changed this order not at all.
Enter the dark horse!
I watched Ratatouille last, an under-the-wire addition I threw in on a whim on the strength of my memory of Anton Ego’s final speech. By the end, I was heartily impressed.
While funny, Ratatouille is not the funniest movie on this list. It’s cute, but aren’t they all? What I found myself surprised by most was the sophistication of the concepts. My memory was correct – Anton Ego’s ending speech is utterly brilliant – but this thesis statement is preceded by the proof. Familial love is important and moving, of course, but it’s an easy way to reach an audience. Tackling the concept of what makes art, what makes an artist? Much harder to pull off.
Add to that the frenetic and joyous final few scenes and Brad Garrett’s winning vocal range, and Ratatouille comes from the back of the pack to take the #2 slot. It doesn’t quite unseat Wall-E, but it comes way closer than I ever would’ve expected. I’ll hit up the ride with fresh eyes next time.
Favorite part? Anton Ego’s flashback. The way the animators connect time and sense to define a whole character is genius.
I haven’t seen every Pixar movie, but I’ve seen the lion’s share of them. I think we can all agree picking a favorite is a tough proposition. I’ve stayed pretty consistent on my preferred catalogue entries, so it was fun to be surprised by Ratatouille! Who knows which will be my favorite in another couple years? All I know is: bring on the Pixar Springtime Surprise!
P.S. Did I miss a very important Pixar movie that absolutely should have a chance to wow me? Let me know!
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