Thoughts on… Pixar

Hello all! After the recent release of Inside Out, Pixar’s latest feature film, we are taking this opportunity to rank all 15 of Pixar’s feature films.

Number 15

Cars 2
What a train wreck. Cars 2 is, in essence, a sequel to a film that didn’t need a sequel. The first one had some redeemable traits, but Cars 2… It was a spy film. Need I say anything more?

Cars 2
Pixar was unstoppable before this. They were ready to conquer the world practically and what do they cough up? A sequel….to their weakest film at the time. Oh, and it’s a spy movie for some reason.

Number 14

Monsters University
Off to a good start with the sequels, I see. Monsters University really wasn’t a bad film, but it lacked the charm that its vastly superior predecessor had. plus, why did we have to know Sully was a bully? Automatic childhood ruiner. 

Cars 2 made us question whether a decline of Pixar was imminent and Brave kind of proved us wrong, I guess. There’s some real heart there at least; they weren’t just peddling out a clunky sequel a la early Dreamworks.

Number 13

A Bug’s Life
The problem with Bug’s Life is that it’s more forgettable than anything else. Nothing is bad, but nothing is great either. The characters are solid, the story is solid, the plot is solid, but nothing is outstanding. 

Monsters University
Monsters U was fun in the moment but then somebody had to point out its gaping flaw to me: it’s an 80’s college movie. A pretty predictable one. Why? Was there not enough digging left in the world of infinitely unique and colorful monsters?

Number 12

Brave temporarily put the whole Pixar-collapse panic to a pause. I’ll emphasize temporarily. Again, it was a solid entry for a company that has had a number of outstanding films, which is why it was ranked so low, but there isn’t anything fundamentally wrong with Brave. It’s a meaningful, enjoyable film, but lacks the depth of Pixar’s more successful feature films. 

This one has a nostalgia boost going for it (I owned all of the little toy cars of the characters) but I definitely see most of its flaws now. It’s predictable and kind of half baked. It feels like they wanted to make a world of cars but could only find a few good visual gags and a half a plot along the way. Aside from that though, the animation’s pretty nice and so is the acting so it’s certainly not unwatchable.

Number 11

And onto the last of what I feel are the second tier of Pixar films. Cars has sentiment and a good message. Mix that with the fact that there are talking cars, it has become one of Pixar’s most marketable films. Doesn’t make it it’s best… No, Mater kind of prevents that from happening. 

A Bug’s Life
Yet another nostalgia boost here (it was my first Pixar movie ever) but it’s actually creative and bolstered by its great animation. Aside from that, yeah, it visits the usual “liar revealed” checkpoints that are pretty tired. But the characters are memorable and the world is fun enough in its own right.

Number 10

I was extremely surprised when I saw myself ranking this at number 10. It really is an astounding film. The animation is great, the story is charming, and the characters are very likeable. Remy the rat is one of my all time favorite Pixar characters. I guess it just ends up so low because, well, Pixar is great.  

The first half of Wall-E (The mostly silent one) is excellent; the second half is pretty good. I fell in love the creativity of the film and it has a really strong but silent lead. The second half has an environmentalist message that comes off a little hamfisted but certainly doesn’t ruin anything.

Number 9

Toy Story 2
Toy Story 2 was a incredibly solid film- it touched the heart equally as much as both its predecessor and its sequel. It introduced some great characters and had an intriguing plot finished with a great finish. That being said, it just wasn’t quite as memorable as either the first of the third, in my opinion. Still a great film. 

Toy Story
People were stunned by this when it first came out and rightfully so. In hindsight, it was the first movie of its kind and it still really stands up. The characters bounce off eachother nicely, the plot is original and there’s just enough emotion injected throughout. What more could you ask for from our friends at Pixar?

Number 8

Monsters Inc
I have a weird relationship with Monsters Inc. It’s probably the Pixar film I’ve seen the most, which has contributed to it being a bit stale. But then again, it’s Monsters Inc., and it’s freaking awesome. Mike Wazowski = God

Monsters Inc.
I was tempted to switch this with the first Toy Story a few times but a few factors led me not to: John Goodman and Billy Crystal. And Steve Buscemi. I rest my case with no regret.

Number 7

Finding Nemo
You would be lying if you said that you didn’t cry during Finding Nemo. Not only is it emotional, its charming and full of great moments. The thing about Finding Nemo is that it is probably the story that is most universally applicable, which makes it so memorable. That and “just keep swimming!” have made this film one of Pixar’s most popular films.

Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo was the most emotional Pixar feature until Toy Story 3 arrived and it still is one of the most effective for me. It’s simply about a dad, his son and all of the fish in between and that works for me. Nemo is also one of the installments that neatly displays Pixar’s talent with research and realism when it comes to its animation. Go to an aquarium and you’ll still hear a kid shout “Dory!” or “Nemo!”.

Number 6

WALL-E is an interesting film. I was rather turned off by the silence for the first half of the film, which put me in a bad mood for the rest of the film. That being said, I was younger and less appreciative of film in general. I can acknowledge that WALL-E has strong characters, great animation, and actually a really important message. Most people would rank it as Pixar’s best, but for now I’m putting it at 6. I should really re-watch this movie… 

Toy Story 3
Most would put this at the top of the list and I definitely see why. It’s hard-hitting, it’s real and it’s the experience of seeing the characters you saw over a decade ago come back to life perfectly. That’s all amazing but my gut still finds this threequel to be a tad too hard to watch. The daycare’s a little too mean of a place for me and there’s less humor to balance all the darker things out. However, I still loved this one and yes, that ending did me in too. You have no heart if it doesn’t do the same to you as well.

Number 5

Inside Out
Seeing this film was such a relief for me. It meant that Pixar was truly just going through a rough patch (though now that I think about it, we both are kind of exaggerating. It was only like two years). Anyhow, this film is incredibly entertaining, very creative, and delivers a poignant family message that may or may not have made me cry. 

Inside Out
Yay! Pixar’s back! I was so relieved when I saw the reviews rush in for this one. Inside Out has the makings of a classic Pixar film with really memorable characters, a pitch perfect balance of emotions (tee-hee) and a lot of fun. Sequel worthy? Maybe. I’d like a few more go-arounds with this one before I give a definitive answer though.

Number 4

Toy Story
Pixar’s first film is also one of its greatest. It was innovative, being that it had such incredible animation in a time where animation wasn’t huge. It was interesting, thanks to the characters mixing so well (Tim Allen and Tom Hanks are awesome). Toy Story was the start of something great for Pixar. Fun fact: it’s on the AFI Top 100 films list, which is pretty cool. 

Ratatouille is great to me. I’m no Francophile and I’ve never been to Paris but it’s such a perfect backdrop for the story. The research shines through once more, the actors give it their all and Pixar works magic again with its animation. The critic’s speech towards the end and the accompanying montage? Yeah, that cemented its place on this list and several other more important ones probably.

Number 3

I feel like Up is one of the most talked about Pixar films. Probably because its relatively new, having been released in 2009. And probably because it’s pretty awesome. The first ten minutes are maybe the saddest ten minutes of a film I’ve ever seen, but also some of the best. However, its not all sad; there is some great humor and adventure that makes Up a nearly perfect film.  

This is where we get into “perfect movie” territory. No more complaints. The first ten minutes of Up could stand alone as its own film and wreck the Academy Awards. The remainder is just a rollercoaster of emotions and an imaginative story that really does convince me that adventure is, indeed, out there.

Number 2

Toy Story 3
There is much debate about which Toy Story film is the best one, and in my mind, there is no doubt that it is the third one. Maybe it is a little bit dark, but that doesn’t mean it lacks the charm and sentimentality that its predecessors does. I think it’s an incredible accomplishment to be able to release a sequel almost a decade later and not even skip a beat, and maybe even improve. I was 10 years older and able to appreciate how good it really is, putting it at number 2 on my list. 

The Incredibles
The Incredibles isn’t just a great animated superhero film, it’s a great superhero film. Arguably, one of the best. This is probably the most fun you can have at a Pixar movie. There’s a great villain, all-star set of heros and, in an era of participation medals and consolation prizes, a solid message on letting your talents flourish. Objectivist? Maybe, a little, yes. Whether you’re a Rand fan or not though, The Incredibles is one enjoyable ride.

Number 1

The Incredibles
Here we are, the number one spot on our list. The Incredibles is indubitably Pixar’s best film. It is a family drama, an action thriller, a superhero movie, a comedy, all mixed up in one. There’s great conflict, both inner and outer. Great protagonists. Great universe. If The Dark Knight wasn’t around, then I would say The Incredibles was the best superhero movie of all time. Plus it has Samuel L. Jackson

Toy Story 2
Toy Story 2 is Pixar. It is the Pixar film. It flawlessly probes into some deeper, darker waters but doesn’t forget to entertain and amuse a little. It expanded the universe of Pixar and just what it could delve into and how emotional it could get through, well, toys and how they felt about their future. In other words (forgive me here), it took it to infinity and beyond.


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