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Top 10: Pixar Animation

Welcome to the second of our top 10 animation posts, following our Top 10 Disney Animation Movies last week. This time, it’s the turn of Pixar.

10. Toy Story 4 (2019)

Pixar: Toy Story 4

Clare: I’m really mad this made it in to the Top 10 and still refuse to acknowledge it’s existence within the Toy Story canon.

Lee: Following an almost perfect Toy Story 3, I agree that this movie certainly wasn’t needed. Many of the core characters are sidelined for much of the movie in favour of a bunch of new characters and Buzz felt dumbed down to the kind of level he was at when we first met him way back in Toy Story 1. But, I loved the new characters and I relished the chance to spend some time in this world with old friends just one more time. I enjoyed Woody’s journey of self discovery and the whole movie had me laughing and feeling all emotional like any good Toy Story movie should. It got a well deserved 4.5/5 from me when I reviewed it.

Mary: I liked this one, it is a good film I liked that the story moved out into the wider world, I loved the Shining reference that was awesome. I didn’t feel there was enough of Buzz and the other toys, they were sidelined far too much and if I’m really honest and good as it was and as much as I enjoyed it and still cried at the end, I really don’t think it should have been made when the trilogy was so perfectly completed with Toy Story 3.

9. Up (2009)

Pixar: Up

Clare: Up is another special Disney/Pixar film for me, as I saw it in Florida the week I arrived for a 3 month working holiday in Disney World Florida. Being 19, abroad on my own for the first time and having left my first ever boyfriend back in the UK, it’s an understatement to say I was feeling emotional. The first 10 minutes rightly sit in almost every best animation list to exist, and I can only thank those 3D glasses I wore for hiding my stream of tears during the whole sequence. The overall film doesn’t match up to those opening minutes, but when we return to the Adventure Book in the third act, I still catch myself crying every single time. Also… SQUIRREL.

8. TIE: Brave (2012) / Inside Out (2015)

Pixar: Brave Inside Out

Mary: Brave is my favourite Pixar film, I just love it, I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed it. For me there are so many excellent qualities, I love the voice cast of Emma Thompson and Kelly Mcdonald with Billy Connolly and Julie Walters: pure perfection! I love the Scottish highlands, the myth and folklore and the film is gorgeous I wish I could just step into it, combine this with the soundtrack and fantastic songs and you are engrossed in Scottish culture, which I happen to adore. But most of all I love the mother daughter relationship at the heart of this. I am extremely close with my mum and this just stunned me I am definitely in need of a re-watch.

Mary: Inside Out I think is one of the cleverest movies for childen, I loved the concept as soon as I saw the trailer. The ideas that have been realised in this film; the balls of memories the islands based on different things and most of all characters that represent emotions. This just completely ticked the box for me and had some really moving scenes. Despite this I’ve still only seen it the once I must must watch this again and see if I still feel so strongly.

Lee: I think I’ve only seen Brave once. I do remember really enjoying it, but it’s not a movie that’s really stuck with me. Inside Out on the other hand is something completely special. As Mary already touched upon, the concepts of feelings, emotions and memories are so cleverly brought to life on a level which adults and kids alike can relate to and enjoy. And Bing Bong sacrificing himself for Joy is also up there for me as one of the most heartbreaking moments in a Pixar movie.

7. WALL-E (2008)

Pixar: WALL-E

Lee: While compiling my notes for this list, WALL-E stood out as the one movie that I really do want to revisit soon, as it feels like forever since I last saw it. For a good part of the movie, WALL-E plays out like nothing we’d seen from Pixar before as we watch the simple, almost dialogue free, life of a small robot diligently going about his daily life. It’s detailed, beautifully observed and simply wonderful, even more so when he meets EVE and the chemistry between them begins to blossom. There’s a shift in the movie later on, when humans are introduced, but overall this is still a bold and incredible movie from Pixar.

6. Toy Story (1995)

Pixar: Toy Story

Mary: Start as you mean to go on, talk about hitting it out of the park on the first outing, this was an instant hit, how could it not be. As with all Pixar films the concept is brilliant and unique, it has a great cast lead by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen and characters that genuinely felt real. Being so perfect the first time round has given Pixar a slight problem, how do you go UP (see what I did there) from there, but they have certainly rose to the challenge, its not often you can say that not one but two sequels are equal if not better than the original.

Lee: It’s incredible to think that Toy Story is now a quarter of a century old! It cemented Pixar as a force to be reckoned with and introduced us to some truly beloved characters.

5. Coco (2017)

Pixar: Coco

Lee: I went on a solo cinema trip to see this one, on a sunny, lazy Sunday afternoon. For a while it didn’t really grip me and I’m sorry to say I almost nodded off once or twice as I relaxed into my comfy cinema seat. Thankfully, the short power nap sorted me out and the movie improved considerably – it now sits as my Pixar number 3. Such a beautiful story, with one hell of an emotional ending.

