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6. The 'Toy Story' Trilogy
Films: "Toy Story" (1995), "Toy Story 2" (1999), "Toy Story 3" (2010)
Directors: John Lasseter ("Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2"), Lee Unkrich ("Toy Story 3")
Best of the bunch: "Toy Story 2," which managed the seemingly-impossible feat of topping the nearly-perfect original.
Weakest Link: "Toy Story 3," but not by much.
Why it's a great trilogy: Pixar changed the feature animation game forever with the release of the first "Toy Story" in 1995, taking a simple premise and jacking it up with cutting-edge computer animation, a crackerjack storyline and a host of wonderful characters. The attention to the latter two elements is what makes the series as a whole work, of course, and it's what separates the "Toy Story" trilogy from inferior animation franchises like "Ice Age" and "Madagascar." Woody, Buzz and the gang may be the products of dazzlingly-sophisticated computer-generated animation, but they're also characters you grow to love and to cherish, to root for and even to cry with (the depiction of Jessie's sad backstory in "Toy Story 2" is an honest-to-god tearjerker), making them vehicles not only for great storytelling but for great art as well. To infinity and beyond, indeed.
- Chris Eggertsen