Brad Bird Movies Ranked Worst To Best

Despite his relatively short filmography, Brad Bird is one of the most influential directors working today. Bird brought a new level of respect to the art of animation. He had been a prominent staffer on game-changing animated shows from the 1990s, including "The Simpsons," "King of the Hill," and "The Critic." These shows proved that animated sitcoms could tackle adult material. He even directed the popular "The Simpsons" music video "Bart Simpson: Do The Bartman." This helped Bart join the select club of animated characters who topped the singles chart.

Bird made his feature film debut with "The Iron Giant" in 1999. Even though the film bombed at the box office, it showed that Bird was capable of telling feature-length stories. The heartwarming adventure also allowed Bird to reconnect with his longtime friend, John Lasseter. Lasseter was stunned by Bird's accomplishment, and invited him to join his company Pixar.

After the success of Pixar's "Toy Story," computer-generated animation became an instant sensation. Although Pixar was the first studio to make an entirely CGI animated feature film, they weren't the only player in town. The rival company DreamWorks Animation released "Shrek" to critical and financial acclaim in 2001. However, Bird and his team proved that Pixar was still on top. His Pixar films "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille," and "Incredibles 2" became huge successes. Bird hasn't been limited to just animation, though. He also directed the live-action films "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol" and "Tomorrowland."

Here is every Brad Bird film, ranked worst to best.

6. Tomorrowland

"Tomorrowland" was Brad Bird's first box office bomb since "The Iron Giant." But unlike his debut, "Tomorrowland" didn't have the consolation prize of unanimously positive reviews. Given Bird's track record, expectations for the film were very high. It was also exciting that Disney had allowed him to make such an expensive live-action, original project. Although "Tomorrowland" was seen as a disappointment, it's a complicated film. Bird's ambition is not in doubt. However, "Tomorrowland" falls flat in many of its story choices.

"Tomorrowland" has a positive message about allowing everyone to make the world a better place. However, it never takes the time to explore what Bird's vision of the future looks like. The film centers on the young science enthusiast Casey Newton (Britt Robertson). Casey is transported to an alternate reality where a society of innovators has created its perfect civilization. Although Casey's journey to get there is a lot of fun, the film doesn't show enough of "Tomorrowland" when she finally arrives. Casey does have a fun dynamic with the grizzled tech expert Frank Walker (George Clooney). Frank had tried to reach Tomorrowland when he was a child, but the creators shut him out. Casey helps Frank find his creative instincts again.

The film's third act is particularly preachy. When Casey confronts the main antagonist David Nix (Hugh Laurie), he gives her a long lecture about humanity's failures. Although the film's call to action at the end is inspiring, it's vague. Bird just tried to cram too much information into the story.

5. Incredibles 2

Ever since "The Incredibles" was first released in theaters, fans of the film were clamoring for a sequel. Of all of the Pixar films, "The Incredibles" felt like it was the most perfectly set up to be a franchise. There were endless possibilities for a super-powered family's next adventure. Brad Bird said that he would only make a sequel "if I can come up with a story that is as good or better than the first one." "Incredibles 2" doesn't quite live up to the original, but it is still a very entertaining film. Bird didn't quite nail the story, but the characters are just as endearing as they were the first time.

Although fans had to wait 14 years, "Incredibles 2" picks up only moments after the original film's conclusion. After saving the city from Syndrome, the Parr family has to adjust back to their everyday responsibilities. Bob (Craig T. Nelson) becomes jealous of Helen (Holly Hunter) after the businessman Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) asks for Elastigirl's help, but not the rest of the family. In an amusing riff on "Mr. Mom," Bob is forced to stay at home with Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huckleberry Milner), and Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile). In some of the film's funniest moments, Bob gets overwhelmed trying to help Dash with his homework, and gives Violet dating advice.

Unfortunately, the plot twist with the film's villain is obvious from the beginning. When Winston's sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) finally reveals herself, her motivations are not well explained.

4. Ratatouille

"Ratatouille" centers on a theme that is close to Brad Bird's heart: artistic inspiration. Whether it's cooking a fine meal or writing a story, the artistic process is both exciting and challenging. Bird set his story in the world of fine cuisine. The meticulous care that the chefs take to prepare each meal isn't all that different from Bird's commitment to crafting the film's unique visuals; "Ratatouille" is absolutely beautiful as a purely sensory experience.

