Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Survey: People Are Split On The Most Underrated Pixar Movie

Ranking the films of the venerable animation studio Pixar, in any way, shape, or form, is a tough task simply because the studio has been so unrealistically consistent for so long. For over a quarter century, beginning with 1995's Toy Story, Pixar has reliably delivered computer animated offerings that are not only each beautiful to look at in their own unique ways, but which almost always contain a near-perfect balance of heart, humor, and action. Plus, it must be said that no major film studio, ever, has demonstrated such a singular ability to bring the waterworks. If you've never bawled your eyes out during a Pixar film, we're going to go ahead and guess that you've never actually seen one.

As such, any discussion of the relative merits of Pixar's movies is always going to be rife with subjectivity. Sure, we can reasonably tell you which of those films are the worst: the three Cars movies, which basically seem designed to sell merchandise to kids, are near the bottom of the barrel, with 2011's Cars 2 being the only Pixar flick with a "Rotten" rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. But the best? Well, that's just a matter of personal preference — because from Toy Story 2 to Finding Nemo to Inside Out to Up, we're talking about movies that are universally beloved and critically acclaimed.

With that in mind, we decided to take a poll of our readers to ask what we figured was a more interesting question: Which of Pixar's films is the most underrated of them all? Some of the answers are bound to surprise, because they include movies that could only be considered "underrated" by the strictest possible definition of that term. Let's take a look at those responses, beginning with a pair of films that are... well, they're stone-cold classics.

Our survey says: Ratatouille by a hair over Coco

Among 650 respondents polled by Looper across the United States, the most popular response to that question — by an incredibly slim margin — was Ratatouille, with 19.54 percent of the vote. The 2007 offering is classic Pixar, imbued with love, longing, and a true passion for food matched only by that of its main character — a Parisian rat named Remy (Patton Oswalt), who wants nothing more than to be a great chef. With the help of Alfredo (Lou Romano), a garbage boy at a once-proud restaurant that has fallen onto hard times, Remy achieves his dream, obtaining the review of a lifetime from notoriously tough food critic Anton Ego (the legendary Peter O'Toole) — presented in a voiceover monologue that is literally making us tear up just thinking about it. Ratatouille holds a 96 Percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which in our estimation is indeed a bit low. 

The same observation could certainly extend to the next-most popular response, with 19.23 percent of the vote: Coco, the 2017 movie about a music-loving, precocious Mexican boy named Miguel who makes an unplanned journey to the afterlife during the Day of the Dead celebration, learning some long-buried secrets about his family in the process. The film was a roaring financial success and a critical smash; it's sumptuously animated with fantastic, soulful voice performances by Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Renée Victor, and the great Edward James Olmos. Coco holds an astonishing 97 Percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes — which can only mean that, acclaimed as it was, the majority of our respondents felt that it should have been even more so, a sentiment that we frankly have a hard time disagreeing with.

A minor Pixar film and a classic are next on the list

Coming in third among our respondents, with 18.31 percent of the vote, is another surprise: 2008's WALL-E, an absolute freaking masterpiece and one of the most visually assured films in Pixar's library, which doesn't exactly lack films fitting that description. It's the story of a trash-collecting robot, all alone on a future Earth decimated by environmental carelessness; when an unexpected visitor shows up, he goes on a journey which reveals the awful truth about what happened to our planet, and in the process, he becomes an unlikely hero. WALL-E is, again, one of the most beloved of all of Pixar's movies; with a 95 Percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it's also critically adored. Now would probably be a good time to note that all three of the top responses to our query, Coco, Ratatouille, and WALL-E, all won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, among tons of additional accolades, so make of that what you will.

Next on the list, with 16.92 percent of the vote, is 1998's A Bug's Life, which was only Pixar's second movie. The film centers on a quirky ant named Flik (Dave Foley) whose attempt to build an army of warriors to protect his colony goes awry when he instead ends up recruiting a group of trained circus fleas. Despite an all-star cast that included Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Hayden Panettiere, David Hyde Pierce, and Phyllis Diller, the flick didn't quite reach the artistic heights of Pixar debut Toy Story, but performed comparably at the box office. It sits at 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

A pair of truly underrated films round out the responses

Garnering the fewest votes were a pair of films that, in our estimation, really do rank among the most underrated in the Pixar oeuvre. Pulling in 11.85 percent of the vote is 2015's The Good Dinosaur, which we're guessing you didn't know was a Pixar movie at all, if you were even aware of its existence. The film takes place in an alternate universe where the dinosaurs never went extinct, and it focuses on a young Apatosaurus named Arlo (Raymond Ochoa) who forms an unlikely bond with a human named Spot (Jack Bright) after the death of his father. The movie endured  an extremely troubled road to the screen; it began production in 2009, and in 2014, veteran actor John Lithgow, who had performed voice work on the film, told Collider it had been "dismantled [...] and completely reimagined" by that point. (By way of illustration, Lithgow's role was later recast.) But the finished product is very good — light on humor, but with a surprisingly effective story and some harrowing action — and it deserves better than its 76 Percent Fresh Rotten Tomatoes score.

Finally with 10.31 percent of the vote, we have 2012's Brave, a fantasy about a Scottish princess (Kelly Macdonald) whose family's spat with a rival clan is complicated by a curse that turns her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) into a bear. Brave is a spectacularly animated picture, with a rollicking story that recalls classic fairy tales and folklore, and an excellent cast that also includes Robbie Coltrane, Billy Connolly, and Craig Ferguson. In our humble opinion, it deserves mention among Pixar's best works, and its 78 Percent Fresh Rotten Tomatoes score is nothing short of criminal. 

"Other" did receive 3.85 percent of the vote in our survey, and those all-over-the-map responses consisted of variations on "Don't Know," "Not Sure," "Never Watched," and "Zootopia," which is... not a Pixar film. But, thanks for playing, folks!