All The Pixar Movies RANKED

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One of the most prolific and acclaimed movie studios of the 21st Century, Pixar has been a powerhouse of the modern animation industry, with its groundbreaking visuals and emotionally moving plots touching viewers of all ages, all over the world. 23 years after their first feature, Pixar have made 20 feature films, but which is best? Here are all the Pixar movies RANKED.


20. Cars 2 (2011)

Easy choice here, as Cars 2 is the only Pixar movie that I’ve ever thought was really, truly bad.

Following the global hit that was the moving and equally enjoyable Cars, Pixar unfortunately churned out a dumb, boring blockbuster that barely disguised its intentions to sell as much merchandise as possible, with a whole heap of random new characters joining in second time round as Lightning McQueen and Mater travel around the world, while also getting caught up in a painful espionage story along the way.

Despite its A-list voice cast with a bunch of celebrity cameos, and admittedly impressive visuals (as is standard from Pixar), Cars 2 is a tedious and annoying watch, and the only time that Pixar have ever really jumped the shark.

Read a full review here.


19. Brave (2012)

Putting Brave right down here might prove a little unpopular, but I’ve always found it a film that’s as far from what Pixar really represents as can be.

Although it is an original property, and not a lazy sequel, it’s a desperately dull and uninspiring watch throughout, towing the Disney line further than any other Pixar movie with its formulaic princess story that never really brings out the emotional depth that the studio is often so brilliant at creating.

Once again, the animation is undoubtedly beautiful – especially that legendary arrow-splitting shot – but for me, there’s no Pixar movie out there that’s quite as underwhelming as Brave, which is far more a Disney film than it is true Pixar.

Read a full review here.


18. The Good Dinosaur (2015)

Yes, you forgot about The Good Dinosaur, didn’t you? The film that always seems to slip people’s minds when it comes to Pixar, it’s never held the same status as many other features from the studio.

An unfortunately simplistic and rather babyish entry from Pixar, The Good Dinosaur is a film that’s both an unsatisfying and often fairly boring watch, following a young Apatosaurus and a caveboy on an ‘epic’ journey across prehistoric Earth. With two less-than-interesting main characters, and a story that doesn’t really try all that hard to bring any more emotion or intrigue to the table beyond being a simple adventure, it’s a really rather forgettable film through and through.

The only exception to that is the film’s animation, which features some of the most jaw-dropping photorealistic landscapes and settings throughout. That’s annoyingly offset by two cartoonish characters travelling across the landscape, but there are moments when this film works beautifully as a simple showcase of what Pixar can do with its animation, leading me to believe that it would have been better off as a short than a feature.

Read a full review here.


17. Ratatouille (2007)

And if you weren’t happy with Brave being at 19, then I’m sure putting Ratatouille down in 17th won’t please you any more, but bear with me, because it’s not quite as incredible a film as many make out.

Although a pleasant and enjoyable film filled with gorgeous animation as ever, Ratatouille is another example of what a Pixar movie is like without real, deep emotion. It has heartwarming moments, of course, but aside from Remy’s journey to becoming a great chef, as well as restaurant critic Anton Ego’s moment of powerful nostalgia, there’s very little to Ratatouille to make it really stand out as a great of the Pixar canon.

It’s one of the few Pixar movies which I felt lacks in genuinely great comedy, and a story that doesn’t quite hit home in the way that a great Pixar film should, making it a bit of a bittersweet disappointment in my book.

Read a full review here.


16. Monsters University (2013)

A follow-up to one of the best animated films of all time, Monsters University is a disappointingly uninspiring sequel that marks Pixar at their lowest ebb of imaginative capacity.

While it is actually a rather enjoyable and easy-going film, with a good few pleasant references and callbacks to how the situation in the original film came to be, Monsters University lacks the stunning emotional power of its predecessor, while its almost excessively bright visuals make it all feel a little cheap, reminiscent of Cars 2 and their introduction of random characters for the sake of merchandise and little more.

If there’s a Pixar movie out there that you can enjoy with your brain turned off, then it’s this one, however it’s far from the lofty heights that the studio is really known for, and comes across as somewhat of a lazy sequel at times.

Read a full review here.


15. A Bug’s Life (1998)

As only Pixar’s second feature, A Bug’s Life is often given a little more importance and focus than it arguably deserves, given its continuation of the studio’s groundbreaking visuals back in the late 1990s.

Again, it’s an entertaining watch, and with a collection of zany characters and uniquely energetic voice performances, it’s another film that proves an easy-going way to pass an hour and a half with a good few laughs here and there.

