7. Ratatouille (2007)
Somehow this seems like one of Pixar’s more unbelievable ideas: a rat who loves food cooking at a famous Parisian restaurant by hiding under the hat of a novice cook. Yet they pull it off. Ratatouille is so much fun; so much silly, mad, adorable fun.
Also, did you ever notice that Linguini looks exactly like this guy from Friday The 13th Part 2?
6. Monsters Inc. (2001)
Monsters Inc. is such a brilliant idea: explaining the myth of monsters under the bed, in a universe where monsters rule, power is acquired through children’s screams. Enter ‘Scarers’, monsters whose job it is to enter children’s rooms at night via door portals and get them to scream. The louder the scream, the more energy produced.
It’s wonderfully bonkers at times (it would have to be with a plot like that), and Mike and Sully (Billy Crystal and John Goodman) are such a great duo – but it’s Sully’s relationship with Boo, the little girl who finds her way into the monster world, that makes Monsters Inc. so endearing. If Oscars went to movie endings, this would surely get it.
5. Inside Out (2015)
Finally some reaffirmation that Pixar aren’t completely disappearing into a sequel-shaped hole of normality.
Inside Out is their most profound and grown-up film yet – and yes, I think it’s more for grown-ups than kids. I mean, it opens with the birth of human consciousness and deals with the chaotic emotions of an adolescent mind entering puberty, before demonstrating the considerably mature concept that we must appreciate sadness in order to appreciate our joy.
It’s also totally joyous and tear-inducing. I’m still getting over Bing Bong.
4. Up (2009)
Just as Monsters Inc. has the best ending, Up has the best opening – not even just of Pixar’s, but of cinema’s long history. We care more for two characters in the opening ten minutes than a lot of movies manage in two hours. It’s the perfect short film, and it will make you cry.
Then in comes Dug the dog, who’s a great tracker and hides under the porch because he loves you, to steal the show as he joins in on the adventure with Carl, Russell and Kevin the bird. If my house could float away with a thousand helium balloons, I’d probably fly off for an adventure, too.
3. The Incredibles (2004)
When we’re asked to think of our favourite superhero movies, we tend to go immediately to the likes of Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy or The Avengers – but Pixar actually gave us one of the best back in 2004. It’s the one top-end movie in the studio’s cannon that doesn’t have any particular emotional heft – it’s just really, really fun.
We’re finally getting a sequel (in 2019) – it always felt like the Pixar movie that actually deserves one.
2. Wall-E (2008)
Pixar’s answer to the silent movie. Wall-E is a truly a magnificent achievement in storytelling; for the majority of the running time we see nothing but a little waste-compacting robot buzzing around an abandoned Earth, gazing longingly at the stars and holding his own hand out of loneliness. Try not to cry at that.
When mysterious robot, EVE, lands nearby, it becomes a beautiful story of friendship and love, with really quiet apt allegorical undertones about the direction humanity could be heading if we’re not careful.
Beautiful, majestic and moving.
1. Toy Story 1-3 (1995, 1999, 2010)
Individually I might choose another film as #1, so it’s perhaps unfair to lump all three Toy Story films in together since there’s no possible way it won’t come out on top. But the reality is, as a trilogy, there’s nothing else quite like it. It’s the film that began Pixar’s incredible story, after all, and until the announcement of Toy Story 4, gave its characters the perfect send-off.
The characters have been ingrained in our conscience since 1995; we’ve been through a journey with them, which is why it was so emotional letting them go. I’m sure the next one will be great, but it shouldn’t really be happening, should it? Toy Story is one of the greatest trilogies of all time – we should leave it that way.
Edward Gardiner – Follow me on Twitter