Every Pixar Movie Ranked By Critics
Pixar reinvented animated films. When the studio launched Toy Story in 1995, movie-goers both young and old fell in love with the way Pixar told stories. It appealed to the young with its themes of acceptance and to adults with themes revolving around redefining what it means to be in a family with a large dash of nostalgia. Now, two decades later, 20 feature-length movies have been produced, ranging from life-changing experiences to mildly enjoyable.
That's the thing about Pixar as a whole. It doesn't particularly make bad films. Of course, there are films within the company's catalog that are completely outshined by others, but that's only when compared to other Pixar films. Fans and critics alike put Pixar on a pedestal because it's pretty great at what it does, even when it's bad by comparison.
So we decided to look at what the critics have to say about Pixar movies over the past two decades. Using the scores from Metacritic, which averages out the ratings of a plethora of credible reviews, we're ranking all of Pixar's movies.
Disclosure: Metacritic is owned by CBS Interactive, GameSpot's parent site.
20. Cars 2 (2011)
Cars 2 is the only Pixar film to have received mixed reviews by critics which is why it's ranked last. In the film, anthropomorphic racecar Lightning McQueen returns with some friends from the first movie to compete in the world Grand Prix in Japan and Europe.
Metacritic rating: 57
19. Cars 3 (2017)
While Cars 3 was monetarily successful and an improvement on Cars 2, it still isn't considered one of Pixar's best because it only received "generally positive reviews." This may seem like a good thing but in comparison to Pixar's other films, which usually get rave reviews, "generally positive" isn't great. In this film, McQueen along with other Piston-Cup winners are feeling displaced by racing's new superstar, Jackson Storm, voiced by Armie Hammer.
Metacritic rating: 59
18. Monsters University (2013)
Monsters University is a prequel to Monsters, Inc. which follows protagonists Mike and Sulley during their college years. They start out disliking each other but find their way to friendship. The film did very well at the box office, becoming the 12th highest-grossing animated film of all time, but it only got fairly good reviews which, again, doesn't really compare to many of Pixar's other films.
Metacritic rating: 65
17.The Good Dinosaur (2015)
The Good Dinosaur is set in a world where dinosaurs never went extinct. It follows the story of a human boy and a dinosaur who become friends while trying to traverse the landscape together. It became Pixar's lowest-grossing film ever, earning a resounding, "meh," from audiences for what many consider a bland and unimaginative story.
Metacritic rating: 66
16. Brave (2012)
Brave was Pixar's first feature-length film with a female director. The strong-willed teenage princess Merida, played by Kelly Macdonald, makes waves in her kingdom in the Scottish Highlands when she decides that she would rather not be betrothed to some random guy for political purposes. The film won Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes and the BAFTA Awards. Unfortunately, many moviegoers felt misled by the trailers, which didn't give viewers a clear description of the movie.
Metacritic rating: 69
15. Cars (2006)
Cars, Pixar's last independently produced movie, features some high profile actors like Owen Wilson, Tony Shalhoub, and Michael Keaton. The story follows the anthropomorphic race car, Lightning McQueen who has an inflated ego but learns how to be a bit more considerate when he gets lost in the small town of Radiator Springs. Cars was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards and won Best Animated Feature Film at the Golden Globes.
Metacritic rating: 73
14. Finding Dory (2016)
Finding Dory focuses on everyone's favorite amnesiac, Dory the fish, voiced by Ellen Degeneres. When Dory gets lost looking for her original home and ends up on the California coast, her best friends Marlon and Nemo set off on an adventure to find her. Despite its relatively low ranking, the movie was highly anticipated because of the success of Finding Nemo and it set a few box office records including highest-grossing animated film in North America. Sure the movie was enjoyable, but it felt a little too close to the story of the first movie. How many times can these fish get lost?
Metacritic rating: 77
13. A Bug's Life (1998)
A Bug's Life is one of Pixar's first films, released only a few years after Toy Story, and it did pretty well at the box office. The story follows a colony of ants defending itself against the evil grasshoppers along with help from a few circus bugs. The debate still continues as to whether it's better than Antz.
Metacritic rating: 77
12. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Monsters, Inc. centers around best friends James P. "Sulley" Sullivan and Mike Wazowski. The monsters work at a company where their job is to scare small children into screaming, so that they can collect the screams and turn them into power. When the pair meet a child who inspires their sense of compassion, they begin to have a difficult time staying emotionally detached from their work. The film received excellent reviews from critics and did very well at the box office.
Metacritic rating: 78
11. Incredibles 2 (2018)
Incredibles 2 was released only one week ago, but so far, people are loving it. It takes place exactly where the first Incredibles left off and follows the Parr family as mother Helen Parr AKA Elastigirl's career is taking off while Mr. Incredible stays home with the kids. The family deals with a brand new villain as well as the continually evolving powers of youngest son Jack Jack.
Metacritic rating: 79
10. Coco (2017)
Coco follows the story of Miguel, a young boy who accidentally travels to the land of the dead, where he has to find his great-grandfather in order to return to the land of the living and pursue his dream of becoming a musician. The film was highly praised and raked in all kinds of awards including Best Animated Feature (or the equivalent of that) from six different sources including the Academy Awards where it also won Best Original Song. The film is received particularly enthusiastic reviews for its celebration of Mexican culture.
