Recently seeing My Neighbor Totoro for the first time, I’ve been reminded just how many great animated films that there are. Sadly, animation is an art that is widely under-appreciated by popular audiences. In this post, I am pointing out a few notable animated films. Obviously, there are many, many more, but here are some good ones that I have seen and would not hesitate to recommend. I have excluded Pixar films, because
I’m still mad that Brave won the Oscar I want to focus on films that get a little less attention:
I have only seen a few Japanese anime films, so I am no expert on the genre. However, of the ones that I have seen, this is the most accessible. I wrote a review of it back in January: “It is an exciting sci-fi, in the tradition of Blade Runner, The Fifth Element, and of course, Metropolis. It’s worth watching just for the wonderful shots of massive, futuristic buildings and crowded streets. The filmmakers build an atmosphere around these shots throughout the story, giving audiences a great sense of the hugeness of Metropolis.” Ebert said it best: “If you have never seen a Japanese anime, start here. If you love them, Metropolis proves you are right.”
Mary and Max (2009)
This film proves that great animation can be made with adult audiences in mind. It does not avoid striking a sad note as it deals with mature themes such as depression and addiction very frankly. Yet Mary and Max also has a wonderful sense of humor and a warm heart. The claymation is wonderful as well as is the music and writing. It is definitely an offbeat movie worth taking note of, even if you rarely watch animated movies.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
My favorite Wes Anderson film and one of my favorite animated movies of all-time, Fantastic Mr. Fox demands to be enjoyed by all ages. Here’s what I said about it in my review of it last month: “Wes Anderson’s sixth film is a combination of great artistry and great entertainment. Certain aspects of the story and characters may have similarities to some of Anderson’s live action films, yet the picture stands out, even within the director’s personal filmography. In a world where stop-motion animation is somewhat of a lost art, Fantastic Mr. Fox is wholly original and positively heart-warming. There is nothing quite like it.”
Megamind is not common on lists of great animated films, but it is worth seeing for several reasons: First, the voice acting is outstanding. Second, the dialogue is witty and the jokes can be appreciated by all audiences. Third, there is a painfully hilarious sequence in which Will Ferrell impersonates Marlon Brando. Fourth, the movie works well upon multiple visits. Maybe this film doesn’t quite measure up to the greatness of the three films above, but it might be the best one for families.