Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Every Pixar Movie Ranked from Worst to Best
Every Pixar Movie Ranked from Worst to Best

12

Finding Dory (2016)

Though it suffers from some overly familiar caper antics, Finding Dory nobly embodies the “Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Release” motto of the Marine Institute where most of the film takes place. Dory’s short-term memory loss, a source of mostly comic relief in the original, is evoked with bracing seriousness after the blue tang finally recovers a sense of where she lost track of her family. Director Andrew Stanton uses ingenious whip-pans, POV shots, and arhythmic edits to conjure both Dory’s illness and her recovery, and a new supporting cast of disabled friends realize their strengths as they help Dory recover her sense of self. Christopher Gray

Every Pixar Movie Ranked from Worst to Best

11

Coco (2017)

Focused on the tradition of the Day of the Dead, in which families gather to celebrate their deceased ancestors, Coco offers a festive, reverent, and wide-ranging pastiche of Mexican culture, touching on everything from Frida Kahlo to luchadores to the golden age of Mexican cinema. With the possible exception of WALL-E’s depiction of our planet as a depopulated trash heap, this is perhaps Pixar’s bleakest vision, a world in which one dies not once but twice, the second time from a collective disregard for a person’s very existence. But as the script begins to unravel the secrets of 12-year-old Miguel’s (Anthony Gonzalez) ancestors, the film gets bogged down in its over-plotted family melodrama, with the last third in particular feeling like the filmmakers are running down a narrative to-do list. With so much information to plow through, the film too often bolts from one plot point to the next when it should be simply sitting back and enjoying the moment. Because when it turns down the volume on its cacophonous narrative and turns up the music, Coco achieves moments as powerful as anything in the Pixar canon. Watson

Every Pixar Movie Ranked from Worst to Best

10

Inside Out (2015)

Pixar’s most ambitious undertaking is an ironically literal-minded exploration of the figurative contours of a young girl’s mind. Director Peter Docter spends most of the film’s running time having characters explain the particulars of his conceit aloud, which quickly grows suffocating in its cleverness. The human mind resembles the PreCrime lab in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, where the harried emotions file ball-shaped experiences away in recesses via cylindrical tubes, color-coding them according to the reactions they respectively elicit. Of course, the film’s about maturity as the realization that no event triggers a singular emotion, dramatizing the girl’s blossoming awareness of nuance. There are indelible images, such as the terrifying sight of “personality islands” as they collapse into a void that symbolizes depression. But Inside Out doesn’t come alive until its moving climax, and even this is undermined by a shrilly pat ending that’s all too characteristic of Pixar. Bowen

Every Pixar Movie Ranked from Worst to Best

9

Finding Nemo (2003)

Arguably the most beautiful of Pixar’s creations, the underwater quest of Finding Nemo is a work of endless wonders, whose literal sea of details can offer new discoveries with each viewing (even the varying levels of sediment are staggeringly, gorgeously specific). Like the Toy Story films, Nemo targets the evils of packaging and captivity, juxtaposing the free-swimming fish of Australia’s coastal reefs with those contained for show in a dentist’s cold, sterile office. That same notion of the ills of constraint plays out on the micro level, as clownfish Marlin needs to let go of his own confining fears, which he imposes on his lost, eponymous son. Your favorite part of this enduring masterstroke might be the current-cruising sea turtles, the Bah-ston-accented crayfish, or Geoffrey Rush’s benevolent pelican, but odds are it’s Dory, Ellen Degeneres’s amnesiac regal blue tang, one of the greatest animated characters in history. Osenlund

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