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Top 10 Best Opening Scenes in Pixar Movies

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Jason McLean
Pixar films stand out for their stellar animation style and relatable characters, both of which are usually evident from the very beginning of each flick. For this list, we’ll be looking our favorite opening scenes from animated movies released under the Pixar brand. Our list includes Superhero Interviews, Coral’s Death, Carl & Ellie’s Story, A Culinary Introduction, The Harvest, and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Best Opening Scenes in Pixar Animated Movies.
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Top 10 Best Opening Scenes in Pixar Animated Movies


These deeds are more than “Disney evil”. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Things Done by Disney Villains.
For this list, we’ll be going over some of the most heinous acts committed by villains in films animated by Disney and Pixar.

Pixar films stand out for their stellar animation style and relatable characters, both of which are usually evident from the very beginning of each flick. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best Opening Scenes in Pixar Animated Movies.

For this list, we’ll be looking our favorite opening scenes from animated movies released under the Pixar brand.

#10: The Harvest
“A Bug’s Life” (1998)


This film was an early showcase of just how vibrant Pixar's brand of computer animation can be. They do this from the start by shrinking the audience's view to that of a bug, where blades of grass, dandelions and leaves appear giant and extremely detailed. The members of the ant colony, by contrast, feel human size and are instantly relatable. It becomes even more impressive when you realize that this was truly groundbreaking work considering it was made in the late ‘90s, but still looks fresh and original today.

#9: A Culinary Introduction
“Ratatouille” (2007)


This is the only entry on our list to use narration, a feature that is used in many animated films, including those by Disney, but almost completely absent in Pixar movies. In Ratatouille, though, we get two separate voice-overs that introduce viewers to the narrative. First, it’s the narrator in the TV news who reports on Gusteau and previews Remy’s future. Then, there’s Remy, a rat who tells the audience about his present while introducing us to his family, taking breaks so the other characters can complement their introduction by saying a few words. Even when Pixar does something outside the box, they manage to do it well.

#8: Superhero Interviews
“The Incredibles” (2004)


This film pulls you in right away by taking three elements common to cinema, the documentary interview, the superhero genre and animation, and throwing them all together for something wholly unique. The result is a really funny way to introduce the audience to our main protagonists in their prime. It helps that it has the vocal talents of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter and none other than Samuel L. Jackson on board. They bring Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone to life before we actually see them in action as superheroes and meet their secret identities dealing with normal life, which is the main focus of the movie.

#7: Hello, WALL-E!
“WALL-E” (2008)


Just how do you make images of a post-apocalyptic wasteland have a layer of fun and lightheartedness? You set them to an upbeat song from “Hello, Dolly!” Pixar did just that by playing “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” over stark and bleak animation of Earth in a hypothetical future. The combination works well at the start, but takes on a whole new meaning when we first see Wall-E and realize he is the one playing the song. The world is bleak, but he is bringing to it nostalgia for happier times, which also establishes his personality before he even says a word.

#6: First Race
“Cars” (2006)


If anthropomorphic cars ever had their own pro racing circuit, it would probably look something like this. Pixar captures all the buildup and excitement you'd expect from a racing movie, and couples it with some world building. We get to see what the spectators, the tailgate party, the pit and the announcers look like when everyone is a vehicle of some kind. This not only serves as a fun intro to this movie, but it also quickly establishes how the “Cars” franchise looks and feels.

#5: Scared Kid Lesson
“Monsters, Inc.” (2001)


While this opening scene is funny, it's the way the filmmakers play with tropes that makes it the most interesting. It starts with the classic cliche of the monster under a child's bed, then quickly surprises the audience by showing us the scary monster being even more frightened than the kid is, before revealing that the whole thing was just a simulation in a classroom. It's quite a clever way of bringing the audience into the world of the monsters and showcasing the type of storytelling that is to follow.

#4: Birth of Riley & Her Emotions
“Inside Out” (2015)


When a film has a truly unique concept, such as showing personifications of a person’s emotions working as a team as well as their external life, it’s best to establish it right away. And that’s exactly what “Inside Out” does in its opening sequence. We’re introduced to baby Riley and comedic heavyweights Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling and Lewis Black voicing Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger respectively. We’re also introduced to Michael Giacchino’s excellent score, which sets a compelling tone for the movie.

#3: Coral’s Death
“Finding Nemo” (2003)


Pixar definitely knows how to tug on our heartstrings and they don’t waste any time doing it here. No sooner than Marlin and Coral get settled into their dream underwater home, a barracuda attacks, killing Coral and almost all of the couple’s eggs. Marlin wakes up to find only one egg remaining, which he names Nemo because Coral liked the name, and swears to protect it. And all that happens before the film’s opening titles. We thought of including “Finding Dory”’s intro in this list, which has a similar family theme, but this one was much more dramatic.

#2: Carl & Ellie’s Story
“Up” (2009)


This movie doesn’t skimp on the backstory. We get almost a lifetime’s worth in under ten minutes. Carl and Ellie, two young fans of the explorer Charles F. Muntz, meet as children. Then we’re treated to a montage of their life together from their wedding to Ellie’s death. It shows the good times, like the couple setting up their home, and heartbreak, such as Ellie’s miscarriage. We really feel for these characters and this sequence plays like a mini-movie of its own with a beginning, middle and end, while also functioning as a solid intro to the film that will follow.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Young Merida
“Brave” (2012)

Going Extinct
“The Good Dinosaur” (2015)

#1: ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’
“Toy Story” (1995)


Toy Story was Pixar’s first animated feature and also the movie that put the company on the map. Before the box office success, before the sequels and the video games, and before we even meet our main protagonists as sentient toys voiced by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, we are introduced to Andy’s world. We are also introduced to the vibrant computer animation used to create it, all set to Randy Newman’s classic opening song. This is not only a great way to kick off the movie; it’s also a solid introduction to Pixar and the kind of animated films they would bring to the world.
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