Toy Story: Pixar's first feature had a lot of characters to introduce to the world. Choosing to include the ensemble cast in the poster was a smart move. If your kid doesn't love astronauts and cowboys, maybe a dinosaur will suit his/her fancy. Little Bo Peep is prevalent, as is the recognizable Mr. Potato Head. Toss in a Piggy Bank, a Troll doll, Slinky Dog, and even a hard-to-spot Army Man and you've covered your bases.
A Bug's Life: Besides Wall-E, this is Pixar's most beautiful posters. Separate the illustrations from the movie and you've got a poster any kid would want on their wall. We've been shrunk down even smaller than the tiny bugs, giving us a great POV from below. I love that we're introduced to the characters through a leaf that's been partially eaten. It creates a sense of a "secret world" and that the bugs are as interested in us as we are in them.
Monsters, Inc.: Now that's a clean poster. The white background mirrors the Toy Story 2 poster but with full-length shots of new characters, it's utilized much better. If you're going to go with a blank, white background space, this is an effective way to use it. That being said, when your subjects are MONSTERS, why waste your poster space on a boring picture like this? When's the last time your kid had a nightmare about a well-lit monster just standing out in the open in an Awkward Family Photos pose? They had a lot to work with here but just delivered a lazy poster. Also, Sulley's face is annoying. And the title looks like bad 90s clipart.
The Incredibles: And now for something completely different. The bright reds and oranges are a sharp contrast to the deep blues Pixar usually uses. Compared to every poster before it, the action captured here is about 100x more intense. And it's definitely the only poster with a giant explosion. But even with the fireballs, flying villains, and UFOs, the Incredibles poster is pretty underwhelming. I stared and stared at this poster, trying to figure out why it didn't work for me. Finally, it hit me. It's their faces. Explosions aren't threatening to audiences when they aren't threatening to the characters. All of their facial expressions seem to be saying "Not too shabby, eh?" "We're not scared. You shouldn't be either." And I'm not. I'm bored. Do you know when I wasn't bored? When those fish were shitting themselves on the Nemo poster.
Cars: Honestly, there's not much I like about this poster. For some reason, car romance is hard to for me to buy...even when it's played against long, curvy mountain roads and out-of-place waterfalls. This poster is just as boring as every car commercial on TV right now. I'm just waiting for the APR financing figures. 0% Down? Wow, what a great deal. But even as boring and cliche the poster art is, the title logo is definitely Pixar's most polished so far and looks to have received the most thought behind it.
Ratatouille: I love posters, especially for animated films, that take a snapshot during the action. This is the complete opposite of the Monsters Inc. poster. Why just prop your characters up against a white space when you can pin them to a white door with giant knifes and forks? He's holding onto cheese, a classic rat image, but the tagline should serve as an example for all tagline writers. It compliments the imagery, makes sense, and sums up the entire conflict in a short, coheisive package. It's great. The title logo is clean, cute, and doesn't distract from the main imagery. Great poster.
WALL-E: Again, Pixar delivers an aestetically pleasing poster that utilizes its color scheme perfectly. It's not the most interesting poster, in fact, it's not even the most interesting Wall-E poster, which can be found here. But since I usually grade the most recognizable posters, this is the one under review. My biggest problem with Wall-E's poster is the forced coheisiveness. It's too sectioned-off. Foreground: robot and rough terrain. Background Right: Rounded Spaceship. Background Center: Moon and Title. Background Right: Moon and Eve. Look at the Ratatouille poster. Everything's positioned together extremely well and when the eye relaxes ont he poster, it's led in one direction. When the eye relaxes on this poster, it doesn't know where to focus. They tried to include too much and ended up voiding out the emotion found on most of Wall-E's other posters. But overall, it's still satisfying and beautiful.
Up: No tagline. Just the word "Up" written in large, could-white text--slanted at an awkward angle Pixar was so proud of they used it again on the Toy Story 3 poster. The Up poster has a great sense of action, uses depth well, and gives you a pretty good idea what the movie's about. One of Pixar's greatest strengths has always been their ability to animate emotions. Dreamworks, on the other hand, specializes in this. The dog's happy. The old man's concerned about his present situation. And that fat kid's having the goddamn time of his life. I wouldn't put this on my wall but it's a strong entry into Pixar's poster collection.
Toy Story 3: We're back to the ensemble cast and this time there's Barbie. The happy-go-lucky crew of children's playthings look pretty worried. They haven't reached Finding Nemo levels of fear but there's definitely something worrisome this side of the camera. In a lot of cases, stacking characters like this will make the poster look forced, overstuffed, and unappealing. One of the perks of using digital designers is that you can pretty much get any layout result you want if you're willing to put in the time. The designers also abandoned the blank, white background of the second poster and adopted this satisfying tan. Great poster.