The Top Ten Pixar Movies

With the release of “Brave” this last weekend, Pixar Animation Studios has now released 13 animated films, and each of them have opened at #1 at the box office. A full six of them – almost half of their releases – have won the Academy Award for Best animated Feature, a feat that’s EXTRA impressive considering that 3 of the 13 were released prior to the category being added to the Oscars.

With a pedigree like that, there’s plenty of quality films to round out a top ten list. In fact, almost all of them would be worthy of inclusion. Let’s take a look at how the rankings shake out though shall, we? Click “Continue Reading” to check out my list of the Top Ten Pixar Movies.

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10) “Brave” 2012

Pixar’s entry into the “Princess” sub-genre. “Brave” ‘s Merida is head strong, opinionated and independent. When she’s offered in marriage to the sons of the clans of the kingdom, she runs off in search of a way to change her fate.

Though she faces challenges that feel like familiar ground, Merida is still a memorable character, and the movie is gorgeous, funny and full of genuine heart. _______________________________________________________________________________

9) Toy Story 2 (1999)

A more than worthy sequel to the original. “Toy Story 2″ continues the adventures of Woody, Buzz and the rest of Andy’s toys, while adding in newcomers to the fold in Jesse and Woody’s horse, Bullseye.

It’s a great animated action/adventure movie with tons of laughs and lots of soul. It may get a little lost between the greatness of chapters 1 and 3, but this is a fantastic movie as well. ______________________________________________________________________________

8) “Ratatouille” (2007)

The story of a Parisian rat who wishes to be a chef, and finds his way to doing so by developing a puppeteer-esque relationship with a busboy, who does the cooking as his proxy.

It’s a story about the power of chasing your dreams, the drive to create, and the power of believing in yourself. If a rat can become a top-chef, what else is possible? Winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

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7) “Monster’s Inc” (2001)

Characters don’t get more creative or colorful than this. Mike Wazowski and “Sully” Sullivan are blue-collar workers, just doing a job. Populating kids nightmares by being the monsters in the closet. Of course, when things go “wrong”, they find themselves opening their hearts.

Unique, original, inspired, emotional, funny… there’s an enormous amount of positive superlatives that can be brought in to play here. “Monsters, Inc.” deserves ‘em all. ____________________________________________________________________________________

6) “The Incredibles” (2004)

Pixar’s take on the Superhero genre, except that it’s really an examination of the family dynamic. The Incredibles fight together, but more importantly they fight FOR each other. Along the way, each of them learns their own true value within the unit, and within the family.

Action packed and family friendly, “The Incredibles” won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

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5) “Finding Nemo” (2003)

A “lost child” is a fear all parents can relate to… even if it’s a fish. “Finding Nemo” took this primal story and set it under the sea, which gave them the opportunity to use fanciful aquatic characters and a gorgeous underwater setting.

Massive sharks, stoner turtles, forgetful friends, and a slightly crazy menagerie of fish tank dwellers make “Finding Nemo” a remarkable movie. Winner of Best Animated Feature.

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4) “Toy Story 3″ (2010)

The incredible conclusion (for now) of the “Toy Story” saga. A jail break film parody for most of its runtime, “Toy Story 3″ shifts gears at the end and delivers a poignant moment about childhood attachments, and growing up.

“Toy Story 3″ parlays the character attachments built in the first two films into an incredibly emotional ending for the trilogy. Best Animated Feature winner.

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3) “Up” (2009)

A truly rare gem of the animated genre, “Up” focuses on a geriatric protagonist and focuses not only on his quest, but on how his outlook on life changes.

It’s got all of the humor, action and cute characters you’d expect from a kid’s movie, but it also has a message about living life with an open heart regardless of how old you are. An exceptional movie in every way. Winner of the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, also nominated for Best Picture.

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2) “Wall*E” (2008)

A bold, unique movie that features long stretches with little or no dialogue, and characters that communicate via body language. In addition to creating sweet, robotic characters, Pixar gets to explore the beauty of space.

Strong environmental overtones, but at its heart it’s about finding love, no matter what you are. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

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1) “Toy Story” (1995)

Earning massive credit for being a pioneering, influential film in the realm of computer animation, and launching not only a great franchise, but a great Studio – “Toy Story” is still my number one.

