1995-1999 | 2000-2004 | 2005-2009 | 2010-2014 | 2015-2019
In 2015 Pixar remained firmly established at the very forefront of computer animation. Having already won 15 Academy Awards for their feature-length films and a further four for short films, they were unquestionably considered a byword for quality. Yet over the next five years Pixar would make more sequels than original films and also increase production, even making more than one film within a year. Would the quality of their creations suffer as a result, or would they retain their hard-earned place at the pinnacle of computer animated perfection?
The films made during this five year period are listed below, with recurring characters shown in Bold. This entry also states whether the films pass The Bechdel Test. This can be summarised as whether the film involves two or more female characters who have a conversation together that is not focused on male characters.
15. Inside Out (2015)
|Directors||Pete Docter & Ronnie del Carmen|
|Plot||When 11-year-old Riley Andersen moves with her family to San Francisco, she experiences sadness on an unprecedented scale. Her emotions, personified by Sadness, Fear, Disgust, Anger and Joy, try to cope with this change. When Joy tries to prevent Sadness from affecting Riley, it leads to them both being sucked out of Headquarters, where emotions can influence Riley's behaviour, and Riley becomes increasingly emotionally detached. Can the situation be solved before Riley runs away?|
|Setting||Inside Riley's head as she moves from Minnesota to San Francisco, 21st Century.|
|Riley's Emotions etc|
|Music||Soundtrack composed by Michael Giacchino|
|Oscar||2016 Best Animated Feature|
|Spin Off||Riley's First Date? (2015) – Short film|
|Accompanying Short||Lava (2014)|
This highly-praised film was inspired by Pete Docter's relationship with his daughter. Some of the early proposed titles included Joy Story and Brain Trust. The film's key message about embracing all emotions, including sadness, to be a well-rounded individual gives the film a greater dimension and encourages viewers to think about how they think and feel about the world around them.
This was the second most successful animated film of the year after Illumination Entertainment's Minions, and was the tenth most successful animated film of all time on release.
16. The Good Dinosaur (2015)
|Plot||Arlo is the youngest Apatosaurus in a farming family and struggles to fit in. After encountering a caveboy 'critter', whom he blames for a family tragedy, Arlo is swept away in a river. Arlo and the caveboy, whom he names 'Spot', must work together to journey back to Arlo's home.|
|Setting||An earth populated by dinosaurs and cavemen|
|Music||Composed by brothers Mychael and Jeff Danna.|
|Accompanying Short||Sanjay's Super Team (2015)|
This was the first time that Pixar released two films in the same year, and some wondered whether the increase in the quantity of films impacted on this film's quality as it is not up to the expected standard. The film was originally going to be directed by Bob Peterson, who had been inspired by dinosaurs as a child, with a cast of John Lithgow, Judy Greer, Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris and Lucas Neff. Yet during production in 2013, Peterson was replaced by Peter Sohn and the cast was completely changed. It was announced that the dinosaurs could be seen as villains, rather than heroic characters.
This was the sixth most successful animated film of the year after Illumination Entertainment's Minions, Inside Out, Sony Pictures Animation's Hotel Transylvania, DreamWorks Animation's Home and Paramount Animation/Nickelodeon Movies' The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. It was the third Pixar film not to be nominated for an Oscar, following Cars 2 and Monsters University and is the lowest-grossing Pixar film to date.
17. Finding Dory (2016)
|Plot||Dory remembers losing her parents as a child and is determined to find them. With Nemo and Marlin, she travels across the ocean to California's Marine Life Institute in Morro Bay. Separated from Nemo and Marlin, she is aided in her quest to find her parents by a grumpy octopus called Hank.|
|Setting||Underwater between Great Barrier Reef and the Marine Life Institute, Morro Bay, California|
|Music||Soundtrack by Thomas Newman |
|Accompanying Short||Piper (2016)|
Many of the child characters in Finding Nemo were voiced by children who have since grown up. This means that Nemo and Squirt are played by different actors. However Alexander Gould, the original voice of Nemo, does appear as a lorry driver. The shrimp Jacques had originally been played by writer/director Joe Ranft, who died in 2005. In Finding Dory Jacques is played by Joe's brother Jerome.
