Before Inside Out opens on Friday and adds another film to the list, join me in the definitive rankings of the 14 currently released Pixar films.
Pixar’s Films, in Order of Quality (Objective), Worst to Best
14.) Cars 2
13.) Monsters University
12.) A Bug’s Life
7.) Monsters, Inc.
6.) Finding Nemo
5.) Toy Story
4.) Toy Story 3
3.) The Incredibles
1.) Toy Story 2
Pixar’s Films, in Order of Preference (Subjective), Least to Most Favorite
14.) Cars 2- The only truly bad Pixar film. And it is truly, truly bad.
13.) Brave- Feels more Disney than Pixar. It isn’t bad but I never buy the relationships as much as the film needs me to for it to work.
12.) Monsters University- Didn’t bring enough to the table to justify its existence. Probably being a little harsh given how much I love Monsters, Inc, but there you go.
11.) Ratatouille- Beautiful to look at but its critique of criticism always feels a bit…curdled to me.
10.) A Bug’s Life- Sweet but slight.
9.) Cars- Still a delightful surprise. And Paul Newman as a car is kind of perfect, right?
8.) Up- As covered earlier, the opening is incredible and the rest of the movie never quite touches it. Nonetheless, a lot of fun.
7.) Toy Story- It set the stage for the rest of the Stories, obviously, and for Pixar itself. It seems almost rude to place it this low, but that’s more reflective of how good the other movies are than a dismissal of this one.
6.) Finding Nemo- I think I like it even more now that I am a parent myself. But really, Ellen DeGeneres’ forgetful fish is what you cannot help but notice.
5.) Toy Story 3- The Jacob’s Ladder of Pixar films for most of its running time, it is the scariest thing Pixar has made. The end is a triumph of the bittersweet and aches with all the weight and excitement of growing up.
4.) WALL-E- Only a Pixar movie could present you with such a bleak future for humanity and earth and still leave you feeling great as credits role. Sweet, generous, and subversively dark.
3.) The Incredibles- A great super hero movie. A great family drama movie. It’s a cliché to say, but I will say it anyway: this is how a Fantastic Four movie should feel.
2.) Toy Story 2- The perfect mix of pathos and humor. All 3 “Stories” are achievements, but this one has to be top dog.
1.) Monsters, Inc.- I love so much about this movie. The aesthetics of the credits sequences, the relationship between Sully and Boo, the “feel” of the world the monsters live in…it all connects with me. The environmental message might be a bit heavy handed, but my liberalism means I’m able to forgive that fairly easily.