Director Brad Bird has the rarity of never having really directed a bad movie throughout his career. Even his worst movie is still decent and filled with bright spots. After acquiring a dream job at Disney following college, Bird's experience soon turned sour as he experienced a Disney in decline. Bird was eventually fired but the studio, but that was arguably his true launch pad to become the master storyteller he is today. From there, Bird served as a TV animator in the 90s on everything from King of the Hill to Rugrats to The Simpsons before he would finally get his chance at his own feature film.
With his latest film, Incredibles 2, now out in theaters, there's no better time than to take a look at Brad Bird's filmography to find the cream of the crop. However, when your resume is full of winners, that's a really hard thing to do and the majority Bird's films are only a hair's width apart from each other in terms of quality. When you sit down for a Brad Bird joint, you can rest assured knowing that you're in for something good. With that in mind, here are all six of Brad Bird's films, ranked from least to best.
The only Brad Bird film to really land with a thud. Tomorrowland has all the pieces of a typical Bird movie (throwback feels, clever action, spectacle, powerful message, Disney) but none of it really ever comes together the way it should. Co-written with Damon Lindelof, the movie follows a teenage science whiz (Britt Robertson) as she teams up with a grumpy inventor (George Clooney) to reach a futuristic city meant to be an incubator of scientific ambition and discovery. The movie has several great ideas with lots of imagination and cool action. Part of the problem, however, may be that the movie is a weird seesaw of pessimism and idealism. On one hand, Tomorrowland is the warning of giving into fear, violent media, and abandoning the need for true scientific discovery. Not a bad message at all, but the movie lays it on really thick and it's exceptionally hard to miss the I've Learned Something Today moral at the heart of the story. Tomorrowland isn't outright bad, but it's the weakest of Bird's body of work.
5. Incredibles 2
After 14 years of keeping fans on the hook, Brad Bird and frequent collaborator Pixar finally made Incredibles 2 a reality. It was definitely worth the wait as the sequel picks up with the Parr family literally right where they left off, swinging back into the family super heroics like no time had passed at all. The movie doesn't even try to address current tropes of the superhero genre and sticks to what it knows best: portraying a realistic family in the most fantastical setting. The sequel opts to split the Parrs up for the majority of the time, with Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) out in the spotlight to give superheroes a good name and Mr. Incredible (Craig Nelson) staying behind to look after kids and relearn math. It's a great setup that has a nice payoff on both ends (Jack-Jack steals the show, obviously), but the sequel's many ideas don't unify satisfyingly the way the original did. Incredibles 2 is trying to say a lot (stand up for who you are, fight for what's right, rely on family, screens are bad), but ultimately it all melts away as the Incredibles save the day once again. The humor, heart, and spectacle are all still there, but one wonders if the movie losing a year of production time affected the fine-tuning.