The Top Movies by Pixar

Pixar is hailed as the one studio that moves animation to new boundaries. Not only on a technological level but also and foremost on a storytelling level. Where other studios pat themselves on their shoulders for shoving yet again exactly the same message of friendship and family down our throat with slight variations in the plot and animal characters (sparkled with yet another 40,000 pop culture references I might add), Pixar goes beyond that.

But how good are the various Pixar movies really? Sure, they beat the crap out of almost every other 3D animated movie out there but that’s telling nothing in terms of their true quality. So here is yet another list of the Top Pixar Movies in pure madmind style.

I’m sure this list might cause some disagreement and I’m fully prepared for it. So which Pixar movies are your favorites and how would you order them? Let the discussion begin…

11. Cars

Cars is the biggest dud Pixar ever produced. The premise of talking cars with eyes instead of windows alone is ridiculous. Even Pixar couldn’t make a good movie out of that premise, as you can almost feel how the creators hadn’t a clue whatsoever of how to tell a touching story with cars. So they relied on a plot which is so full of clichés you think it’s not made by Pixar.

10. A Bug’s Life

1998. DreamWorks vs. Pixar. Two movies one world: ants. It doesn’t really matter who had the idea first because both movies are not worth mentioning. Sure, A Bug’s Life has its funny moments and a nice cast of misfits but the message is as cliché and shallow as it can get. Having ants fight for themselves also doesn’t provoke that many emotions because… they’re ants. At least DreamWorks had the nice twist of actually presenting an anthill as a totalitarian society.

9. Up

The beginning of Up is well made and poignant; there’s no doubt about it. But as soon as the house drops onto land again (after a far too short voyage in the sky I might add), the story quality takes a massive dive.  What’s worse than that is the fact that the second half doesn’t fit at all to the first half. You cannot have talking animals in a movie that establishes itself as the most realistic and most grounded Pixar movie ever.

8. Toy Story 2

Some say that Toy Story 2 is even better than the first incarnation. I disagree. Despite having some poignant moments and some good humor, the overall plot about Woody being stolen doesn’t come close to the first one. There was no real twist and also no real danger. Toy Story 2 also suffers from the same problem any sequel suffers from: the novelty wore off.

7. Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo is a big adventure movie, possible the one with the longest journey ever of a Pixar movie (Up doesn’t count because that journey took only fifteen minutes). Despite the interesting premise, setting and its bravery for showing death and sadness Finding Nemo never caught me on the level as it did with others. It’s a good movie but not one of the best from Pixar.

6. Toy Story 3

Too many escapes and a plot that wastes some really good opportunities. Those are the main problems I have with Toy Story 3. Sure, Toy Story 3 to date has the most poignant scene ever in a Pixar flick but the rest of the plot falls flat in comparison, especially the subplot regarding the thrown away toys. And come on…one escape is okay, but two escapes are too much already. Having three escapes in a single movie screams “We had no other ideas” and “We needed some additional filler”.

5. Monsters Inc.

Monsters Inc. is not a perfect movie but I really like the premise, the fun and the world Pixar created which is interesting and unusual. Compared to the other Pixar movies I’d say that Monsters Inc. is the most lightweight in terms of poignancy, conflict and message. Monsters Inc. isn’t aiming for much more but that is actually a good thing. You don’t have to shove in some deep stuff to make a good movie. Sometimes less really is more.

4. Ratatoullie

Great premise, good characters while having enough fun throughout make Ratatoullie worthwhile to watch. What lifts Ratatoullie almost above every other Pixar movies is the fact that the creators didn’t sugarcoat everything which you see in so many animated movies. The life of a chef is hard as hell, as is the life of a rat. This goes especially for a rat (a common pest) trying to become a chef. You could say that realism is the main driving force of the plot (hiding the rat, trying to communicate with the rat and so on). The one thing I don’t like at all is the cliché ending with Remy being all “Hey, I’m cool”.

3. Toy Story

Out of all Toy Story incarnations the first one is the best. It has a nice charm to it and I love the twist that Buzz really believes he’s an intergalactic superhero. That twists adds a message and drama no sequel ever achieved. Toy Story also sports some subtle yet amazing feel of grandeur and mystery to everything. This is best represented by The Claw in the pizza diner. Add to that a bunch of lovable, eccentric characters as well as a fitting “villain” and you have a winner.

2. The Incredibles

Hands down, The Incredibles is simply awesome. I absolutely love the tale about superheroes that could do so much to help but are forbidden to do anything because of the destruction and mayhem they cause themselves. The frustrations lurking in every major character are present in almost every scene at the beginning and you can absolutely understand it. It’s not “I want to be…” but “I am, yet…” The action is cool, the 60s look is fantastic and Syndrome is a great villain doesn’t want to have some cliché world domination but wants to be loved and respected. Really, there’s not much to not like.

1. Wall-E

Wall-E is Pixar’s best movie for so many reasons it’s hard to count them all. Basically Pixar had one stroke of genius after another. The main characters are wonderfully characterized and have more flesh to them than most of their live action counterparts. Wall-E also proves that you can tell almost a full story without any dialogue whatsoever which makes everything just the more fantastic.  The background story of a completely garbaged world might sound cliché and way too moralist at first but the amazing sceneries Pixar created make up for everything. Although the second part doesn’t come quite that close to the first half, Wall-E still remains a movie to be seen and Pixar’s best.

Leave a reply