As Pixar have just released their 16th film (The Good Dinosaur, out in UK cinemas November 27th), I thought it only fitting that I looked back on the previous 15 films which made them the undisputed leaders in computer animation.
Ever since Toy Story in 1995 (it celebrated it’s 20th anniversary a few weeks ago; if this doesn’t make you feel old I don’t know what will!), Pixar have been making us laugh and cry with their animated classics.
I’ll be reviewing The Good Dinosaur this Wednesday (2nd December), so that doesn’t feature in my rankings just yet. Here are all of the other Disney Pixar (full length*) films ranked from worst to best.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and let me know how you would rank them!
- Cars 2 (2011)
Not just a lacklustre sequel to an (at best) average film, Cars 2 is one of the laziest, most soul-destroyingly dull films I’ve had the misfortune to watch. I honestly have nothing good to say about it, and quite frankly I would rather pretend it doesn’t exist!
- Cars (2006)
The sceptic in me says that this film was just made to sell merchandise. I mean there might have been another reason, but it is difficult to see. I watched this film once and thought it was good but not great. When I watched it again I realised it was actually just pretty average. It’s bottom of the pile when I’m picking which Pixar films to re-watch, and I can’t see this changing if the quality of Pixar’s films continues in its current trend.
- A Bug’s Life (1998)
I liked this film a lot at the time, but again it is getting pushed further back as the quality of Pixar’s films just keeps getting better and better. Despite being 3 years after Toy Story (which doesn’t show its age at all), A Bug’s Life does look a little bit dated these days. It still isn’t a bad film, but there’s better!
- Brave (2012)
There’s so much to love about this film. I love that we have a badass female lead in Merida. I love the gorgeous scenery, and the animation is flawless. However, I just find the story a little bit odd. It caught me very off-guard when I first saw it at the cinema and it took me a little while to revisit it afterwards. Again, in no way a bad film, but one which I haven’t watched loads since owning it on DVD, and that to me is a sign that it should rank in the lower part of this list.
- Monster’s University (2013)
With a couple of sequels already under their belt, Pixar ventured into the slightly dangerous world of “prequel sequels”. Now prequels can be notoriously bad (The Phantom Menace, I am looking at you), and no, Monster’s University isn’t that bad; but a story suffers when you know ultimately what the outcome will be. We know Mike and Sulley will graduate and become good friends, so as entertaining as this film is, halfway through you might be forgiven for thinking “what is the point”? It’s still very funny, but I think I would have preferred to see a sequel in this case.
- WALL-E (2008)
To my shame, I probably would have ranked this much lower on the list until I found a new love for it this year. The beauty of this film comes in its simplicity. With very little dialogue in the beginning, it is one which you just sit back and appreciate. The animation and the story are simply beautiful, and whilst it might not grip young children with short attention spans, the parents will be enthralled!
- Toy Story 2 (1999)
In my mind, easily the weakest out of the Toy Story trilogy, but that in no way makes it a bad film, and it still breaks the top 10 with no questions. I do find the story is a bit too similar to that of the original film which is why it ranks lower, but it is still very funny, and I love that the new characters are introduced seamlessly. Looking back on the films, this is also the first Pixar film to make me cry, with that utterly heartbreaking song as Jessie looks back on her abandonment. Dammit Pixar, this might have been the first time you made me cry, but it certainly wasn’t the last!
- Monsters, Inc (2010)
This switched places with Toy Story 2 at least 3 times whilst I was compiling this list. Why does it get the edge I hear you ask? Simply because of it’s originality. It is such a clever film, and I love the twist it puts on the well-known childhood fear of the “monsters under the bed”. Kudos to Pixar for making these monsters cuddly rather than cruel, and friendly instead of frightening!
- Ratatouille (2007)
I wrote a few months back about the messages of Pixar films, and Ratatouille easily has one of my favourites. We frequently hear the mantra of Remy the rat’s chef hero Gusto, who believes “anyone can cook”, and I love that this film shows that you can achieve your dreams; even if you’re a rat! It’s such a beautifully heart-warming film, and really underrated in my opinion.
- The Incredibles (2004)
Another film that I have found new appreciation for in my adult life! I was 13 when it came out, and at that age a film that was almost two hours long, was a bit much for me. Now looking back I realise the error of my ways. In case it wasn’t obvious from my reviews, I absolutely adore superhero movies, therefore I have found so much more to love about this film watching it now. I recently wrote about the new slate of Disney films which includes the long-awaited sequel to The Incredibles, coming in 2019. Four years is too far away Pixar when I’ve already been waiting eleven years! I just hope it is worth the wait.
- Up (2009)
I seriously can’t think about the opening five minutes of this film without wanting to burst into tears. It is not just one of the most beautiful animated sequences, but one of the most beautiful sequences in any film. The rest of the film is a gloriously heart-warming tale of friendship, memories and adventure. Beautiful.
- Toy Story 3 (2010)
Again, there was much turmoil when deciding where to place this film! It was below Up and then right at the last minute it moved above it. Having grown up with these films, this one is just packed full of nostalgia, and is a relentless punch to the feels! Especially the ending. I’m still not okay.
- Inside Out (2015)
If it wasn’t for the existence of the films that are above this, then Inside Out could easily be the best Pixar film. It’s so unbelievably clever, heart-breaking, and hilarious all at the same time. It is one of those Pixar films that I really hope doesn’t get a sequel; it doesn’t need one and is perfect on its own. It has quite a plausible chance of winning Best Film at the Oscars this year; something which no other animated film has ever achieved. If it won, it would be thoroughly deserved, and a true testament to just how incredible this film is.
- Toy Story (1995)
I imagine for a lot of people this would be number one. In fact I might upset some people by not putting it first. It is of course the film which started it all, and one which is still amazing 20 years later. I’ve seen this film more times than I think I could mention, and yet it never gets old. There is honestly nothing bad about this film in my opinion, pure perfection with many happy memories of my childhood attached to it!
- Finding Nemo (2003)
Anyone who knows me well enough could have seen this coming a mile off. My favourite Pixar film is of course Finding Nemo! I struggle to think of a film I have seen more than this one, and it never fails to cheer me up. Like any good Pixar film should, Finding Nemo will make you laugh, cry, laugh, and then cry some more! With a whole host of unforgettable characters, and instantly recognisable quotes (“mine?”), this is a film which has stood the test of time possibly more than any other Pixar film. The quality of the animation is outstanding and the story is amazing. With the release of Finding Dory next year, lets hope this only enhances Finding Nemo’s legacy rather than tainting it.
Agree with everything I’ve said, or am I a terribly misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Please let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to share as well.
*I ranked the Pixar short films a little while ago. You can find that here.