All Pixar Movies Ranked
Here are our rankings of the Pixar films!
20. Cars 2
Cars 2 is not a bad movie. It's just not a good Pixar movie. This unnecessary sequel is more of a spin-off than anything else. It all came from John Lassetter's desire to make a spy film, and since Cars was his dream project, he made the sequel into his espionage movie. Not a bad idea, like I said not even a bad movie, there's plenty of exciting action and humor, but the heart of the original isn't there even though there's still an important lesson learned. Anyone can have a blast watching this movie, but only if you're looking for an action-driven plot and some cheap laughs. You won't find an emotional follow-up to the great original premise here.
19. Monsters University
Pixar's first attempt at a prequel is a failure overall. While there's a good story deep down and some good characters here, it's all muddled by a boring plot and too many silly moments. The film sets up Monsters, Inc. well, but any prequel can do that. It features a good backstory on how Mike and Sully first met, but doesn't do much beyond that. There are some fun monster designs here though and some real scares towards the end. Again, it isn't a complete failure, but it is completely unnecessary.
18. Finding Dory
A recent attempt at a sequel, Finding Dory has a really great story, but again it's an unnecessary one. She found her family at the end of Finding Nemo, so this movie somewhat negates that ending. Also, it can feel too similar to that first film at times. There are plenty of laughs though, and some excellent new characters including the septopus Hank. A new setting helps it stand out a bit, and it isn't a poorly made film, it's just not quite up to the standard of the first movie.
17. Cars 3
The latest film from the animation studio is one of it's best sequels yet. Their Cars series is now back on track with a story that puts it's focus back on Lightning McQueen as his racing days come to an end. It's a movie more suited for adults, but kids will get a kick out of it too. They use each character well and only introduce new ones who are key to the plot. This one's a great closer to the trilogy.
16. Inside Out
Inside Out is a very imaginative and original idea, and that's what Pixar does best. It features an excellent voice cast and might be the most unique looking Pixar film to date. This one certainly has an emotional story and one that can help children understand and control their emotions. It's a fun movie, but one that doesn't quite hold a child's attention all that well. I appreciate that they took their time with the story and didn't rely on action, but there needed to be a few more thrills to satisfy a general audience.
15. Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo is a really fun movie with a strong emotional core. From the terrifying opening sequence to the joyful ending, it has everything anyone could ask for in the great family film. However, there are some scene that play out too long and jokes that overstay their welcome. However, characters like Marlin, Dory, and Crush help make all of that easier to overlook. Memorable dialogue and an excellent musical score help make this a solid movie.
14. Monsters, Inc.
What really makes Monsters, Inc. great is the fact that after this world is set up, the movie quickly becomes a chase film in which characters uncover a massive conspiracy. It brings to mind classic paranoid political thrillers like Three Days of the Condor or Enemy of the State. Billy Crystal and John Goodman are one of the best on-screen pairings ever and all of the magnificent acting work is done through their voices. Some bad dialogue and initial slow pace hurt the movie, but a great closing song and the emotionally crushing ending make this an unforgettable adventure.
Originally titled The Bear and the Bow, Brave boasts a bizarre story, but executes it very well. The unusual Scottish setting, music, and voice work set this one further apart and add to this captivating film. Mother and daughter both learn valuable lessons here and also gain a deeper understanding of one another and their relationship is strengthened for it. It's a darker film than most, delivering some real thrills and chills. This is one of the more underrated films in the Pixar canon and deserves a second look.
Brad Bird's second outing as a Pixar director is certainly one of the most conflicting ideas in movie history: A rat who can cook. The last thing anyone wants in the kitchen is a rat, but Remy happens to be the one who likes to cook, is really good at it, and lives in Paris which is what many consider chef central. Patton Oswald deserves a lot more credit for his work as the lead in this movie as does Lou Romano as Alfrdo Linguini. Both work off each other so well and drive this story forward. Food looks excellent on film and there's no exception made for the animation here. A peculiar story delivered through excellent writing and acting makes this entire film a delight.
The first Cars film is still the greatest. Going on a journey with hotshot race-car Lightning McQueen, the filmmakers make the audience want him to succeed but also change his ways. The characters are so much fun and each of them bring out something in McQueen he didn't know was there. Paul Newman's performance as Doc Hudson is one of the best in any Pixar film as he brings wisdom, tough-love, and pathos to the old racer. Every scene is there for a reason, every piece of music is emotional, and the scenery is breathtaking.
10. The Good Dinosaur
Perhaps the most underrated, overlooked, and unfairly-criticized films in Pixars library, The Good Dinosaur is a gem. Undersold by the trailers and marketing material, the film features the most amazing visuals of any Pixar film, and maybe any animated movie ever, as well as an emotional, engaging story. As we travel with Arlo and Spot we learn about their pasts and they share in an adventure of survival and fun meeting plenty of great characters along the way. This is Pixar's unconventional western, and it's a fine western at that.
