The 10 Best Pixar Films To Date

Brad Bird’s Incredibles 2 arrives in the US this weekend, ushering in a thrilling new era of features for the Disney:Pixar animation studio. But what are the standouts in their two decades of output? How should they be ranked? I have taken the responsibility of doing so, right now…

10. UP

Up is primarily an experience movie; be it the experience of sobbing your way through its heartbreaking opening or marvelling at the (then-revolutionary) use of 3D for the mostly unexceptional remainder of the running time. Up has too many dogs and too little substance but it’s a true Blank Check project only Pixar could’ve gotten off the ground.

9. MONSTERS, INC.

Monsters, Inc. plays like a Nora Ephron comedy on acid: Billy Crystal and John Goodman forced to care for a little girl after a bureaucratic blunder. Except everyone’s a colourful monster. Not as highly rewatchable for those who missed its initial release, but this movie has charm up the wazoo.

8. COCO

A stunning surprise last year, Coco is as #woke to showcasing Mexican culture in the purest possible light as it is a #tearjerker. A young boy, Miguel, visits the Land of the Dead and gets wrapped up in musical skeletal antics. Joyful and deserving of revisits I haven’t yet rewarded it.

7. TOY STORY

The most suburban Pixar joint, Toy Story introduces some of modern cinema’s most iconic characters while establishing the specific Pixarian tone of bemused sincerity that has served them so well for 19 features since.

6. RATATOUILLE

Hijacked and morphed into an unfiltered Brad Bird project, Ratatouille is (at 1h 50m) bigger, better and richer with nuance than you remember. Remy the overambitious rat (Brad Bird) sneaks into a successful restaurant that’s lost some of its sparkle (Disney Animation Studios) and turns the world upside down with his incredible creations. Bizarre and brilliant.

5. TOY STORY 3

The peak of Sad Pixar. As Andy prepares to move away to college, our toys confront mortality and solitude with the help of Lotsa’ Huggin’ Bear and a baby doll with one eye. Horrifying and touching in equal measure.

4. FINDING NEMO

Few films embody their Thomas Newman scores like Finding Nemo, the story of a single father hunting his kidnapped child with the help of an amnesiac female drug addict. Finding Nemo is bursting with life.

3. WALL-E

Wall-E opens with a song from Hello, Dolly and only gets better. The dialogue-free first act is a masterpiece all on its own, the Humans Are Doomed To Eternal Laziness latter half a phenomenal, sophisticated satire. Not to mention the greatest love story Pixar have ever told.

2. INSIDE OUT

It’s almost laughable that Inside Out isn’t the best movie Pixar have made; it’s a perfect film on every level. We meet Riley, a frustrated pre-teen moving away from home. Then we meet the team of personified emotions controlling her from within, and we’re treated to a 90-minute psychology lesson that incorporates the meaning of melancholy, one’s abandonment of innocence, the subconscious, heartbreak, regret and Bing-Bong — a strong contender for Pixar’s greatest character, were it not for a certain abnormally-short fashion designer in…

1. THE INCREDIBLES

Yeah, it’s not really a fair contest when The Incredibles is a contender. At once the best superhero movie, the best family comedy and the best Cold War thriller ever made, Brad Bird’s 2004 tour de force is possibly the best entertaining film the world will ever see. Edna Mode. Syndrome. Kronos. Jack-Jack. Its ingenious structure and timing laid the groundwork for a generation of inferior comic-book entertainment. And in a few weeks (or this weekend for you lucky Yanks), we get see Bird try it all again.