Every Pixar Movie Ranked

7. Toy Story 2 (1999)

Budget: $90million
Box Office: $487.1million
Director: John Lasseter

Toy Story 2 brought audiences all over the world back to Andy’s bedroom and reunited us with Woody, Buzz and the gang. This time, Woody is kidnapped by a greedy toy collector, leaving Buzz to lead the gang to rescue him.

Toy Story 2 expands upon Toy Story in every single way. From the very first frame it is clear what a leap Pixar made both in their abilities as animators and the technology they used to bring their visions to life, crafting sequences that simply could not exist in 1995 when the first film was released. Sequences like the brilliant opening scene of the Buzz Lightyear video game (which is still one of the most thrilling and excellent scenes of any movie ever, animated or not) and the fabulous end climax set within an airport.

The film was also much more capable of expanding its own universe, introducing the likes of Al’s Toy Barn, the aforementioned Buzz Lightyear video game, the Evil Emperor Zurg, and of course Woody’s Roundup, the TV show that introduced Sheriff Woody toys to the world. Simply put, Toy Story 2 goes bigger and better and never fails to miss.


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6. Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Budget: $115million
Box Office: $528.8million
Director: Pete Docter

This is a fantastic buddy comedy that effectively shows Pixar’s ability to tie the heartwarming and hilarious together. John Goodman and Billy Crystal team up to great effect as the voices of Sulley, the top scarer in Monstropolis, and Mike, Sulley’s neurotic assistant and best friend. The monsters of Monstropolis believe children are dangerous, but when a kid named Boo crosses into their world, they have to defy all their training and get her back.

As touching as it can be, Monster’s, Inc. has this special way of blending the whimsical with the horrifying. There’s a scene in a sushi restaurant where the menu is filled with puns, but the protagonists are trying to secure a rampaging toddler whose screams power the city. Steve Buscemi’s Randall is a creepy and imposing figure powered by the character’s form and performance, but there’s ample physical comedy that generates plenty of laughter. The story and themes resonate across generations, and allow audiences to see the concept of ‘other’ in a different light.


5. Finding Nemo (2003)

Budget: $94million
Box Office: $871million
Director: Andrew Stanton

By 2003, Pixar used their groundbreaking animation to bring viewers to the whimsical world of monsters, showed the surprisingly harsh existence of toys, and magnified the lives of bugs. They took their next plunge into the ocean, and the plan paid off as Finding Nemo earned almost ten times its budget at the box office. Set near the azure Australian coast, an overprotective clownfish named Marlin must journey to rescue his son, Nemo, who was taken captive by divers. Teaming up with the unforgettable Dory, a blue tang with short-term memory loss, Marlin meets an array of sea creatures who aid him on his journey to reach P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney.

There is no true villain in Finding Nemo, as the story is more one of internal conflict for Marlin. Overcoming the fear of the vastness and unpredictability of the ocean makes Marlin a relatable protagonist. The side characters also offer humor and useful outlooks on life. The sharks undergoing Fish Eaters Anonymous treatment (including Bruce, a reference to the great white prop from Jaws) illustrate how one can defy their nature, Crush the sea turtle offers an optimistic “go with the flow” perspective that pairs well with Dory’s “just keep swimming”, and the gang in Nemo’s tank demonstrate the power of teamwork and collaboration which saves everyone in the end. There is depth and buoyancy to this marine masterpiece, a film that continued to enthusiastically establish Pixar’s brand of meaningful, uplifting films.


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