Disney currently owns Pixar, but it began as the computer graphics division of the Lucasfilm production company. Eventually, with the help of Apple co-founder – Steve Jobs, it broke away and became its own independent computer animation studio.
Now it’s the world’s most critically and commercially successful animation studio and has produced 23 feature films and won over 44 awards. Not to mention its constant technological innovation in film production and refreshing storylines.
So, without further ado, here are ten of their most famous films in chronological order:
Toy Story (1995)
The first completely computer-generated (CG) feature film, Toy Story, was a groundbreaking release. It reflects the lives and adventures of a group of toys.
The story idea is said to have come around because of how difficult it was to animate humans. The animators found that humans tended to look plastic when computer-generated. So, instead of making humans, they decided to create a story about toys.
The film was a huge interpretive and commercial success and is considered one of the best animated films ever made.
Monsters Inc. (2001)
This film represents the story of two monsters working in an energy-producing company known as Monsters Inc.
It was conceptualised during the production of Toy Story and is based on the childhood fear of monsters being hidden in the closet.
However, it wasn’t just the story that caught the audience’s attention. The animated monsters were a stellar example of the capabilities of Pixar’s animation technology. The monster fur itself required the set up of a separate simulation department and took years to perfect.
All in all, the movie is a cinematic, artistic and technological masterpiece.
Finding Nemo (2003)
Based on the story of a clownfish named Marlin who goes searching for his son Nemo with his friends, Finding Nemo is one of the most successful animated films ever released.
It has won the academy award for the Best Animated Feature and was the second highest-grossing film at its release.
At the time, it continued to be one of the most visually pleasing cinematic releases, with the whole story taking place in the saturated colour palette under the sea.
The Incredibles (2004)
It is often touted as the best superhero film of all time. The Incredibles follows a family of superheroes that hide their powers in accordance with government regulation.
The movie won two academy awards and was extremely well accepted by the public.
Since the film creator – Brad Bird, had worked primarily in 2D animation and did not know the limits of 3D animation. The Incredibles was the most complex film Pixar had produced.
A story based on a selfish car and his journey to redemption, Cars is an interesting concept for sure.
While commercially successful to this day, the film received little critical applause. That is, by comparison to the rest of Pixar’s catalogue.
However, it is still a visual treat and as entertaining as any other Pixar film on this list.
Ratatouille is a comedy film about a rat who wants to be a chef and the illegitimate son of a celebrity chef who can’t cook.
The film itself took seven years to release and has since become a mainstay in pop culture.
Like any other Pixar film, scenes were approached with heavy research and complicated technological technique. However, this takes up time. So to hasten the process, animators made characters without toes.
Thankfully this did not influence ratings, and the film was a huge critical and commercial success.
A romantic movie about a trash cleaning robot based in the future: WALL-E addressed important topics like waste and climate degradation while telling a tender story about two robots from different worlds falling in love.
It’s the futuristic Romeo and Juliet we needed but did not deserve.
It has won awards for its writing and is considers the best movie of the decade by Time Magazine.
The film was originally conceptualised in 1995 under the name – Trash planet. However, production only started in 2002. WALL-E was the most complex film since Monster’s Inc. because of the completely new world that needed to be conveyed.
Suffice to say; the animators managed to deliver.
The opening sequence of this movie is often considered one of the saddest in cinematic history. But don’t worry, it gets better, the film is labelled a comedy after all.
The movie became the second animated film in history to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. So it holds critical acclaim. Also commercially successful, the film was one of the highest-grossing movies of 2009.
The movie was conceptualised in 2004 and took five years of active development to finish. But like most Pixar films, it was definitely worth the wait.
Brave is Pixar’s first fairy tale movie. Falling into the Disney trope of animated films with ‘princess’ protagonists.
But the movie shies away from other tropes of evil mother figures and provides the viewers with a wonderfully complex view of the relationship between mother and daughter.
The animators also used technology developed while making Monster’s Inc. portray a bear in the movie.
Inside out (2015)
Finally, Inside out, the second Pixar movie after Brave to feature a female protagonist. This movie was groundbreaking in its depiction of emotions and is often used by mental healthcare professionals to explain feelings to children.
It also provides a beautiful understanding of growing up and the changes as you transition from childhood to adolescence.