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An updated ranking of every Pixar film

The pinnacle of modern animation can be found within the 20 releases put out by Pixar. Ever since they started up with A Bug’s Life, their films have been hotly anticipated, both by critics and audiences alike. Now, with Incredibles 2 hitting theaters, they’ve continued an all but unparalleled run of excellence. Their lows haven’t been especially low, in particular when compared to the competition, while their highs have been a number of instant classics. Any list of the best animation of the last 50 years has got to include multiple efforts of theirs. That, if nothing else, succinctly sums up why this company does it better than anyone else right now. They are on a different level, plain and simple.

What sets Pixar apart from everyone else is the way that they appeal to both adults and children in equal measure. They make you laugh just as often as they make you cry. Emotions are the key to their success. Sure, the company, teamed up with Disney currently, makes a killing with merchandise and toys, but the experience of seeing the movies is truly what they seek. Any film that leaves you with the emotional power that theirs does is something noteworthy, and they do it better than anyone else. A heaping load of Academy Awards and critical praise is just icing on the cinematic cake. They’ve got Oscar love, but they’ve also received the love of multiple generations of animation fans. That’s the best barometer.

This is spurred on by the aforementioned release today of Incredibles 2. For those not in the know, I’ll reiterate what I wrote earlier in the week. The flick is a followup to the original outing, The Incredibles. Our favorite superhero family from the first one is back, again consisting of patriarch Bob Parr / Mr. Incredible (voice of Craig T. Nelson), matriarch Helen Parr / Elastigirl (voice of Holly Hunter), daughter Violet Parr (voice of Sarah Vowell), son Dash Parr (voice of Huck Milner), and baby Jack-Jack (voice of Eli Fucile). When their latest adventure again catches the ire of the government, Bob and Helen are recruited, along with colleague Lucius Best / Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson), to work for entrepreneur Winston Deavor (voice of Bob Odenkirk). Winston and his sister Evelyn Deavor (voice of Catherine Keener) choose Helen as their showcase hero, leaving Bob to care for the kids at home. Things aren’t as they seem, however, and soon the whole family will be in on the heroics. Brad Bird returns to write and direct, with other voice work including Jonathan Banks, Barry Bostwick, Sophia Bush, Phil LaMarr, John Ratzenberger, Isabella Rossellini, and Bird himself, again as Edna Mode. Michael Giacchino contributes another memorable score.

Here is how I would rank the 20 Pixar movies so far to date:

20. Cars 2
19. Brave
18. Cars
17. Monsters University
16. Cars 3
15. A Bug’s Life
14. The Good Dinosaur
13. Finding Dory
12. Ratatouille
11. Monsters Inc
10. Finding Nemo
9. Up
8. The Incredibles
7. Incredibles 2
6. Inside Out
5. Coco
4. Toy Story 2
3. Toy Story
1. Toy Story 3

As you can see, the Toy Story franchise is their crown jewel, but there’s gold up and down that list. Going forward, as long as Pixar doesn’t ever become too obsessed with sequels, they’ll continue to be the high water mark for animation in Hollywood. Whether it happens to be with original works or sequels as the years progress, Pixar will be the gold standard. Simply put, no one else comes close to doing work like they do. You can see the latest example of this in Incredibles 2, currently playing, and there will be tons of other examples in the years to come. Nobody does it better, that’s for sure…

Be sure to check out Incredibles 2, in theaters everywhere now!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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