Ranking all 21 Pixar movies from worst to best, including Toy Story 4 5 months ago

Ranking all 21 Pixar movies from worst to best, including Toy Story 4

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Let the arguments begin!

21 movies. 15 Oscars. Over $13 billion at the worldwide box office.

When it comes to success, Pixar is practically unparalleled. And while they have given us some of the greatest movies ever made, it hasn't been a constant road of success.

And, of course, everyone has their own personal favourites, so we imagine that ranking them at all is going to cause some heated debates, if not some straight up arguments.

And we're totally okay with that. So to that end, let us begin with the worst...

21. CARS 2

In which the talking cars became spies. Listen, this was a movie that basically existed just to sell toy cars to little kids, and to that end it succeeded, so let us never speak of it again.


It was a nice enough idea - a smart dinosaur takes a primal child as his pet - but it just never reached the same level of intelligence or comedy or even visual impressiveness the majority of the movies that came before it. And considering this came out in 2015, we'd fully come to expect A LOT more from Pixar by this point.

19. CARS 3

Better than the first sequel, but was anyone on Earth crying out for three of these movies? Nope.


This was what Pixar followed up Toy Story with back in the day, and looking back now, it isn't even as good as the direct competition, Dreamworks' Antz, which came out around the same time, with a better voice cast and funnier jokes. Although that one had Woody Allen and this one has Kevin Spacey, so probably best just to give them both a miss.

17. CARS

The first of the Cars movies might be the only movie in existence that seems to exist solely for people reaching out to middle aged viewers, telling them it is okay to slow down and enjoy life. Paul Newman does good work as the aging racecar, but mostly this is a franchise that lasted A LOT longer than it should have.


There is one golden rule of movies: Prequels are never a good idea. From Star Wars to The Hobbit to When Harry Met Lloyd... nobody wants them, nobody needs them, and they're practically never a good idea. That being said, there is still a lot of fun in watching Mike and Sully in the depths of a college comedy, but it never reaches the same dizzy heights of the events that will eventually follow.

15. UP

We're sorry to break this to you, but Up isn't all that great. Sure, that opening scene is INCREDIBLE, and if it were just that as a short movie, we'd give it all of the Short Film Awards in existence. But after that, all you're remembering is the pretty visual of the house flying away with balloons, and forgetting that it ends with dog-fighting dogs (yep) and two old men punching each other on a zeppelin.


This, like Coco (more on that later), feel like an interesting oddity when compared to the rest of the Pixar library. The usual story of a Disney Princess is kind of turned on its head, involving archery and bears and beautifully rendered red hair. It feels very non-Pixar, with the tone not exactly all that comedic, but it still remains one of the most beautiful movies they've ever made.


We feel that in the pub quiz question that asks you to list all of the Pixar movies, this is the one that most people would have trouble remembering, despite the fact that it was pretty funny, and filled with some great new supporting characters and some stunning visuals. But it never quite recaptures that magical emotional highs of the original.


The (hopefully) final Toy Story is definitely the weirdest and darkest of the quadrilogy, along with having the single funniest joke of the whole series. It also has Keanu Reeves, Jordan Peele, Tony Hale, and Christina Hendricks as incredible new cast additions. But it never fully overcomes the fact that we had the perfect trilogy, and this one just feels like surplus to requirements.

11. COCO

An eye-popping, heartfelt story about dealing with death, this really showed Pixar attempting something pretty risky, and for the most part, it totally paid off. But in terms of Pixar's properly great movies, this is the one that seems to fall most easily into the category of "That was great, but I never want to watch it again..."


Pixar's biggest box office hit (over $1.2 billion worldwide) and the second biggest animated hit of all time (behind only Frozen), the want for another go around with Mr. and Mrs. Incredible and their kids was obvious, and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who was disappointed. Some plot stuff - how did we get back to supers being illegal, exactly? - was mostly overshadowed by some huge comedic highlights - JackJack vs The Raccoon, for example.


Mike and Sully are still the best duo we've had in all of the Pixar movies (sorry, Woody and Buzz), and the world of monsters powered by children's screams is so brilliantly realised, as well as being consistently very funny. This came after two Toy Stories, and A Bug's Life, and was the exact point the entire world sat and realised that the folks at Pixar might actually be legitimate film-making geniuses...


The problem with the original Toy Story trilogy is that everyone will make an argument for each of them as being the best. Toy Story 2 originally began life as a quickie direct-to-DVD sequel (think of Aladdin: The Return Of Jafar), until the folks at Pixar decided to go a different route, and gave us one of the best sequels of all time. But as we get closer to genuine, all-time classics, unfortunately TS2 falls just outside that bracket.


A rat likes tasty things, and he trains a chef how to be better at his job. That is, essentially, the plot of this Best Animated Feature Oscar-winner, which was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay, which goes some way to show just how much better the execution of this silly sounding story was than the set-up would imply. Plus the perfect voice casting of Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, and the terrifying critic Peter O'Toole really earmarked this as one of the many gems in Pixar's cinematic crown.


Everyone talks about how the opening of Up is so brilliant (and no shade, it obviously is), but there isn't enough love given to the start of Nemo, with a loving couple torn apart by vicious attack, and a father left alone with his one differently-abled son. Then pairing the hyper-anxious dad with an amnesiac in search of his kidnapped child which takes him across half the planet, this movie is taking some BIG swings, and thankfully it is hugely funny and massively inventive, while never losing sight of its emotional core.


The movie that kicked it all off. Looking back at it now, the visuals don't really hold up super great, but the spot-on voice work by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen as two toys from opposite sides of the track, forced to work together to get back home, is still as strong as ever. There is a feeling watching Toy Story that gives off vibes of early seasons of The Simpsons, that you're watching something great happen, a level of storytelling genius that only really comes along once in a generation.


In terms of storytelling, The Incredibles might be the most straightforward plot of the entire Pixar library. A group of superheroes have to pretend to be regular folk, but find it hard to stay in the "superhero closet" when a new super-villain arrives. So instead, the script focuses on keeping everything as funny as possible, while the action-packed set-pieces remained incredibly inventive and exciting throughout. Fifteen years later, and the MCU is only now catching up with this level of quality.


It is tough to stick the landing. Getting people's attention can be easy, keeping it is hard, and giving them a worthwhile pay-off is something next-to-impossible. Which is why it remains a miracle that Toy Story gave us not just three great movies (and now one very good movie), but will likely go down in history as having one of the most perfect endings of all time. Future scientists will use this movie to separate humans from robots, as not crying while watching this is physically impossible.

02. WALL-E

The closest that Pixar has ever got to making an experimental film, with well over half the runtime dedicated to a practically silent robot that has been assigned the task of cleaning up the Earth, while humans wait it out in a giant spaceship until it is safe to come back. Of course, this being Pixar, we immediately fall in love with the little trash robot, and when he meets EVE, another robot sent down for secret reasons, we find ourselves rooting for two cute robots to fall in love with each other. On top of being bizarrely gorgeous to look at (considering, y'know, it is all about trash), and often very funny, it is also Pixar testing their own limits of story-telling, and coming away triumphant.


Inside Out needs to be shown to every child while they're in school. On top of being hilarious, creative, original, and with an IQ through the roof, it is also hugely for every child to learn (and every adult to be reminded of) that being sad or upset about something isn't a bad thing. Without the lows, we can't judge the highs, and the sad times are just as important to our self-growth as anything happy. Couple that VERY IMPORTANT life-lesson with an amazing voice cast and jaw-dropping visuals, and you've got the single greatest thing that Pixar has ever created.

All clips via Pixar

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