It’s November 22nd, 1995. Movie-going families everywhere are buzzing with excitement as the wonder of Toy Story is about to be revealed to the public. It is the first ever full featured film constructed by computer generated software. Having poured so much time, effort and most importantly, finances into the production, the Pixar staff, (under the Disney umbrella) sat nervously as their first born film was shown to the world. Instantly, Toy Story was a mega hit, blossoming into the cinematic historic landmark and starting the magical animated age of Pixar. Following the success, the awards, and glory, Pixar produced hit after hit, bringing young and old audiences back for another taste of Pixar’s delicious pie. Though faced with adversity, Pixar tackled every challenged thrown its way, leaving its mark in movie history and dominating the animated film sector.
Seventeen years later, as we move deeper into summer, crowds will once again flock to the cinemas, as Pixar unveils its 13th theatrical featured film, Brave. Expectations are high for this film, but from what we’ve seen so far, it appears the newest Pixar film will once more dazzle its audiences with its wit, charm and that little thing called computer generated graphics. Now, before we go see that marvelous spectacle (a magical mixture of technology, a great story and a cast of famous voice actors) let us reflect on the development of Pixar and its memorable characters. Of course, every main character of Pixar is special, but what truly secures each film’s success is the strong supporting characters who add a piece of humor to the puzzle, or perhaps take the film in a suave, yet life-saving direction. Without these supporting characters, the films would feel incomplete and fail to capture our curiosity. So, let us recognize these team players and supporting individuals and toast to their jobs well done. So without further delay, we present the Top Ten: Best Supporting Pixar Characters.
Warning – spoilers ahead
10. Heimlich (A Bugs Life)
He dreams of being a “beautiful butterfly”, but for now Heimlich is just a big, fat, food-devouring machine. The thickly German accented caterpillar inspires the kind of affection that only a naive sense of innocence combined with a complete lack of self-awareness can. Hilariously voiced and grossly endearing, Heimlich captures your love not only during the various rescue missions against the villainous grasshoppers, but when he finally sprouts tiny little butterfly wings.
9. Ellie Fredricksen (Up)
An adventurer, a planer, a dreamer. Ellie was the true star of Pixar’s film Up, capturing audiences’ attention with her youthful friendliness and elderly charm. Completely planning her life, Ellie, at the mere age of eight, created an adventure book that would chronicle her adventures with Carl, (her childhood sweetheart and husband). As she grew older, the concept of an adventure changed for her. But before she could tell Carl, a devastating stroke led to her sudden death. Luckily, in her impeccable foresight, Ellie’s untimely departure didn’t stop her from leaving a message conveying her appreciation for Carl. One of the cutest scenes comes at the end when she writes in her adventure book that the true meaning of happiness and adventure is sharing a wonderful life with her husband.
8. Roz (Monsters, Inc.)
Ever encounter that unenergetic administrator at public service offices. You know, the one that you try to charm, but they’re just not having any of it. Well, company Monster, Inc. made sure to get one those through Roz, a slug-style monster with a raspy voice. Key master and administrator for Scare Floor F, Roz holds all the keys to children’s closet doors, making almost every employee of Monsters, Inc have a run in with this ball of joy.
“Roz, my tender, oozing blossom, you’re looking fabulous today. Is that a new haircut? Tell me it’s a new haircut. It’s got to be a new haircut. New makeup? You had a lift? You had a tuck? You had something? Something has been inserted in in you that makes you look…”
—Mike’s comments on Roz
Now, if that doesn’t cause you to fall in love with the wonderfully miserable Roz, she certainly ups her standings when she turns out to be Agent #001 of the Child Detection Agency’s (CDA) “Number One”.
7. Bruce (Finding Nemo)
Kind and pleasant, Bruce is a rather jolly shark, who likes to crack a few jokes. But what we tend to love most about Bruce is his honorable desire to become a vegetarian Shark. The Australian-accented leader of the Fish-Friendly Sharks, Bruce leads and attends meetings with other sharks to reform their ‘mindless eating habits.’
“I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food.”
—Bruce reciting the Fish-Friendly Sharks Motto
After reciting the motto, Bruce announces that the meeting today is “Step Five: Bring a fish friend.” Showing off his two new friends, Marlin and Dory, the Great White then informs us that he has not eaten a fish in 3 weeks, which amazes all in attendance. Bruce is touched when he finds out that Marlin was looking for Nemo. Tearing at Nemo’s story, Bruce confesses to never knowing his father, receiving sympathy from both, fish and audience alike.
