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The definitive Pixar ranking

#22: “Cars 2”

Why? Why does this exist? What studio executive saw the first Cars and thought “this would work as a great James Bond parody?” It’s so hard to believe that Pixar made this. It feels like an Illumination movie, and that is the greatest criticism I can give any movie.

Rating: Hard 1

#21: “The Good Dinosaur”

This is one of the blandest movies I’ve ever laid eyes upon. There are maybe one to two scenes that have any kind of heart or soul put into them, but overall, this entire movie blends together.

Rating: Light 2

#20: “Brave”

Brave’s biggest flaw falls on Merida. She’s insufferable for the majority of the movie. The entire bear plot feels silly, and there isn’t much about this movie to like outside of a few good jokes and a couple of memorable characters.

Rating: Light 2

#19: “Cars 3”

Disregarding “Cars 2” (as everyone should), this is the true sequel to “Cars” And while some of the racing scenes have amazing spectacle to them, it’s not enough to cover up the bland characterization. At the end of the day, Lightning McQueen doesn’t work as a character, and adding another bland character like Cruz Ramirez on top of that doesn’t help.

Rating: Light 2

#18 “Incredibles 2”

“Wasted potential” are the two words that perfectly sum up this movie. “The Incredibles” is one of the greatest animated movies of all time, but, with what seems to be a common theme with most Pixar sequels, “Incredibles 2” doesn’t seem like a desire to continue the rest of the story but rather just a shameless cash grab.

Rating: Mid 2

#17: “A Bug’s Life”

While A Bug’s Life definitely has the early Pixar charm, the poorly aged animation and bland characters prevent this from being on the same level as “Toy Story” or “Monsters, Inc.” There are some funny moments, and Kevin Spacey knocks it out of the park as Hopper, but other than that, the movie fails to impress.

Rating: Hard 2

#16: Monsters University:

There are parts of Monsters University that are able to capture the magic of its predecessor. Mike Wasowski gets the all-star treatment in this movie, and so much development gets added to his character. Really, the movie works best when it’s just Mike and Sully interacting with each other, but other dull characters and boring set pieces prevent this movie from coming anywhere close to the original.

Rating: Light 3

#15: “Soul”

Soul is a movie that feels like it’s right on the verge of being a masterpiece. However, it’s too similar in concept to “Inside Out,” and the terrible pacing and bland characters prevent this film from reaching its full potential. The jazz score is amazing, and it really does have a terrific message about passion, but it’s not enough to save this movie from mediocrity.

Rating: Light 3

#14: “Cars”

The main problem with this movie is Lightning. Lightning is despicable for the majority of the movie, and even after his redemption, he’s still a pretty boring character. On top of that, the weird Shrek-Esque pop culture humor rarely works at all. But, despite all of that, there is still a lot of charm and just plain fun to be had in this movie. The final race is exhilarating, and characters like Guido, Luigi and Mater add much-needed life.

Rating: Light 3

#13: “Finding Dory”

Outside of the Toy Story sequels, “Finding Dory” feels like the one Pixar sequel that actually wanted to tell the next step in the story. There was clearly passion put into this movie. And between the great new characters and the emotional sucker punch of an ending, this has everything you could want in a sequel to “Finding Nemo.”

Rating: Mid 3

#12: “Up”

Up’s first ten minutes may be the greatest thing that Pixar has ever animated. It’s perfectly able to capture so many emotions within the ten-minute segment of Ellie and Carl growing old together. However, the rest of the movie is not able to live up to those first ten minutes. Yes, the rest of the movie is still a great adventure story, but nothing is able to hold a candle to the masterpiece of the opening act. Still, “Up” has so much heart to it, and its messages about grief and being able to move on are beautiful.

Rating: Hard 3

#11: “Toy Story”

“Toy Story” serves as the perfect first step for Pixar as a studio. The first thing that pops out is just how hilarious this movie is. The jokes come non-stop, and they never tire themselves out. Woody is a character that does bad things throughout the movie, yes, but still remains likable. All the interactions between him and Buzz start off hilarious but then grow to be heartwarming and profound. The animation hasn’t aged the best, but give this movie a break. It was made 25 years ago.

