With the upcoming release of Inside Out 2 on June 15th 2024, it’s the perfect time to celebrate some of Pixar’s most beloved films. Our top 5 selections showcase Pixar’s blend of storytelling, emotional depth, and innovative animation.

Up

Up | Photo © Disney/Pixar
Up | Photo © Disney/Pixar

The opening sequence of Up is often hailed as one of the most emotional moments in cinema. The film begins with a heartbreaking montage of Carl and Ellie’s life together, establishing a deep emotional connection with the audience. As the story unfolds, we follow the lonely widower Carl (voiced by Ed Asner) who embarks on an adventure by tying thousands of balloons to his house, accompanied by an unexpected stowaway, a young boy scout named Russell. The whimsical journey, combined with the touching tale of friendship and rediscovery, makes Up a timeless classic that resonates with audiences of all ages.

Monsters Inc

Monsters Inc | Photo © Disney/Pixar
Monsters Inc | Photo © Disney/Pixar

Monsters, Inc. holds a special place in many hearts, especially for those who experienced its magic on the big screen for the first time. This film explores the world where monsters harness children’s screams for energy. When top scarers Sully (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) accidentally let a human child into their world, which causes chaos. Beyond the laughs and thrills, the film delivers a powerful message about overcoming fears and the importance of friendship. The unique premise and unforgettable characters make Monsters, Inc. a standout in Pixar’s lineup.

The Toy Story Trilogy

Toy Story 3 | Photo © Disney/Pixar
Toy Story 3 | Photo © Disney/Pixar

Although it might seem like cheating, the original Toy Story Trilogy is a cohesive narrative that deserves recognition as a single entity. These films follow the adventures of Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), and their toy friends as they navigate the complexities of belonging and change. The trilogy’s perfect ending in Toy Story 3 and the poignant song “When She Loved Me” from Toy Story 2 are highlights that have left lasting impressions on audiences. The trilogy beautifully captures the essence of childhood and the inevitable transition to adulthood, making it a masterpiece of animated storytelling.

Inside Out

Inside Out | Photo © Disney/Pixar
Inside Out | Photo © Disney/Pixar

Inside Out provides a unique and insightful look into the emotional turmoil of adolescence. The film takes us inside the mind of 11-year-old Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), where her emotions—Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Fear (Bill Hader)—struggle to keep her balanced as she adjusts to a new life in a different city. The narrative demonstrates that all emotions, even sadness, are essential for emotional growth and well-being. Inside Out’s innovative approach to depicting emotions makes it a must-watch, especially with its highly anticipated sequel around the corner.

Ratatouille

Ratatouille | Photo © Disney/Pixar
Ratatouille | Photo © Disney/Pixar

In Ratatouille, Pixar introduces us to Remy, a rat with a passion for cooking. Set in Paris, the film follows Remy as he teams up with the hapless young chef Linguini (Lou Romano) to create culinary masterpieces. The movie’s central message, “anyone can cook,” resonates deeply, emphasszing that talent and passion can come from the most unexpected places. Ratatouille is a delightful blend of humour, heart, and mouth-watering animation that inspires viewers to pursue their dreams, no matter how unconventional they may seem.

As we eagerly await the release of Inside Out 2, revisiting these top 5 Pixar films reminds us of the studio’s incredible ability to craft stories that appeal to both children and adults. Each film in this list, from the adventurous skies of Up to the bustling kitchen of Ratatouille, showcases Pixar’s unique talent for blending heartfelt narratives with stunning animation. These films not only entertain but also offer profound messages that stay with us long after the credits roll.

For more film and TV news, reviews and features, click here and don’t forget to tune in to Harvey’s Brunch Club every Sunday from 9am to 11am on Queerly Radio to hear Harvey’s Reel Recommendations.