A Ranking of Pixar’s Movies
This Friday, Pixar’s 12th feature, Cars 2, hits screens everywhere. I have to admit, upon seeing the first trailer for the movie I thought that it would be Pixar’s first failure. Currently Cars 2 sits at 52% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it Pixar’s first feature to ever be “rotten” (however it is still fresh among top critics at 67%). It is a shame to see such a revolutionary studio make what appears to be its first bad movie, or even mediocre one. To remind ourselves of the studio’s previously perfect track record, here is my ranking of the 11 films Pixar has made to date.
The original Cars is clearly Pixar’s worst movie, however there is still enough humor and “Pixar charm” to make it a good movie. Owen Wilson stars as Lightning McQueen, an overly arrogant racecar who learns how to slow down and enjoy the scenery. Cars has some great gags and fun characters (Paul Newman effectively lends his voice), but it lacks the heart and intelligence of all the other Pixar features. It is probably the only Pixar movie that down the road won’t be considered a classic.
This is one of Pixar’s most beautifully animated movies. You will find yourself hungrier after watching Ratatouille than watching the Food Network. Patton Oswalt shows off his perhaps unexpected talent as a voice actor as the rat Remy. The movie is a lot of fun and makes a rat-chef a relatable and likable character. The only reason it is this low on the ranking is that it is not as memorable as many of the other Pixar movies.
Monster’s Inc. has some of Pixar’s best characters in Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman). This movie is a fun take on the old monster-in-the-closet suspicion. It made monsters likable, which was the true challenge of the film. If you can get children to fall in love with monsters, whose job it is to scare them, then you have succeeded with flying colors. However, Monsters Inc. lacks the subtlety of later Pixar movies as it makes every lesson appear a bit too obvious, but that does not take away from its charm.
Pixar’s first sequel was a great return to the world of Woody and Buzz. My only issue is that the film is a bit too similar to the original. That does not mean that it is not a great sequel. Toy Story 2 has all the heart of the original and makes for a fun ride. The one sequence that truly stands out is Jesse’s flashback to when she had an owner. The scene is heartbreaking and should make everyone think twice about toys they had stopped playing with.
Like Monsters Inc., this feature lacks the subtlety of later Pixar movies, however it is downright epic at times. A Bug’s Life turns out to be one of Pixar’s more violent and mature films. The climax of the film is a battle between ants and grasshoppers. Kevin Spacey makes one of the most memorable Pixar villains ever as Hopper. A Bug’s Life has a great cast of characters and is one of Pixar’s most fun movies.
I love a good superhero film. Pixar’s effort to break into this new sub-genre of the early 2000s was completely successful. It had great heroes with great powers and a fun villain. The Incredibles is one of Pixar’s most memorable movies. To this day, The Incredibles stands out among the best of the superhero sub-genre.
This is one of the strangest, most innovative animated films ever made. Up is also one of Pixar’s funniest films. Very little was released about the movie before it was released. This was a great marketing move because Up ended up being one of Pixar’s best surprises. The genius of Up comes from its two main characters. Their relationship carries the movie and leads to one of Pixar’s most emotionally satisfying films.
Finding Nemo is Pixar’s best looking film to date. All the colors of a coral reef and the ocean are brilliantly brought to life. This movie is truly an achievement just in animation, but the story and characters are great too. Ellen DeGeneres is perhaps the best voice actor in any Pixar film as Dori. The story of the movie is simple enough, a father looking for his son, yet Pixar injects beauty and originality into it.
Eleven long years after Toy Story 2 was released this wonderful film finally found its way to theaters. Toy Story 3 is not a movie for children, it is a movie for teenagers ready to move on to the next step of their lives. The third outing for the franchise is the darkest as we nearly see all the characters die. I get choked up just thinking about the ending of this movie. Note: you will never hate a pink teddy bear more than you will here.
Pixar’s first film was a breakthrough in animation as it was the first movie made completely with computer animation, and that is not even close to the reason Toy Story is the classic that it is today. Woody and Buzz are two of the best characters ever created for the screen. The film has so much heart and will appeal to audiences of all ages.
On paper, Wall-E is a horrible idea. Will children sit through a movie where the first half features almost no dialogue? Will audiences believe that a robot can fall in love? Yup. Wall-E is a masterpiece with one of the most touching love stories ever seen on screen. It is beautifully animated and even has a message about our world and lifestyle. Wall-E is absolutely genius and is one of the best animated movies of all time.
Where will Cars 2 rank amongst these 11 great films? Are you even going to see Cars 2? I don’t plan to but I may find myself there eventually. I am far more excited for whatever Pixar is doing next.