June 22, 2015

The Definitive Ranking of Pixar Movies

Warmly, but with absolutely no apologies to Kelly Lawler at USA Today who posted a totally different list with the same title, here's my ranking of the greatest (and least) of Pixar films. With an agreement that we can all lovingly disagree, your list will probably vary:
You're cute but your story is too heavy handed.
15. Wall-E
A preachy, mostly charmingless tale of two robots with only eyes for each other. The human race be damned. I'll take my Starbucks and my computer when I choose, thank you very much.

Oh no, there's some, ugh bugs, to work out of the story.
14. A Bug's Life
Even for an attraction that has to use film as its main medium to tell a story, I find this Animal Kingdom attraction based on this movie pretty terrific. But then, it's only 6 minutes at best. This film is boring, boring, boring. Had it not followed up Toy Story, it would have flopped.

I am woman. Hear me roar.
13. Brave
Beautiful scenery. Good main character but undeveloped secondary ones. Convoluted tale of feminism. Merida does win points for being a strong female in spite of some bad choices to accomplish her independence and make her point.

In my beautiful balloon.
12. Up
The powerful but depressing opening scenes give way to a tale of two odd friends. There is so much potential but it's wasted as the story becomes a fantasy filled with speaking dogs and an entirely unnecessary villain. Kudos for using an old man as a lead character.

 I see dead batteries.
11. Cars 2
Loses some points for a less than original script, but the cars are lovable, making it a great daddy and son Saturday matinee movie. Not sure if chapter three is even necessary. Out of gas?

That was it?!?
10. Inside Out
There was much potential for this to be a truly great film. But as I said a few posts earlier, the film just isn't much fun. So much for the second wave of Pixar greatness... at least for now.

Who needs a dog when you have Bullseye?
9.  Toy Story 2
Terrific storyline and characters we all know and love. Jessie's sour attitude is quite annoying, but Bullseye saves the day. Ride on cowboys!

Frat brothers.
8.  Monsters University
What's not to love here? Collage age Mike and Sully are just as much fun as their older selves. If there ever was a buddy movie with plots twists and turns we didn't expect, this is it. Not quite as good as the original but every bit as creative.

Buddy movie of a different kind.
7.  Cars
Is is Doc Hollywood in car form? Sure, but that storyline has been told for decades. Owen Wilson is terrific as the lead ego propelled racer who learns the lessons of true friendship. A winning film for those who don't care about being politcally correct. Bonus points for being the film that produced one of the best "lands" from Disney Imagineering since New Orleans Square at Disneyland

You've got a franchise in me.
6.  Toy Story
The first and perhaps the best loved. Buzz Lightyear is a revelation.   Optimistic and lighthearted with a good dose of nostalgia tossed in. The heartstrings don't get fully pulled until two sequels later, but boy, what a tug!

Ah, Paris!
5.  Ratatouille
One of my personal favorites. The story is unexpected, the main characters strong, and the atmosphere and musical score totally mesmerizing. If you've been to Paris, you understand. 

Could strong fathers be a key to Pixar's success?
4.  Finding Nemo
A strong loving father and a special needs son that both find their way home. You have to have a heart of stone to not like this film. Populated with an oceanful of great characters.

Who says you have to be young to be cool?
3.  The Incredibles
A Pixar film for adults that have survived (and thrived through) a midlife crisis. Discovering yourself and your partner amidst marriage drama, changing bodies, and the sometimes joyless responsibilities of being a parent. Sophisticated stuff for an animated film made enjoyable by a great plot line and dazzling environments. The perfect Pixar film for a series. Can't wait for the second one!

Is it just me or should this be a Disney roller coaster attraction?
2.  Monsters Inc.
Billy Crystal in the part he was designed for! Turning an old story on its head, Monsters Inc. creates a charming world all its own. One we are sad to leave when the time comes. 

It's ok- we've all grown up, Andy.
1.  Toy Story 3
By the time this film came out, the characters were beloved world over. The climax of the film is as gripping as anything Disney has ever done. It's at that moment we viewers realized these characters had a well earned place in our lives. The art of storytelling at its Pixar best.

(Art copyright Disney/Pixar.)


Len said...

Great list Mark! The only ranking/review you and I totally disagree upon is "Up". Thought the first 10 minutes of that Pixar flick was more powerful than some entire movies and TV seasons. Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading your rankings and comments. More please...maybe one for the Marvel movies?

Mark Taft said...

Oh Len, I agree with you there- but the rest of the film didn't live up to its great beginning as far as I am concerned.
I've been thinking a lot about the Marvel films, actually...