Among the traditions of filmmaking, none have been more vital and celebrated since the dawn of the 21st century than animation. With technology poised to evolve and surmount heights even greater than what it has already summited in the years to come, the art of translating imagination into digital imagery serves only to tighten its grip on its role in ensuring that the cinematic arts remain at the zenith of any auteurism concerning a rolling camera.
In the universe of animated film, no studio has contributed more to this avenue than Pixar Animation Studios -- better known as Disney Pixar. As the first animation studio to be conceived into existence in 1979 when Steve Jobs became a major shareholder of what was then Graphics Group -- a component of the computer division for Lucasfilm -- Pixar has grown and continued to be an innovative powerhouse in all matters of filmmaking that concern telling stories in pixels. Earning a total of 16 Academy Awards and 7 Golden Globes for their work, here are 10 of the top movies produced bearing the prestige that comes with the Pixar name:
10. "Big Hero 6"
Told with a voice of vulnerable, but healing compassion, combined with characters every bit as likeable as they are eccentric, "Big Hero 6" was up for some pretty stiff competition when it went head-to-head with "How To Train Your Dragon 2" at the Golden Globes and the Oscars. Although "How To Train Your Dragon 2" took the first round, it was "Big Hero 6" who left Dolby Theatres holding the grand prize -- winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Film.
Possessing a great deal of action and camaraderie, what is truly touching about this piece is the heart applied to the writing. One you can feel beating within and through the change of every scene.
9. "Monsters, Inc."
Released back in 2001, "Monsters, Inc." came roaring out of the gate, seizing the top spot in the box office -- a position it occupied for three weeks before being dethroned by "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone". Clever, witty, even toying with the question: What if monsters were scared of kids? The only screaming viewers can expect to be doing is the loud shrill that comes before breaking down into seizures of laughter.
Nominated for 4 Oscars, "Monster's Inc" took home the hardware for Best Original Song. Written by Randy Newman, "If I Didn't Have You" soared to number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 upon the film's opening in theatres, and eight places up to 17 in 2008.
Talking animals have been Pixar's specialty and "Zootopia" is certainly no exception. Making loud noises at the box office by climbing to the position of 28th highest grossing film of all time, this movie was also greeted with widespread critical acclaim. Going up against the likes of "Moana" and "Kubo and the Two Strings", "Zootopia" stole back-to-back competitions at the Oscars and Golden Globes, stealing Best Animated Feature at both ceremonies. "Zootopia's" prowess is such that the American Film Institute has deemed it to be one of the top ten movies of 2016.
7. "Inside Out"
The run of movies between 2015 and 2016 proved to be anything but stellar, allowing "Inside Out" to soundly stand out as one of the few bright spots. Nevertheless, the timing of its release certainly does not detract from the magnitude of what this project was able to achieve. After years of asking what if animals, bugs, and toys had emotions, Pixar decided it was time to raise the bar by asking what if emotions had emotions.
Nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, while adding another Best Animated Feature to Pixar's trophy cabinet, a poll of 177 critics from around the world convened where "Inside Out" was deemed to be the 41st best film of the 21st Century. It also slotted at number seven on the New York Times list of "Best Film of the 21st Century So Far".
6. "The Incredibles"
Engaging with the superhero genre long before it became a trend again, movie goers and critics were wondering what had become of "The Incredibles" before it was recently announced that there would be a sequel scheduled to open in theatres in June of 2018. So fear not Pixar fans, you'll hear from Edna Mode and what outrageous innovations she might have tucked up her sleeve concerning Robin masks and spandex suits.
Beating out the two Dreamworks favourites in the form of "Shrek 2" and "Shark Tale" for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, "The Incredibles" also occupies the 400th slot on Empire's 500 Greatest Films of all time. Also, "The Incredibles" is the first animated film to date to win the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.
Usually a rat is the last thing you want near your food. But to have one cook it? Well, at Cafe de Pixar, the recipe to all the conceivable consists of all things inconceivable. And they don't always have to be edible. Even though technically, rats are.
Beating out a tough competitor in the form of "Persepolis" -- a foreign film regarded as 58th by Empire on a list of "The 100 Best Films of World Cinema" -- for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, "Ratatouille" proved to be a recipe for success. According to a poll conducted by BBC in 2016, this motion picture was voted in as one of the top 100 movies made since the turn of the century.
4. "Finding Nemo"
If there was ever a movie capable of sending you on an emotional roller coaster through vegetarian sharks, turtles talking like stoners, and blue tang fish with short-term memory loss, than "Finding Nemo" shouldn't disappoint. Jetpacked with humour as charged as the East Australian Current, there are several moments where the movie cuts your heart out, and plays its strings until you are squeezed of every last emotional tear.
Becoming the highest-grossing animated film of all time during the time of its release, the AFI named "Finding Nemo" tenth on a list of 10 top 10 animated films. Joining elite company including titles such as "Fantasia", "Shrek", "Toy Story" and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
A movie widely lauded for the character of Carl Frederickson, and the opening montage between he and his wife Ellie -- a sequence that could pass for a short film -- "Up" is a high flying treat of humour and unparalleled depth. Nominated for five Oscars, "Up" also received consideration for Best Picture. The first animated movie to accomplish such a feat since "Beauty and the Beast" in 1991.
Although possessing next to no dialogue, "WALL-E" is a true tour de force. Bringing with it a reclusive, dream like aura capable of enrapturing one and transporting him/her to a realm of spellbound, unassailable timelessness. Heartwarming in every way, shape, colour and form, "WALL-E" also utilizes its endearing storyline to offer an incisive critique on issues that including consumerism, obesity, corporatism and the All-American favourite -- nostalgia.
Its political examinations and darker, cynical tone aside, "WALL-E" is truly an indisputable choice in terms of entertainment and the appreciation of filmmaking as an art. Becoming the second animated film to win a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, "WALL-E" also topped TIME's for "Best Movies of the Decade".
1. "Toy Story" (The Trilogy)
Based off a short film "Tin Toy", in didn't take long for Disney Pixar to decide they wanted to elevate the idea of talking, living toys to an 81 minute long feature film. However, the initial production was a near disaster. After a series of discarded treatments, and disastrous movie reels, the project was put on halt until a rewrite of the script was conceived. Still reluctant due to early shortcomings, Disney relented and agreed to produce "Toy Story" on frugal financial constraints.
And the gamble paid off. Becoming the highest grossing film on its opening weekend, "Toy Story" was met with an acclaim as rapturous as it was widespread. With stunned critics impressed with the movie's technical innovation and sophistication of its screenplay. Regarded as arguably one of the greatest animation features ever made, "Toy Story" was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in just its first year -- obtaining the merit of being just one of six movies ever made to accomplish such a feat. Having already spawned two sequels, a fourth is on the way, and is set to open in theatres in 2019.