Ever since Pixar released the first Toy Story back in 1995, in just one and a half decade, the studio has produced eleven movies. Most of them are critically-acclaimed, averaging 95% in Rotten Tomatoes and have grossed a collective of over $5 Billion worldwide. Out of those eleven, I’ve seen all but one, Cars, which interestingly enough will be the second Pixar feature film that get the sequel treatment after Toy Story. According to Wiki, Cars 2 is scheduled for release on June 24, 2011.
I recently saw Toy Story 3 and absolutely loved it. In fact, it was no doubt one of the most entertaining cinematic experience in quite a while. If there is such a thing as a ‘flawless’ movie, this one could count as one. If I could nitpick just one though (as Dreher Bear also said in his review), I wish they had given more ‘screen’ time to Mr. Pricklepants, voiced by my fave Shakespearean actor Timothy Dalton. It’s amazing how a bunch of toys packed such emotional punch. EW’s Popwatch blog asked the question in a Toy Story 3 Poll: “Did you cry?” Well, suffice to say, I had some tissues going into the theater, but by the end of it I realized I need a whole stinkin’ box! I haven’t got a chance to review it yet, but i case I never got to it, let me say this: Go see it pronto! It’ll make you feel like a kid again and treasure this movie (and this animated trilogy) for years to come.
The beauty of Pixar movies is how wonderful the characters are. They’re so well-written and tug your heartstrings, it’s amazing how we could ever care so much about a bunch of toys, a waste-eliminator robot, or a one-eyed green monster. Within mere seconds into a Pixar movie, I’ve become so emotionally-invested in them right away that make the viewing experience so worthwhile. They’re even more affecting than a lot of real human characters in a life action feature.
Well, in honor of that, here are my TOP FIVE FAVORITE PIXAR CHARACTERS of the past 15 years (in random order because it’s hard enough to pick just five!):
- Woody (Toy Story)
The leader of the pack of Andy’s toys and the emotional core of the franchise, Woody the Cowboy is just so darn likable. That’s why you got someone like Tom Hanks to voice him and let his playful personality shine. Woody is funny, caring, optimistic, and wise almost to a fault. And he’s fiercely loyal, too, even as much as he loves his college-bound owner, he’s torn to be separated from his buddies and a trait he’s carried with him from the beginning of the movie until the very end of the franchise. No wonder he’s Andy’s favorite toy, because there ain’t no Toy Story without Woody!
- Flik (A Bug’s Life)
Firstly, I love Dave Foley, he’s just so cute and funny in Kids in the Hall and News Radio, so maybe that’s why I took immediate liking to Flik. Foley’s voice just naturally suits the geeky, bumbling, but ever-so-endearing protagonist. The ‘engineering-minded’ ant always wants the best for his colony by trying to come up with his various inventions (i.e. a dew telescope, automatic harvester, etc.), though they often end up with disastrous results. But as his BFF Dot will tell you, he’s really a nice guy who really is just trying to help. Like Dot says, “you’re weird… but I like you.”
- Mike Wazowski (Monsters Inc.)
Oh, who doesn’t love the one-eyed monster, voiced with wisecrackin’, smarty-pants sensibilities by Billy Crystal. He’s got more expression with his one giant eye than most characters with two. His green round shape is quite possibly the cutest, most adorable Pixar creation yet, not to mention his toothy grin. And he’s charming and smooth, too, just as Celia Mae (Jennifer Tilly), his girlfriend with Medusa-like hair and high-pitched voice. The minute he sang, “you and me… me and you… both of us togethaaa…” I’m done for! LOVE ya Wazowski!!
- Buzz (Toy Story)
Starting out as a main rival turns BFF, the spaceman action-figure is the perfect complement to Woody even if Buzz’s delusional self sometimes exasperates his more-grounded friend. The Tim Allen-voiced character initially thinks he’s the real Buzz Lightyear, not a mere toy like the rest, which explains his extra gung-ho attitude that’s so fun to watch. I thought the duel scene with Darth Vader-like Zurg at the end of the first sequel was my favorite scene of Buzz, but no, it’s when he’s accidentally reset and becomes the Spanish Buzz that had me in stitches. The pent-up feelings he has for Jesse is now on full display as he’s become unabashedly romantic Don Juan. The tango sequence with Jesse is priceless and sooo much fun. Te quiero señor Buzz!
- Dory (Finding Nemo)
The blue tang fish that steals every scene she’s in is voiced by the inherently likable and goofy Ellen DeGeneres. From the moment Nemo meets Dory, something is just a little off. Soon we realize she’s suffering from short-term memory loss, which makes for a one riotous scenario after another. Dory delivers the biggest laughs and her compassionate and gentle spirit makes you wish she’s your best friend. There are too many favorite scenes of Dory but when she imitates the whale with that slow, deep voice I just about fell off my chair!
- WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter – Earth Class)
I’m not ashamed to admit that this movie not only make me tear up, but I was practically sobbing! The small trash compactor robot that barely said a word is so affecting that within minutes of seeing him on screen, I want to run over there and gives the lonely robot a big hug. In a dismal, silent post-apocalyptic world, Wall-E is a beating heart that gives such hope amidst all the gloom and doom. When he falls for a far more advanced robot Eve, he goes to great length to woo her. Believe it or not, it’s a genuine love story that is as heartfelt as any human connection.
- Rex (Toy Story)
The hilariously hysterical t-rex is a minor character but every time he comes on, it’s always a hoot. Remember the Jurassic Park nod in TS2 during the car chase in the toy barn? ‘Object is closer than they appear‘ Ha! He’s supposed to be menacing but Rex is such a wimp that gets agitated by even the slightest hitch, but I love him best when he starts squealing like a little girl.
- Russell (Up)
I absolutely adore this 8-year old kid and his endearingly exuberant charm. Determined to obtain his final badge to become a Senior Wilderness Explorer, the chubby munchkin ends up being swept off his feet (literally!), up, up and away with Carl in his balloon-hoisted house. Nothing seems to dampen the kid’s buoyant spirit. He and the gloomy and disillusioned makes an unlikely pairing that’s as odd as they are delightful.
I have expanded this Pixar Character List to TEN, and now you can VOTE for your favorites.
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Ok, your turn, folks. I’m sure you’ve got your own favorite Pixar character(s). Let’s hear it!