I often ask people I know to rank the Pixar movies. I find this to be a great way to access a person’s worth and intelligence. Just kidding. Well, not really… Anyhow, this has inspired me to rank all eleven Pixar films, which proved to be unbelievably difficult. It’s probably different, depending on my mood or the time of year, but overall I’d say this is my most accurate lineup.
11-Cars – Ugh. I actively dislike this film. The story is uninteresting (unless you’re a 5-year old boy), I don’t really give a shit about cars, and I just can’t get behind anything featuring the vocal “talents” of Larry the Cable Guy. Double “ugh”.
10-Ratatouille – Hmmpf. Don’t get me wrong, the animation here is beautiful. I just found the story of a rat in a kitchen to be a little boring. Not to mention the kid Remy was helping was distractingly gross and annoying. I know some people adore this film, but my main memory from watching was “when will this be over?”
9-A Bug’s Life – Completely unremarkable. I bought it, having never seen it, thinking “it’s Pixar! It’s gonna be awesome!”, and then I was so disappointed that I blew 20 bucks, knowing I’d never, ever watch it again. In a way, I feel bad for it: The follow-up to Toy Story was never gonna compare.
8-Up – I know, I know. The opening montage is heartbreakingly beautiful and had me in tears almost immediately, but the rest of the film is spent failing to live up to those first few minutes. I’m all for an original story, but the wild birds, balloons carrying a floating house around the world, a chubby little boy scout and a cranky old man . . . it was all a little too odd, and while a solid effort that many, MANY people worship, I just didn’t enjoy it the way I expected to.
7-Toy Story 3 – My least favorite of the Toy Story trilogy, which is not to say that I didn’t really love it, but just not as much as it’s predecessors. The achingly sad story was bittersweet, and I loved that it came full circle. It was magical to see all these characters again, and the daycare center scenes were funny, if not a tad scary. The real truth is this: I liked How To Train Your Dragon soooooooo much more than this, and I’ll never forgive Toy Story 3 for beating Toothless at the Oscars.
6-Toy Story 2 – A sequel worthy of the original. I’ll admit that I’ve always found Jessie to be majorly annoying (although the story of her getting abandoned while Sarah McLachlan sings is probably part of the reason I feel BAD FOR INANIMATE OBJECTS and don’t want to throw them away), but it was wonderful to see these characters after falling desperately in love with them in 1995 (holy SHIT I’m getting old). I haven’t seen this in years, and while reviewing a plot summary, I couldn’t even remember it. Which just proves that I loved the first one more than this.
Warning about the top 5 – I love all of these next films almost equally. Slots are subject to change without reason or notice. >:)
5-Wall-E – Oh my god, brilliant. Brilliant! What it says about society, and the Idiocracy-like future I’m quite certain our lazy, entitled, fat asses are heading towards is scary and spot-on. I’m surprised there really isn’t a chain of stores in America called “Buy ‘N Large.” There’s so much to love here, and when people tell me they found it to be “boring”, or they “just didn’t get it”, my stomach literally turns. The galactic animation is stunning, and Wall-E himself is quite possibly the cutest hunk of metal ever dreamed up.
4-The Incredibles – It’s in my top 5, but would hands DOWN be number one on the list of most underrated. I know virtually three people who have seen this. Which is a SHAME because it’s sharp, funny, original, and quite a load of fun. Craig T. Nelson has the perfect “dad” voice, and Jason Lee was great as the whiny, wanna-be superhero. This is like Spy Kids cross-bred with Despicable Me, if either of those were any good.
3-Toy Story – I’ll never forget seeing this – I was 14, and all I knew was we were going to see a kid’s movie. I didn’t expect to be destroyed emotionally (in a good way). I’m sure most people would put this at the top of the Pixar heap, and I’m fine with that. This was the first CGI feature-length animated film, and it changed and influenced everything that has come after. It was realistic, funny, made you feel like a kid, and Tom Hanks’ voice is one of the most comforting sounds known to mankind.
2-Monster’s Inc. – This might be the most unusual story, animation-wise, that I can think of, and when I found out a few months ago that a sequel is in the works, I actually started crying. The characters are marvelous – Sully, Mike Wazowski, Boo; vocal talents of Steve-freaking-Buscemi, John Goodman (who Nikki adores), and the born-with-a-voice-for-a-cartoon-character, Billy Crystal. I remember much being made of the animation quality; how every strand of Sully’s blue and green fur moved and gleamed. The scene where they’re flying through the stacks of doors was awe-inducing – I can only imagine what that would have been like in 3D. I’m so excited to see these beloved characters again and find out what they’re up to (especially Boo), I don’t really care what the plot for part 2 is.
1-Finding Nemo – Talk about sobbing your face off in a theater. The opening for this one is typical Disney all the way – guess what! You just lost a parent! Oh man, little Nemo, with his gimpy fin, and over-protective daddy, is immediately and completely heart-wrenching. The animation is lush and eye-popping; when this came out, people couldn’t stop talking about the gorgeous under-water shots. Nemo’s life changing adventure, featuring plenty of adorable characters along the way, gets me all verklempt, every time. This one gets my vote as the pinnacle of Pixar (for today, at least).