Pixar is one of the biggest computer-animation studios right now. They have almost two dozen films under their belt, and with a great roster of new releases for the upcoming years, it’s time to review their best and worst films.
When I saw Cars 2 back in 2011, I was impressed. What kid wouldn’t be? But after I rewatched it a few years later, I realized that it definitely didn’t have the charm and originality the first film did. The writing was okay, the “spy” subplot was a little interesting, and the designs for the world’s cars were pretty cool. But overall, just stick with the original, which had a way better story, characters, and more charisma. Cars 2 just spat out action and fun for the kids who made their parents see it. It’s not bad, it’s just not great either.
Finding Dory was one of my most anticipated movies of last year. Its predecessor, Finding Nemo, was one of my favorite movies as a kid. The world, characters and animation stunned me when I was younger, and I was so eager to return to the world of Marlin, Dory, and Nemo. Unfortunately, Finding Dory was a huge disappointment. The animation was still beautiful, and the new characters like Bailey, Destiny, and Hank were so funny! But in the long-run, the film was pretty much a rehash of the original.
Pixar’s second feature film isn’t bad. It’s actually pretty good. The animation is far better than the original Toy Story, and there’s a lot of fun to be had. But that’s really it. The story doesn’t really stand out when compared the Pixar’s other films, and the environments are a bit bland. The voice acting is terrific, though, and Kevin Spacey’s Hopper is one of Disney’s most terrifying villains to date. The circus troupe of bugs is hugely entertaining, and music is great as well. I also really like the final showdown. One of Pixar’s most epic climaxes, I tell you.
A pattern I’ve noticed with Pixar’s more recent films is that the stories tend to be really thin and lacking any major character depth. While Brave has plenty of character development, and stunning action sequences, its major plot is still really thin and riddled with clichés. The studio seems like it really didn’t care what this was being marketed as, either. I wanted this to separate itself from the classic Disney Princess label, but it sadly didn’t.
Monsters University is a prequel to the original Monsters, Inc., one of Pixar’s best films. I love the designs of every single monster in this movie, and how it expands on a universe I loved as a kid. However, the story is a bit thin compared to its predecessor, and simply offers an “origin” of the original film’s two heroes. With that being said, the film is surprisingly beautiful, and the colorful environments and characters make this one of Pixar’s most fun and charming films ever.
This is, aside from Cars 2, probably the most hated Pixar film. I can never understand why. Sure, it has one of the studio’s thinnest stories, and the main character is pretty hard to like at first. But beneath those small problems, this film is so great. For one, the environments are so damn beautiful. It’s easy to forgive the movie’s flaws when the backgrounds in this movie actually look real. The character development is sub-par at most, but the humor and depth are on point. Also, they took a risk with the “berries” scene. That was hilarious.
I liked Cars a lot as a kid. When I look at it now, it doesn’t impress me as much, but it’s nevertheless a fun entry in Pixar’s library and a pretty great film overall. I love the colorful characters, and the town of Radiator Springs is a nice setting for a film like this. I have to say, the movie itself is extremely boring in a lot of scenes, but it makes up for it with some great development and action. I kind of wish they stuck with a storyline like this for its sequel, but unfortunately they didn’t.
Toy Story 2 is my least favorite of the trilogy. The animation is a tremendous improvement over the original, but the story is worse than its predecessor, and the villain called “Stinkin’ Pete” is just flat-out bad. However, the addition of Jessie and Bullseye are some great characters and make the film not a huge failure. Any scene with Buzz Lightyear’s archenemy Zurg is awesome, and the writing for the toys are great. The action sequences are also spectacular.
I loved WALL-E when I saw it back in 2008. I don’t love it as much today as I did a decade ago, but it’s still a beautiful and heartwarming film that is filled with a rich and powerful story about the future. I love practically anything science-fiction. Even if it’s a pretty bad film like Chappie, I’m always interested in what people can conjure up, and what others truly believe the future will look like. I love the animation in WALL-E, and the bleak world depicted ironically looks beautiful and stunning.
The first film with Sully and Mike isn’t Pixar’s best. In my eyes, it tried a little too hard to live up to the bar set by Toy Story 2. However, it’s still a funny, interesting, and most of all, well-written film that gives us one of Pixar’s most unique and creative efforts to date. The world of these Monsters is funny because, in most cases, it’s just like our own. While children are afraid of monsters, some of these monsters are afraid of children. It’s a hilarious setup that results in a great and emotional animated film.
Okay, okay, I get it. The original Toy Story is known as an undeniable masterpiece, and always will be. But hear me out. Is its story really that good? Sure, the film itself is a landmark for the computer-animation industry, and a cash cow for Pixar, considering Woody and Buzz are the studio’s most well-known characters. However, the animation doesn’t hold up as well as one might think. That doesn’t overturn the great voice acting and terrific character development, though.
I consider the third entry in the Toy Story franchise to be the best by far. With stunning animation, great character development, heavy moments that toy with my emotions, and a terrific villain with a sad backstory, this film is almost flawless. It has so much to like about it, from the awesome opening scenes to the emotional climax, one of Pixar’s saddest scenes. Filled with action and humor, Toy Story 3 does what a sequel should: give the viewer an experience that leaves the story open for expansion.
Finding Nemo works in so many ways. It has an excellent story, a great cast, colorful characters, and beautiful animation/environments. Along with that, it took a lot of risks being scarier than most kids’ films. I remember Bruce, the shark, scaring the living daylights out of me as a kid. And, yes, that’s a nod to the shark’s name in Jaws. One of the best parts about the film is the way it treats its characters. None of them are perfect, and they don’t exactly know it. But it wraps things up so well, and I love every bit of it.
Up is interesting, to say the least. It’s a pretty unique offering in the studio’s lineup, centering on many different characters instead of only one, and being more of a tear-jerker than other films. It pays off, though, and in spectacular fashion. Up‘s colorful environments and deep characters make it one of the best Pixar movies in recent years, and one of their best overall. The humor and dialogue mix perfectly to create a blend of dark, funny, and action-packed.
Inside Out is one of Pixar’s more recent films, and considering the plot inconsistencies some of the previous films had had, I was really hoping that that wouldn’t be this movie’s downfall. But it wasn’t. In fact, this has one of the best stories I’ve ever seen in a Pixar film. With a simple setup, you’d think that the plot would be riddled with clichés, but it surprisingly isn’t. One of Pixar’s most heartwarming entries Inside Out is funny, thrilling, and an emotional rollercoaster that leaves you wanting so much more once the credits roll.
Brad Bird is a master in the animated film industry. Responsible for films like The Iron Giant and Ratatouille, his films are the best of their kind, filled with superb storytelling, incredible animation, and perfectly developed characters. With The Incredibles, the story of a super-family works because of the great background and depth it gives its characters. Normally, the combination of animation and the super-hero genre probably wouldn’t work, but in this case, it does, and on so many levels.
When I look at Ratatouille, it’s so hard to comprehend that this film came out a decade ago. This is without a doubt Pixar’s best film for so many reasons. The story is phenomenal, for one. The tale of a rat who can cook sounds bland at first, but Brad Bird’s films are always amazing. I love the animation as well. It feels so smooth and almost…real. Michael Giacchino’s score is also tremendous. Out of the Pixar composers, his work has always impressed me the most. It’s safe to say that I love this film to death. It’s my favorite of the studio’s library, and always will be.