Rating: Hard 3

#10: “Toy Story 4”

“Toy Story 4” serves as a perfect epilogue to the Toy Story franchise. I was skeptical going into this movie that this was another rehash of a familiar franchise for Pixar to make money, but “Toy Story 4” actually builds upon its predecessors. Woody finally realizes that there is more to life than being a toy, and his final decision serves as a perfect ending to Pixar’s most iconic franchise. As long as they don’t make another one.

Rating: Hard 3

#9: “Inside Out”

“Inside Out” has so much creativity and originality it’s impossible to be bored watching this movie. Every single character has a distinct personality, and the two leads especially have great development and depth to them. It’s a great trip through the mind of a middle schooler and is able to accurately portray how tough that time can be in a kid’s life.

Rating: Hard 3

#8: “Wall-E”

Just like “Up,” “Wall-E” is a movie with an amazing first act. The dialogue-less first 20 minutes are a testament to visual storytelling, and we are able to figure out everything we need to know about Wall-E with nothing being spoken. The difference between “Up” and “Wall-E” is that the quality of Wall-E’s first act remains throughout the entire movie. There is so much charm to Wall-E’s character that it’s impossible not to love him or root for him on his quest to win Eve over. Everything from the “2001: A Space Odyssey” references to the weird dystopian future this movie presents to make this a joy to watch all the way through.

Rating Light: 4

#7: “Finding Nemo”

This movie is the perfect dissection of the father-son bond. Marlin isn’t a perfect father; he’s overprotective and refuses to let Nemo be in any kind of danger. But there is a clear reason why he is like this, and it’s a reason Nemo can’t fully comprehend. The adventure that Marlin and Dory have to find Nemo almost feels like an underwater odyssey. Every single character is memorable and, overall, “Finding Nemo” is one of Pixar’s best.

Rating: Light 4

#6: “Toy Story 3”

This is easily Pixar’s most emotional movie. The ending is such a punch to the gut it’s impossible not to feel some sense of sentimentalism watching Andy and Woody part from each other. On top of the incredible ending, Lotso is one of the best villains Pixar has ever crafted, and the movie also is an amazing heist/prison breakout movie.

Rating: Light 4

#5: “Monsters, Inc.”

This movie is filled to the brim with creativity. Whoever came up with the idea of monsters needing to scare kids to power their economy is a genius. It is also non-stop hilarious. Mike Wasowski is my favorite Pixar character ever, and Billy Crystal is able to make this character completely come to life. The father-daughter dynamic between Boo and Sully is the emotional crux of the movie, and it is crafted beautifully.

Rating: Light 4

For more analysis visit my full review:

#4: “Toy Story 2”

This movie is a perfect dissection of the character of Woody. It takes his biggest trait, his loyalty to Andy, and asks what would make him break that loyalty. It builds upon the themes of its original while simultaneously setting the stage for the movie that follows it. It is able to expand the world of Toy Story in new ways. In my eyes, this is an example of a perfect sequel.

Rating: Light 4

#3: “Coco”

Coco is an amazing ode to the power of both music and family. Miguel’s journey through the Land of the Dead is action-packed and visually stunning. Visually, this is the best Pixar film. The bright colors and amazing skeletal designs will keep this movie from ever aging. And the final refrain of “Remember Me” from Coco may be my favorite moment in all of Pixar’s discography.

Rating: Mid 4

#2: “The Incredibles”

The Incredibles not only serves as an amazing superhero story but a perfect dissection of the genre as a whole. It feels like the one Pixar movie that was written completely for adults. Its mature themes and messages about revenge and aging make this movie truly stand out from every other Pixar movie. Mr. Incredible is the most layered and complex character that Pixar has ever written, and he is perfectly contrasted by Syndrome. Overall, everything about this movie screams “masterpiece.”

Rating: Hard 4

#1: “Ratatouille”

“Ratatouille” is a movie about art. More specifically, it’s a movie about the spirit of the artist. Remy’s only desire is to cook, but the problem is that he is a rat. He just desires to create something for the world to enjoy, and he stops at nothing to achieve this dream. The amalgamation of this theme is the scene in which Ego eats Remy’s dish. It’s a perfect example of the effect that art can have on people, and it’s one of the greatest scenes in the history of cinema. Everything from the music to the characters to the animation comes together to form a movie that perfectly dissects the spirit of someone who will stop at nothing to create something beautiful.

Rating: 5


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