Finding Dory was incredibly successful. It was the most successful animated film of 2016, the second most successful Pixar film ever and the fourth most successful animated film at date of release, behind only Frozen (2013), Minions (2015) and Toy Story 3 (2010). Despite this, it too was not nominated for an Oscar. It has been viewed by many as a film that positively portrays a disabled main character.
18. Cars 3 (2017)
|Plot||Seven-time Piston Cup winning racer Lightning McQueen finds himself outclassed by new, arrogant racer Jackson Storm. After a violent crash he is desperate to prove he still has what it takes to be a racer but clashes with the modern methods proposed by his trainer, Cruz Ramirez, preferring to go back to basics. Faced with being forcibly retired by Rust-Eze's new owner and wishing to avoid the same fate as the Hudson Hornet, he makes a bet. If he wins the Florida 500 he will determine when he retires. If not, he will immediately retire from the sport that is his passion.|
|Setting||Various locations across America in a world populated with cars especially Radiator Springs, Florida|
|Music||Music composed by Randy Newman, songs:|
|Other Films in the Series|
Paul Newman's performance as Doc Hudson was created using scenes recorded and not used for Cars, as Paul Newman had died in 2008. Bob Petersen has replaced Michael Keaton as the voice of Chick Hicks. Two other voice changes include Lloyd Sher, who since Cars 2 had replaced the late George Carlin as Fillmore, and Jerome Ranft replacing his older brother, Pixar writer and director Joe Ranft who died in 2005, as Red.
Cars 3 was the fourth most-successful animated film of the year, behind Illumination's Despicable Me 3, Pixar's Coco and DreamWorks Animation's The Boss Baby. It made under half the box office of Coco and only a little more than The Good Dinosaur.
19. Coco (2017)
In Santa Cecilia Mexico, 12-year-old Miguel longs to play the guitar, worshipping deceased Mexican musician/actor Ernesto de la Cruz, who was from his hometown. However music is banned in his shoe-making family. On the Day of the Dead Miguel accidentally breaks a photograph that was displayed on the family ofrenda or shrine to the dead. The photograph was of his great-grandmother Coco and her parents, including her never-discussed father. Although Coco's father's head has been torn out of the picture, Miguel recognises the guitar he carries as having belonged to de la Cruz.
Believing de la Cruz was his great-great-grandfather, Miguel takes de la Cruz's guitar; however, he is cursed and finds himself invisible to the living, but able to interact with the Dead. Each year on the Day of the Dead the Dead can cross over to visit the living if they have a picture on an ofrenda. Only if Miguel is blessed by one of his dead ancestors will he be able to return to the land of the living, but his great-great-grandmother withholds her blessing unless he promises to abandon music.
Will Miguel find his great-great-grandfather, get his blessing and return to the land of the living before he fades away? Or will he be doomed to live a life without music or song?
|Setting||1920s and early 21st Century Mexico and the Land of the Dead on Día de Muertos, the Day of the Dead|
|Music||Music composed by Germaine Franco and Adrian Molina unless stated|
Coco was the second most successful animated film of the year, behind only Despicable Me 3, and was on release the 15th most successful animated film of all time. As the film had a strong Mexican theme, unsurprisingly it became the most successful film in that country. It was also the most expensive film ever made with an all-Latino cast. Dog Dante is named after 13th-Century author Dante Alighieri, famous for The Divine Comedy, in which Dante visits Hell, Purgatory and Heaven.
