Since their first feature release in 1995, PIXAR consistently release some of the better movies every year. Originally part of the George Lucas Empire, the little animation studio that could has gone from being owned by Apple mogul Steve Jobs to being acquired by Disney itself.
Enough backstory, let’s get to the countdown…
10. Cars (2006)
For starters, there isn’t a bad movie on this list. Cars is a cute, but ultimately forgettable, movie about the famous race car Lightning McQueen. He’s arrogant and egotistical, but when he’s stranded in Radiator Springs (a former hotspot), he learns there’s more to life than being famous. A good cast, led by Owen Wilson as McQueen, the standout is Paul Newman’s Doc Hudson, an once famous racer now in the twilight of his life. Cars is a fine movie, just a letdown considering the quality we expect from PIXAR.
9. Toy Story 2 (1999)
Woody, Buzz, and the gang all return in PIXAR’s first sequel (though there are several on the way). This is the movie where we find out Woody’s origin (think Howdy Doody) and we meet the rest of his Round-Up Gang: Jessie (Joan Cusack), Stinky Pete (Kelsey Grammer), and Woody’s trusty horse Bullseye. Unfortunately, I found Jessie to be quite annoying (despite her touching backstory) and a lot of the original magic was missing. The Buzz led adventure to find Woody is what makes this one worthwhile, complete with tons of Star Wars references.
8. A Bug’s Life (1998)
I personally think that this one gets a bad rap. A Bug’s Life is one of PIXAR’s more humorous outings following an ant named Flick (Dave Foley). Flick is creative, but is also a social outcast as he doesn’t believe in doing things the traditional way. Along the way, we meet a group of circus performers who Flick hires to fight off the gangster-like Grasshoppers, led by Hopper (Kevin Spacey). While it isn’t the most original story, it truly is funny and Hopper is arguably the best PIXAR villain to date. Plus Madeline Kahn is always a joy, even if it is just her voice.
7. Up (2009)
I know I know. There are many of you out there who absolutely love this movie. Quite frankly, there’s a lot to like here. Carl (Edward Asner) is one of the more memorable characters PIXAR has ever created. Carl was once optimistic young man, but now has grown into a bitter old man after the death of his wife. You have talking dogs and a decent sidekick in Russell. However, the movie is underwhelming with one of the weaker villains and an unneeded bird. The opening montage is equally heartwarming and heartbreaking, it’s just a shame the rest of the movie feels flat.
6. The Incredibles (2004)
A movie about the various stages of life masked as a superhero flick, The Incredibles is one fun ride. In their world, superheroes are forced to retire due to the lawsuits filed by bystanders injured in their battles. Mr Incredible (Craig T Nelson), bored of his new life, is brought out of retirement to save the day once more. This is a movie about getting older and coming together as a family. However, the most interesting thing is the group’s powers themselves. The powers match where they are in life and their position within the family (such as the shy teen Violet being able to turn invisible).
5. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
I firmly believe this is the most forgotten movie in PIXAR’s filmography and is better than a lot of people give it credit for. Sulley (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) are best friends and the best duo at Monsters, Inc, a power plant. In order to get power, the monsters have to go out and scare kids; their screams are then converted to energy. Of course, this all changes when they meet Boo. Goodman and Crystal are both great in their roles, Steve Buscemi is a good choice for the weasel-like Randall, and Boo is one of the most adorable characters ever.
4. Toy Story (1995)
The original. The one that started it all. Fortunately, this one still holds up. Woody (Tom Hanks) is his owner Andy’s favorite toy. He’s the leader of Andy’s Room and looks out for the rest of the toys. This comes into question when Andy receives a new toy, Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), and he replaces Woody as Andy’s favorite. Despite an initial bout of envy, Woody and Buzz come together for the good of Andy. There is just something special about Toy Story and I love all the characters in it. This movie never ceases to entertain me or make me laugh, even after all of these years.
3. Ratatouille (2007)
Despite it’s high rating on imdb, Ratatouille is the most underrated PIXAR movie by the general public. It follows a rat named Remy (Patton Oswald), who wants nothing more than to be a gourmet chef. He finds Linguini in a restaurant. Linguini is a rather clumsy and spills some soup. Remy helps him create something new on the fly and a partnership is forged. Oswald does an outstanding job in voicing the dreamer Remy. A movie about following your dreams no matter what the obstacles are, Ratatouille is an absolutely wonderful film.
2. Finding Nemo (2003)
The highest grossing movie on the list (including being the best selling DVD of all time). After the death of his wife, Marlin (Albert Brooks) is an overprotective father to Nemo, an adventurous young clown fish. When Nemo goes missing, Marlin has to leave the comfort of the reef to find him. Along the way, he meets Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a blue tang fish that suffers from short memory loss. As they look for Nemo, they encounter many things, including: vegetarian sharks, deadly jellyfish, and surfer dude turtles. A film about determination and allowing your children to grow up, Finding Nemo is just fantastic.
1. WALL-E (2008)
While the placing of a lot of these movies are debatable, WALL-E being on top should not be. It’s surprising to look back to see what a risk PIXAR was taking with WALL-E. The main character barely speaks at all. There’s barely, if any, dialogue in the first act. It was unsure if audiences of all ages would stay with the movie or not. Despite the lack of dialogue, WALL-E is one of the single most engaging characters ever seen on the big screen. His journey is awe inspiring (like when he runs his fingers through one of Saturn’s rings in a beautiful shot). Add EVE, the robot WALL-E falls in love with, you have one of the most heartfelt love stories in recent memory. And it’s about two robots.
As always, please comment and tell me how wrong I am. This time I obviously didn’t forget any movies, but let me know how you would rank them.
I’ll be back again soon with a couple of reviews.
Have a great weekend!