With an incredible voice cast, loveable characters, and a great original song by Randy Newman, “Toy Story” is a legendary movie. It changed the very fabric of animation in movies, while also giving us the unforgettable duo of Woody and Buzz Lightyear. “To infinity… and beyond!”

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Well, there you have it everyone.

My ranking of the ten best Pixar movies.

What do YOU think? Wish you could shuffle the order? Miffed that “Cars” didn’t make the cut? Feel that “Toy Story 3″ is better than “Toy Story”? Let me hear it! :D

What do YOU think?

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148 thoughts on “The Top Ten Pixar Movies

  1. I’m just not that huge a fan of Animated movies, I guess. I mean, I’ve seen some of those, not all though, and I flat out loved Toy Story and The Incredibles, but really none of the others are on any top ten list of mine. I mean, I looked up the Pixar list and there are only 13 films listed there. Having a top ten subset of a set of 13 is a bit broad, isn’t it? It would sort of be like saying what are you top 5 favorite numbers between 0-6? ;)

    Anyway, my list (of the ones I’ve seen)

    1. Toy Story
    2. The Incredibles
    3. Monsters Inc
    4. Wall-E
    5. Up
    .
    .
    .
    13. Cars … (I really only watched the first 5 minutes then switched to something else.)

    • “Having a top ten subset of a set of 13 is a bit broad, isn’t it?”

      [Bluto Blutarski belch]

      Why not?!

      [/Blutarsky]
      :D Didnt slow down the conversation any apparently. LOL. So, there’s that….

      Meanwhile, I thought you were a big Yellow Submarine fan. No? Is that just cause of the Beatles? Animation is great, to me. There’s an added level of art in the art.

      • I was raised on Yellow Submarine. It’s got a very special place for me that is entirely different from the medium. Generally I dont go see every animated film that comes out though. Not that I automatically dislike them, I just prefer live action, and live actors, and real camera work, and lighting and editing and… y’know, the crafts of film making. Animation is just… I dunno, less organic to me, especially now that so much is cgi. I still prefer an old Disney cell animation look to the cgi 3d (even though, or maybe because, I’ve done some work in that area myself).

        Anyway, there are some really fine animated movies that I’ll wind up hating just because of the look (Like the Incredible Mr. Fox), and there are some crappy looking animated moves that I’ll quite like because they’re really interesting (like Wizards and American Pop)

        It’s more content dependent than medium for me.

  2. Personally, I prefer Toy Story 2 to the original. But they’re both great.

    For me, order is arbitrary. And putting together a top 10 would be fruitless, since I regularly flip my #1 between Up and Ratatouille depending on the mood I’m in. (Really.) It’s hard to quantify. Amazingly, I would probably leave the third TS film off– it’s just a rehash of 2, even if it is quite good in its own right.

    But I respect putting Brave on their at all. Considering some of the response the movie has gotten, that’s ballsy.

    I’d probably have to say,

    10) A Bug’s Life
    9) The Incredibles
    8) Brave
    7) Finding Nemo
    6) Monster’s, Inc
    5) Toy Story
    4) Wall-E
    3) Toy Story 2
    2)/1) Up/Ratatouille

    • Not tooo ballsy with the Brave thing

      I mean, it basically boiled down to Brave vs Cars vs a Bugs Life. Cars is batting .500 today at best. Some people are loving it, some are kicking it around… so, I think its the right choice. At the end of the day, I just think Brave is the better movie.

      Meanwhile, WOW. Another Toy Story 2 vote. Definitely going to be the next debate topic in a couple of weeks, no doubt!

      And I remembered you were a big fan of Ratatouille from your top ten list. :D Wondered if you’d give me grief for having it so low, actually.

      • I think I can explain the Toy Story 2 love … especially from my end. I think adults really embrace it because it’s about growing old and letting go of your dreams and ambitions, i.e. mid-life crisis. Woody can go to Japan and finally be a big star with potential that he had not dreamed of before… or he can let that all go and stay behind with his family (Andy and the other toys).

