A Bug's Life is definitely more Stanton than Lasseter seeing as Stanton both Co-Directed and wrote the screenplay. And it lacks Lasseter's smack of nostalgia which infects Toy Story and Cars.
He only has one less film than Malick and Malick is on several people's lists.
I actually brought this up in chat... but figured it might make a nice sidebar for this conversation. Were there any directors, who if they had a larger body of work, would've been considered for your list?
A big one for me would be Yoshifumi Kondo. Whisper of the Heart is just brilliant, and if he had another 2 or 3 films, at least, on a similar level, he would've made my list somewhere.
Andrew Stanton, I so wanted to include him, but with his body of work still so small I just couldn't do it.
Stanton only has two film. I don't count his Co-Director credits.
I disagree with that. But either way I don't find that Stanton's films have yet proved him, to me at least, to be the master of the art that Bird is, even though they've made about the same number of films.
There are elements of both Nemo and Wall-E that I find don't work as well as they should and it is because Stanton's skill as a director isn't quite there yet. Stanton should have either not had humans in Wall-E, or given them about 3-5 minutes longer to develop their characters fully enough so that we actually care what happens to them. He also could have added a few more scenes of Wall-E and EVE interacting at the beginning so as to better set up their love, particularly on EVE's side. These are choices that are indicative of his direction not being up to the standard of Bird.
Even the flaws in Ratatouille, which are few and far between, are more indicative of the trouble the project was in before Bird took the rains than anything. And Lasseter has proven himself very well, despite the flaws in Cars. The real proof of Lasseter's ability is the story of the Toy Story 2 production. Originally a direct to video movie that Disney decided to give a theatrical release. Lasseter saw that the film being made, not under his own supervision, was a complete mess and refused to release it and tarnish the good name of Pixar. He convinced Disney to let him restart the film from scratch and with only 9 months left before the scheduled released date he managed to rewrite the whole film and redo everything. The result? A masterpiece. Any director that can pull of something like that is worthy of admiration. Particularly because he did it purely out of a deep sense of integrity.
Stanton's films so far have been great, but I'm still waiting for him to give me the film that completely knocks me out of my seat the way Toy Story, The Iron Giant or The Incredibles have.