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Every Pixar Movie, Ranked from Worst to Best

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Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Monsters, Inc. set the bar high for Hollywood escapism, not for the way it encourages detachment as an escape from routine, but how it cannily asks us to question why we walk away from the reality of our lives, though not always through cartoon doors. A celebration of realized childhood fears, abundant in subtle, cleverly deployed film references that never stoop to the easy snark that’s become the modus operandi of DreamWorks Animation, the film heartbreakingly attests to the way fear is intricately bound to childhood experience. A monster inadvertently makes a little girl cry, thus breaking the purity of their trust, and by film’s end, their reconciliation and subsequent separation becomes a humbling reminder of what it’s like to fear, imagine, and hope. Gonzalez

Every Pixar Movie, Ranked from Worst to Best

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Ratatouille (2007)

A testament to Pixar’s (tragically waning) courage, Ratatouille might be the animated film with the bravest premise, daring to not only make a rodent an adorable protagonist, but to place him in the kitchen—the kitchen of one of the premiere restaurants in the foodie mecca of France. The title alone is a bit of brilliant punnery, and rat Remy’s puppet-like control of awkward restaurant heir Alfredo—an effortless employment of the man-behind-the-curtain and big-thing-in-small-package tropes—is as thrilling to watch as Remy’s zinging visualizations of tastes and flavor combinations. What will always make Ratatouille close to a critic’s heart, though, is the inclusion of the critic himself, a formidable figure whose disenchantment is lifted by evocative art that opens his heart wide. This is the Pixar title that arrived when the studio knew of its clout as a media giant that bridged the critic- and crowd-pleasing gap, and many of we film writers prefer to consider it resonant comfort food—as much a nudge as a love letter. Osenlund

Every Pixar Movie, Ranked from Worst to Best

1

Up (2009)

Is Up the first Pixar creation where characters spill blood? But that’s not what makes the film so special. It’s the inspired sense of scale, thoughtful framing, and dreamlike interplays of colors and shapes, the simultaneous fear and joy roused by its nutty flights of fancy and suspense, and the fearless emotional affect its story never ceases to risk. A series of colorful vignettes on love, fidelity, and adventure, Up is emotionally and aesthetically hieratic, conflating, from its very first, Citizen Kane-referencing sequence, the act of watching movies with the ecstasies and banalities of living. Life, like going to the movies, is seen as a grand communal experience, a ride worth enduring even when it teeters toward and over the brink of nightmarish abysses. Gonzalez

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