Most Mature Pixar MoviesPretty much every Pixar movie has the uncanny ability to appeal as much to adults as they can to children. To celebrate the upcoming release of their 19th feature film Coco, this is a list of their films that contain the most adult themes and adult-oriented writing.
The Top Ten
When I was a kid, I loved The Incredibles. I loved the action scenes such as the omnidroid fights, Dash's chase scene, and the climactic battle in the city. However, I did not understand the intricacies of the movie until I was about 12 years old. The dialogue is actually very sophisticated and includes topics that not many kids will understand such as a mid-life crisis and even adultery. What I never realized about this movie is how INTENSE it is for a children's film. Here's just a taste of how intense The Incredibles actually is. Dozens of people die over the course of the film. The main plot is caused by the main character stopping a SUICIDE attempt. And the villain of the movie committed GENOCIDE on an entire group of people all because he was rejected by one of them when he was a kid.
So, yeah. Brad Bird don't play around.
Yeah, just rewatched this movie after a long time, very dark and mature, but also a fantastic movie!
The Incredibles was always such an inspiring movie to me as a child.
This movie never made sense as a kid... still doesn't
WALL-E is a movie that literally begins by showing us that the Earth as we know it is no longer inhabited, and WE caused it to be in the state it currently is. I don't know if I'm alone on this, but the concept of this movie freaked me out when I was a kid. The idea that this movie was taking place in a tangible future that could actually happen in reality made me think really hard about my life and our species. Throughout most of the running-time, this uneasy feeling rested in me, and it still kind of gives me the creeps to this day. Also, Pixar took an interesting approach to not have any dialogue for the first half of the movie. It was a risky decision to potentially lose the interest of smaller kids that ended up being one of the greatest decisions they ever made as a studio.
Oh wait,... It's even worse than "1984"
We all know about the opening of Up. It's not just one of the most famous moments in Pixar history. It's one of the most famous moments in FILM history. When I saw this movie for the first time, I was 11 years old and knew enough about what was going on in order to properly feel devastated at Ellie's death. I don't know if younger kids watching Up will understand the beautiful tragedy of the film's first 10 minutes. It's only a few seconds long and obviously done without any talking, but I highly doubt that any little kid will understand the concept of a woman having a miscarriage and finding out that she's infertile. That is some serious adult stuff right there. It goes to prove that there's not many subjects that Pixar can't tackle and excel at.
There's not many movie concepts out there as abstract as representing the human mind. And yet, Inside Out perfectly manages to create a visually-interesting and well-crafted story about growing up and the human condition. Inside Out is one of the few animated movies where a main character (a protagonist) actually dies and is not revived in any way. Bing Bong is dead and we'll never see him again. And that's perfectly fine because it works beautifully with the message the film is trying to convey. It may be scary and upsetting, but growing up is something we all have to do. Certain elements of our childhood need to be let go in order for us to become the people we are today. That is some heavy psychological stuff to tackle in a kid's movie. But Inside Out is not your average, run-of-the-mill kid's movie. And Pixar is not your average, run-of-the-mill kid's movie studio.
Bing bongs death is to show that kids forget their naive imaginary friends over time.
In terms of its tone and mood, Toy Story 3 is most likely Pixar's darkest film. There's an overlying element of dread and claustrophobia that is not present in any of their other movies. At many points in this movie, it feels more like a thriller or horror movie than a normal animated family comedy. And that's one point I'd like to mention about Pixar as a whole. I consider the majority of their films dramas before I consider them comedies. Are they funny? Yes. Definitely. I've had so many laughs with Pixar films over the years. It's just that their dramatic moments are where they excel at the most. And Toy Story 3 is a movie where the drama is definitely well-executed and effective.
There's a theory that the toys being abandoned by Andy to the daycare represents the Jews being abandoned to the Holocaust in WW2.
That's a bit of a stretch. Pixar has always been willing to go to dark places, but I don't think they would ever intentionally make an allegory to the Holocaust.
This movie begins with a man's wife and unborn children being massacred. I know that they're fish. But that is exactly what happens in Finding Nemo's opening. Just imagine if Finding Nemo were to take place in Los Angeles, California and the barracuda was replaced with a gangster. The movie would get an R Rating, no question about it. Outside of its intense opening scene, Finding Nemo is a rare kid's movie where the message is directed at the PARENTS instead of their children. The major theme of the film is to let your child grow and let them experience life for themselves. And like all of Pixar's other messages, it's executed phenomenally.
If I were to pick a Pixar movie where my perception of it changed the most as I've aged, it would be Ratatouille. When I first saw this movie when I was 9, I liked it but found it a little boring and confusing at parts. I could barely understand what the characters were talking about. Nowadays, I love this movie and personally consider it to be Pixar's most underrated project. Ratatouille was written and directed by Brad Bird (the same guy who did The Incredibles) and it shows. The dialogue throughout the film is so much more sophisticated than most children's animated films out there. Ego's speech at the end of the film is probably one of my favorite monologues in movie history. The words that he are saying are so thought-provoking not only for critics, but anybody looking to judge anything. And it's meant 100% for the adults in the audience.
Jessie's backstory, in my opinion, is the first major tear-jerking moment in Pixar's history. Sure, there were emotional scenes in both Toy Story 1 and A Bug's Life, but this was the first real occasion where they tried to rip your heart out of your chest and stomp on it. What the Toy Story movies do magnificently is mirror real-life growing up with poignant symbolism of childhood. Similar to Bob Parr in The Incredibles, Woody is going through an existential crisis over the course of Toy Story 2. He's conflicted to whether he should remain with Andy only to lose him at some point in the future or to sacrifice being closely loved by one person to be adored by millions of random people across the world. That's about as deep as you can get.
I cried so much at Jessie's backstory. It is one of the saddest moments in Pixar history along with the death of Ellie in Up.
Toy Story is essentially about somebody's existential crisis that he is no longer good at what he has put on the planet to do. For a studio's first ever film, that's a huge topic to start off with. However, the studio silenced its naysayers and became one of the most popular films ever made. And like other Pixar movies, its screenplay has no reason to be as good as it is. The characters, despite being child's playthings, act like real people and react in situations how anybody in the real world would react. What makes Pixar so amazing is that they manage to create any character of any background or personality likable. That's a skill that not many other filmmakers are able to accomplish.
Pixar has always taken ideas that we have always thought about and turning them into great premises for movies. What do my toys do when nobody's around? What goes on inside my head? In Monsters, Inc., the studio has great fun with the "monster in your closet" concept that we have known all of our lives, and puts such a unique spin on it. Having the world of monsters be about as predictable and normal as the world we live and giving the characters normal names like "James P. Sullivan" and "Mika Wazowski" is actually great satire that many younger kids would not understand. The deepest and strongest emotional scene in the movie has to be Mike's "Doesn't Matter" speech in the cave.
This movie is incredible, yet still has some adult themes. Characters curse multiple times, it’s a lot more scary, one character is light headed, charecters drink alcohol, a father is stressed, gun shots are seen, teen drama, and quite a bit more are in there too.