9. Toy Story 2
Not just a good Pixar sequel, Toy Story 2 is a one of the best sequels ever made. It follows the story of the original picking up a few years later with a totally new plot that doesn't re-tread old ground. The new characters are wonderful and Jessie's backstory alone makes audiences weep, but returning characters also get a lot of new stuff to do as we learn more about them and their relationships to one another develop further. This one expands the world while also making it more intimate. It's truly The Empire Strikes Back of animated sequels.
8. Incredibles 2
Another one of the best sequels from the studio is Incredibles 2. With Brad Bird returning to write and direct, this film delivers an action-packed comedy with family drama at the center of it all. It's amazing how the movie makes you feel like you're watching a a real family dealing with real issues and that relatability is a big part of why it works so well. The action sequences are bigger and better than the first which is an awesome achievement, but this voice cast brings the heart and humor to the visual splendor of this fantastical world the animators have created. Also, this move features Michael Giacchino's best score ever which adds weight to every scene. The movie has something to say about our tech-savy world and modern family dynamics that acts as a cautionary tale in our modern world.
7. Toy Story
The studios' first movie, Toy Story keeps it's focus on the characters and, yes, the story. It's great story too, written extremely well by Joss Whedon (among others) we follow Woody and Buzz as they vie for the affections of their owner Andy. The dialogue, action, and character motivations, all come together forming a cohesive story that is completely timeless as is it's musical score. This one has it all including really funny moments, scary ones, and dramatic scenes all of which push the characters and story towards the outstanding ending.
If you want proof that Pixar is one of the most innovative film studios around, look no further than this 2009 Best Picture nominee. Joining Carl Fredrickson, and his surrogate family Russell the Wilderness Explorer, Dug the dog, and Kevin the exotic bird, we go on an adventure like no other to find his home away from home and encounter his former childhood hero who's not all he's cracked up to be. It's hilarious, heartfelt, and harrowing from the incredible opening scene to the exhilarating finale. You really can't ask for a more satisfying film emotionally that speaks to all ages so deeply.
An astonishingly beautiful masterwork from the best animation studio ever, Coco brings the Day of the Dead to life. The story is centered on a superstitious family in Mexico who have banned music after a past tragedy, but whose youngest member is a naturally talented guitarist. We follow the child prodigy Miguel as he goes on an adventure through the land of the dead as he searches for his grandfather to get back to the land of the living. The animation is obviously breathtaking, the story is totally original, and the musical score and all of the original songs are unforgettable. It's a surprisingly emotional journey that's centered on heritage, acceptance, forgiveness, and moving forward.
4. a bug's life
This is an astonishingly well-made movie from top to bottom. An accomplished cast, fantastic music, and a solid script make this a must-see. The film is essentially a remake of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, but like The Magnificent Seven before it, Pixar's version takes the story in a new direction with different characters bringing a lot of original ideas to the old tale of misfits joining together to help others in need. The animation still holds up here, and seeing the world from an ant's perspective is astonishing. A simple story on the surface, it has a strong political message hidden underneath which we would all do well to pay attention to.
3. The Incredibles
One of the best superhero movies of all time isn't based on an existing comic book at all. It came from the mind of genius film-maker Brad Bird who made a movie about a family dealing with real issues and also happen to have super-powers. There's plenty of action and some astounding set pieces with killer giant robots in the film, but the best moments are the ones that feature the family together trying to live a normal life. They deal with some real adult issues here, but it's perfectly suited to children too. The world Bird creates is interesting and surprisingly realistic which makes it all the more believable and gives the audience a deeper connection to the characters. A cool score, awesome voice acting, and superb writing bring this near the top of Pixar's best movies list.
2. Toy Story 3
Closing the Toy Story trilogy, the final installment makes for one of the most emotional and unique films so far. It's certainly one of the best trilogy closers ever made because it brings these character's journeys to a satisfying end. Borrowing from The Great Escape and other prison film classics, this one weaves an entertaining escape plot into the individual characters development seamlessly. The score, acting, writing, and jaw dropping animated visuals all are perfect. This is a flawless movie from beginning to end.
The best Pixar film is it's most unique, character-driven, funny, and emotional. Use of live-action footage helps makes it more real while the futuristic, sci-fi setting sets it apart. As a character, WALL-E is the most challenging because he doesn't really speak and must therefore emote through the animation of his little robot body. His compassionate, romantic heart and interest in humanity is what makes him different from his fellow bots, such as his counterpart EVE, also an irreplaceable character since she is the reason he goes on this dangerous and hilarious adventure. EVE also goes through a lot of changes as WALL-E teaches her about emotion and she finds that following your heart is sometimes more important than obeying your directive. Every moment is emotional and captivating thanks to the musical score which is one of the best out there. Also, humanity's potential future is put on full display here in this very real cautionary tale. The film is about finding your place, determination, and self-sacrifice, and those are themes that will always ring true.