Clare: I’ve been lucky enough to visit Mexico for Día de Muertos and Coco captures the immense beauty, colour and feeling of love and honour. Every shot in Coco is filled with the intricate little details that I saw as I moved around the cemeteries and displays in the cities and it’s such a moving story. The festival of Día de Muertos teaches us the value of memory in loss and grief and I’m so pleased that Coco is able to help spread this message to more children as they move through their lives. I don’t think Pixar have ever made something quite as beautiful… except for maybe the UP opening.

Mary: This is a stunning film, it is so colourful I absolutely love it. Each frame is like a piece of art. What is so clever about this film is not only is it a fantastic story but it is introducing young and old audiences to a different culture with traditions different to our own. I was furious when ‘Remember Me’ stole the Oscar for Best Song from ‘This is Me’ from The Greatest Showman. I re-watched this recently when Disney+ became available in the UK. I felt more strongly about it the second time I saw it, I definitely appreciate it more and have to admit the song is great (still shouldn’t have won though).

4. Monsters, Inc (2001)

Pixar: Monsters Inc
Pixar: Monsters Inc

Lee: When my daughter was very young, this was one of her favourite movies, and I’ve lost count of how many times I watched it during that time. The fact that I could put it on again now and still enjoy it as much as ever just goes to show what a great movie it is. Meeting a giant Sulley at Disneyland was one of the highlights of the trip for me and I even have cuddly toy versions of Mike and Sulley sitting on my bed!

Mary: This is a film that reminds me of my childhood it was a favourite of my siblings and therefore was on all the time! Billy crystal is one of my favourite voices used in a Disney or Pixar film and the comedy in the script is lifted by his fantastic performance and he along with John Goodman make an incredible pair. Again the concept is genius, I haven’t seen this in years but it is strong enough that recalling it now I can piece together most of the movie in my head. A beautiful idea with a heart wrenching ending, always get a lump in my throat.

3. Toy Story 3 (2010)

Pixar: Toy Story 3

Clare: Toy Story 3 continued the 100% success rate achieved by the first two films. It keeps our old pals going and managed to introduce a range of fun new characters. As someone who was 4 when the first came out, to graduating university when this was released, they timed the audience progression perfectly. It would be very hard to find another film with such a perfect first act. Despite it being Pixar, when those hands joint together, knowing their fate, I couldn’t see a way out and sat in the theatre with as much fear in my heart.

Lee: I remember attending a Pixar event in London, hosted by John Lasseter, where he spoke about upcoming Pixar projects and it was Toy Story 3 that generated the most excitement from everyone attending. Just some simple concept art and partially rendered scenes were shown but it was enough to get everyone hyped for the return of this beloved franchise. However, nothing could have prepared us all for what was probably one of the most gut wrenching and intense moments I’ve ever experienced in a cinema. A perfect trilogy ending.

2. Toy Story 2 (1999)

Pixar: Toy Story 2

Mary: My favourite scene in Toy Story 2 and almost any Pixar film is when Woody battered and torn is spruced up and made perfect again, painted, polished and sewn (I don’t know what that says about me haha). This movie has a lot of heart, as well as introducing new characters in Jessie and Bullseye and a new villain and taking the movie in a surprising direction asking of woody choices he would never have thought of having to make in the first film. The standout moment in this film though is Jessie’s song ‘When She Loved Me’ I defy any adult not to shed a tear at this scene. This was proof that Pixar could handle the sequel curse and create a stunning bit of film-making.

1. Finding Nemo (2003)

Pixar: Finding Nemo

Clare: I’ll usually say Toy Story 2 or 3 are my favourite Pixar films, but the older I get, the film I always want to return to is Finding Nemo. Like with every Pixar film, it has a great story and an outstanding voice cast, but Nemo also has the ocean. Like The Little Mermaid before and Moana after, Nemo continues to show us that the ocean is possibly the most beautiful thing to ever be animated. So much so, I remember when I first got the film on DVD, just watching the screensaver extras of the ocean. I also have a huge soft spot for sequel Finding Dory, so maybe it’s time for me to admit this might be my favourite Pixar entity?

Lee: This is another movie that I’ve watched countless times, courtesy of my daughter, and have never tired of. It’s just a classic buddy adventure movie, with all the ingredients that make a great Pixar movie. And as Clare said, the ocean just looks beautiful in this movie, with the animation still holding up well to this day. Like Toy Story 4, Finding Dory was a sequel that wasn’t really needed, but once again I found myself falling in love with the story and the new characters.

Mary: The only addresses I know; mine, my parents and P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way Sydney Ha not a word of a lie. Fantastic film, never gets old.


Summary

Mary: Its clear from this list how high a quality Pixar’s film are. The films on this list are all fantastic, I was surprised but probably shouldn’t have been that all the Toy Story Movies (and by that I mean the trilogy lol) made it in but they are so good I shouldn’t be really. Personally very happy Brave made it and coco, the thing about Pixar as well as Disney is that there are movies here from the very beginning that are instant classics but it is clear that the films that have come out more recently will also be so as they are just as good and just as clever as the very first.