Since the release of Toy Story in 1995, Pixar has garnered a massive following by creating notable feature films for several decades now. They’re known for the stunning animations, unique story concepts, and themes that a wide range of audiences could relate to. If you grew up watching their films, you’d see how the animations have improved and how iconic each film has become.
This year alone, Pixar has released two feature films, Turning Red and Lightyear, so far. While all of them are undoubtedly made well, have you ever wondered which ones are the most well-loved by the audience and critics? If you want to look back on these movies to rewatch or see them for the first time, if you haven’t yet, here are the top five Pixar films from the past decade to today.
5. Soul (2020)
Rotten Tomatoes – 95%
IMDb – 8/10
Top 5 in this list is the brilliantly made film Soul. In this film, middle school band teacher Joe Gardner dreams of performing jazz music professionally, but he has been unable to achieve this dream for a while. When he finally gets invited to play for a show, he gets into an accident, making his soul leave his body and go to the afterlife. After encountering different souls and problems in his journey to get back to his body, Joe gains a realization about what it truly means to have a soul.
One of the best things about Pixar is its ability to produce such astonishing, thought-provoking films, and Soul is excellent proof of this. The technical aspect of the film is just breathtaking, from the stunning animations to the catchy music, and the voice actors do a great job delivering the characters’ emotions.
Besides these, though, Soul is a film that different ages can enjoy and learn. With a movie that tugs on your heartstrings, gives you a point of reflection, and reminds you about the beauty of life, it’s no wonder Soul is one of the most-loved Pixar films.
4. Toy Story 4 (2019)
Rotten Tomatoes – 97%
IMDb – 7.7/10
Just when fans thought they were saying goodbye to their favorite animated toys when Andy did, Pixar returned with the fourth installment of the Toy Story series in 2019. The events occur some time after Andy leaves his beloved toys to Bonnie.
After neglecting some toys, including Woody, Bonnie creates a new toy from a spork and names him Forky. When Bonnie’s family and toys go on a road trip, Forky jumps out of the car, and Woody goes after him. Their journey leads to an antique store where Woody is reunited with long-lost friend Bo Beep. Amidst different challenges and encountering other toys, new and old, Woody comes up with various realizations and decisions that affect the way he wants to live his life as a toy.
Pixar never failed to impress viewers with any of their Toy Story films, so Toy Story 4 is expected to be no different. The animation’s quality and attention to detail are just so beautiful, and having that coupled with witty lines and a heartwarming storyline, it’s obvious why viewers loved this film too. As different critics have said, Toy Story 4 is a great example of a film that extends (and concludes) a well-made film series.
3. Coco (2017)
Rotten Tomatoes – 97%
IMDb – 8.4/10
When the film came out, you’ve probably encountered people who were sobbing and expressing their love for the songs and scenes from Coco. It’s completely understandable as this visually stunning family-friendly movie has crept into many people’s hearts.
In Coco, Miguel aspires to become a musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz; however, his family’s music ban over generations prevents him from doing so. Determined to prove his talent, he tries to perform at a talent show but finds himself in the beautiful Land of the Dead. There, he meets a man named Héctor, and together, they go on a journey and discover the true story behind Miguel’s family history.
Coco is another excellent example of what you’d expect from a wonderfully made Pixar film: great storytelling, wonderful visuals, catchy music (that you’d be singing in the shower for a few days), and heartwarming themes. The film makes you laugh and cry at the exact moments where you’re supposed to. Besides all that, it’s worth noting that Coco appreciates Mexican culture by getting inspiration from the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead.
2. Inside Out (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes – 98%
IMDb – 8.2/10
Speaking of Pixar films that make you cry, the list’s top 2 is none other than Inside Out. By the time this was released, it was clear to everyone that Pixar could take almost any object or concept and bring these into life. From toys to cars, and now, emotions.
Young Riley’s life is changed when she and her parents move to San Francisco, leaving behind the life she’s already familiar with. Riley’s emotions, Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness, try to guide her through a difficult and life-changing time in her life. After a conflict between these emotions, Joy and Sadness are swept away from the Headquarters. As they try to find their way back, they explore Riley’s mind more and have their own realizations as Riley herself changes.
Pixar has always had its ways of connecting to its audience emotionally, but Inside Out is one that makes people have some genuine introspection. It cleverly weaves the painful process of growing up, relatable emotions, and colorful representations of said emotions and thoughts to bring a remarkable story to life – a story where some can even find comfort in. Being known as one of the best films released in 2015, it’s clear why its impact can still be felt today.
1. Toy Story 3 (2010)
Rotten Tomatoes – 98%
IMDb – 8.3/10
Lastly, another film in the Toy Story series takes the number one spot. Released in 2010, the film is the oldest one on this list, yet the fact that many believe it’s one of the series’ and even Pixar’s most remarkable creations are clear proof of why it’s a masterpiece deserving of this spot.
In Toy Story 3, Andy prepares to leave for college. However, when Woody, Buzz, and the gang are boxed and headed to the attic, they are mistakenly taken to the trash outside. Woody quickly finds a way to save them, but they are taken to a daycare center. However, the kids in the daycare do not take good care of their toys, so they plan to make a great escape.
Like its predecessors, this film is action-packed and filled with hilarious scenes that make the audience enjoy the entire movie. It’s also interesting to see various new toys and how the original gang is placed in an entirely new environment they haven’t seen yet. Aside from that, Pixar knows precisely how and where to incorporate moving scenes that make you believe you’re on the emotional rollercoaster ride with the toys themselves.
The film tugs at your heartstrings by tapping into nostalgia and showing the conclusion of Andy’s story with the beloved gang. Yet it still stands alone as a wonderfully made film even if you didn’t grow up watching the first two.
Watch and Play
There you have it – five of the best Pixar films from the past decade until today. Seeing these films can be a lot of fun (even if you cry while watching some of them), but after watching or rewatching them, you can keep the fun going by trying other activities. Laugh out loud like you would when laughing along with Woody and Buzz’s antics by playing a video game or doing some harmless pranks. You can do a funny prank call or think of an iPhone message prank. Just make sure it will be fun for you and your prank victim.