Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Top 25 Animated Films

Time magazine is getting quite a bit of slack for their list claiming to name the 25 best animated movies of all time. This is due partly to the fact that they left a lot of great films off the list, and also to the fact that they included what amounts to a cheap television compilation in the third spot. The first problem is unavoidable, as varying tastes and a huge amount of films from which to choose will make any list of 25 incomplete. The second is simply a cheat, the original theatrical material is genius, but would be better addressed in a list of Short Films.

Here is the current state of the NonModern animated film list, with a couple caveats. While I have seen some of Miyazaki’s films, I haven’t yet seen the ones considered his best, so none of his are on this list at this point. Also, while I will save the shorts for their own list, I too include what is technically one compilation of three shorts to form a feature.

25. The Great Mouse Detective

In the Disney “dark ages” of the eighties, this adaptation of Eve Titus’ great books has all the right ingredients for a great Victorian sleuth adventure.

24. Sleeping Beauty

The best of Disney’s “neoclassic” period. The art work here is almost too formal and stylized, but beautiful.

23. Chicken Run

A great story from Aardman, hints of The Great Escape, and a good lesson to boot.

22. Prince of Egypt

One of the last American hand drawn films, and not even Disney. Some of the choices adapting this Biblical story were inspired. (But then there was that song with the magicians.)

21. Pinocchio

Time’s number one does deserve to be on the list. A morality play in the greatest tradition.

20. Toy Story

Not only is it the first computer animated feature, it is a great story. Apparently those of us who imagined their toys having a life of their own were not alone.

19. Fantasia 2000 & 18. Fantasia

A whole separate art form, really. Hopefully it won’t take half a century for the next entry.

17. WALL-E

Pure cinema. Silent film meets science fiction meets robot romance.

16. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Wererabbit

Wallace and Gromit are two of the all time greatest characters in cinema. With this full-length feature they pay hilarious treatment to good old fashioned horror.

15. Coraline

Speaking of horror, the best children’s stories that attempt to teach lessons need healthy doses of it. Coraline is genuinely scary and genuinely appropriate for kids of all ages.

14. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

How often does the first attempt at a genre end up being still watchable nearly a century later. Will number 20 fare so well?

13. How to Train Your Dragon

For those of us who HATE 3D, this was a film that made it work. And it is still effective in normalvision. It does the “boy and his dog” story proud.

12. Toy Story 2

Pixar didn’t get into the sequel business willingly, but when it had to it did it right. A sequel that is better than the original.

11. Monsters Inc.

The concept is purely original, yet makes so much sense. And it is a perfect tool to critique and explore modern societal fears.

10. The Jungle Book

Great music and great art direction all driving the sort of story kids need to hear. Sometimes you don’t know what is best for you or even what you really want.

9. One Hundred and One Dalmatians

The first film in the Disney “modern” era using Xerox and the distinctive look that it brought. This film has some of the best art that the 60s cinema ever produced.

8. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

One of the best book adaptations ever brought to cinema, especially since it brought the book itself along.

7. Finding Nemo

Pixar’s first real mega-hit and the one that took Pixar over the top in comparison to Disney. Started the Pixar tradition of films that spoke more to the parents while keeping the kids entertained.

6. Beauty and the Beast

The animated film that almost got the Oscar. They created a whole separate category after this to avoid the potential “embarrassment.”

5. Up

The opening section of this film alone is a masterpiece. The rest of the film keeps up nicely.

4. Ratatouille

With this film, computer animation surpassed real life in some ways. Paris is beautiful, but it never looked so good.

3. The Incredibles

An incredibly mature story for an animated film. Then again, Brad Bird likes to remind people that animation is not a genre. The art design of this film is a character in its own right.

2. Toy Story 3

Pixar returns to its original vision, this time to address the parents. The end of this one is a tear jerker like the beginning of “Up.”

1. The Iron Giant

One of the best sorts of “preachy” stories ever drawn on celluloid.

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