However, much like some of the lower entries in this ranking, A Bug’s Life isn’t a film to really tug at the heartstrings, and in comparison to the real greats of the Pixar canon, it feels a little inferior and forgettable, perhaps the reason why it’s the only pre-2007 film left without a sequel thus far.

Read a full review here.


14. Cars 3 (2017)

Light years ahead of the second instalment in the Cars franchise, Cars 3 is actually a rather good film, even on a par with the original 2006 film, as well as with some of the true hallmarks of Pixar that had been missing so desperately in Cars 2.

While it still feels a little plasticky in comparison to the best of the best from Pixar, Cars 3 is a film that’s both an entertaining watch as well as one with genuine and unexpected emotional power, following an aging Lightning McQueen as he struggles to come to terms as the development of the racing industry leaves him in the dust.

Add to that some of Pixar’s most stunning photorealistic animation, and you’ve got a film that’s not only an entertaining family blockbuster, but incredibly beautiful throughout, particularly when it comes to its stunningly powerful final act that completely reverses your expectations of what to see from a Cars movie.

Read a full review here.


13. Cars (2006)

The eternal dilemma of Cars, the film that seemed like such a disappointment for its time, yet has grown over the years to redemption beyond its initial image as a Disney cashgrab.

Following Pixar’s original golden age, Cars was the first film under the studio’s new Disney ownership, and was met with a consensual ‘meh’ at the time of release. However, while it isn’t a perfect film by any means, it does still have some of the hallmarks of true Pixar, with a story that seems simple on the outside, but is just as moving and emotional as almost any other film.

A sweet and quiet piece throughout, Cars is actually one of Pixar’s most measured and down-to-earth films, playing out mainly in the sleepy town of Radiator Springs, and even though it may not have the stunning appeal of some of the studio’s classics, it has the emotional depth and humour throughout to prove a thoroughly engrossing watch, and far more than the merchandise opportunity many took it for upon initial release.

Read a full review here.


12. Finding Dory (2016)

The long-awaited sequel to Finding Nemo, Finding Dory is a delightful and immensely entertaining adventure movie, although still not an example of Pixar operating at their peak.

Up there with Pixar’s most visually stunning films, Finding Dory arguably surpasses its predecessor when it comes to providing an ocean adventure on a massive scale, furthered by delightful characters and voice performances across the board, great humour, and an undeniably cute emotional heart, as we follow the forgetful Dory traversing the ocean to find her long-lost parents.

With that said, the film doesn’t even come close to the emotional intensity of Finding Nemo, and does occasionally suffer from the dreaded lazy sequel-itis, keeping it from ever being discussed in the upper echelons of Pixar’s copybook.

Read a full review here.


11. WALL-E (2008)

Acclaimed upon its release as a real return to form for Pixar, WALL-E features some of the most moving scenes in animation, as well as stunning and powerful first half that will be remembered for years and years to come.

Starting in spellbinding fashion with a near-silent opening half, following a small trash robot cleaning up a ruined Earth centuries in the future, Pixar’s imagination and emotion is operation at full capacity in WALL-E, and as well as having a seriously cute main character, the film blossoms into one of the most beautiful pieces Pixar has ever produced.

Its first act is stunning, and with the following sequence that sees WALL-E fall in love with the futuristic EVE – and the mesmerising space dance sequence afterwards – the entirety of the film’s first half is beyond exceptional, and some of the greatest filmmaking that Pixar has ever engaged in, with minimum dialogue and maximum emotion and imagination.

However, its second half is an ever-disappointing watch. Particularly after the lofty heights of the opening half, WALL-E unfortunately recedes into somewhat of a basic watch, with an entertaining but far from stunning adventure around a futuristic space cruise ship, really undoing the brilliant work of its first half.

Read a full review here.


10. Toy Story (1995)

The film that started it all – Toy Story is regarded as genesis for the modern animation genre, as the first feature film ever created entirely on a computer, but it’s so much more than just a groundbreaking piece of history.

An undeniably entertaining adventure movie full of imagination and humour, Toy Story is embodies almost everything that makes Pixar great, and even though the animation may look a little dated nowadays, there’s no doubting the brilliance of its screenplay and voice performances, taking the age-old question of what toys do when nobody’s looking and turning it up to eleven.

Woody and Buzz Lightyear are already legends of the silver screen, and this origin story is full of laughs, friendship and excitement, as well as the odd smattering of emotional power, although not quite on the level of what Pixar would later go on to achieve. Still, there are few Pixar movies just as purely entertaining as Toy Story, which is what has really made it stand the test of time beyond its groundbreaking role for the movie industry.

