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The Movies of Pixar, Ranked

With ‘Cars 3’ hitting theaters this weekend, it’s time to attempt to rank our favorite Pixar movies.
Pixar Lamp Title Card
By  · Published on June 15th, 2017

With ‘Cars 3’ hitting theaters this weekend, it’s time to attempt to rank our favorite Pixar children movies. 

Pixar is a studio known for being a driving force in computer animation and children’s films, raising the bar for what both can be. Their films are known for being not just for kids, but for families as a whole, leading them to be a dominating force at the box office. Even when Disney bought the company in 2007, they continued to produce top-notch content. With very few dark spots in their entire catalog, Pixar reminds us that it is still possible to make great original content.

However, ranking Pixar movies is like ranking children. You become blinded by the great aspects of one and think you have a favorite for a little bit. As you compare it to others, it becomes clear that there are great things to all of them. Even Pixar’s worst films are great in comparison with other films because the Pixar standard is quite high. There really isn’t a wrong answer to who is best. So no matter how your opinions line up with this list, there is no wrong way to rank them.

So, to honor Pixar’s latest release here is an attempt to rank all 18 Pixar films to date.

18. Cars 2

I lied. There is one wrong answer, and that’s having this movie anywhere but the bottom. Cars 2 is known as Pixar’s first film that failed to achieve critical acclaim, and is to date Pixar’s only film to be rotten on Rotten Tomatoes. It was also Pixar’s first to not be nominated for an Oscar in any category, including “Best Animated Feature.” Though it’s visually stunning just like every other Pixar film, its story fails to reach the levels of other films. It offers nothing new to the franchise, focusing on a side character that most people weren’t a fan of to begin with. This film isn’t just bad for Pixar standards, it’s bad for regular standards. If you think this movie belongs anywhere but number 18, I don’t know what to tell you.

17. The Good Dinosaur

Remember that year Pixar released two films? Of the two, this is the less memorable. The Good Dinosaur is a solid piece of work, but the story development is too slow, especially for a kids’ movie. Neither of the main characters in the film have any unique qualities, they feel like generic children’s movie characters. Pixar usually creates these characters that feel as though we’re watching a live-action movie, but the characters in The Good Dinosaur feel one dimensional and animated. It fails to offer something different to the Pixar catalog, and therefore is the second to last on this list.

16. Brave

Pixar’s attempt at a Disney Princess movie, Brave offers us Merida, a Scottish princess fighting for her own hand in marriage, while trying to save her mother from a curse that she set upon her before it becomes permanent. We have a princess that chooses to stand up for herself and be a person, which is great. Looking back, however, this is a good attempt but the problem with Merida is that her independence is the only characteristic she has. She’s athletic because she’s independent. She’s stubborn because she’s independent. She’s a natural born leader because she’s independent. Merida is fantastic for being an independent woman, but she needs more to her than just that. It was nice to see a princess movie that wasn’t a musical though.

15. Monsters University

The first and only Pixar prequel, Monsters University shows the back story of the characters we grew to love in Monsters Inc. The problem is the first movie introduces them as lifelong friends, not people who met in college and hated each other. Plus, Sully really has no likeability in this film compared to his personality in the first one. It was a solid attempt, but the writers need to go back to school and work out the kinks before they make another prequel.

14. Finding Dory

Speaking of prequels, here’s another movie offering a backstory that actually makes sense to the timeline of the first one. Finding Dory focuses on, you guessed it, Dory and her past at the Marine Life Institute. It offers backstory into things you don’t care about, like how she learned how to speak whale, but doesn’t offer backstory into how her memory became bad. The plot is very similar to Finding Nemo, but the emotional climax of the film is much stronger than in the original, which is why this isn’t a terrible sequel.

13. Cars 3

The latest Pixar film is good. Not great, but good. It offers a continuation of the Cars franchise and gives us a tale that makes us feel more inspired. The new characters add something, even if Cruz Ramirez is just as annoying as Mater. Yet, just like the original Cars, it falls short and is missing that extra push to make it one of the Pixar greats. It doesn’t have as much emotion as other Pixar movies, and though much better than the last Cars sequel, it feels like a sequel, not something that could stand on its own.  At least it feels like it offers you something while giving Disney a reason to make more Cars products.

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Usually works best after her third Red Bull of the day. Lover of film, insomniatic dreamer.