For 20 years now, animation giants Pixar has captured the hearts of audiences through their innovative and imaginative films. Pixar films have a truly magic quality of resonating with child and adult viewers alike. No matter how old you are, there’s something in a Pixar movie for you to enjoy. Of course film, like all art, film is subjective but if you’ve never had a good time when watching a Pixar movie then you’re soulless human being. Or just plain old crazy.
Pixar’s newest film, The Good Dinosaur (check out my review here), out on November 27, tells the story of a young Apatosaurus named Arlo who finds himself stranded from his parents when a rainstorm washes carries him downriver. Arlo isn’t alone for long as he bumps into a young feral caveboy called Spot and the two develop a friendship. Together, the pair embark on an epic adventure to reunite Arlo with his parents.
To celebrate the release of The Good Dinosaur here’s a ranking of all 15 Pixar films from is best to worst.
15. Cars 2 (2011)
The first Cars had a certain charming quality but its sequel took the franchise into a whole new unnecessary direction. In the case of sequels, bigger doesn’t always equal better and Cars 2 is a prime example. Instead of racing, the cars became international spies heavily spoofing James Bond, which just felt plain weird. Cars 2 ended up coming across as a 106 minute advert for kids merchandise, rather than a film designed to entertain. Hopefully Cars 3 will be a vast improvement when it’s released in 2017.
14. Monsters University (2013)
Ever since Monsters Inc, audiences had been dying to catch up with the beloved duo of Sully and Mike. While reuniting with them back in their college days was pretty good fun, Monsters University just didn’t manage to recapture the same magic the original had. There’s still plenty of goodness in Monsters University to make for an entertaining time, but just don’t expect to love it as much as Monsters Inc.
13. A Bugs Life (1998)
It seems that in 1998, animators went a little insect crazy as Pixar released A Bugs Life and Dreamworks put out Antz. The latter was probably the better film, but A Bugs Life still holds up today as a very solid and decent movie. Pixar’s second ever film was aimed more at a child audience but there’s definitely quality there to ensure the whole family is entertained for the majority of the film.
12. Brave (2012)
Pixar’s first film with a female lead breathed some much needed fresh air into the typical Disney princess movie. With a great protagonist, the feisty Merida, along with some wonderful animation and actions scenes, Brave had the potential to be something very special. Unfortunately the film’s let down by a rather strange second half which left many viewers scratching their heads. Despite this, Pixar’s ever-reaching ambition on Brave has to be respected even if it didn’t quite reach the heights it could have.
11. Cars (2006)
At the time of 2006, we’d been spoilt for so long by Pixar that when they give us just an OK film it came as quite a shock. Cars cruises on comedy and well-designed race scenes which give it an undeniable charm, but there’s not any real emotional hook in it which all of the best Pixar films have. Cars is definitely a fun ride, if not a particularly memorable one.
10. Ratatouille (2007)
The fact that such a fantastic film like Ratatouille sits tenth on this list speaks volumes of the extraordinary work Pixar has done. Based on rat who dreams of becoming a chef in a fancy Paris restaurant, Ratatouille is a fun-filled artistic love letter to food. Despite its troubled journey into production, with Pixar and Disney at odds at the time, Ratatouille turned out to be a delicious tale. No film will ever make you feel such warmth for a rat.
9. WALL-E (2008)
Pixar’s first foray into outer space revolves around robot WALL-E, the studio’s most simple yet most good-natured lead character. As well as serving as a cautionary tale about how we’re destroying the Earth, the arguably delivers Pixar’s best love story as WALL-E and fellow bot EVE’s relationship is remarkably displayed. I wasn’t blown away by WALL-E like many others were but I certainly appreciated its genius.
8. Toy Story 2 (1999)
The sequel to Toy Story had a tough job following in the footsteps of its trailblazing predecessor. Toy Story 2 majestically rose to the occasion and managed to recapture the spirit of the first film while adding something new and exciting. The second film featuring our favourite group of walking-talking toys set the standard for heartbreaking scenes in Pixar films as Jessie’s “When She Loved Me” flashback is a guaranteed tearjerker.
7. Up (2011)
Pixar have always tackled fairly adult themes such as death and loneliness in their films but never in so much a raw fashion than in Up. The opening sequence packs an emotional punch with the knockout power of a Mike Tyson upper cut. While it’s Pixar’s most mature movie, it still has a cheerful childlike quality that ensures a heck of a time. At the Academy Awards that year it rightfully won an Oscar for Best Animated feature and was nominated for Best film, just like number three on the list.
6. Monsters Inc (2001)
After Woody and Buzz, giant fur-ball Sully and giant eyeball Mike are arguably Pixar’s most dynamic duo. Monsters Inc was an extremely clever and hilarious take on children being frightened of monsters as of course in the film, it turns out that it’s the other way around. Sully and the adorable Boo’s relationship is one of the most moving bonds Pixar has ever produced. As a whole the film is Monsters Inc-redible!
5. Inside Out (2015)
Inside Out is at the top of many people’s list for best film of 2015 and for good reason. Its genius concept revolving around five emotions in an 11-year-old girl’s brain is perhaps Pixar’s best. The words ‘clever’ and ‘emotional’ get thrown around a lot when describing a Pixar film but Inside Out is totally deserving of the terms. Without doubt Pixar’s most colourful and relatable film, Inside Out is a must watch.
4. The Incredibles (2004)
It’s usually Marvel and DC who deliver the superhero films, but Pixar’s offering The Incredibles is up there with the very best of them. With a very identifiable family dynamic, some awesome action scenes and lots of laughs, it’s one of Pixar’s greatest achievements. There have been three failed attempts at a good Fantastic Four movie so far and The Incredibles is easily the best one that never was. Hopefully The Incredibles 2 can be just as spectacular when it’s released in 2019.
3. Toy Story 3 (2010)
The third movie in a trilogy is usually regarded as the weakest link in a film series but that’s certainly not a tag you could label Toy Story 3 with. After being sent to a daycare centre, the toys embark on fun but dangerous adventure that takes the audience on an emotional rollercoaster while we never want to get off. Grossing an astounding $1 billion worldwide and earning 5 Oscar nominations, Toy Story 3 was a colossal success for Pixar. As it wrapped up the trilogy so well, a Toy Story 4 – set for 2017 release, seems a little unnecessary, but if it’s as good as any of the other three then it’s sure to be toy-rrific.
2. Finding Nemo (2003)
Set in the ocean off the coast of Australia, the second best Pixar movie tells the tale of nervy clownfish, Marlin who with the help ditzy-but-lovable blue reef fish Dory, goes on a desperate search for his missing young son Nemo. The film takes us on a riveting journey through the ocean filled with amazing visuals, some genuine scares and plenty of comedy. The touching father-son relationship is one of Pixar’s most powerful bonds. Finding Nemo found a place in the hearts of anyone who saw it and hopefully next year’s Finding Dory will do the same.
1. Toy Story (1995)
You guessed it! At number one on the list is Pixar’s very first film which set the studio’s standard for greatness in the following years to come. Our first adventure with Woody, Buzz Lightyear and co is an unforgettable experience which has been beloved by many generations ever since its release 20 years ago. With ground-breaking visuals, hilarious characters and a terrific plot, it’s arguably the greatest story the studio has ever told. It’s touched pop culture and the hearts of viewers like no other CG-animated film ever has. Toy Story is a film that will be adored to infinity and beyond!
So there it is. That was my ranking of all the Pixar films. Do you agree? What are your favourites? Feel free to comment below
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