Metacritic rating: 81
9. Toy Story 2 (1999)
Toy Story 2 isn't ranked as high as the third movie or the original, but many critics were big fans; there were some who thought it surpassed the original. The story is about a toy named Woody who was taken captive by a toy collector and is tempted by a chance at fame and immortality as Woody's friends Buzz Lightyear and the other toy pals set off to rescue him.
Metacritic rating: 88
8. Up (2009)
Up had many viewers crying within the first 10 minutes. It tells the story of a lonely old man whose wife never got the chance to have a baby and died before being able to satisfy her adventurous spirit by traveling to South America. By attaching thousands of balloons to the roof of the house they once shared, widower Carl Fredricksen sets off to fulfill he and his wife's dream of traveling to see the biggest waterfall in the world, unwittingly taking an annoying but lovable Wilderness Explorer with him. The movie got five Academy Award nominations and was the second of only three animated film to be nominated for Best Picture. It is arguably the most tear-jerking Pixar film to date (though Inside Out might give Up a run for its money on that one).
Metacritic rating: 88
7. Toy Story 3 (2010)
Toy Story 3 follows the fate of the toys when their human bestie Andy is leaving for college, and his mom accidentally puts them out on the curb. Feeling dejected, the toys escape and are donated to a day care where they meet new toy friends, while Woody tries--and fails--to convince the toys that throwing them away was a mistake. It was the second Pixar film to receive the Academy Award nomination for Best Picture, along with several other nominations. It was also the highest grossing film of 2010 worldwide, and the third highest-grossing animated film of all time, clearing over $1 billion.
Metacritic rating: 88
6. Finding Nemo (2003)
Finding Nemo follows clownfish father, Marlon, as his son, Nemo, finds himself captured by a scuba-diving Australian dentist while journeying into the sea for adventure. Marlon looks far and wide for his son, encountering fun characters like Dory and conquering his fear of the unknown. Finding Nemo was hugely successful, winning Best Animated Feature and Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards as well as being named the 10th best animated film ever made by the American Film Institute. It was the highest-grossing G-rated film ever until Toy Story 3, and it remains the highest selling DVD of all time.
Metacritic rating: 90
5. Incredibles (2004)
The Incredibles was very popular, earning box office success as well as critical acclaim. It follows the Parr superhero family as they try to suppress their powers and instincts in an attempt to live a normal life after a wave of backlash against superheroes hits newspapers. Bob AKA Mr. Incredible is tempted to get back in the game by an evil corporation run by a power hungry genius who felt rejected by Mr. Incredible as a boy when he wanted nothing more than to become a superhero using his inventions. It earned two Academy Awards and the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.
Metacritic rating: 90
4. Inside Out (2015)
Inside Out was released in 2015 and is set inside the mind of a young girl named Riley. Her emotions are personified with names like Joy, Anger etc. The movie takes on some serious topics in regards to emotional health as the characters scramble to help Riley adjust to moving to San Francisco. The film was very well received and won accolades from six different sources, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature.
Metacritic rating: 94
3. Wall-E (2008)
Wall-E was is set in a semi-apocalyptic futuristic world where human pollution has rendered the Earth uninhabitable and unhealthy habits have made the majority of people overweight to the point where they are incapable of walking. Humankind now survives on massive ships traveling through space. The AI pilot of the ship would have them stay forever whereas trash-compactor robot Wall-E and his friend Eve take a growing plant as a sign that Earth has become habitable again. Adventuring and some incredible animation ensues. Wall-E was massively successful at the box office and won all kinds of awards, including the Hugo Award for Best Long Form Presentation. It was also voted one of the best 100 films of the 21st century, and it was at the top of Time's list for Best Films of the Decade.
Metacritic rating: 95
2. Toy Story (1995)
Toy Story was Pixar's very first feature length film and is still considered one of their best. It centers around a group of toys who pretend to be inanimate when humans are around but have a life of their own when the humans leave. When a new astronaut toy named Buzz Lightyear joins the mix, cowboy toy Woody becomes a bit jealous, which isn't helped by Lightyear's attitude. The two eventually develop a friendship in the midst of some misadventures during the family's move to a new house. Toy Story was nominated for three Academy Awards and won the Special Achievement Award. It was also entered into the National Film Registry for its cultural significance.
Metacritic rating: 95
1. Ratatouille (2007)
Ratatouille is Metacritic's big winner for the best Pixar film to date, but given the popularity of all the Pixar films, surely fans would have something to say about that. The film is set in France and follows Remy, voiced by Patton Oswalt, a personified rat who is an outcast even in the rat community. Remy loves cooking more than anything, but being a rat, people don't generally want him near their kitchens so he must take a risk to prove himself as a talented chef, with the help of his struggling human chef friend, Alfredo Linguini. Ratatouille won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and was voted one of the 100 best films of the 21st century.
Metacritic rating: 96