Up, up and away

There's a new Pixar movie out tomorrow as I'm sure you are well aware if you have kids or even if you just like movies. Pixar always manages to blow it out of the water, but this one, to me, looks like the most visually stunning of all their movies so far. Check out the High Definition trailer and previews if you get a chance. It's also the first Pixar film in 3-D so this one might be worth seeing in the theater to get the full effect (you won't get 3-D on the DVD version). Whether the story can hold my interest for two hours remains to be seen, but given Pixar's track record I say it has a good shot.

Now that my marketing pitch for this movie is complete, I plan to thrill you with my ranking of Pixar movies so far from best to worst (and, yes, before you have a fit, I am well aware that you think my rating of The Incredibles is moronic and infantile; feel free to discuss in the comments).

I'm giving these an overall rating for both story & animation. Honestly this was a difficult ranking as the top 8 are all practically tied for first in my mind. I do have my favorites though.

1) Cars - This one got some bad reviews from critics, but I think the story is great, the animation is spot-on and the voice-cast – despite Larry the Cable Guy – is perfect (Paul Newman, Cheech Marin & George Carlin together? Winner!). This movie apparently has a spectacular Blu-ray transfer. I almost want to buy a BD player just for this movie.

2) Finding Nemo - Whether or not you like Ellen DeGeneres, she's great in this movie as Dory. Funny & touching story. Look closely at the DVD, the animation is exquisitely detailed. Plus there are Australian accents, which are always fun.

3) Toy Story - The original and still one of the best. Visually this still stands up extraordinarily well, which is saying a lot considering it pretty much invented the genre when it was released in 1995. If you don't like this movie then please just stop reading this list and go watch Twilight or something.

4) Ratatouille - A somewhat daring premise based on a rat in a kitchen. This one could easily have been unfunny and perhaps even repulsive, but it's not. Some people are down on this movie for whatever reason, but I think it's pretty darn good. The story didn't hold me as well as some of the higher placed finishers but it's still a very entertaining two hours.

5) Wall•E - Visually very good, but I find the story a little slow in parts. Maybe because it's the Castaway of animated movies with no dialog for the first 4 or 5 hours. Wins points for charm because Wall•E is just so damned cute. (Plus he makes that Mac startup chime at one point)

6) A Bug's Life - An enjoyable movie, worth a couple of repeat viewings but it just doesn't blow me away. The animation is great, but not stunning. Denis Leary as the ladybug is an inspired bit of casting.

7) Monster's Inc. - Wins the award for best looking lead characters. Fun and unique story. I've only seen this one once so I don't really feel like I can give it a fair review. It might creep upwards after repeat viewings.

8) Toy Story 2 - No slight against the original, but I just don't enjoy these characters as much the second time around. Usual Pixar standards of animation (and you can see the improvement since 1995) but it's just not stunning the way Nemo or Cars are. Joan Cusack's voice is a bit grating.

9) The Incredibles - I fell asleep, what more can I say? Truly, this is the only Pixar movie I did not enjoy. I just didn't care about the characters or the story. Now granted, I have fallen asleep in a lot of places: classrooms, concerts, lecture halls, the INS, work, classrooms, etc. but this one just didn't do it for me. That said, it has been a couple of years so maybe I need to go in with a fresh eye (and a Red Bull or two) and give it another shot at wowing me. Until then, it's a distant last on my list.

So, what do you think? Sound off with your rankings and let me know why you think The Incredibles is the greatest thing since Citizen Kane!