Pixar comes to mind first. So what makes a Pixar film great?
I think Pixar films are because the character truly wants something out of life, something we can identify with.
It’s not a huge thing like wanting to be the greatest singer in the world. Leave that to lesser films with hackneyed stories and over-used cliches.
In Pixar films the characters want things that the normal every day person wants. Remy wants to be a chef, and he won’t let the fact that he’s a rat get in the way. I’m sure there are people here who have been told to not bother to do something in life because it’ll never happen. Mr. Incredible just wants his old life back; before supers were outlawed. Many of us might long for an earlier time in life. Woody wanted to be loved again.
Sometimes Pixar movies pull something out of a character they didn’t know they had. Flik wanted someone to save his colony only to find he could do it himself. Lightning McQueen didn’t know he needed to slow down and smell the flowers.
I think what Pixar films do best is peel back the psyche of human emotion and show us what makes us human… even if the character showing us is not.
What makes a Pixar film great to you?