Hey Geeks. Welcome to Your Favorite Thing Sucks, where I get to talk about all the worst parts of your favorite things. Pixar is arguably the biggest animation studio in the world—but some people are getting tired of their crap. Let’s put them in that stupid spotlight for a minute.
Pixar Is Really Bad At Making Female Characters
Oh, look at that. Barely made it through the very first headline and you’re already yelling at me. “What about Merida in Brave?” Yell it louder, Geeks, because I can’t hear that beautiful, fiery Scottish accent over the 20 other movies that are clamoring for my attention. And that’s a problem.
This might come as a surprise to you, but little girls account for roughly 50% of the population and thus make up 50% of the children you’re going to be sharing a theater with when you go see Incredibles 2. So you’d think that, with 20 moves under their belt, Pixar would have roughly 10 strong female characters for us to show our daughters. But our best contestants are really… who other than Merida?
*Looks through all the women in Pixar Films*
Oh, here we go. Finally. A yodeling cowgirl that’s the tertiary sidekick to a dick-measuring duo. A brain-damaged fish that was originally just conceived as a plot device to keep the main (male) character on the right path but was just useless enough to not actually get him there quickly. A stay-at-home mom who sums up feminism for her daughter in 30 seconds (but who does look like a pretty strong contender in the movie about to release, so here’s hoping). A “female” without real dialogue but with a high-pitched voice assigned to a non-binary, organ-lacking robot. And…Some love interests. Oh, and a literal hooker at one point.
Pixar lacks strong female characters. And the thing is, Pixar knows it. First, they gave us Brave and we bought it. But then they decided that was good enough. Apparently, creating strong female leads is harder than just making girls THINK there’s going to be a strong female lead. So they DARED to call a movie about a little boy following his dreams and finding not one but TWO father figures… “Coco.” Coco. Mama Coco isn’t even the main female character in that movie. The main female character with any actual dialogue is a flighty, irrational bitch whose inability to address her own emotions about love and loss caused her to fuck up generations of her family. That’s what those girls expecting to see Coco got instead. Great job, Pixar.*
Pixar Comes Up With The Laziest Titles
There’s not much to say on this one. Pixar has always been really lazy with their titles. Maybe that’s a holdover from Disney saying “What’s her name? Well, that’s good enough for a title” for basically every princess movie. But just because it’s common doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck. I think that Ratatouille is by far their most clever title, but it gets run over by Cars, Cars 2, and Cars 3. Speaking of which…
Cars 2 and 3 Exist
I shouldn’t even need to elaborate on this. Cars sucked. I could probably do another article for this series just about that one movie, but that would require me to watch it again, and that’s…seriously not going to happen. Unlike most things with this article series, though, I’m not the only one who said that out loud. After adjusting for inflation, Cars was the 2nd-lowest-grossing movie for Pixar of its time period (barely bringing in more than A Bug’s Life). Did the one film it beat get a sequel? No. Because that would be stupid. But Cars got not one, but TWO sequels after its initial suckage. And why? Because there’s commercial appeal there. Because it is SO easy to sell cars and car-themed merchandise to small children. Pixar recognizes that they suck, but they’re willing to look past it and pedal out more suckage if they can still make money. And that’s messed up.
I’m not even going to put a GIF here.
I’m afraid that even typing it into a search bar might be enough to make them think they can squeeze another one out.
Pixar Relies on Emotional Manipulation and Way Too Many Climaxes to Hide Flaws
Watch any Pixar film until the end and you’re almost guaranteed such an emotional roller-coaster ride in the last few minutes that you don’t have enough time to examine the plot. Seriously, try to guess which movie each of these climaxes come from:
Oh no, he’s dead. JUST KIDDING! He’s alive!
Oh no, they failed. JUST KIDDING! They succeeded!
Oh yay, they did it! JUST KIDDING! CHASE SCENE!… Wait! They escaped. So…now they did it?
Please tell me they did it so this can be over. JUST KIDDING! They lost it all in the last second. Cue the waterworks aaaannddd…. Just kidding again! Finally! Success! Please be over. Please.
I know that a lot of movie studios are formulaic. Formulae have been used in our entertainment since Shakespeare first discovered he can use mad-libs to create a comedy. But Pixar continuously puts ALL their eggs in the tear-jerk basket. They apply it to everything including robots that can’t die and people that are already dead. And, since these scenes always happen in the last 5 or so minutes of the film, you’re left with that tear-spawning memory overshadowing anything else. You leave the film thinking “it made me cry so it can’t suck.” But here’s the thing, Pixar. I cry at everything. I cry at commercials with sad dogs in the rain and when I see engagement announcements for people I don’t know. Tears do not equate to having produced an actual story. And there’s no way you’d assume that just because it makes people feel emotions of some kind for a split second that it’s automatically worthy of production. You can tell when something is just…terrible. Right?
*Side note: I actually think Pixar did some amazing things with Coco. It’s one of the most gorgeous films I’ve seen in a while and it depicts Mexican culture in a beautiful way without the alienating effect of the “other” that I’ve come to expect from mainstream mega-hits. So… Sometimes Pixar doesn’t suck. But when they don’t it almost makes me question if they’re actually Pixar.
Tahani Nelson is a “Geek of All Trades.” She’s dabbled in pretty much everything, but holds a special place in her heart (and schedule) for video and tabletop games. Other interests include attending Renaissance Faires and Cons in full dress, practicing calligraphy, writing fantasy novels, discussing comparative philosophy and morality, and apparently listening with a blank smile on her face anytime someone tries to convince her that Magic: The Gathering is as much fun as D&D.