Toy Story (3)
A Bugs Life (4)
Toy Story 2 (9)
Monsters Inc. (7)
Finding Nemo (1)
The Incredibles (5)
Toy Story 3 (6)
Cars 2 (10)
Up (13th place)
(2009) This ranks as my least favourite Pixar offering of all. The leading duo are pretty generic as far as I'm concerned, and Carl isn't as endearing as he should be. That I could deal with, were it not for the totally unambitious second half of the film. Whilst the opening love story is touching, and the balloon-house scene is iconic and inspiring, the film quickly descends into comedy involving chipmunk-voiced dogs, and a ridiculous villain. It feels a bit below Pixar, which is usually a lot more witty and innovative. Add to that a lacklustre villain and aside from a promising scene here and there, I'm not left feeling like this is the heart-warming, colourful story they wanted to put across. It loses a lot of integrity along the way, and by the time we're at talking dogs it removes the sense of reality that the start of the film did so brilliantly.
Ratatouille (12th place)
(2007) Whilst I could see the passion in this film, it didn't feel as innovative as other Pixar offerings, and was a bit of an odd-feeling film. Though the ending was brilliant (as almost always with Pixar) the film didn't really feel like it was going anywhere for the most part. It was a sweet and innocent picture, but one that wasn't arty enough to get away with it (like Wall-E) and not innovative enough to get away with it either.
Brave (11th place)
(2012) I only watched this one for the first time yesterday, and my immediate first impression was that it kind of crossed paths with Disney's Tangled, and Dreamwork's How to Train Your Dragon. Both of those films, however, possessed a sense of magic and wonder that Brave never conveys. It doesn't feel magical enough to play the fairytale token, and comes across as a bit of an irrelevant adventure. The 'transformation' half way through jarred with the plot an awful lot and didn't really work, whilst there were elements like the witch and the wisps that never really took off. It was predictable, even by fairytale standards, and lacked the unique perspective and passion that most Pixar films usually have. For introducing the first female protagonist who wants to break tradition, Brave spends far too long repeating cliched tricks of the genre and offers nothing new. On the positive side though, the animation is impressive, Scotland is well presented and the voice work is as always, second to none.
Cars 2 (10th place)
(2011) Whilst I'll never understand John Lasseter's obsession with Mater, it was the reaction to this film I didn't quite understand. Whilst it isn't the same dizzying heights of amazing that Pixar usually offers, it still had plenty to offer, and I could see it was trying to be impressive all the same. I was a bit put off before seeing it, which maybe helped my judgement but it was a fun film to watch, with brilliant animation as per the norm. My few problems were with the story - firstly, adding the spy-theme was a refreshing change but then I feel Pixar are fully capable of making an interesting film involving actual spies (just as they did with superheroes in The Incredibles, perhaps) without bolting it onto an existing franchise. Secondly, it was at odds with the first film a fair bit, contradicting the themes of 'life in the slow lane'... it made the messages of that film moot really. It was no masterpiece, and not among Pixar's best, but it could have been a lot worse.
Toy Story 2 (9th place)
(1999) In my opinion, the weakest entry in the Toy Story trilogy. Woody's gang are introduced in a typical sequel way, which is a real shame, and I feel the second sequel introduced its new characters far more naturally. Also, I feel that the film was overflowing with too many villains to actually deliver a threat as strong as Sid - you had Al, and Zurg and later on Stinky Pete as well, not to mention actually ending without a proper final showdown with any of them. It was overall a remarkably solid film, but it lacked the wonder of the first film or the emotion of the third.
Cars (8th place)
(2006) Whilst not as buzzing with creative energy as Toy Story or Monsters Inc., Cars offers up something more along the lines of Finding Nemo, but without the colourful backdrop or emotion. There is passion here though, and whilst clocking in as Pixar's longest film works a little against it, the characters are mostly top notch, and it provides some light-hearted messages. The film isn't ever too serious, but it does have a particular charm about it that the sequel lacks. It went for an interesting-ish slant with its ending as well which reminded that Pixar was always capable of putting on a grand finale.
