Written by Jose Ignacio Castaneda
Pixar movies deliver extremely relatable stories that are told through extraordinary characters or circumstances alongside strong themes and beautiful animation. No other studio can boast to concurrently be a precedent of the past and a titan of the future. That is why we argued, bickered, fought, bargained and finally compromised on our top five favorite Pixar films of all time.
5. WALL-E (2008)
This animated feature follows the tracks of Earth’s last trash-compacting robot, WALL-E. The movie is set in a future where the Earth has become unlivable due to an excess of garbage and climate change. When WALL-E is unexpectedly visited by a sleek futuristic robot named EVE, he gives her Earth’s first post-apocalyptic plant. EVE returns to her home ship in order to report the change in Earth’s sustainability and WALL-E follows. This film is one of the few animated children’s films that touch upon some of the most pertinent and scary problems that our world is currently facing. While these themes are viewed through an animated robot lens, they still carry a lot of weight in the movie. Furthermore, themes of love and responsibility intertwine with the beautiful animation of the film. A movie about a robot romance in outer space that resonates with audiences of all ages? Pixar at its finest.
4. Inside Out (2015)
Inside Out follows the character of Riley Andersen as she struggles to cope with new emotions during a tumultuous time of change in her life. More importantly, the film follows the emotions in her head as they scramble to cope with the changes. Riley’s five emotions are personified as the characters of Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger. After Riley’s core emotions start to become infiltrated with sadness, Joy must try to stop all of them from becoming sad. The movie’s originality, characters and ability to discuss strong topics propel it to number four on our list.
3. Coco (2017)
This film tells the story of Miguel and his struggle to find himself, his family and his passion through a quest across multiple worlds. After his music-hating family reprimands him for hiding his stash of music memorabilia, Miguel tries to fulfill his dreams of becoming a musician by stealing the guitar of a dead icon. Because of this trespass, Miguel is stuck in the land of the dead with no way to get home. Coco beautifully represents Mexican culture through its imagery, music and themes. The film contains beautiful shots of intricate and colorful animation alongside a creative story. The movie uses Pixar’s traditional facets to their maximum potential by pulling on the heart strings with themes of memory, family and death. Coco is a gentle animated reminder that we will always have our families with us, no matter what.
2. Up (2009)
This movie tells the story of the elderly Carl Fredricksen and his quest to finally fulfill his late wife’s dream to visit Paradise Falls in South America. In a last-ditch effort to visit the Falls, Carl ties thousands of balloons to his house in order to fly there. To Carl’s displeasure, a young boy scout names Russell tags along with him in order to gain another young explorer badge. Throughout the film, Carl’s relationship as an unwilling mentor to Russell develops as they both try to complete their crusades. As most of our readers know, the first six minutes of this film show a truly heart-wrenching anthology of unexpected love and its ultimate loss. Up is beautiful view of normal human life through a fantastical lens, the ultimate staple of a great Pixar movie.
The Toy Story Franchise (1995- Present)
This trio of films tells the story of a group of sentient toys and their adventures alongside their owner, Andy. Melancholy topics such as being forgotten and growing up are discussed through this rag-tag team of toys. While the movies focus on all the toys, the true heart lies in the evolution of the relationship between Woody, a veteran cowboy, and Buzz Lightyear, a top-of-the-line astronaut. While they begin as adversaries, Buzz and Woody ultimately work together to get back to Andy. While the first two films in the franchise have emotional undertones, it is not until Toy Story 3 that the films reach their emotive climax. It is during the third installment that audiences must say goodbye to their childhood characters and finally come to terms with growing up themselves. The Toy Story franchise became a staple of quality for Pixar movies while also establishing a celebrated precedent for all animated films.