A space ranger tries to rectify the error marooning his vessel and crew. Contrived Toy Story spinoff – purportedly the film spurring merchandise – that starts well and looks great throughout, hampered with a stupid plot reveal. Also, Buzz here isn’t the toy character. Some good gags and shoutouts, but an empty movie nevertheless.
An adolescent girl finds she carries an ancient curse. Parts are great, but the central idea – a form of lycanthropy as metaphor for puberty – is bungled, and there’s a sense we should focus on the mother, not on protagonist Mei. That said, there’s some fun Backstreet Boys parodies and an ending riffing on Ghostbusters II.
An Italian mer-boy swims away from his boring undersea life to the 1950s surface, where he meets an exciting new friend. Sunny but slight animated adventure revisiting ideas done much better by Pixar elsewhere. Still, it looks great, there’s a lovely Sacha Baron Cohen voice cameo, and there’s openness to a gay reading of the central relationship, which is an interesting element.
Mismatched teen brothers in a post-magic fantasy land embark on a quest to communicate with their long-dead father. Straightforward relationship comedy/road movie with plenty of fun detail and some great animation, even if there aren’t any real surprises along the way.
An arrogant Nascar racer is stranded in a small town off Route 66 where he/it learns some life lessons. Conceptually-weird riff on Doc Hollywood (the vehicular universe makes little sense) though with some good gags, voice performances, and design elements. Two direct sequels followed.
Woody has to protect Bonnie’s new favourite toy, a figure made from a spork and art supplies. Contrived but watchable fourth instalment. Looks great, has some interestingly dark moments, a fine chase, and is funny throughout, but is an unnecessary coda to the series rather than a required conclusion.
Woody, Buzz and the others are donated to a nursery when Andy leaves home for college. The franchise goes for a fascinating prison break twist in its story focus, while both pulling on heartstrings and getting good laughs. Recommended.
A boy desperate to become a musician finds himself trapped in the afterlife. Sprightly quest narrative drawing on Mexican folklore; superficial similarity to The Book of Life dampens its impact, though this is a decent Pixar effort in its own right.
Elastigirl works to redeem public perception of superheroes, while Mr Incredible wrestles with baby Jack-Jack’s burgeoning powers. Perhaps overlong and overly-similar to the first film, this is nevertheless expertly-designed and executed family entertainment.
The now-veteran racer Lightning McQueen has one last chance to prove he’s still competitive. Perhaps the best in the trilogy of Pixar’s least likeable franchise, this is a good-looking cartoon with a couple of laughs and a bit of heart.