Ultimately, though, everything came back to the film that launched it all for the studio shaped by John Lasseter and Ed Catmull and financially bolstered for years, after its George Lucas sale, by Steve Jobs.
Your favorite, of course, was “Toy Story.”
The Oscar-winning 1995 film stands as a landmark achievement, naturally, as the first full-length CGI-animated film. But that it is not why it remains the favorite of so many. It’s more because, for at least a generation or two, it was the first Pixar film to win our hearts.
“Toy Story” survived so much in its lengthy journey to the screen, including attempts by Michael Eisner’s Disney team to “snarkify” sweet Woody. Who knows whether Tom Hanks would winkingly wear the tag of America’s Most Trusted Actor if back in the Gump era, he’d been tasked with being a nasty, snark-barking toy cowboy?
Fortunately, thanks to the resolute vision of Pixar’s first creatives, we were delivered a pioneering film and touching story that not only revolutionized the animation industry. In its own small way, “Toy Story” changed, too, many of us.
Congratulations, Team “Toy Story.” And many thanks to all of you who voted.
Updated Dec. 3:
AND THEN there were two.
At times this week, the head-to-head battles pitting separate Pixar films have been as swift and brutal as life on Disney’s ocean floor. You might be convinced that a beloved film, such as “The Incredibles” or “Ratatouille” or “Toy Story 2,” was a shoo-in for the finals at the Best Pixar Film Ever. But then another one of the studio’s 16 mostly cherished movies would rise up, powered by an underestimated Mike and Sully, say (representing “Monsters Inc.”), and we realized that a “March Madness”-esque bracket applied to Pixar can be a particularly cruel affair. As if there were a “Hunger Games” contest of animation, and these films are like our closely held spawn (which we suppose, given the finals, makes an Aussie “Nemo” seagull our Mockingjay).
Comic Riffs also notes how you voted by the thousands in the early rounds, when fans especially seemed to be rooting for their singularly favorite Pixar film, or one of their top two. Which may explain why one “Toy Story” film survived as it to represent the franchise, while the sequels, as brilliant and beloved as they are, eventually fell by the way.
So now we’re down to arguably Pixar’s most visually beautiful film to date, and one of its most emotional (“Finding Nemo”) vs. The Feature Film That Launched It All for Pixar (“Toy Story”).
Which means now it’s up to you to determine the big winner. Vote before midnight tonight to determine which will be crowned, via The Post’s interactive bracket, The Best Pixar Film of All.
At least until “Finding Dory” floats along next year.
Update, Dec. 1: “Up” and “The Incredibles” are locked in a fierce match-up for Round 2.
THIS YEAR, Pixar gave us a rare gift. With the opening of “The Good Dinosaur” over the holiday week, the esteemed animation studio has broken tradition and released two movies in 2015. And this summer’s “Inside Out” is considered a front-runner for Oscar gold.
In the 20 years since the release of the studio’s first feature film, “Toy Story,” Pixar has consistently maintained an enviable standard of excellence. Powered by its famed “brain trust,” the state-of-the-art animation house has racked up a dozen Academy Awards and nearly that number of Grammys for its groaning trophy case. And more important, Pixar is beloved by fans of all ages for its emotional and textured storytelling, which means these tales and characters stick with us like dear, fictional friends.
But amid those 16 films, which stands as the fans’ favorite? It’s a popular game to rank Pixar films — an engaging exercise that speaks not only to the studio’s excellence, but also to our passionate attachments to these creations.
With that in mind, Comic Riffs is asking fans to select their favorite. We’ve seeded the 16 films based on their domestic box-office totals (adjusted for inflation). Every day this week, Pixar films will square off in an interactive “March Madness”-esque bracket, with readers deciding who “wins” each showdown and advances until the end of the week brings the Big 2.
Let the day-by-day voting begin!