Trying to rank films (most of which are available to stream on Disney+Cars 2) in order of quality is like trying to rank your children by how much you love them. None of these movies is bad, but when you’ve films, one of them has to be one of them has to be No. 1. We tried to keep context in mind — Toy Story had an ability to blow your mind in 1995 the way nothing could today — and also ambition: In the world of children’s entertainment, nothing has set Pixar apart more than its burning desire not to coast or mail it in. Some of these movies work better than others, but all of them were trying to do something special — so here they all are, from worst to best.
Cars 2 (2011)
Larry the Cable Guy was Cars’ secret weapon, lending his blue-collar earthiness to a character whose regular-folks demeanor had real pathos and sweetness. But that didn’t mean we wanted to see Tow Mater in a James Bond spoof. Give Cars 2 points for audacity: The follow-up shifts away from the original’s small-town, homespun charm to become a sleek, globetrotting action-thriller focusing on Lightning McQueen’s country-bumpkin sidekick. And then take away those points because Cars 2 proves that even the mighty Pixar can’t transcend the central problem with sequels: You can make everything bigger, but you can rarely replicate what was novel and charming about the original.