Pixar has been a great studio churning out movies that are intrinsically beautiful. When coupled with visual marvels, they create pure magic. I mentioned that I was going to make a ranked list of all Pixar movies. Just keep in mind that everybody has a different opinion and I respect it but this is according to my own views as a huge fan of films in all forms. I will also be linking my favorite scene from every movie. So here it goes:
#17: Cars 2 (2011): I did mention that I am not a huge fan of sequels because a lot of times they are made with the purpose of milking some money out of our pockets. This is not written against the movie because it is fun and I have watched the movie multiple times. It is an entertaining spy comedy but we’ve had a lot of stuff like this. A bumbling buffoon is caught up in weird circumstances, becomes a spy and saves the day. And this time the cars can do everything that humans can and it’s a little uncanny which takes something out of the original equation. In the first one, they were cars with personalities. In this one, they are humans that look like cars. However if this is Pixar’s worst, they are in a league of one.
#16: Monster’s University (2013): This is a prequel to a really beautiful movie. This also has the same problem as Cars 2. But it is slightly better because it is essentially a story about how a friendship forms in two characters that are poles apart. While this too is very similar in plot to most college/ high-school comedies it still has the charm that is signature Pixar. It’s the kind of movie I would watch every time I see it on TV while flipping through channels. It just doesn’t have a unique enough story to stick in your mind.
#15: A Bug’s Life (1998): This was one of the first animated movies I saw but it didn’t stay with me for long. But when I recently saw it again, I could see the theme that it shows to its target audience. Nobody should be ashamed to stand out of the crowd. Even if you are cast out (quite literally, in the movie), you can find people like you and you can see that it isn’t bad to be different.
#14: The Good Dinosaur (2015): This movie was stuck in production for a long-long time but it was a very good movie. It has the same problem that I mentioned earlier. They are humans in dinosaur-form and not dinosaurs with personalities. This movie had a classic premise and it was executed well but the story was just that- a little too simple. Two things really stand out from this movie and they are usually very under-appreciated. Firstly, the animation of everything apart from the dinosaurs themselves is like nothing else. The trees sway naturally and the water just jumps out of the screen. It is hard to imagine that a team of people made these elements out of nothing on a computer. It would have been way easier to mix animated characters with shots of real locations like in The Jungle Book. And the other thing is that this movie has a moment that is almost as tear-jerking as the opening montage from Up. The protagonists describe their families without any words. That scene alone is worth the ticket price.
#13: Up (2009): And that sad moment brings us to this one. Don’t get me wrong, this is a really good movie but almost always; this entire movie is judged for its first ten minutes with that 5 minute montage. I will say that those may be Pixar’s best five minutes. But it doesn’t make up for the fact that the rest of the movie cannot stand up to that opening, and that is high praise in itself.
#12: Finding Dory (2016): Another sequel but this is really quite good almost as good as the first one but I will come to the “almost” in a minute. The scenes of young Dory are just so cute it makes you go, “Awwwww!!!” And the rest of the movie works well. Dory meets her parents and that is adorable and a great ending. But it doesn’t end there. The last ten minutes of the movie are tragically bad. An octopus driving a van is too-far-out for even someone fine with talking cars. That whole scene is terrible and really quite disappointing that it ends that way.
#11: Brave (2012): This is one movie I keep forgetting is made by Pixar. Merida would fit well with all the Disney princesses. The movie is brilliant with its underlining theme of women’s empowerment and independence. The mother-daughter relationship is also very beautiful. This movie singularly made a Scottish accent adorable.
#10: Cars (2006): This is a really fun piece of animation. Talking cars are adorable and the shot of a race car paving roads is hilarious. The movie works with a character thrown into a world he doesn’t know but ends up becoming a part of. Lightning voiced by Owen Wilson is just a cool dude you want to be best friends with. It has one of my favourite lines of dialogue in animation: “Okay, here we go. Focus. Speed. I am speed. One winner, forty-two losers. I eat losers for breakfast. Breakfast? Maybe I should have had breakfast? Brekkie could be good for me. No, no, no, focus. Speed. Faster than fast, quicker than quick. I am Lightning.” It’s just something you want to say every time you put on your seat-belt. And a third Cars is releasing next year whose trailer seems really good. Hoping the next Pixar sequel is brilliant.
