Which is your favorite? Finding Nemo? The Incredibles? Up? Wall-E? Ratatouille? Toy Story? You know you've got at least one Pixar movie that you just can't flip past when you come across it on playing on television. But have you ever stopped to think about why you love that movie (or if you're like me, all these movies)?
Do they make you sad or happy? Do they remind you of your youth or give you some hope for the future? Why do these films, filled with talking animals, wacky situations, and even superheroes, move us more than some of the most well-acted and beautifully filmed dramas could ever hope to?
Pixar's writers and animators know how to convey emotion
There is no movie that better illustrates this point than that scene in Up. Don't lie, you know exactly which scene I am talking about. In just 4 minutes and 21 seconds, with only a simple soundtrack and an animated couple, deeply in love, Pixar managed to fill our hearts with joy, sadness, and an appreciation for our own lives, however long they may be.
This is masterful storytelling at its best. With emotive and detailed facial expressions, a simple and visually-appealing story, and a little bit of animated magic, Pixar told the story of a lifetime in minutes. No child or adult can deny that this scene is not extremely effective or memorable.
Pixar movies are genuinely funny
Whether it be the villain of The Incredibles, Syndrome, or many of the characters in Finding Nemo, the writers over at Pixar know how to make jokes that are funny to both children and their parents. I can still remember listening to my dad laughing harder at Samuel L. Jackson's character in The Incredibles than he had at most adult comedies.
By slipping more mature jokes that go over their younger audiences' heads, yet still entertaining the kids, Pixar makes it much easier to re-watch these movies without getting bored. Plus, if you watched these movies as a child and revisit them as an adult, you might find something that makes you chuckle that you never understood in your younger years!
Pixar hires amazing voice actors
Setting the stage for this early on in the company's history, Pixar is known for hiring popular and recognizable stars to voice their characters. From Tom Hanks to Ellen Degeneres, Pixar isn't afraid to pay top dollar for their characters and it makes a huge difference. Using the voice of a familiar actor or comedian immediately brings some star power to these roles while simultaneously making the audience more comfortable with these animated figures.
Can Pixar continue its hot streak?
Although they're rare, Pixar has had its moments where it has stumbled. Most notably Planes and Cars 2, but setting aside those very few examples, Pixar has been cranking out hits for over 2 decades now.
As long as Pixar remembers what made them popular in the first place (good stories, strong emotional scenes, funny characters) I'm sure we can count on Pixar to make us laugh, cry, and think for many, many years to come.