In keeping with an animation tradition that dates back decades, Pixar has managed to pepper many of their movies with fully-realized friendships that have become indelible within the genre. This list covers only platonic friendships, however, which is why you won’t see, for example, WALL-E and Eve. That said, here are the top five Pixar duos:
Placing Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz (Tim Allen) at the top of this list is hardly even optional, as the pair have come to symbolize everything that’s great about Pixar. Right from the beginning of their relationship, Woody and Buzz have possessed a chemistry that remains unparalleled within the realm of modern animation. Of course, Woody and Buzz were hardly friends when they first met – as Woody saw Buzz as a threat to his close relationship to Andy. Over the course of the first Toy Story, however, Woody and Buzz were forced to work together to get home – which cemented the endearing friendship that drove Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3.
2. Mike and Sulley ('Monsters, Inc.')
When we first meet them in Monsters, Inc., Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) have already been close pals for many years (unlike every other duo on this list). It’s for that exact reason that their friendship feels so believable, with Mike’s fast-talking personality perfectly complementing Sulley’s laid-back and easygoing nature. Much of Monsters, Inc. follows Mike and Sulley as they attempt to protect a little girl from the clutches of an evil fellow monster named Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi), with the very real bond between the two buddies ensuring that we can’t help but root for them to succeed in their efforts. (The fact that they’re both monsters becomes irrelevant almost immediately.)
For most of Up’s running time, Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner) is concerned only with transporting his rickety old house to the edge of a cliff in South America. His solitary plans are foiled after an eager Wilderness Explorer named Russell stows away on his journey, and it’s not long before Carl becomes a reluctant father figure to the exuberant little boy. This is despite the fact that Carl initially wants nothing to do with Russell, although, as the movie unfolds, it becomes clear that Carl needs Russell just as much as Russell needs Carl – as the chubby adolescent teaches Asner’s prickly character that experiences and adventures are much more gratifying when you have someone to share them with.
After his son, Nemo, is captured by a scuba diver, Marlin (Albert Brooks), a jittery clownfish, is forced to confront his fears and head out into the open water to save his boy. Marlin’s biggest ally in his quest turns out to be a quirky regal tang fish with short-term memory loss (Ellen Degeneres’ Dory), and what follows is basically a classic road-trip comedy as envisioned by the geniuses at Pixar. The two characters find themselves confronted by a wide variety of characters, both friendly and dangerous, and it’s only as they begin to put their differences aside and work together that Marlin is able to successfully complete his life-and-death mission.
The friendship that inevitably ensues between Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) is somewhat surprising, as the personalities of the two characters couldn’t possibly be more different. When we first meet him, Lightning is a slick and extremely arrogant stock car who winds up trapped in the small town of Radiator Springs after he destroys their main road. Though many of Radiator Spring’s residents are initially wary of him, Lightning quickly finds a friend in the kind-hearted tow truck Mater. The odd-couple bond that ensues between the two ultimately rewards both characters equally, as Lightning learns how to drive backwards from Mater and Mater is given the opportunity to fly in a helicopter by Lightning.