Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tuesday Top Ten...

Alright, so for my Tuesday Top Ten this week, I wanted to pay some respect to the wonderful world of Pixar.  This is, obviously, inspired by not only my recent viewing of ‘Monsters University’ but also the wonderful article I linked on Friday (did you read this yet?).  So, instead of simply ranking my top ten Pixar movies (there are only 14, and the ‘Cars’ movies are so atrocious they don’t count) I decided to open myself up to their world completely and rank my favorite ‘characters’ they have created.  Yes, the world is HUGE, and in the end this limits me somewhat since out of 14 films my list only includes 10 of them, and three come from the ‘Toy Story’ universe, so you could basically say I only contain characters from 8 of them.  Alas, I thought long and hard about this and tried to find characters that made a lasting impression for various reasons.  Some are pure comic relief, some are purely endearing, some are pure evil and some have developed into truly inspired entities. 

There were so many characters to choose from, and deciding their worth based on varying criteria was really hard to do.  In the end, some memorable characters fell to the wayside, so I’d like to take a moment to pay respect to a few.

Jack Jack
Slinky Dog
Oh, and for the record; my Pixar Top Ten would be:
1)            Finding Nemo (A+)
2)            Toy Story 3 (A+)
3)            Toy Story (A+)
4)            The Incredibles (A+)
5)            Monsters, Inc. (A)
6)            Ratatouille (A)
7)            Up (A)
8)            Toy Story 2 (A-)
9)            Wall*E (A-)
10)          Monsters University (B+)

So, on with the list!

#10 ~ Heimlich
The fat kid in all of us is in love with all things Heimlich, and he really serves as one of the more memorable background characters to grace Pixar’s world.  It is all in the delivery, that squishy, manic, gushing delivery.  Every joke lands, every run works and every gag explodes on contact.  It may be a total stereotype, but it works on every level!

#09 ~ Hamm
The Toy Story franchise is filled to the brim with comedic relief, but for me Hamm is the king of all.  His one liners are laced with a worldliness that makes him appear softer than his grouchy counterpart Mr. Potato Head.  He stabs accusations and pokes fun with ease, and yet there is a directness that never loses tact and so he comes off as the older, wiser toy.  He gets bonus points for               his alter ego, The Evil Doctor Porkchop!

#08 ~ Edna 'E' Mode
She doesn’t have a lot to do, but MY GOD she does what she does with such spunk, sass and wonderfulness.  I wish she was in more, but everything from her disposition to her sharp tongued knowingness is perfectly suited to the film’s center and creates a great comedic balance to the entire film.  She is that one background character who delivers the perfect dose of memorable and remains on our minds long after she’s gone.

#07 ~ Remy
Remy is a dreamer.  Aren’t we all?  Isn’t everyone at Pixar?  There is something so organically beautiful about the way that Remy’s seemingly unattainable aspirations never become a crutch for him.  He finds a way to rise above, never accepting no as an answer and thus proving to be one of the more motivational and inspiring of Pixar’s creations.

#06 ~ Wall*E & Eve
I grouped these two together (cheating I know) but they really are the perfect pair and such a beautiful depiction of innocence and love.  Perfect complements, vastly different and yet uniquely connected by a common thread of unquestionable humanity, these two representations of emotional reverence shine and prove to be touching and moving examples of self-reflection.

#05 ~ Sully
Kitty!  James P. Sullivan, the legendary scarer of children is nothing but a giant pussycat!  Yes, this iconic and lovable giant is one of the most beloved of all of Pixar’s creations, and we can see why.  With sharp wit and a warm soul, Sully is that monster we all want to find under our beds.  He’s a true friend, a thoughtful monster with hindsight and depth to make him trustworthy, and that is the best quality a friend can have.  Besides, we did just name our son after him!

#04 ~ Ellie          
She’s only in the film for a brief moment, and yet that moment is the catalyst for the balance of the film.  Her presence lingers, creating a complete backstory that permeates every thread and fiber of the film’s core and staying with us long after she’s gone.  The moment Carl uncovers all of Ellie’s ‘adventures’ is a pivotal moment in his, as well as the films, final arc and it proves the lasting power of this particular character.  She lives on in all of us.

#03 ~ Lotso
I’ve mentioned before that I really want a film dedicated to Lotso’s fall from lovable bear to loathsome crime lord.  He is by far the most interesting villain in the Pixar universe, and his cruelness is matched only by the solemn backstory that is ripe with depth and potential.  The cunning, the deception, the ruthlessness; all wrapped up in a strawberry scented coat.

#02 - Dory
Is there really another sidekick as memorable as Dory?  Sure, she comes as seemingly pure comic relief, but there is a heart and soul here that is so moving.  We can’t help but completely fall in love with her.  Ellen DeGeneres brings so much life to this character, and truly it is that example of the right actor for the right role creating screen magic.  Besides, doesn’t she have like the greatest introduction in animated history?

#01 ~ Buzz Lightyear

I thought long and hard about this one, and quite frankly this shocked me since Buzz was NOT on my first draft top ten list.  The more I thought about these characters though, and the more I thought about their individual growth, no one character went through so much, changed, adapted and maintained relevance like Buzz.  When you consider that he waltzes into the first film as the semi-antagonist, comes to terms with his own mortality so-to-speak, gets relegated to minor sidekick and then morphs into the full blown hero in the second film, challenges his superior in the third film, becomes a beacon of reason and then falls down the rabbit hole to become an evil pawn only to be resuscitated to honor and goodness at the film’s end, there is no denying that Buzz is the most fully fleshed out character in the entire Pixar universe.  When you factor in that he is always on point comedically and even uses each character arc as an avenue to change his comedic tone then you can’t NOT place him at #1.


  1. Great list! Glad to see Dory and Wall•E on here. I posted my top 5 Pixar character a while ago and I put down Mike Wazowski as #1. LOVE that green-eyed monster!

    – ruth

    1. That's a great choice too! The whole universe is so ripe, it's hard to make a definitive choice. I'd love a link to your post.

  2. My favorite Pixar character is M-O from WALL-E. The fact that he's such an OCD guy just adds some humor that was needed in the film as it made it even more perfect.

  3. As always, great list! So glad that Heimlich made the cut. He's a great character from one of Pixar's most overlooked films. Buzz and Dorie would likely top my list as well.

    Interesting that you rank Toy Story 3 that high. That's one of those films I just don't get the love for. Aside from the emotional ending, it just feels like a retread of Toy Story 2 for me. Don't get me wrong, I like the film. I just don't see it as one of Pixar's very best.

    1. Toy Story 3 ruined me...just an emotional connection and investment that paid off so beautifully in the end.

  4. Great list! Never really thought about Buzz that way. Glad to see Remy and Edna Mode make the cut! Loved them in their respective movies.

    1. Like I said, Buzz wasn't even on my original draft list, but the more I thought about him the more I couldn't deny his impact on the entire series.