List: 15 Years of Pixar

In a little bit over two months, Pixar will release their highly-anticipated 11th feature film, Toy Story 3, taking them back to the characters that started it all. I will celebrate the release of that movie (my most anticipated movie of the year, and easily the movie I’ve anticipated the most in my life) here in form of a trip down memory lane relating to the previous two movies. But for now, I thought it is the perfect time to rank the 10 films that Pixar has released so far.

As I said on my post about what Pixar should do about its future, I stated that the studio is the best animation studio currently working. Every release has been excellent, with one notable exception. What makes them stand appart from other studios like Dreamworks and Blue Sky is that the most important thing to them is the story and the vision of the director. Unless either one of those things is not good, they will not give the project the green light. And the greatness of this process of approval is shown in the final product. Every single movie from them (even the weaker one) has been critically acclaimed, has gotten at least one Oscar nomination, and have become box office hits. Plus, they capture my imagination every time I watch them. Now they are opening their doors to more filmmakers, and I can’t wait to see where Pixar goes from here.

So now, I present my ranked list of the 10 films Pixar has released so far.

P.S. I know Pixar has been around more than 15 years, but it is the 15th anniversary of Toy Story.

10. Cars

Directed by John Lasseter

This is not a bad movie, but since it is way below the usual Pixar standard, people like to tear it apart. The movie’s biggest flaw is that the human factor is missing. It is just so hard to believe that an object we all ride in every day could have a personality, even in a world that is only inhabited by cars. Toys we can believe in because not only we are seeing their attachment to owner, but as kids we gave life to our own toys through our imagination. With that said, Cars is an entertaining movie, and had it been a Dreamworks movie, it would have received much more praise.

9. A Bug’s Life

Directed by John Lasseter

A Bug’s Life is also missing the human factor, but it makes up for it by letting bugs be bugs. Yes, some of them are circus performers, but some of us grew up watching TV shows where there were ant or flea circus, so that is not far from he realms of imagination. The problem here is that the story is rather simple, and the voice performances are among the weakest in Pixar history. With that said, I cannot help but love the battle in the end, which makes the movie worth while.

8. Monsters, Inc.

Directed by Pete Docter

A tale of corporate corruption wrapped around the premise of monsters scaring children only to get electric power for their world. The story is really good, and the movie is really enjoyable, but since its release the kind of stories that Pixar tells have become more mature, and even the final product have a grown-up feel about them. This even has a more childish feel to it than the Toy Story movies, so that’s why it is so low on the list, but I do love it.

7. Up

Directed by Pete Docter

2009 was an excellent year for animation, and this represented all of animation in the Best Picture race at the Oscars. Althought it was only my third favorite animated movie of the year, it was still a worthy Best Picture nominee, becoming the second movie of its kind to achieve the feat, and the first for the studio, which was overdue. The semi-real setting makes this the quirkiest movie of the Pixar canon, and it is one of their funniest. Squirrel!

6. The Incredibles

Directed by Brad Bird

This tale of superheroes forced to go into hiding and their lives after the fact is just about everything that the Fantastic Four movies and Zack Snyder’s Watchmen wanted to be (I do love the latter though). The voice performances are fantastic, the action is thrilling, and the story is complex and resonant. A teeny-tiny step down for Brad Bird after The Iron Giant, but it is still a movie that lives up to its name.

5. Finding Nemo

Directed by Andrew Stanton

The final moments of these movie always get me. Very few other father-son movies have been done so well, and it helps that the performances from everyone, from Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeners to Andrew Stanton and Geofrey Rush were great. In fact, I still believe that DeGeneres deserved to get a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her work here.

4. Toy Story

Directed by John Lasseter

A couple of years ago I watched this while in a bad mood. The result was that I thought that this movie had not aged well at all. A recent re watch confirmed that the animation has not aged well, but what matters remains as strong as ever. The story still grabbed me, and the performances from the entire cast (quite possibly the best cast for an animated movie ever) are pitch perfect.

3. Toy Story 2

Directed by John Lasseter

The sequel surpasses the original in just about every department. The story is darker and more mature, the animation evolved a lot since the release of the original film, and the already great cast grew more. The result was one one the finest movies that has been produces in the medium of animation. Plus, it is way funnier than the original, and that is what gives it the edge.

2. Ratatouille

Directed by Brad Bird

Brad Bird takes on the good ol’  “you can be whatever you want to be” theme, and makes it fresh once again. Only he could have make a movie about a rat that wants to be a chef be as cute and awesome as this. There is also the work/personal relationship between Linguini and Colette to please those who wanted to watch this during a date. Plus there are also all those daddy issues at work. What makes this so good is the fresh take on the story, the dialogue, and how the scenes are set up (Anton Ego’s flashback may just be the best scene in any Pixar movie). And, for me this is the most aesthetically pleasing animated movie, well, ever.

1. WALL•E

Directed by Andrew Stanton

By far Pixar’s most ambitious movie to date, and it delivers. With the first 45 minutes being  a nearly silent pseudo-homage to Charlie Chaplin, Andrew Stanton showed his maturity as a film maker. And Pixar showed that they would not succumb to dumbing down the movie to please the audience by allowing those 45 minutes to stay in the movie and by not changing the message of the movie. From there, it went where it had to go. It became an adventure movie filled with thrilling chases and some of the most heart-breaking moments I have ever seen. Plus, it had the most likable character in a long time. This is why I believe that WALL-E is the best movie the studio has produced so far.

That’s how I rank Pixar’s out put so far. Share your oppinions in the comments section.

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