Read a full review here.


9. Toy Story 3 (2010)

15 years after the release of the original, Pixar were still able to craft a brilliantly entertaining film in with the classic characters in Toy Story 3, furthered by one of cinema’s most heartbreaking scenes of all time.

In all truth, the story in Toy Story 3 doesn’t quite match the original, and over the course of its first two acts, it’s not quite as stunningly entertaining as the previous entries in the series, even though the introduction of new characters such as Lotso and Ken Doll make for some great laughs throughout.

It’s undoubtedly the Toy Story film with the best animation, and that’s brought to life in stunning fashion as the toys desperately try to escape from the nursery they’ve been sent to as Andy prepares to move onto college, leading into the film’s legendarily emotional final act, featuring a solid half hour of drama that will leave you in buckets of tears right to the very end, creating a devastating but incredibly satisfying finale to the Toy Story trilogy. (We’ll just have to see what Pixar do with Toy Story 4 next year.)

Read a full review here.


8. Toy Story 2 (1999)

Toy Story 2 is without a doubt Pixar’s most underrated film of all. While the trilogy is bookended by the legendary status of the original, and the stunning emotion of the third film, Toy Story 2 is the complete Toy Story movie, with all of the adventure and emotion packed into one brilliantly entertaining bundle.

Following the friendship of Woody and Buzz in the first film, the sequel introduces Jessie into the mix, as well as a small group of new characters that add to the gang from the original, and broaden their exploits from beyond Andy’s bedroom, as they take on the evil Zurg in an adventure that easily outshines its predecessor.

But not only is Toy Story 2 a fantastically enjoyable movie, it also has some of the trilogy’s most emotionally powerful moments, with the devastating ‘When She Loved Me’ sequence standing up to this day as one of the most beautiful and elegant moments in Pixar history, helping Toy Story 2 to encompass everything that’s brilliant about both the trilogy as well as Pixar as a whole.

Read a full review here.


7. Coco (2017)

Pixar absolutely knocked it out of the park with Coco, a vibrant, delightful, exciting and beautifully moving film that’s about as original and imaginative as the studio can get.

From beginning to end, the film is bathed in a beautiful golden glow that sits at the heart of its fantastical depiction of the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico, and as well as providing a stunningly vibrant portrayal of that cultural tradition, the film is filled to the brim with stunning music, making up the best soundtrack in Pixar’s history to date.

But on top of its technical brilliance, Coco gets pretty much everything right when it comes to the balance between emotion and entertainment, taking on an exciting and imaginative adventure through the Land of the Dead, all the while holding a deep emotional core about the importance of family that will surely move you to tears.

Read a full review here.


6. Inside Out (2015)

Inside Out is one of the most delightful and triumphant films Pixar has ever made. Coming after a good five years of mediocre sequels and mishits, Inside Out was a roaring return to form that saw the company push the boundaries of just what they could achieve.

A metaphorical depiction of the emotions inside a young girl’s head, the film is without a doubt the most imaginative we’ve ever seen from Pixar, with a brilliantly intelligent and yet equally enjoyable look into the world of the mind, all the while lending great attention to the emotions that come with growing up at a young age.

On the one hand, the bright, vibrant and energetic lead characters make for brilliant laughs from start to finish, and along with some stunning voice performances across the board, you’ll be hard pressed not to really fall in love with this film. On the other hand, as enjoyable and pleasant a movie as it is, Inside Out also features some stunning emotional beats, including the eye-watering memories and nostalgia of childhood, as well as the difficulties that we see young Riley face when growing up, something that makes the film both a relatable and deeply moving watch through and through.

Read a full review here.


5. Incredibles 2 (2018)

Up there as one of the longest-awaited sequels of all time, Incredibles 2 was one of the most amazing movie experiences I have ever had, brilliantly bringing the super family back onto the big screen after 14 long, long years of waiting and expecting.

Although not quite as stunning as its predecessor, Incredibles 2 is wall-to-wall brilliance from Pixar, once again showing their prowess when it comes to filmmaking, creating a superhero blockbuster that’s breathlessly exciting and immensely hilarious from beginning to end, far superior to anything we’ve ever seen from the big boys of Marvel or DC.

