Best Animated Movies of All Time
Animated movies can do everything live action movies can do - make us laugh, make us cry, make us go agape at the sheer wonder of it all. Actually, they can do all those things better than live action movies can, sometimes - because they're drawn, which makes them that much more, you know, impressive. Check out these 25 awesome animated treats and see if you don't agree.
1. Toy Story (1995)
From the eye-popping beauty of its then-novel computer animation, to the perfect setup of the rivalry between Woody and Buzz, to the pitch-perfect array of eccentric characters surrounding the battling duo, this 1995 breakthrough from Pixar was as perfect an animated entertainment, and parable about friendship, as one could ever hope for. And it still is.
2. The Lion King (1994)
Hakuna ma-what-a? This circle-of-life story, basically a 'Hamlet' in which the deposed prince is not insane or pretending to be insane, and is nice and noble, and is also a lion, is one of Disney's most inspiring and heart-tugging. And the songs - by Elton John and Tim Rice - are some of the catchiest in 'toon-movie history.
3. Shrek (2001)
It makes sense that DreamWorks, with an animation division headed by deposed Disney reinventor Jeffrey Katzenberg, should make a movie that would have Walt spinning in his grave. And so came this rudely inventive fractured fairy tale, with a flatulant ogre as the hero and a jackass (okay, donkey) as his sidekick. Packed with gags that burst the bubble on happily-ever-after.
4. The Incredibles (2004)
This Pixar epic about a superhero family forced underground by a society that worships mediocrity - only to be summoned again when that society needs them - has a somewhat contentious philosophy behind it. But it's also got a high quotient of wit, action, amusing characterizations and fantastic visual design. Director Brad Bird's action adventure is, in a word, incredible.
5. Bambi (1942)
To some, this is the ultimate child-traumatizing machine, to be avoided at all costs. It sorta makes you wonder - who are the bigger wusses, parents or their kids? OK, the climactic blaze really does make you appreciate the value of preventing forest fires. But between various life lessons endured by the title deer, there's also a lot of fun, and some of the most amazing animated characterizations ever put on film.
6. The Little Marmaid (1989)
A latter-day regime at Disney pumped fresh creative blood into the studio for this rendering of the Hans Christian Andersen tale; most notably, the songwriting team of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, who brought old-school Broadway pizzazz and wit to the tunes. We were given the enchanting fin-tailed Ariel - the mermaid young girls wanted to be and young boys wanted to jump in the ocean to be with.
7. Cinderella (1950)
A deceptively simple Disney masterpiece - how could it miss, after all, with such a venerable story to tell? That said, it's easy to miss the perfect balance of comic and fantasy elements with emotionally realistic drama and nail-biting suspense. Disney's craftspeople did everything they knew how to do and worked at the peak of their powers when they crafted this flawless animated picture.
8. Spirited Away (2002)
It's Hiyao Miyazaki's most cryptic - and virtuosic - display of drawn cinematic art, a tale in which an ordinary suburban yard leads to a supernatural world whose inhabitants soon start dogging the daily lives of those mortals who have wandered into the ancient realm. Hard to follow? That's the point. The dream logic here is unlike anything in Miyazaki, or for that matter, any other animated film.
9. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Disney's first animated feature has plenty of elements that seem quaint today, not least being the very proper and very-high-singing heroine. But the old crone with the apple, the conflicted hunter, and of course, those kooky dwarves, still have an uncanny power to trouble and charm us. And who can finally resist the lure of its fairy-tale spell?
10. Fantasia (1941)
Did Uncle Walt honestly not realize just how trippy his classical-music-and-animation omnibus was - with its topless centaur gals, Stravinsky-dancing dinosaurs, and abstracted visual soundtrack (bouncing to Bach)? Oh, well the rest of us can take endless, awe-inspiring pleasure in this wild ride - whether sober or, heaven forefend, not so much.
11. Finding Nemo (2003)
Okay, no "roe, roe, roe your whatever" jokes here. After his one surviving child is caught by a fisherman, a pilot fish dad goes in search of the son he fears he'll never see again. Here the Pixar team dealt with some pretty grim implications, but still managed to wrench a lot of laughs, and the computer-animated visualization of the undersea kingdom still takes your breath away.
12. Ratatouille (2007)
You will believe a rat can cook. The Pixar maestros take on the most challenging of their self-imposed tasks, making you wanna root for a rodent as said rodent demonstrates his mastery of a Parisian kitchen. Great visuals (every vermin hair is detectable on screen), great humor and a smartly unpredictable story make it go down like the greatest cartoon meal you've ever had.
13. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
The de Beaumont fairy tale had been reimagined and retold many times, but never with such gusto as in this Disney 'toon version. From the rollicking characterizations to the stunning visuals - an early mix of hand-drawn and computer animation - to the spectacular songs to the flawless voice casting - this movie had critics exalting that it was like a Broadway musical the sort of which aren't made anymore.
14.The Iron Giant (1999)
Before 'The Incredibles' and 'Ratatouille,' director Brad Bird made this heartfelt adaptation of a poetic saga that tells the story of a gentle alien robot and the child friend he makes on Earth. With a mix of retro design and old-fashioned, sometimes devastating feeling, the movie brings out the lonely and then hopeful child in all of us. Still Vin Diesel's best role (he voices the title character, remember?).
15. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)
The jaw-dropping obscenity of the opening musical number of this TV-series spinoff was made more surreal by the fact that it sounded like a tune from the best Broadway show you haven't seen. In this hysteria-inducing cardboard-cutout work of genius, Kyle, Stan, Cartman and Kenny get involved with, among other things, a war with Canada.
16. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
The eye-rolling dog and his hapless master got their long-awaited feature in this tale of a creature rooting in the gardens of an English village. The duo's rabbit trap makes Elmer Fudd seem barbaric, and the monster is a vegetarian. With dry and subtle Brit humor, this Claymation romp is wickedly funny, and sweetly engaging.
17. Toy Story 2 (1999)
Sequels are generally always inferior to originals, if not just crass cash-ins. But this follow-up came from - as did the original - Pixar, the computer-animation wizards who would sooner crash all their servers than put out second-rate work. Hence, this second excursion into the realm of Woody, Buzz and their playroom pals was as wondrous and funny as the first.
18. Pinocchio (1940)
Disney's fable introduced us to conscientious cricket Jiminy - and a people-and-puppet swallowing whale, a cat and goldfish living in tense détente, a con-man fox, a lonely puppet master, and an impossibly good fairy. It's packed not just with incident and visual beauty, but with character - we haven't even mentioned the title puppet-who-wants-to-be-a-real-boy ... but never met a truth he didn't bend.
19. Princess Mononoke (1999)
Japanese animation master Hiyao Miyazaki resists digital and insists that his increasingly complex tales, often drawn from Japanese folklore, be drawn by hand. This offering (released in Asia in 1997, in the U.S. in '99) is about more than a heroic princess - it's an ecological parable in which a forest battles a mining operation. It takes animation into an epic realm that few even thought possible before.
20. The Jungle Book (1967)
Walt Disney wanted to up the hip quotient on the last animated film he oversaw - even asking the Beatles to voice four mop-topped orangautans. The Fabs said no, but Louis Prima, among others, said yes, and the result is one of Disney's swinging-est animated musicals. The fabulous story and engaging creatures aside, how can you resist Phil Harris and his 'Bear Necessities'?
21. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1933)
Stop-motion animation was never as creepily hilarious as it is here. Cinematic misfit Tim Burton concocted this twisted tale of a Halloween maven who wants to expand the holiday franchise and knock over old St. Nick. With the help of animator/director Henry Selick and prodigious composer Danny Elfman, this 'Nightmare' dazzles and delights, making the macabre seem, well, kind of cozy.
22. Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Sometimes a simple love story of a well-brought-up maiden and an incorrigible but good-hearted ne'er-do-well is just the romance you want to watch on a Friday night. There are plenty of live-action options, but rare is the endearing cartoon version. This 1955 Disney perennial, with its enchanting bow-wow interaction and fabulous Italian restaurant scene, is, as they say, the pup of the walk.
23.The Triplets of Belleville (2003)
An innovative, eerie, almost all visuals-and-music tale of bicyclists, washed-up singing sisters, and chronically farting pooches, this French-produced 2003 Oscar nominee is one of the most curious animated features ever produced. The kids might not get it - in fact, 'Belleville' may flat-out weird them out - but adult fans with a taste for the outré will want to lap it up three times.
24. Dumbo (1941)
This Disney classic has it all - a story line to tug at the heartstrings (try not to cry when the big-eared pachyderm is rocked to sleep by his mom), surreal humor that's ahead of its time (it doesn't get any more bizarre than the 'Pink Elephants on Parade' bit) and a rousingly redemptive climax. Not to mention the most improbably cute young hero in all of cartoons.
25. The Simpson Movie (2007)
There are some who complain that this long-awaited feature is not much more than three TV episodes of 'The Simpsons' strung together and livened up with widescreen picture and some fancy effects. And their point is? We don't know. The movie, with its entirely nude Bart, Springfield-under-a-dome, and President Ahnuld, rules.
Don't forget to RATE my Guide of course, after your done reading them all :) Thank you!
Created on: 29/09/2008