20. Incredibles 2 (2018)
|Plot||Beginning immediately after the end of The Incredibles, Elastigirl is hired to combat crime and prove that the world needs superheroes after all. Mr Incredible stays at home to look after their children, yet feels angry that he is missing out. Elastigirl is up against a villain called Screenslaver who can hypnotise anyone who looks at a computer or television screen.|
|Setting||Fictional cities of Metroville, New Urbem and Municiberg in 1960s-esque era|
|Music||Soundtrack composed by Michael Giacchino|
|Other Films in the Series|
|Accompanying Short||Bao (2018)|
The film is dedicated to Bud Luckey who had voiced Rick Dicker in The Incredibles and had died earlier in 2018. Huck Milner replaced Spencer Fox as Dash while Nicholas Bird provided some additional noises for Jack-Jack. The film begins with a 1960s stylised version of the Disney castle logo. It is also the longest computer-animated film to date.
Incredibles 2 was the most successful animated film of the year at the box office, making far more than its closest two rivals, Disney's Ralph Breaks the Internet and Sony's Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, combined. It became the seventh animation film to make over $1 billion4 and on release was the second most successful animated film of all time after Disney's Frozen. Though nominated for a Best Animated Film Oscar it did not win.
21. Toy Story 4 (2019)
Nine years after Andy's sister Molly gave away her Bo Peep lamp, Andy's favourite toy Woody has to adjust to being now owned by Bonnie and not one of her favourites. Sneakily accompanying her to her orientation day at nursery, he gives her some art equipment that had been thrown away, with which she makes her own toy, Forky, out of a discarded spork.
Forky quickly becomes Bonnie's favourite toy. However, he longs to throw himself away into a bin. As Bonnie goes on a road trip she takes her toys, including Forky, with her. Woody fails to stop Forky from throwing himself away. When he goes out to rescue him, Woody encounters both Gabby Gabby, a defective doll without a working voicebox that has never been played with, who kidnaps Forky, and Bo Peep, now a strong, independent lost toy living without a child by a carnival. Can Woody convince Bo and her lost toy friends to help him rescue Forky and return him to Bonnie?
|Setting||USA, 21st Century|
|Music||By Randy Newman|
|Spin Offs||Short films unless stated:|
|Oscar||2020 Best Animated Feature|
With Toy Story 3 the perfect ending to the series, many wondered during production what this film would have to offer; however, it is surprisingly moving. The only criticism is that it does not feature Buzz Lightyear as prominently as in previous films. The film is dedicated to Don Rickles, the voice artist who played Mr Potato Head, who died before filming began. His family requested that he appear in the film and so, by using archive recordings of him made for previous films, computer games, etc, he appears posthumously.
Toy Story 4 not only won the Best Animated Film Oscar, it was also the second most-successful animated film of the year, behind only Frozen II5.
Though Pixar's performance continued to impress, by the end of 2019 the studio had undergone a number of changes in key personnel. In late 2017 John Lasseter, Pixar's original Executive Producer and Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar, admitted sexual misconduct6, resulting in an initial six month leave-of-absence followed by an announcement he would step down at the end of 2018. He was replaced as Chief Creative Officer at Pixar by Pete Docter, who had directed Monsters, Inc (2001), Up (2009) and Inside Out (2015). Founder Ed Catmul announced his plans to retire in 2019 and shortly afterwards key director Lee Unkrich announced he would be leaving Pixar, having been with the studio for 25 years.
In early 2019 Pete Docter announced that the films Pixar had next in production would be original films rather than sequels. In an era in which the animation landscape had changed, with many of the key studios consolidated into two conglomerates (the Walt Disney Corporation owning Disney, Pixar and Blue Sky while Universal own Illumination and DreamWorks Animation), what would the future hold for Pixar? The poor performance of films such as The Good Dinosaur and Cars 3 could be interpreted as meaning a loss of both quality and profit when they released multiple films in the same year, so would Pixar adjust the frequency of their films in the foreseeable future?
2020 and the Covid-19 virus brought a deadly challenge no-one foresaw that disrupted the entire way of life of people all around the world, with cinema and the animation industry just one area affected.