While it isn’t in the bracket of Pixar’s more emotional pieces, Incredibles 2 is further demonstration of how great the studio’s screenplays and ideas are, putting together a truly incredible family of superheroes and seeing them do battle with villains across the world, all the while retaining that grounded, quirky atmosphere that allows you to relate to and enjoy the film just as much as if it were live-action, proving the power of Pixar’s brilliance when it comes to blockbuster animation.

Read a full review here.


4. Monsters, Inc (2001)

A true classic of modern animation, Monsters, Inc is a brilliantly vibrant and imaginative film that’s just as endlessly entertaining as it is unexpectedly emotional.

Turning a scream-energy company in the monster world into a mirror of normal working life in the real world, Monsters, Inc is a brilliantly tongue-in-cheek comedy that’s got laughs for absolutely everyone. The brilliant relationship between Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan (Sully) is full of humour from beginning to end, while all of the brilliant little details that link the film’s bizarre premise to our everyday lives are just the icing on the cake for one of Pixar’s funniest films.

However, as well as being hilarious from beginning to end, Monsters, Inc also has a thoroughly entertaining story throughout, and develops into yet another beautifully emotional piece from Pixar towards its conclusion, as our two lead monsters fight to protect the human child who has accidentally stepped into their world. It’s a brilliant film right the way through, just don’t forget your tissues come the end.

Read a full review here.


3. Up (2009)

Not only does Up feature one of the most iconic sequences in movie history, but it’s also a hugely entertaining adventure movie that’s tied in with a graceful emotional core about love, loss and family.

The film’s crowning achievement is without a doubt its opening sequence, an unprecedentedly beautiful and moving beginning to the film in the form of ‘Married Life’, detailing the life of Carl Fredericksen and his wife Ellie as they pass from falling in love at a young age, to growing old together. It’s a universally adored sequence, and it makes Up one of the very, very few films that can have you in floods of tears within the first ten minutes, thanks to its graceful direction, beautiful musical score, and stunning writing.

Some, however, criticise the rest of the film as a drop-off in comparison to the opening ten minutes, but I feel that is an overly harsh assessment. Of course, the film’s beginning is pretty much unbeatable, but Up carries on in fine form as an immensely entertaining adventure movie, seeing Carl and boy scout Russell fly off to South America in a house carried by balloons, and embarking on an incredible expedition together that’s both a vibrant and jaw-droppingly beautiful centre for the film, while also never forgetting the emotional core from the film’s beginning, instead furthering it as we see Carl come to terms with the loss in his life, and take on a whole new chapter with a new band of friends.

Read a full review here.


2. Finding Nemo (2003)

Everybody knows Finding Nemo, the moving story of a father who goes on a desperate search across the ocean to find his lost son.

A stunning film from beginning to end, Finding Nemo is one of the most spectacular adventure movies ever shown on the big screen, as Marlin and Dory desperately scour the sea to find Nemo, while Nemo himself is whisked away on an epic journey that lets him finally spread his fins, while still being the fish out of water that his father always feared.

With a powerful emotional centre right from the start, the film proves a deeply moving watch throughout, both on the side of the father desperately looking for his lost son, as well as the coming-of-age story that sees Nemo grow up so dramatically as he’s taken on this incredible journey. Add to that stunning animation that brings the immense scale of the ocean to life in a way that live-action can never achieve, as well as brilliant humour that features a whole range of zany characters from vegetarian sharks to obsessive seagulls, and you’ve got a film that absolutely anyone can enjoy for every single moment.

Read a full review here.


1. The Incredibles (2004)

Not only is The Incredibles the best Pixar movie of all, but it’s without a doubt the best animated movie of all time, a stunning, crowd-pleasing blockbuster that does everything the big studios can and more.

Hilarious from beginning to end, the superheroes who moonlight as an average family are the perfect recipe for a parody on all the trippings of the comic book genre, while the film’s brilliant action and genuinely exciting screenplay mean it works just as well as a true superhero movie, featuring non-stop thrills and spills up to the very last moment.

The reason that The Incredibles stands out to me so much isn’t just because it’s such an entertaining blockbuster, but because it proves that animated films have the potential to do everything live-action does and more, as it was the first Pixar movie to focus on normal, human characters in a fairly real-world setting, and with that it demonstrated that animation really is a medium that can offer so much more than fantasy flicks for kids.

With its charismatic portrayal of mid-20th Century America, brilliant references to all things superhero, as well as humour, excitement and perfectly-written characters from beginning to end, there’s no doubt in my mind that The Incredibles is pretty much the perfect Pixar movie, and without a doubt the very best of them all.

Read a full review here.

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About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: www.madmovieman.com

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