6. Anton Ego (Ratatouille)
Ego is extremely passionate about food, claiming “I don’t like food, I love it. And if I don’t love it, I don’t swallow,”(which explains his extremely thin appearance). As an imperious and acerbic food critic, whose reviews can make or break a restaurant, Ego at first is painted as a villainous character. He adamantly rejects Gusteau’s belief that anyone can cook, and was a firm critic of the idealist chef. Nicknamed “the Grim Eater,” it is no coincidence that Gusteau died mysteriously after Ego downgraded him from five stars to four. In his career-killing review, he compared Chef Gusteau to the rather pathetic Chef Boyardee. However, in the end you fall in love with this morbid looking character after he shows a great amount of humility and indeed sentiment from eating Remy’s dish of ratatouille. It is hard to forget the last scene of the film, both image and script alike due to a tear-jerking performance given by Anton Ego.
5. Abominable Snowman (aka Yeti) (Monsters, Inc.)
The Yeti (a.k.a. the Abominable Snowman) is a monster who worked at Monsters, Inc. until he got banished (for an unknown reason) to the Himalayas. Despite banishment, the Yeti remains in good-spirits as he enjoys living the solidarity life in the cold wintery mountains.
“Abominable! Can you believe that? Do I look abominable to you? Why can’t they call me the Adorable Snowman or…or the Agreeable Snowman, for crying out loud? I’m a nice guy.”
—The Yeti describing himself to Sulley and Mike
Though at first startling, Yeti greets audiences with warmth and kindness, making us feel at home in his cave. He also shows himself to be a comedian, such as when he mentions his friend Bigfoot, who calls himself “King Itchy.” Because of Yeti’s performance, audiences will never look at the Abominable Snowman negatively ever again, forever changing the image of this newly beloved monster.
4. Hal (Wall-E)
When all is lost and the human race needs to relocate, there is only one living species that has the physical toughness, the mental capability, the emotional stability to survive the harsh, lonely conditions of a toxic invested abandon world. Yes, that’s right a Cockroach. Wall-E´s pet Cockroach, Hal, represents one of the last species of life on earth and provides companionship for Wall-E. This cockroach is loveable, painting the species in a positive light for once. No longer will we look at cockroaches as a symbol of urban infestation, (okay, that might be going too far). Resisting death, Hal survives both being trampled by WALL-E’s treads and getting shot at by EVE’s ion cannon. This durable cockroach steals the spotlight numerous times, placing his character amongst a list of memorable Pixar characters.
3. Crush (Finding Nemo)
When it comes to traveling the ocean’s currents, no one has as much fun as Crush. The 150-year-old sea turtle is young at heart with a laid-back surfer dude attitude that lets him go with the flow. But Crush is no drifter; he loves nothing more than the thrill of riding the rollicking East Australian Current with his offspring. When Crush encounters Marlin and Dory, he’s more than happy to help them find their way. A purveyor of easy-going parenting, Crush gives clownfish Marlin some inadvertent tips on how raise the young one’s without suffocating them, truly embodying the new age, laid-back parenting style.
2. Spanish Mode Buzz (Toy Story 3)
After having his systems meddled with by Lotso, (the villainous pink teddy bear), Buzz believes his friends to be foes. To restore his memory, Rex tries to fix him, but pushes the wrong button, turning Buzz into the Spanish mode. The result is priceless. Suave when it comes to romance and emotional during times of jealousy, Spanish Buzz displays a side of toys that is not only hilarious, but extremely clever. Charmed by Jessie’s beauty, Buzz makes a point to call her a beautiful “desert flower.” While at first uncertain about Buzz’s attitude, Jessie starts to like Buzz, when he starts performing a salsa dance to gain her affections. Nothing is as comical as when Woody catches up with the toys and receives a hug from Jessie, which causes Buzz to throws down in envy a dandelion he plucked for the love of his life.
1. Edna Mode (The Incredibles)
Just absolutely FAH-bulous, Edna Mode steals the spotlight like no other Pixar supporting character has. Calling everyone ‘dahling,’ Edna is a half-German, half-Japanese designer who claims to have created custom-made original outfits for superheroes since the “glory days”, saying that she only designs for gods. Few have the right to boss superhero’s around, and non deserve it more than her. Her short physique; those thick, circled glasses; a personality that can engulf a room; Edna causes audiences to listen to every word she speaks and closely watch every movement she makes. She is truly a remarkable character who is deadpan, ostentatious and full of sharp wit. It is near impossible to not love this character. Edna’s legacy will forever be remembered, which was shown when she presented the Best Costume Design Oscar at the 77th Academy Awards ceremony with Pierce Brosnan.
Which supporting Pixar character is your favorite? Who would you have on your list that is not up here? Let us know by leaving a comment below.