Pixar has a way of tugging on the heart strings. Audiences not only fall in love with the stunning visuals, but there is always something more – a delightfully profound message – hidden within the layers of its lighthearted story. Pixar is timeless; its films never grow old because it allows audiences – both young and old – to connect with it on some level. In fact, Pixar doesn’t grow old because it keeps audiences from growing old in turn. Thanks to Pixar, even adults can watch a cartoon on Saturday night.

Rainbow hair unicorn standing up on right side. She is holding a mug with no emotions on her face. The text "an ocean of emotion" is bolded on the left

1)      Monsters, Inc.

Everyone had that enduring childhood fear that a monster lived in the closet, under the bed, or in some dark cavern of the house. It probably had glowing red eyes, sharp claws, and would definitely eat you if you had to get out of bed. Forget about going to the bathroom or getting a glass of water… you were doomed. So, there is something unequivocally familiar about the story of little Boo discovering monsters in her closet. Nevertheless, Pixar is able to weave a world that is so much more complex than just the ol’ monster in the closet story. Monsters, Inc ties childhood and adulthood together and creates a story for all ages. Sulley and Mike Wazowski are the essential childhood fear transformed into a very real adulthood one as well. The beloved monsters punch the time-clock at the Scare Factory, where they put in long hours scaring children and powering the city of Monstropolis with screams. Somehow Pixar managed to turn a childhood fear into a very adult topic. The monster under your bed is trudging to work and putting in the time as a productive member of society. Even with all the hidden elements, Monsters, Inc is a clever tale of friendship, thinking outside the box, and being true to yourself; it even makes us wish there were monsters under the bed.

There are four doors with two of them closed. The other two opened doors on the top left and bottom right have Mike and Sulley peeking through them.

2)      Toy Story

Not only was Toy Story a landmark film for Pixar, but most of us can agree that our childhood toys definitely came to life after we went to bed. Whether it was just an active imagination or a malfunctioning doll with a speaker…toys were more than just inanimate objects to us. It doesn’t matter how ready you were to grow up or leave childhood behind, there is something magical about revisiting a world where your favorite toys come to life; just as there is something heartbreaking about watching someone give away their beloved toys. Toy Story recognizes a profound struggle with growing up and leaving behind parts of your life. Yet it does it in a way that keeps you laughing and adventuring with Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Mr. Potato Head, Rex, Hamm, and more. There is always another adventure around the corner.

Classic Toy Story drawing with all of the characters grouped together in them middle. Toy Story logo is found above the characters

3)      The Incredibles

At first glance, The Incredibles is your typical children’s movie where the bad guys and superheroes battle it out to save the world. Pixar is anything but typical though, and the story manages to unite our age-old love of superheroes with a typical adult struggle of raising a family and finding a path for yourself as a “responsible” adult. In The Incredibles, we learn that there is value in being yourself and becoming an adult doesn’t have to mean leaving behind who you use to be. 

The Incredibles logo with six character panels underneath: Mr. Incredible, Syndrome, Dash, Violet, Frozone, and Elastigirl

4)      Up

Let’s be honest, we all cried in the first 15 minutes of UP. There is no way you could watch Carl and Ellie’s life unfolding together and not begin weeping immediately. It’s like holding up a mirror and making us watch real-life, all through the lens of adorable animated characters.

Not only is there a wonderful South American adventure, a flying balloon house, and adorable characters like Russell, Dug, and Kevin, but there is also a truly heart-warming tale of friendship, love, and finding purpose long after you feel you don’t have one. Pixar reminds us that we can fulfill any dream, at any age.

The text, "My name is Dug, I just met you and... squirrel!" frames Dug from the movie Up.

5)      WALL-E 

WALL-E is a stark contrast to Pixar’s brighter films and it opens with an abandoned planet covered in trash and follows a lonely trash-compacting robot, WALL-E and his best friend, the cockroach Hal, as they work to clean the planet. Although it is a tale of love and friendship, it hints of something so much more; it offers a harsh reflection of what we can become. Still though, it’s WALL-E, the doggedly resilient and lovable robot who wins our hearts and makes this film something special, while also secretly reminding us that we all have a responsibility to future generations.

Wall-E in black and white with blue eyes and a tile background.

   Pixar films never grow old because they can be appreciated by all ages and they continue to inspire and encourage us. Stay young with a Pixar Fifth Sun shirt today.

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