Everyone knows what Pixar is. Most people recognize Pixar as the premier source for quality animated features. Pixar rarely has a miss, and with such titles as ‘Toy Story 1-3’, ‘The Incredibles’, Finding Nemo’ and recently ‘Inside Out’, it’s no wonder Pixar continues to be talked about and each new project even more anticipated than the last. Pixar has released 17 pictures do date, some better or much better than others. Here’s the list of top Pixar movies, ranked from worst to best.
18. Cars 2
Exceedingly unoriginal compared to most of Pixar’s work, Cars 2, much like its predecessor comes off as nothing more than Pandering to the youth. Cars 2 has less than a handful of either funny or enlightened/actualized moments and should never have been made.
See above. (Note: It’s a really good thing young children love fast cars. The Cars franchise is easily the weakest outing for Pixar)
16. Monsters University
Monsters University also feels really uninspired, but I don’t think that’s exactly Pixar’s fault. With Monsters U, they were trying to appeal to young kids but also to the young adults that loved the original Monster Inc. film, and although it didn’t work out in their favor here, I respect the effort.
This might be an unpopular opinion, but this film (while trying to be thought provoking and challenge the roles of women in society) mostly came off a little superficial and the humor forced. The voice acting was all very great, but as a whole ‘Brave’ doesn’t really land a damaging punch like Pixar can do.
14. The Good Dinosaur
Although incredible beautiful in a visual sense, the Good Dinosaur lacked a bit of substance, particularly in the characterization department. Each character (barring the Dinosaur and his prime companion) seems 1 dimensional, or 2 at best, and that makes the film feel like a drudge by the 3rd act. Again, very beautiful to watch but not enough pieces working to make it a top tier project from Pixar.
13. Bugs Life
The main reason this movie is so high on my list is that it was a childhood favorite of mine, also I feel like it’s objectively better than every movie below it. Bugs Life was only Pixar’s 2nd film but yet you can really feel a sense of improvement over the visual quality of Toy Story. Bugs Life has an actual narrative structure and lovable characters. Solid Pixar.
12. Finding Dory
Pixar’s newest release, and boy was it full of charm. I think Finding Dory is a better film than its status on this list would indicate, it just felt a little like it made up for lack of substance and voice with a bunch of really funny characters. Either way, it worked. I laughed a ton.
‘Up’ is probably the BEST of the bottom tier of Pixar films. I say this with much love and acknowledgement of the beginning sequence, which rocks. The last 70 minutes of the film seem a little uninspired to me. I had high expectations and overall it just doesn’t meet the hype.
Another Pixar that suffers from such a great opening sequence that the rest of the film can’t keep up the impression. WALL-E tries really hard to be beautiful and profound and to a degree it achieves that, but then it’s just a little too indie for the platform. WALL-E is fantastic, but the most out of touch for Pixar.
9. Incredibles 2 (2018)
When you steward of one of best animated films of the 21st century to fruition, the idea of trying to live up to your own expectations – let alone everybody else’s – with a sequel would be daunting to say the least. The concept of creating a third Incredibles reportedly makes Bird sick to ponder – even as Incredibles 2 puts up gangbuster numbers at the box office – which anyone can respect from a creative standpoint while one secretly prays he gets on that right away. Regrettably, this film doesn’t get nearly as dark or mature as the original, yet Incredibles 2 is still a remarkable Pixar film, abundant with superbly inventive storytelling decisions and beautifully directed action sequences.
9. Toy Story
We all owe a lot to Toy Story. Even though it’s the weakest of the franchise it introduced Pixar and the Toy Story to us in such a big way. This film hasn’t dated well and that’s unfortunate, but boy does it bring back nostalgia. Toy Story is the top film of the Middle Quality Tier.
7. Monsters Inc.
At the time of its release, nothing of its kind was out there. So let’s recognize that. Even today, I’d argue that the Monsters Inc. world holds a larger cultural impact than the Toy Story. (well maybe not, but you could argue that). Monsters Inc. was the first truly good Pixar Film.
6. Toy Story 3
Another unpopular opinion, I’m sorry. Toy Story 3 is so emotional and heartwarming and the best visually compelling Pixar film at its release, but I feel a little zipped. Pixar used my relationship with Toy Story to magnify the events that ordinarily wouldn’t have much impact. Hence, younger kids don’t recognize the magnitude of Andy going off to college.
5. Inside Out
What makes ‘Inside Out’ so great, is that it never tries to be anything other than what it is. This film took a somewhat uninspired/pretentious concept and gave it life in a way that I couldn’t expect. Each character is full of so much life and charm, and the narrative comes off as an orchestrated mess of greatness (think of a more successful ‘Up’). Inside Out surprised me.
4. The Incredibles
The Incredibles came out a year or 2 after I was at the prime age to truly enjoy it, but I still really loved it. Pixar seems to be really great at capitalizing on tropes that could easily go sour. The Incredibles has to be the truest testament to that . Also, what a great opening sequence!
Ratatouille has to be the most underrated Pixar film to date. Full of incredible voice work and fantastically actualized characters and a slice of culture that Pixar fans honestly needed, Ratatouille landed on so many levels. My favorite Pixar to watch and for great reason.
2. Toy Story 2
The 2nd installment of the Toy Story universe and it improved upon all the faults of the first, and gave us a great and compelling story without being too preachy and introduced us to ‘Jesse’, one of the best Pixar characters of all time.
1. Finding Nemo
This can’t be a surprise. Finding Nemo has the most structured narrative, the most inspiring relationships, and the clearest message. Nemo was SO BIG when it released, it’s almost hard to remember (after so many years, and ‘Finding Dory’) but Nemo really feels like an adventure and remains the best Pixar film till date.