Last Updated on July 28, 2020
Pixar Animation Studios, popularly known as Pixar, is an American computer animation studio that’s credited with producing scores of critically acclaimed films. The Emeryville, California-based studio is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, which is part of The Walt Disney Company.
Pixar is famous for its feature films, all of which are powered by RenderMan. As at the time of writing (July 23rd, 2020), the studio had produced a total of 22 feature films. Its first project, Toy Story (1995), was a groundbreaking development in the film industry, being the first computer-animated feature film ever produced.
Pixar’s history dates back to 1979. At the time, the studio was part of Graphics Group, a computer division of Lucasfilm. However, on February 1986, Pixar became a corporate entity after receiving funding from Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs. As a result, Jobs went on to become Pixar’s majority shareholder. The studio was eventually acquired by Disney in 2006, at a cost of $7.4 billion.
In addition to its computer-animated movies, Pixar has also produced numerous short films. The studio’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, as it has earned scores of prestigious awards too, including;
• 11 Grammy Awards,
• 20 Academy Awards, and
• 8 Golden Globe Awards
The following is a review of Pixar’s top ten films.
1. Toy Story (1995)
The very first computer-animated film by Pixar also happens to be one of the studio’s best projects. Toy Story undoubtedly changed the movie production industry, introducing new dimensions to how we tell stories through films.
One of the best things about this computer-animated movie is the incorporation of intellectual depth. Using toys, Toy Story aptly portrays the intellectual, emotional, and imaginative struggles that the average kid goes through. Those struggles are illustrated in a manner that makes them relatable to both kids and adults.
2. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
After leveraging toys in Toy Story to explore the intellectual and emotional struggles that kids go through, Pixar decided to add a newer and more exciting element to their films – monsters. Monsters, Inc. attempts to capture children’s fear of the dark.
The film features John Goodman as a blue-furred behemoth named James P. “Sully” Sullivan, along with his one-eyed assistant named Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal).
James and Mike work for a scream processing factory named Monsters, Inc. Basically, the company processes the screams produced by children spooked by monsters lurking in their closets and underneath their beds. What sets Monsters, Inc. apart from most monster-themed films is that it doesn’t focus on frightening or confusing kids. It’s a great treat that most children can relate to without experiencing disturbing nightmares.
3. Finding Nemo (2003)
According to most reviewers, Finding Nemo is undoubtedly the most hilarious computer-animated film by Pixar so far. But beneath the humor, the film also addresses the themes of familial loyalty and spectacular adventures. It also attempts to highlight the significance of environmental conservation.
In the movie, an overly protective Marlin (voice by Albert Brooks) becomes separated from his son Nemo (voice by Alexander Gould) in the Great Barrier Reef. Nemo is accidentally transported far away from their ocean home and winds up in a fish tank. What follows is a scintillating excursion that brings into focus the unspoiled beauty of the ocean.
4. The Incredibles (2004)
Bob Parr, popularly known as “Mr. Incredible” was once a great fighter who saved millions of lives from evil. Fifteen years after retiring from ‘active duty,’ Bob, along with his equally famous superhero wife and their three kids, decide to adopt civilian identities. He now works as an insurance claims adjuster.
However, life as a civilian doesn’t seem very exciting and Bob has to contend with boredom and incessant marital drama. He wishes he could get back to his superhero life. Fortunately for him, a golden opportunity presents itself after he is mysteriously summoned to a remote island where he is to take up a classified assignment.
5. Ratatouille (2007)
If you’re a parent with small children, you already understand the daily onslaught of trying to get your kids to eat their food. Kids are naturally wired to view food as boring, green stuff that if given half a chance, they would rather do without.
Unless of course, the food in question is candy, chocolate, pizza, or other junk. Thankfully, your kids might just change their perception about food after watching this captivating computer animation by Pixar.
The movie follows after a rat named Remy who is determined to become a famous chef, despite his parent’s wishes and the fact that rodents are pretty unwelcome in the industry. Remy finds himself in a Paris restaurant, which is a great thing as the restaurant is a work by his own culinary role model. He teams with the restaurant’s garbage boy named Linguini, who immediately recognizes his impressive culinary talents.
6. WALL-E (2008)
This is one of the best films by Pixar that creatively blends the elements of science fiction and humor. Unlike Finding Nemo which advocates for environmental conservation with a special focus on the ocean, WALL-E highlights the significance of conserving the planet as a whole.
It speaks to humanity’s greed, gluttony, and the wanton destruction of Mother Nature. But it doesn’t stop there. The animation goes as far as warn of the possible implications of environmental destruction.
The film revolves around Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class (WALL-E) who discovers a higher calling in life after years of collecting knick-knacks. Apparently, WALL-E has stumbled upon the key to unlock the planet’s future. A robot named EVE learns of WALL-E’s findings. She decides to report to humans, who are apparently held up in space and waiting to come back home once the planet is safe.
7. Up (2009)
Up is all about a 78-year old balloon salesman, Carl Fredricksen, who has always dreamt about going on wild adventures across South America. Keen on making his dreams come true, Carl ties thousands of balloons to his house and takes off.
Carl is traveling alongside his 8-year old companion named Russell. As Carl’s house makes a landing, the duo discovers that the wilderness they’ve always longed to explore is infested with ferocious predators. They immediately form a formidable team in a bid to conquer the beasts and villains.
8. Brave (2012)
Brave is the first film by Pixar starring a female protagonist. The film uses various elements, such as individuality and the beauty of human hair, to advance female empowerment ideologies. Brave follows after a heroine named Merida who is endowed with impressive archery skills.
Though she was born in the palace, Merida’s eyes aren’t set on the throne, neither is she keen on subscribing to the dictates of the kingdom. Her continual defiance throws the kingdom into chaos.
9. Inside Out (2015)
Inside Out attempts to visualize and personify some of the most dominant human emotions. The film revolves around a young girl named Riley. Riley’s early life as a Midwestern is abruptly disrupted when her father lands a job in San Francisco. As with any new kid, Riley encounters challenges adjusting to her new life in San Francisco.
To get through the turmoil, she relies on her greatest emotion, Joy (Amy Poehler), which helps her remain objective and positive. However, Riley has other emotions too, including Fear (Bill Hader), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Anger (Lewis Black), and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). While these emotions diligently guide Riley’s actions and behaviors, they’re not necessarily immune from conflict.
10. Coco (2017)
Coco is an excellent recommendation for those looking for a sneak preview into Mexico’s diverse cultural scene. The themes of family and adventure also run throughout the movie. The animation features Miguel (voice by Anthony Gonzalez) who aspires to become a celebrated musician, just like his music idol Ernesto de la Cruz (voice by Benjamin Bratt).
In a sudden twist, Miguel winds up in the Land of the Dead. He meets a trickster named Hector (voice by Gael Garcia). Together, they embark on a journey to uncover the true story behind Miguel’s family.
All 22 of Pixar’s films carry unique and fundamental lessons. The movies are also ingeniously targeted at kids and adults alike. Feel free to grab any of the movies we’ve reviewed here to enjoy the ultimate Pixar experience.