Monsters Inc. (7th place)
(2001) Whilst Cars would later offer an interesting slant with its ending, Monsters Inc. is an example of a film that takes an interesting slant altogether. With a brilliant plot device, it brings a colourful world of monsters to life more effectively than any rival animation studio has managed before or since. The film carries a certain uniqueness among the Pixar line-up, and part of its success is its brilliant voicework and animation. Plot-wise it isn't the strongest, and it's not as funny as it thinks it is either (aside from one or two moments) but it's a brilliant film altogether. Strangely I'm not interested too much in its prequel (which looks to be a bit like Cars 2 in terms of direction) and would much rather it were a sequel with more original concepts, but that's just my personal opinion.
Toy Story 3 (6th place)
(2010) This was a film I never thought we'd see, though it offers much more of a conclusion that the second film did. I do think at times it is a bit too serious, and it loses a bit of the fun and vibrance that the earlier two films had - the colours seem a bit more whitewashed and clinical at times, but I guess that's all in tone with the ageing franchise. There are some terrific new characters, a heart-thumping ending and a plot that is a bit slow-going but is very touching. Admittedly I feel the closing scenes with Andy went a bit too far and felt a bit odd, but so long as this remains the final film it'll work fine. I did miss the 'toys in the outside world' bits that films one and two offered as they were some of the best scenes, but this is a mostly successful attempt at veering the series towards a finish, taking a new direction along the way. The voice cast again is amazing, with the likes of Timothy Dalton and Whoopi Goldberg lending their vocals towards their easiest ever pay cheques. A cameo from Sid and an incinerator later, this is a film that lacks the magic and charm of the first but offers closure like no Pixar film has ever given before.
The Incredibles (5th place)
(2004) Pixar were onto a real winner with this one, which combined various elements of 50's style comic books - you had the picket-fence suburbs, caped heroes and villains, retro robots and a wonderful artistic style and direction. It's an amazing film on almost every front, perhaps let down only by it's undeveloped plot - I don't even know if that is a problem, I just know I want more. If a sequel does ever grace us, I truly hope not for a prequel or a focus on other characters. I feel that a closer bond between the suburban themes of the story and the superhero themes would have made this a possible favourite of mine, but it feels loose enough around its middle to fall a few places on the list.
A Bug's Life (4th place)
(1998) Considerably Pixar's most underrated film, it's wedged between the first two Toy Story movies and is the second-oldest offering by the studio...if it isn't that someone has forgotten A Bug's Life, it's that later efforts have inspired their interests more. That's perfectly fine, but I've always enjoyed the little touches that A Bug's Life offered up, and it's storyline though pretty basic, is a fun and joyous adventure that the likes of Brave didn't quite match up to. The cancelled film Newt reminded me a little of this, and it's cancellation was really bad news I feel.
Toy Story (3rd place)
(1995) The first Pixar film is certainly deserving of a spot in the top three, and not just because it was first. Even today, Toy Story would offer an intriguing perspective of our world through something else. It is something that I feel inspired the likes of A Bug's Life, Monster's Inc. and Cars. The characters are (pun not intended) fleshed out brilliantly, and Buzz and Woody are arguably the finest duo that Pixar ever created. The simplicity of the story puts this above its sequels, as well as its greater focus on the toys themselves.
Wall-E (2nd place)
(2008) Only Pixar could these days realistically deliver a film for kids and have little or no dialogue for the first twenty minutes. Wall-E carries the charming simplicity that Toy Story had, and wraps it in a contemporary moral. The animation of the film was beautiful as well, and the creativity behind it all is somewhat more impressive than anything that Pixar has offered up since - I'd say this was the last original Pixar film to truly impress me. It's funny, it's charming, and despite riffing from Short Circuit in its protagonist's appearance it's also wonderful to look at.
Finding Nemo (1st place)
(2003) I consider this my favourite Pixar film for so many reasons. Firstly, the characters are all wonderful, colourful and fun. They're not all jammed into the same scenes warring for screen time like in Toy Story's later films and they flow incredibly well throughout. They're voiced by a range of fantastic actors from William Dafoe to Geoffrey Rush. It is Ellen DeGeneres that steals the show, though, as Dory. Secondly, the plot itself is interesting and straightforward... it offers a real adventure, with various escapades. It's a real adventure which aside from the ending which I'd have done slightly differently, is something I don't tired of watching. In addition to those, it's funny, it's heart-warming and the animation is fantastic...it still impresses me today in fact. A sequel could really work for this one, so Finding Dory is currently my most anticipated Pixar film.