This weekend, Pixar Animation Studios will be releasing its 13th feature film, “Brave.” It’s a milestone for the company in that not only is it the first Pixar film to feature a female protagonist, but a female co-director is also at the helm.
Pixar has built a business on milestones, actually. Going all the way back to its revolutionary short “The Adventures of Andre and Wally B.” in 1984, and then again with the company’s work in feature film development starting with 1995’s “Toy Story,” each step has been a willful one and a progressive one.
Indeed, in considering the studio’s 10th feature, “Up,” back in 2009, I wrote, “Watching Pixar Animation grow and develop as a studio has become almost more fascinating than experiencing one of the company”s many creative films unfold on screen. Beginning with an industry leap in 1995″s ‘Toy Story” and eventually moving into its daring own with 2008″s ‘WALL·E,” the studio has, at the very least, shown a desire for creative progression.”
That said, “Brave,” as much as I like the film (which I caught at the premiere and grand opening of the Dolby Theatre last night), doesn’t register much in the way of progression. It feels like the studio treading a bit of water, leaving the envelope to be pushed another day.
Nevertheless, with all that in mind, it seemed a pretty good time to reassess the studio’s best work to date. Three years ago I put together a similar list, which featured the only 10 features Pixar had released at the time. We’ve seen three more since then, including “Brave,” so how does the collective shake down now?
The order here will of course be different for everyone. “WALL·E,” for example, was a major high point for many in 2008, but not as much for me. “Monsters, Inc.,” on the other hand, isn”t considered top tier Pixar to some, but as you”ll note below, I beg to differ.
Be sure to rank the films as you go and maybe we can suss out what the readership’s collective list would be. And as always, feel free to offer up your thoughts and/or your own list in the comments section below.
“Brave” opens in theaters nationwide Friday, June 22.
(NOTE: This list first appeared in part at InContention.com in 2009.)