Brad Bird films, ranked from worst to best

In the 1970s and 1980s, the California Institute of the Arts animation program promotions were a melting pot of talented animators and filmmakers who would become some of Hollywood’s most prominent figures. The school founded by Disney has hosted promising directors and designers like Tim burton, Genndy Tartakovsky, Henri selick and Pete Doctor, to name a few, as they learned the principles of traditional character animation and general filmmaking at the feet of classically trained veteran animators. The class number A113 has even become a ubiquitous Easter egg in animation culture as a tribute to the alma mater of many animators. CalArts graduates have gone on to become laureates, studio heads and some of the most influential artists of the past twenty years.

One of those CalArts alumni is a director who helped redefine the possibilities of mainstream animation and championed the legitimacy of the art form as not being “just a genre for children.” Brad Bird is about as handy as an animation director can get, wearing many hats across his films as a director, screenwriter, host, and even voice actor. He’s also a member of Pixar’s internal Creative Brain Trust, an elite Pixar team that consults on each of their films. As a director, he is one of the few exceptions of a mid-hopping animator who also succeeds as a writer in the live-action arena, due to his ability to attribute classic principles of the cinema to its animation and dynamic visual expression behind the live action camera. From cult classics to modern masterpieces, each of Bird’s films strikes a different chord with its audiences and finds a place in their hearts as something truly special.


6.) Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

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Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is Bird’s first dive into live-action movie making and is considered by many critics to be the best in the entire franchise. Released five years after 2006 Mission Impossible III, fans were initially concerned that a fourth film might not reach the heights of previous installments, especially with this star’s concerns Tom cruise was getting too old to do the kind of stunts that made him an action star. With Ghost protocolNot only has the franchise given new life to a film that’s as funny as it is daring, but Cruise pulls off one of the series’ craziest stunts by scaling the side of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. It is also the most suspenseful film in the series with super-spy Ethan Hunt and his team disowned, a world on the brink of nuclear war and every piece of spy technology at their disposal malfunctioning, making the mission of ‘all the more impossible. With breathtaking waterfalls and a thrilling rhythm, Ghost protocol proved that Bird is not only a gifted animator, but a great filmmaker.

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5.) Incredibles 2

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Image via Disney / Pixar

Almost 14 years of manufacturing, Incredibles 2 was a visually stunning sequel worth the wait, despite the familiarity of its script. Pixar’s First Family returns to deliver more of the original’s witty mix of superhero antics and family drama, but that’s also what keeps it from being a truly great sequel. The story seems redundant by reversing essentially the same plot of the original by having Helen (Holly hunter) answer the call to adventure against a surprise villain while Bob (Craig T. Nelson) gather the rest of the overpowered family to save her. Despite this, the updated animation extends far beyond the already groundbreaking visuals of the original with even more thrilling action sequences, beautifully expressive character animation, and visceral cinematography that you never see before. not commonly seen in animated films today. As a long overdue Pixar tracker, Incredibles 2 satisfies fans of the original and feels like a more natural story progression than some of the studio’s other sequel efforts like Cars 2 Where Finding Dory.

4.) Tomorrow

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Of all the films based on Disney Parks attractions, tomorrow is easily the most unique. contrary to Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle cruise Where The haunted mansion, the film is based more on the ideology and themes of its namesake Disneyland than on specific sets, experiences or stories. Walt disney envisioned the Tomorrowland of Parks as a monument to humanity’s scientific potential and the desire for a better future. The film takes the idea of ​​an idealized future and turns it into a surprisingly poignant sci-fi fantasy. The film’s Tomorrowland is a tangible place beyond the confines of the real world where the best and the brightest are free to create and innovate for a brighter future, but it falls into disarray as humanity has become complacent. at the idea of ​​an apocalyptic fate, almost glorifying it. The film is also a frenzied action-adventure with narrow escapes and a technological spectacle worthy of Space Mountain. tomorrow defends the idea of ​​an optimistic future built by dreamers who know that the way to a “great great beautiful tomorrow” is to repair today.

3.) The Incredibles

The original classic from the Bird superfamily, The Incredibles was a major turning point for Pixar Animation in its early days. In the five films that came before it, the still relatively new studio was limited by the medium technology they still invented with virtually every new film. Each production came with its own difficulties and obstacles, which led to many creative compromises and technological innovations that spilled over to contemporary industry standards. With The Incredibles, the studio’s first film to feature an all-human cast, the workload nearly tripled from their previous films as they innovated in the way their films were made and the types of films they could. to do. For 2004 CGI quality, the film still holds up unbelievably well (pun intended) as a demonstration of pretty much all types of visual effects, clever camera work, credibly rendered textures, and seriously played character animation. The film also elevated the kind of stories Pixar could tell in their films. Edited by Bird, The Incredibles is a decidedly more grounded, dramatic and action-packed film compared to the kid-friendly adventures of Toy story through The world of Nemo. Thanks to The Incredibles, Pixar’s toolkit of animation tips and storytelling sensibilities was expanded in one fell swoop and helped make films like Wall-E and Up possible in the years that followed.

2.) Ratatouille

Ratatouille

Image via Pixar

Ratatouille is one of those rare animated films that even non-animation fans celebrate as a great movie. Unlike most of the movies Pixar, or even Disney, had released so far, this is not as overtly a “children’s movie” as a typical studio animated film. While still starring talking rodents and starring plenty of slapstick comedies, the film is also very dialogue-intensive and at times does very little to address a childish audience, something even Pixar at its best is known for. to do. Bird’s staging gives the simple installation of a rat who wants to cook in Paris a classic cinematic elegance and artistic dignity that make it a modern masterpiece for all ages. It’s also one of the finest cinematic explorations of the broad Disney feeling of ‘following your dreams’. The story of a humble soul with artistic aspirations who succeeds against overwhelming adversity is a much more relatable and ironically more believable fairy tale than any princess fairy tale. A little like tomorrow, Ratatouille preaches an old Walt Disney philosophy that optimistic passion is the key to making dreams come true.

1.) The iron giant

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The most underrated movie of all time, if that makes sense. In recent years, Bird’s first film The iron giant, which exploded in spectacular fashion when it was originally released in 1999, has seen a resurgence in popularity as a cult animated film thanks to millennial nostalgia and a new lease of life as a streaming audience. The Giant himself, voiced in the film by Diesel wine, has been capitalized in merchandise, memes, and has even made appearances in movies like Loan Player One and Space Jam: a new legacy among the most popular characters of Warner Brothers. The giant’s final sacrificial moments have also joined the ranks of Bambi and Mufasa’s mother’s deaths as one of the most iconic scenes in animation history.

While the film’s melancholy ending and the title Giant have become icons in their own right, the film itself is Bird’s most intimate masterpiece. Based on the Ted Hugues novel of the same name, The iron giant draws inspiration from Bird’s personal tragedy of losing a loved one to gun violence and asks the question “What if a gun had a soul?” »In a film that recalls Steven spielberg‘s ET: The extra-terrestrial. While the very nature of the giant is that of a robotic alien weapon designed to unleash a global invasion, through its galactic relationship with young Hogarth (Eli Marienthal), he learns that the value of life, the agency we have over our own identity and what it means to have a soul comes down to a choice. The biggest takeaway from the film is that despite everyone’s nature and education, it’s who you choose to be that gives a machine like the Giant the power to love. This message, accompanied by a beautifully hand-drawn animation and a brilliant voice, is what makes The iron giant not just Bird’s best film, but a contemporary animation classic.

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