        My main problem with the first is that I personally have a hard time reconciling with the other toys after they all basically turn their backs on Woody after the hot new toy comes in. I mean, didn’t they know him for far longer than Buzz? What a bunch of punks, kicking him off the moving van and everything. You owe them nothing, Woody!

        And while I liked the third is kinda treading on the unrealistic… by which I mean would a college aged Andy really take his Woody doll along with him to a dorm? That’s … kinda weird. I know I had Transformers and Todd McFarlane figurines on my shelves, but those are at least partially aimed at the adult crowd. I wouldn’t be bringing a My Buddy or a Care Bear to college.

        Also, I’d already seen Jim Henson’s Christmas Toy and The Brave Little Toaster, so Toy Storys 1 & 3 felt like they were treading on familiar (and superior) ground already. Toy Story 2, though, felt like a refreshing new story.

      • Well… I am convinced. Santo, you have full permission to copy/paste this when I open the battle of the Toy Storys up in a couple of weeks here. LOL

        I still love one. And Three has that ending. I mean, wow. I love both of those.

        But I may have underestimated 2. I’m telling you. Not that I ever thought it was bad in any way, I just didnt realize the love was so strong out there!

    • No, definitely not nostalgia… that film also deserves credit for starting a revolution in animation, you know? Animated movies were never the same after it….

      Plus it’s a damn fine movie. Tons of fun, great characters. I love it.

  3. Enjoyed your list and would never grouse about Cars not being on it. I’d move Monsters Inc higher up on the list, probably swap it with Wall*E. (I can hear the gasp over there.) Not just because Wall*E is not a kids movie, but I didn’t love Wall*E as much as others. First half hour was delightful, then not. (It did make me go back and watch Silent Running, which I recommend if you love Wall*E) Up also is not a kids movie, though I did love it. Generally adults loved it and kids didn’t in my experience.

    I know success as a kids film is not the criteria you are necessarily judging on, but I feel like I have to ding them on the list on those terms because I want to think Pixar was going for family films in these cases and missed with the kids. Just my opinion.

    Monsters Inc to me is perfect in all respects. Great story, great world they set up with rules, etc. and impeccable characters and balance of emotion and comedy. It’s probably on my top ten list of films generally. And yes, I agree with your order of the toy story’s and think the trilogy itself is an amazing achievement.

    • You know, Jan? One of the really surprising things I’ve learned through this post is just how many people think Wall*E is overrated, overhyped, what have you… So, I might have gasped earlier, but I think now I’ve come to realize that a lot of people didnt latch on to it.

      How they work for Kids isnt my main criteria, no, but I can see knocking a movie down the rungs because it works better for adults than kids because arguably, kids are the target audience… there’s a point to be had there. I think I choose to look at them as movies that can appeal to everyone, so they should be judged that way. I mean, you’re right, probably on those (Up & WallE) those two wouldnt be the ones the little ones would choose over, say Cars or something more kid friendly, but I still think they do work for kids, just probably more for adults, like you say.

      Monster’s Inc is a great flick. It made me sad to put it so low, cause I love it a lot too! Its just that this list is STACKED. Pixar has a loaded resume! It’s a tough, tough deck to shuffle.

      • Very true. It’s a supremely high grade list. Some people are always going to put rubies higher than emeralds, ya know?

        Interesting about Wall*E – and fyi, the word on the kid-street is that the trailer for Brave does not sell it well. Most kids in my world are lukewarm on seeing it. Still, with the summer heat and dearth of other kids movies at the moment, my daughter will be going soon and I’m sure it will be top notch entertainment.

      • LOL!!! That’s a great phrasing! I never heard that about putting rubies higher than emeralds, I think that’s totally apt here.

        My 5 yr old Niece went and saw Brave twice. She liked it a lot. Her favorite part was when “everybody showed their butts” LOL. There’s one scene where there’s some animated butt cheek happening, and she thought that was just the greatest thing ever. She liked the triplets too though. :D

        Hope your daughter enjoys as much as she did.

      • I’m an emerald girl myself, in case anyone asks. ;-)
        Thanks, I bet she will like it, glad to hear there is animated butt cheek bizness. She’ll like that.

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