Part 2 is here! This week I will be touching on three more Pixar movies I’ve watched. As I stated in Part one — where I reviewed Incredibles 2, Onward, and Coco, I will be going through Pixar’s entire filmography, and after doing so, I will be ranking them all. With that being said, let’s HOP into this week’s movies (I’m sorry it’s just such a good intro).
Soul (2020) — Directed by: Pete Docter
Premise: Joe, an aspiring musician gets the opportunity of a lifetime until suddenly he winds up in “The Great Before” and must help an infant soul find her spark.
“Those aren’t really purposes 22, that’s just regular old living.”
Pixar’s Soul is the studio’s newest entry, nominated for Best Animated Feature and Original Score at this year’s Academy Awards.
This movie looks amazing as a whole, with stunning animation and colourful settings, but how scenes are lit really makes it shine (totally pun intended). The lighting in general is always good, but it’s even done metaphorically to visualize when a characters soul is in the frame. For example, people are shot with different lighting to convey when they’re in and out of touch with their souls. Whether it’s a subway busker, a student or a barber, 22 comes across a multitude of people along the way who are often lit brightly in contrast to her cool and dark lighting. However, these experiences stand out as they unknowingly try to inspire her desire to live through their purpose. I’d go into more detail, but I’d be getting into spoiler territory which I am firmly against here, especially with it being newer and thus being more likely that some of you have not seen it yet.
The score is very jazz-influenced as you’d expect from the subject matter, but it’s able to utilize different instruments and tempos into different songs for a range of emotions throughout the film beautifully.
I also found their concepts about people in “the zone” quite intriguing and also how senses play an important role in giving us the desire to live.
Though its visual beauty is undeniable, the script is filled with too many conveniences and for that reason, it lost me at times. The ending not only left me annoyed given that they seem to be leading up to a moving moment only for them to completely deus ex machina the situation, but that the relationship between Joe and 22 never really struck hard with me, so their emotional arc together really doesn’t hit the same notes I hoped it would.
I’m sure there are many of you who like this movie, and I totally understand why. It’s just not up there in my books.
Ratatouille (2007) — Directed by: Brad Bird
Premise: A rat named Remy aspires to be a renowned French chef, but he’s got big…hats to fill?
“Anyone can cook.”
I hadn’t seen Ratatouille until I started this series. This is the kind of movie that makes me want to slap my younger self. I mean, come on, it’s fucking Ratatouille. It definitely helps that I loved food, but who doesn’t?
This movie not only provides a love letter to the culinary arts but plates it in a way that is digestible for anyone. Pixar movies are at its best when they have powerful messages embedded inside an absolutely absurd concept. They’re able to balance these two elements so well where it recognizes what it is, but is able to move its audience without taking itself too seriously.
Ratatouille might be the best example of this. It’s able to generate so much inspiration to the viewer with such a simple message, while also recognizing how absolutely ludicrous the idea of having a rat for a chef is. In doing so, this movie perfectly balances emotional and comedic moments and boy does it feel good.
While the animation does look like it has aged a bit, it’s certainly not an ugly movie. They also have sequences where they decide to visualize taste palettes whenever a character is trying a certain food. I thought it was brilliant and creative.
Perhaps what makes the movie more impactful for is how they write their antagonist Anton Ego. While he’s sort of a trope of the cold-hearted critic, they are able to add depth to his character in a way that’s really impactful. Sure, there are a lot of ruthless critics out there, but they efficiently explore this path of why he might have became who he is adds an interesting layer to the climax of this film. If you’re paying attention at the beginning of the film, you might figure out why.
If you’ve read or heard my thoughts on the movie Chef, this movie hits a lot of the same notes when it comes to sparking its audience’s passion for food.
If you know someone who was as naive as I was regarding movies aimed at “kids”, slap them and tell them to watch this movie.
The Good Dinosaur (2015) — Directed by: Peter Sohn
Premise: When a dinosaur is separated from his family, he meets a young boy and the two embark on a journey to reunite with their families.
The Good Dinosaur, while a competent animated film, is not Pixar at its best by any means. I feel as though this movie could’ve been broken up into multiple animated shorts with minimal if not zero dialogue and it would’ve produced a much stronger product.
The movie has some bright spots for sure, and my point on it being broken up into shorts isn’t a knock, it’s just how I feel the movie could’ve been better utilized. This stems from its silent storytelling. There are long scenes that are drawn out with little to no dialogue that effectively add emotion while providing us information about the story/characters.
The cinematography is also there at times with a lot of breathtaking landscape shots that look like they were inspired from our lord and saviour Bob Ross.
However, there were things that really brought this thing down for.
It’s not that this is bad by any means, it just comes across like a movie that was pumped out of a factory. Pixar is a movie factory, but a competent one. This just didn’t come off the line as good as the others.
Thank you all again for reading! As I mentioned earlier, I have already released part one, so if you haven’t had a just to catch up you can do so. I will be releasing new parts to this series every few weeks so stay tuned as I work my way through the wonders of the PCU (Pixar Cinematic Universe).