We're highlighting 10 of the best Pixar DVDs, not ranked as overall movies but as actual DVDs (well, technically Blu-Rays) with extras that are in most cases are just as entertaining as the movies themselves.
EXCLUSIVE: Watch a scene from the "Monsters University" short, "Party Central" (VIDEO)
Gallery | Best Pixar Movies on Blu-ray / DVD
- 10. "WALL-E"
Why the Movie? On one level, "WALL-E" is a rom-com between two robots, trash collector WALL-E and shiny rover EVE. On another level it's a post-apocalyptic space adventure, a socio-political cautionary tale about greed and conspicuous consumption, and a warning about sitting around and doing nothing. But mostly, it's a funny romance about the joys of finding love in the most unexpected place.
Why the Blu-ray/DVD? There's an adorable short, "BURN-E," and a bonus section called "Robots" with four games that will appeal to younger kids. The "Humans" features targets older viewers with behind the scenes extras like set fly-throughs, concept art galleries, and a mash-up of all the "WALL-E" teasers and trailers.
- 9."The Incredibles"
Why the Movie? "The Incredibles" told the tale of superheroes torn between trying to fit in and yearning to stand out. The first Pixar feature with a PG rating, the film can be surprisingly grim -- we see more superheroes dead than alive -- but the human comedy of the Incredibles reminds us that at the core of every Pixar film beats a sentimental heart about love and family.
Why the Blu-ray/DVD? The Blu-ray edition fully captures the crisp visuals of the theatrical presentation plus special features that include the Oscar-nominated animated short "Boundin'," which preceded "The Incredibles" in theaters, and "Jack-Jack Attack," a short written and directed by Brad Bird for the DVD. The disc also features a 22-minute roundtable discussion about the making of the feature.
- 8. "Toy Story"
Why the Movie? With its very first full-length feature, Pixar proved that it had mastered not just the new art form of computer animation, but the very old art form of storytelling. Because the story is so compelling, it’s easy to overlook the innovation and creativity behind "Toy Story"'s come-to-life ragdoll, plastic spaceman, and childhood favorites.
Why the Blu-ray/DVD? This DVD contains a flawless video transfer and audio track and nearly all of the special features that have been included in past home video releases of "Toy Story," including a commentary track by director John Lasseter and others and a behind-the-scenes discussion of how the film almost went off the rails because of too much meddling by Disney execs.
- 7. "Finding Nemo"
Why the Movie? In the same way that "Brave" is really a mother-daughter tale, "Finding Nemo " is possibly the best father-son movie of all time, animated or not, and it shows just how far a parent will go to save his child. It's also a fabulous movie to see while traveling, because Marlin and Dory's journey is at its core an homage to classic roadtrip comedies.
Why the Blu-ray/DVD? There's a lengthy (25-minute) but fascinating "Making Nemo" documentary that explains how the movie went from idea to the big screen. There's also the animated short released before the movie, "Knick Knack," about a snowman trying his hardest to escape his snowglobe, so he can join the bikini-clad woman lounging on a "Sunny Miami" souvenir across the shelf. The usual behind-the-scenes stuff includes cute character interviews, a fish-charades game, and a virtual book about Nemo's teacher Mr. Ray.
- 6. "Monsters Inc."
Why the Movie? My kids never tire of seeing Sulley the scarer and his best pal Mike Wazowski deal with the unexpected complication of Boo, the little human preschooler who ends up in Monstropolis. With its original plot, fabulous characters, believable villains, and adorable little girl, "Monsters, Inc." is the kind of animated comedy you can watch again and again.
Why the Blu-ray/DVD? One of the best extras is "For the Birds," the Oscar-winning animated short that premiered before the movie. There's also a second short called "Mike's New Car"; a ton of featurettes including a tour of the Monsters Inc. ride at Tokyo Disneyland; and a series of "doors" that reveal more filmmaking info, galleries, and trivia.
- 5. "Toy Story 2"
Why the Movie? "Toy Story 2" proved that Pixar wasn't compromising on their sequels and broadened the toys' world beyond Andy's street. As the clan deals with Woody's disappearance, the movie deepens the viewer's understanding of the characters we know and introduces us some we don't -- like audience favorite, Jessie, the plucky cowgirl with the good fortune to sing one of Randy Newman's best film songs, "When She Loved Me."
Why the Blu-ray/DVD? The disc's bonus features include interviews with Pixar animators, behind-the-scenes featurettes, an education short for younger viewers about real-life astronauts, and outtakes featuring Woody, Jessie, Buzz and the other toys.
- 4. "Brave"
Why the Movie? "Brave" is not a typical fairytale, and Merida is not your typical princess. The Scottish clan leader's daughter is stubborn and strong and utterly uninterested in following her mother the Queen's footsteps. But a bad decision on her part turns her mom into a bear, and the movie becomes an unforgettable mother-daughter relationship drama/adventure/comedy.
Why the Blu-ray/DVD? It's chock-full of special features, like the wonderful short "La Luna" about a grandfather, father, and son who sweep the moon; the extras "Merida & Elinor," "Bears" and half-a-dozen other behind-the-scenes videos; four deleted scenes; an alternate opening to the film; and everything from Scottish dialect lessons to a piece about how the animators got the "dirty hairy" look just right.
- 3. "Up"
Why the Movie? "Up" is one of the Pixar movies closest to my heart. The intergenerational relationship between curmudgeonly widower Carl and Russell, the eager Wilderness Explorer, is adorable, hilarious, and a little bit heartbreaking. Their adventure of a lifetime is a story of love, friendship, and dreams deferred -- but also a funny flightless bird and old jokes.
Why the Blu-ray/DVD? The Blu-ray edition comes with extras that range from the sweet and sentimental (a 9-minute video of Carl and Ellie's married life) to behind-the-scenes documentaries about the making of the house, the bird Kevin, and the science behind hot-air balloons. Little kids will love some of the alternate scenes and the short about the movie's various dogs.
- 2. "Monsters University"
Why the Movie? This clever prequel to "Monsters, Inc." is bound to make you and your kids laugh aloud as a young Mike Wazowski attempts to score in scarer school, while undergraduate Sulley tries to fit in with the coolest monster frat at the U. There's so much to like here -- a group of misfits realizing they have something to offer; odd-couple friendship; and college jokes for both kids and alums.
Why the Blu-ray/DVD? Pixar loaded their latest DVD with features, starting with the amazing short "The Blue Umbrella," a Scare Games special, and a bunch of behind-the-scenes extras like Welcome to MU, which shows which buildings and architectural elements inspired the creation of Monsters University. There's also a thoughtful set of interviews with various Pixar staffers who, like Mike Wazowski, took unconventional paths to get to their dream.
- 1. "Toy Story 3" (2010)
Why the Movie? We were all a bit skeptical about the chances Pixar could make a threequel as compelling as the first two films, but then bam, we were mesmerized by the poignant story of what happens to toys when they're given to charity and end up at a day care. The toys have to fend for themselves without regular human companions, just a roomful of crying and overeager toddlers. And that ending -- it may make you cry but also fill your heart.
Why the Blu-ray/DVD? There's so much here to immerse viewers young and old into the Pixar and "Toy Story" universe. Naturally, there's the animated short "Day and Night"; there's also a touching look at the animation, character design, and acting involved in the scene "Andy's Goodbye"; an analysis of the openings to "Finding Nemo," "Toy Story," and "The Incredibles"; and "Toy Story" trivia game and more to keep Pixar fans happy and ready to re-watch.