#9: Monsters Inc. (2001): The concept itself is fantastic. Teleporting doors so that monsters can collect screams that their monster world runs on! Fantastic! One of my favourite toys for a long time was a Happy Meal toy figure of Sully and I still have it. This movie is just amazing and John Goodman is brilliant as Sully. The names just go so well with each other; Mike and Sully just like their characters do. This movie made monsters scarily adorable.
#8: Toy Story (1995): This is a movie that created an entire chunk of the film industry. It was the first feature-length Computer Animated movie. It also gave us Buzz and Woody. Toys in this world are animated answering every child’s question, “What do these toys do when I leave them alone?” The movie speaks so well about feeling replaced and how to deal with it. This movie showcases some friendship goals in Woody and Buzz as well as Woody and Andy with their on-the-nose, “You’ve got a friend in me…”
#7: Toy Story 2 (1999): See! I don’t hate ALL sequels! This is really a great one as it takes characters from the first one and expands to their world. This movie foreshadows the theme of the third instalment with Jessie’s story of being left by her owner. This movie also has one of the most interesting guys in Pixar; the cleaner. The montage of Jessie being left gathering dust gives us a taste of what the third one deals with. Talking of the third one…
#6: Toy Story 3 (2010): The third part in the adventures of Woody and gang is gut-wrenchingly real. It hits home the idea of growing up and how you sacrifice childhood memories to grow up. It was released 11 years after Toy Story 2 but what that gap did was that the kids that grew up along with Andy saw themselves leaving childhood and becoming adults through this movie. This is a masterstroke of timing. I can’t see why they are making another sequel for a series so perfect but I am waiting for it nonetheless. Woody’s expressionless face at the end (see the clip below) is gut-wrenching.
#5: Finding Nemo (2003): This is an amazing adventure across the seas with two different characters that work so well together. It has a great surfer-dude, a serendipitous whale, a serious clownfish and Ellen DeGeneres in fish form. The animation of the water and the sun rays penetrating the surface still stands up to the animation of today, 14 years later. And it has given the world an anthem to persevere, “Just keep Swimming.” And an address so unforgettable that even Dory remembers it, “P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney”
#4: Inside Out (2015): This is a great concept taken to the next level. It re-imagines the human mind and emotions as Osmosis Jones re-imagined the human biology. The emotions work well to illustrate that life can sometimes be sad too and that is natural the way Bing Bong gets forgotten. The movie is a perfect depiction of how children deal with change. This is a real masterpiece.
#3: The Incredibles (2004): This movie has done something that hadn’t been done before or ever since; made a good Fantastic Four movie. The Incredibles is just incredible in every way and I can find no fault in it. It’s entertaining, funny, thoughtful, reflective and meaningful. It works so well because it is a family drama disguised as a superhero story. It also has one of cinemas best motivated villains. While all villains want to rule the world or money, Syndrome has a vendetta that seems very justified at times. It’s more about getting respect than seeking vengeance. Because he was ignored and belittled by a Super he ‘will sell his inventions so that everyone can be superheroes.’ “And when everyone’s a super NO ONE will be.” The characters in this movie are all super-b and some of them like, Cool Mr. Freeze and Sassy Edna add layers to the movie. What is path breaking is that the movie takes stabs at the superhero genre with the cape montage which is a step short of being meta.
#2: Wall-E (2008): This movie has been on the top of my favourite animated movies for very long and till a month ago. It stays one of my favourite movies of all time. It’s a treat for the eyes, heart and soul. I could write so much about this movie I would go on for weeks. I was in an environmentalist phase when I saw this movie and it just hit me hard when the movie showed towers of garbage and utter desolation of Earth at the hands of humans. But now as a more mature person, I can see the themes of identity and questions like what even is humanity. It has no dialogues for nearly the first half of the movie but still conveys emotions and rounds out relationships like companionship and friendship. It also has a romantic montage between Wall-E and Eve. Every time I think about this movie, it makes me fall in love with movies altogether.
#1: Ratatouille (2007): This is the most under-rated Pixar creation. It speaks about being unique, differentiating yourself, persevering and doing what you love to do despite what society thinks of you. It works great for children to learn valuable life-lessons through a talking rat (Mickey mouse for the new generation!) but it works just as well for adults to tap into their childlike self and be strong.
All Hail Pixar!
upload it.S. I have made a chart to show the ranking of movies in chronological order. The higher, the better.