Luca is out recently on Disney+, and with the release of Pixar’s 24th film in their catalogue, I have managed to go through and rank all of the Pixar films from worst to best!
24. Cars 2 – F
If there was any type of “draw” to the Cars franchise, Mater wasn’t it. And, you could tell Pixar knew they made a mistake when they hardly had Mater in the third film at all.
23. The Good Dinosaur – D+
The Dinosaur was… cool I guess, but this was a massive miss for Pixar.
22. Finding Dory – D+
I thought it was weird when Dory blamed her short-term memory loss for being the reason she “forgot” to go to Nemo’s birthday, and I also thought the scene where she was yelling at everyone to “just keep swimming” without a break was a little much.
21. Up – C-
This movie is a 15 minute short with an hour and a half epilogue added to the back of it. The beginning is sad, but not as sad as everyone makes it out to be, and I get it’s an animated film. And you really expect me to believe a 92 year old Charles Muntz is still able to be that active in his search? I get this is a nitpick, but if I enjoyed the movie a little more than I would be able to get over it. I did like the dynamic between Russell and Mr. Fredricksen, and the ending was sweet, but… yea, this one just doesn’t quite do it for me. The score is catchy though.
20. Toy Story 4 – C
This movie gets a C from me because it is really beautiful, and the Forky character worked really well in my opinion. However, there isn’t a Pixar film that makes me more mad, while still being somewhat enjoyable. Toy Story 4 is an unnecessary film in the franchise, and could have easily been a 30 minute epilogue of Woody finding Bo at a carnival and wanting to stay. Instead, we got a movie where Buzz is made into the comic relief side character that he fought for three movies to get past (I mean Toy Story 3 had a sub-plot of Buzz literally finding his voice), and Woody, who finally learned how to live a life away from Andy (again a sub-plot of Toy Story 3). Again, the movie in every aspect other than the script works, but this story is aggravating to me.
19. Cars 3 – C+
Cars 3 was un upgrade from Cars 2, but the new shine and glitz couldn’t overcompensate for the bland older parts. I did really enjoy the “passing of the torch”, but everything else up until that was just average Cars. It does get a tiny nod because I think some of the racing shots and scenes are the best of the entire franchise.
18. Incredibles 2 – C+
This film is frustrating to me because after so many years of clamoring for a sequel, we really just got a role-reversed remake of the first. It still was entertaining to watch, but it wasn’t anywhere near as “Incredible” as the original was.
17. Monsters University – C+
This movie was fun, and it was nice getting the whole gang back together and seeing their roots. I think I would have rather seen a full sequel to Monsters Inc., if we were going to get anything at all, but this film did a good job at remaining fun, charming, and light.
16. Cars – B-
I actually think the original Cars is a highly enjoyable movie. At this point the franchise felt fresh and not overplayed. Owen Wilson was a surprisingly good voice actor, and even if the story was bland, there was something really fun about this one.
15. A Bugs Life – B-
Bugs Life is definitely enjoyable, but I will say it is one Pixar movie that I forget is a Pixar movie. I liked this a fair bit as a kid, and even as an adult I still find most of it entertaining, but when it comes to Pixar this is just middle of the road.
14. Brave – B
Brave is an interesting film for Pixar. It’s one that I really enjoy and like, but not one I actively seek out for any particular reason. I loved the setting and the feel to the film, but I think having a movie like this come out in between How to Train Your Dragon one and two could be why I don’t remember a lot of it.
13. Luca – B
Of all of Pixar’s films, Luca might be the most straightforward of the bunch. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie, no, it still is a beautiful portrayal of friendship and dreams. It also proved that there doesn’t need to be some deep/existential meaning in these Pixar films for them to be enjoyable.
12. The Incredibles – B+
The Incredibles was a fun superhero flick that managed to be as original a story as you could get. I do think the villain is underwhelming at times, but the action sequences and the story itself are good enough to bring this into the upper middle echelon of Pixar films.
11. Ratatouille – B+
I think Ratatouille is a delectable film with so much fun and interesting moments. The feel and look of this film is incredible, and it barely misses my top 10.
10. Finding Nemo – B+
I actually used to not like this movie, but the more I have grown the more I have seen it really is kind of ahead of its time. The animation is up with some of the best that Pixar has been able to pull off, and the story is one of the most exciting and thrilling of the entire catalogue. There are a few moments that I don’t care as much about, but this fish out of water story still holds up to this day.
9. Toy Story – A-
I have an interesting relationship with Toy Story. I think the movie was way ahead of its time in terms of how an animated movie can look, feel, and sound. I do think, however, the story is a little straightforward and doesn’t hold up on repeated viewings. I can appreciate this film for what it was able to do, and think it is one of the most influential animated films of all-time, but I don’t think it is one of the best animated films ever made. That being said, the movie is still a powerful and strong look at jealousy and friendship and is the kickstarter to one of cinemas all-time trilogies.
8. Onward – A-
I remember keeping track when I saw this in theaters, and I cried a grand total of 13 times. Something about it was just so emotionally daunting on me. I thought Pratt and Holland were perfect for their voice roles and I thought the film as a whole had a magical and real element to it. I also think the decision to never show the dad was one of Pixar’s riskiest, and it made me respect it that much more.
7. Coco – A
Coco was a magical blast when I saw it just a few weeks ago, and I was entranced by the beauty and wonder of this world. The story’s arc was predictable, but I think it managed to take a ton of risks, and had a massively satisfying and emotional payoff.
6. Inside Out – A
Like Coco, this was a recent first time-watch, and man did it do a number on me. I feel like this is a lighter version of Soul in the way that it deals with the internal struggles of life. I think this film is one of Pixar’s most creative in trying to rationalize with so much we don’t know.
5.Toy Story 2 – A
Making it into the top 5 is Toy Story 2. I think there is so much to like about this film, but I think the inclusion of Jessie and Bullseye were both top tier, and I think the backstory it gave on Woody’s toy lifestyle was magnificent. I also think this films has some of the best action sequences among the Pixar movies, and the emotional beats hit as hard as anything they have ever made.
4.Monsters Inc. – A
Monsters Inc. is an emotionally staggering movie. Everything about this movie just screams amazement, magic, and wonder. The door shredding is pure pain. I find myself infatuated with every viewing, and I still think the ending is one of the best endings in film history.
3. Soul – A+
Soul wrecked me in ways that Pixar had never wrecked me before. I found so much of myself in this film, and it touched me more than any of the other Pixar films. It’s a beautiful portrayal of life and the reason to live. Check out my review for more thoughts!
2. Toy Story 3 – A+
This film belongs up there with some of the very best finales of all-time such as Avengers: Endgame and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. This film proved the power of the Toy Story franchise, and brought us an engaging, emotional, and thrilling finale. Ned Beatty (Rest in Peace) gave one of the most convincing animated villain portrayals in Lotso Bear, and honestly one of the most complex villain portrayals in general.
1. Wall-E – A+
Wall-E is a film that was vastly ahead of its time, and is even more relevant today than it was when it was released. Wall-E is such a loving and beautiful character, one of my favorites in all of film. This movie should have been nominated for Best Picture, Thomas Newman should’ve won for score, and honestly, it should’ve gotten a Best Director nomination. To make such an engaging and loving movie with such little dialogue is masterful, and I think Wall-E is a masterpiece and one of the best animated films ever made.
Jacob is a Graduate of Western Kentucky University where he earned a History/Film Studies Degree. He is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is also a member of the North American Film Critics Association and the Music City Film Critics’ Association. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.