Of Course My Opinion Doesn’t Actually Matter
I’m sure I am far from the only person who has had this thought, but why do we always have adults rank kids movies? Sure, we can say whether or not it is a kids movie that will play to the whole family, we can point out subtle humor, we can even talk about the surprising depth of emotions, but in the end the movie was never primarily intended for us. They were made primarily for kids, so isn’t the opinion of kids more important? Maybe they didn’t catch all the jokes or appreciate every nuance of the emotional journey, but who cares? If the movie isn’t funny and engaging for the core audience it doesn’t matter how brilliant the rest of it was. So, with Brave coming out this weekend and it being an obvious time to look at Pixar with the standard awe I figured it would make a lot more sense to see what my son thought. To that end I had him rank all 12 Pixar movies this morning and the order was definitely different than I would have guessed or where I would have ranked them (I included my rankings under each title). So, without further boring ado, here is Griffin’s rankings from worst to first:
#12 Finding Nemo
My Rankings: #1
SHOCKING! Right out of the gate my son drops the Nemo bomb. I should note that my son really likes Nemo but he didn’t find it as funny as some of the other movies. For me this was the perfect balance of visuals, emotion and humor, but I guess a lot of the humor was lost on a kid.
#11 Toy Story 3
My Ranking: #8
When I saw Nemo’s ranking I was worried that when he saw the movies would have too much influence (more recent movies would have too great a skewing) so I was a little surprised that the second newest Pixar flick came in at #11.
My Ranking: #10
If I had placed odds on Griffin’s rankings I think this would have been the favorite for the 12 spot. I have always looked at Ratatouille as the point when Pixar decided it was going to start showing off. No longer content to make movies that while better and deeper than standard kids fare still resembled kids fare in the story. A story about a rat that wants to be a chef doesn’t really fit into “standard” anything. But Pixar could pull it off, and it wasn’t even their most impressive feat.
#9 The Incredibles
My Ranking #2
Easily the second biggest shock for me, particularly because Griffin LOVES superhero movies (he’s already seen The Avengers twice and we own every Marvel movie they have made since Iron Man). #9 surprised me, but then he told me it was almost #12 but then he remembered Jack Jack Attack and moved it up the list.
My Rankings: #11
By his own admission this middle part of the list is splitting hairs. I thought Cars didn’t have anywhere near the depth of most of Pixar’s other works, though it is funny and fun to watch. Because of that I would have thought it would have been in Griffin’s top 5.
My Rankings: #9
Another I would have though might have been lower on his list we interestingly both had opposite critiques. I thought the beginning and end were terrific but the movie kind of looses me in the middle. Griffin loved the stuff in space but thought the beginning and end weren’t as great.
#6 Cars 2
My Rankings: #12
I think Cars 2 gets killed because of relativity. If Dreamworks Animation or Blue Sky Studios (Ice Age and Rio) put Cars 2 out it would have received the shoulder shrug most OK kids movies get. But Pixar has set their bar so high that an OK kids movie felt like a sell-out, but it apparently didn’t feel that way to kids. My son thought it was funny and fun.
My Rankings: #3
A pleasant surprise for me that Griffin had this one in the Top 5. I can say, with no embarrassment whatsoever, that this movie made me cry like a baby (when he is looking through the scrap book and then sees that she wanted him to continue his adventure after she died, I get choked up just writing about it). Nary a week goes by where my son doesn’t shout “SQUIRREL!” when we are around our dog.
#4 Monsters Inc.
My Rankings: #6
This has to be in the discussion for funniest Pixar movie, doesn’t it? I have always been surprised this hasn’t generated a sequel yet only because it is the closest to Toy Story in the kind of character format that lends itself to sequels.
#3 A Bug’s Life
My Ranking: #4
One of two that we each have in our Top 5 I think this is the movie that would edge out Monsters Inc as the funniest Pixar movie. I was really happy that my son hasn’t fallen into the trap that it seems many have and forgotten about this movie as it was released before Pixar meant what it means today.
#2 Toy Story 2
My Rankings: #7
Everything I would say about this I will say about his #1 movie, which is …
#1 Toy Story
My Rankings: #5
So much for my long held belief that Toy Story was overrated (slightly) because it was the first Pixar movie, my son neither knew nor cared about the order in which these flicks were released. Toy Story was released nine years before Griffin was born. In fact, Griffin was not alive when any of his top 4 Pixar movies were released. Lady and the Tramp was released nine years before I was born and while I liked it it never felt current, but Toy Story still feels fresh and new. There was nothing specific that Griffin said about why Toy Story was #1 on his list, he just said it was really good, but that is kind of a perfect explanation. Toy Story survives because it is just a really good movie.
I don’t think there has ever been a studio that has been on the kind of run Pixar has been for the last 17 years. In some ways both Griffin and I felt guilty doing the rankings because it felt wrong to call any of these movies “worst” (well, truthfully I had no problem calling Cars 2 worst, but Griffin felt bad about Nemo). Here is hoping that Brave keeps the streak alive.
Then again what do we know? Actually Griffin may know something because he is skinny, I’m the fat one.