Pixar has released a grand total of 14 films so far. To decide which is the best one is practically impossible since you won’t find one most people agree on. I’m here to argue that, not counting the Toy Story trilogy, Ratatouille is Pixar’s best. Feel free to disagree with this opinion piece and post your opinion on the comments! But first, hear me out!
So, if we remove the Toy Story trilogy from contention, what Pixar movies can claim the honor of being the best ones? Certainly we will all agree both Cars don’t have a chance. I will argue Brave, Monsters University and a bug’s life are all really good movies that aren’t truly great though. And as much as I love, love, love Monsters, Inc I wouldn’t say it can match the remaining five in terms of quality and perfection.
So we’re left with Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Wall-E and Up. Holy moly guacamole. I’ve recently seen all these movies and you have to understand I love them all SO MUCH. Those movies are why I’m a screenwriter, they’re the reason I write for this site. They are all practically perfect. So why do I think Ratatouille is the best one?
Let’s start by praising the other movies in my Top 5. The first 40 minutes of Wall-E are arguably the greatest thing Pixar has ever done. The dialogue-free sequence is mesmerizing. It introduces us to two characters, it makes us care for them and it entertains us with barely a line of dialogue or two (more impressively, it entertains kids too!). And while I personally think that whole sequence has been the best thing Pixar has done, the rest of the movie isn’t as phenomenally perfect. It’s great, but not perfect.
Similar thing with Up. That opening montage is probably the best montage in movie history in terms of the reaction it causes in its audience. Do you know anyone who doesn’t cry watching the greatest love story ever told in 4 minutes? If you do, please report them to the authorities, they are most likely robots in disguise. But again, the movie has flaws.
The Incredibles and Finding Nemo are much more consistent. They never reach the dizzying heights of the previous two movies but they are consistently great. You can’t really point at one part of these movies and say “This part is so much better than the rest” like you can with Wall-E and Up.
Now, let’s talk about Ratatouille. I chose this as Pixar’s Best* because it perfectly encapsulates what makes the studio great: Risky, innovative storytelling. While Finding Nemo is a more typical animated movie (It’s the best talking animals/no humans movie there is) and The Incredibles is one of the best superhero movies ever, Ratatouille is just in its own league. Yeah, it’s a talking animal movie. But it also features humans prominently. And most importantly, it’s about a rat.
Imagine the poor Pixar marketing people when they were told their next movie would be about a rat. Now that’s taking a risk. In an industry that cares so much about merchandising and selling plush-toys, having your main character be a rat was a huge gamble. And it’s risk-taking that made Pixar great.
Plus, I could write an entire review solely focusing on the great story of the movie. It’s full of interesting characters, it pays great attention to details (All the rats walk on four legs but Remy. When Linguini yells at Remy and tells him to leave the restaurant, Remy walks away in four legs), the soundtrack is magnificent and, most importantly, it has Anton Ego’s critique, one of the best moments in any Pixar film.
Ratatouille also captures the magic of Paris in a way few movies can. It’s just a perfect movie in my opinion. And it shows that even when movies have troubled productions, they can be great. Brad Bird replaced Jan Pinkava as the main director of the movie halfway through production and, together, they delivered a funny, heartfelt and intelligent movie about a charming rat who wants to cook.
So, what do you think? Do you agree? Disagree?
*Again, not counting the Toy Story trilogy. We’ll leave the question of which is the best one of those films for another day!