Thankfully, Bird also had an inspirational story that was worth that effort. He created a relationship between two underdogs that was both funny and touching. "Ratatouille" follows the down-on-his-luck garbage boy Alfredo Linguini (Lou Romano) and his surprising kitchen assistant, the anthropomorphic rat Remy (Patton Oswalt). Remy is mocked by the other rats in his colony for his obsession with the famous French chef Auguste Gusteau (Brad Garrett). After sneaking into Gusteau's restaurant, Remy befriends Alfredo. Alfredo dreams of joining the kitchen staff, but doesn't know anything about cooking.

After refusing to kill Remy, Alfredo learns that the peculiar rat is actually an expert on Gusteau's cuisine. Even though he can't hear Remy's voice, Alfredo is able to decipher what the rat is trying to tell him. With Remy as his guide, Alfredo begins improving his cooking skills. There's a lot of great physical comedy that emerges from their communication. Alfredo's awkward attempts to hide Remy while he's at work are hilarious. However, Bird doesn't treat either characters' passion as a joke.

3. The Iron Giant

There's beauty in the simplicity of "The Iron Giant." It's a very touching "boy and his dog" story that Brad Bird embellished with nostalgic visuals of the 1950s. The retro design of the titular robot feels like it was taken right out of "Forbidden Planet" or "The Day The Earth Stood Still." However, Bird didn't look back at the era with rose-colored glasses. He showed the struggles that small communities went through during the Cold War. Even though it was a family film, "The Iron Giant" explored how nuclear anxieties led to the dominance of the American military.

In 1957, a mysterious object from space crashlands on Earth in Rockwell, Maine. When his mother (Jennifer Anniston) stays out at night to work a late shift, the young boy Hogarth Hughes (Eli Marienthal) discovers the crash site in his backyard. He finds a towering, metal-eating robot (Vin Diesel) chewing on a power line. Hogarth has been lonely ever since his father died during the Korean War. After teaching him to communicate, Hogarth befriends the Giant. Unfortunately, Hogarth isn't alone in his admiration. The U.S. Secret Service Agent Kent Mansley (Christopher McDonald) wants to turn the Giant into a weapon.

Similar to Alfredo and Remys' dynamic in "Ratatouille," the charming relationship between Hogarth and the Giant is deeper than it seems on a surface level. By teaching the Giant, Hogarth is able to cope with his grief.

2. The Incredibles

In the early 21st Century, superhero movies were taking off again, thanks to the success of the "X-Men" and "Spider-Man" franchises. Unlike those heroes, the characters in 2004's "The Incredibles" were not inspired by a specific comic book. They came directly from Brad Bird's imagination. Bird created an entirely new universe, where superheroes had fallen out of favor with the public. It works as both a loving tribute and thoughtful critique of the genre.

Bird gave each of the characters powers that reflected their personalities. Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible has super-strength, and considers himself to be the headstrong provider for his family. After the government begins the Superhero Relocation Program, Bob settles down with a fellow hero, Helen/Elastigirl. Helen has to be flexible with her time; she can stretch her body like rubber.

Although they're no longer fighting super-villains every day, Bob and Helen have their hands full rearing two kids. Their teenage daughter, Violet, wishes she could disappear during embarrassing situations; thankfully, she can actually turn invisible. Conversely, her younger brother, Dash, can't wait to show off his powers. His enhanced speed reflects his hyper personality. Bob and Helen conflict on what their new roles should be; can they support their kids' powers, in a world where people no longer want to be saved?

"The Incredibles" has an antagonist with a compelling motivation. After being shunned by his hero, Mr. Incredible's biggest fan, Buddy Pine (Jason Lee), becomes the super-villain Syndrome.

1. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

The "Mission: Impossible" franchise had been uneven before Brad Bird joined the series. He was an unlikely choice to direct the fourth installment. Could a filmmaker best known for animated family films handle such an iconic action franchise? Bird silenced any doubters by creating the best "Mission: Impossible" film to date. "Ghost Protocol" went deeper into the psychology of Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) than any of the other films, and for once the series did a great job developing the entire team of characters.

Ethan is broken out of a Russian prison cell in the film's electrifying opening sequence. He's acquainted with the former IMF technician Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), who had only briefly appeared in "Mission: Impossible III." Benji is both excited and nervous about working in the field. He's accompanied by Jane Carter (Paula Patton). Jane seeks revenge on the Russian assassin Sabine Moreau (Lea Seydoux), who killed her lover Trevor Hanaway (Josh Holloway). They are joined by William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), who knows about Ethan's checkered past.

Bird created a fun dynamic between the characters. The entire IMF organization is disavowed after the team fails to prevent an explosive device from detonating inside the Kremlin. Ethan Hunt's crew is forced to use less reliable gadgets, which creates more suspense. "Ghost Protocol" also contains some of the most daring stunt work in the entire saga. Cruise actually scaled the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in the film's most thrilling sequence.