Thursday, August 14, 2008

25 Best Animated Films

Continuing my top 25 lists, I thought film should get a little love, and as I love animation, this was the first thing to come to mind. From bloody anime to Disney musicals, from computer generated to traditional cell animation, here are my favorite animated films...

1. Anastasia - 20th Century Fox released this fictional account of what happened to the lost princess Anastasia, taking an orphaned girl from the streets to St. Petersburg, Russia to Paris to face her destiny and find herself. The studio's first venture into animation, this movie has a fantastic story with a stupendous soundtrack, beautiful scenes and great dialogue, deserving of its place at the top of this list. Voices: Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer. 20th Century Fox: 1997.

2. Hercules - Disney's vision of the popular Greek myth is a very epic movie full of gods and demons featuring a naive hero out to prove himself. The sassy love interest Megara is a real treat, delivering some of the best lines in a movie ever. Voices: Tate Donovan, Susan Egan, James Woods. Disney: 1997.

3. Beauty and the Beast - The only animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at The Academy Awards, this movie has pretty much everything you want in a Disney film, including memorable songs, great character designs and a love story to end all love stories. The beast of a cursed castle must convince a girl to fall in love with him before the last petal falls from an enchanted rose, or he will remain a beast for all time. Voices: Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Angela Lansbury. Disney: 1991.

4. The Little Mermaid - A mermaid longs to be human in this story that features a beautiful underwater world, featuring some of the most unforgettable characters in animation in an inspired story. This film kicked off a slew of top-notch animated movies from Disney (like Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast), reinvigorating interest in the studio during what some consider a second golden era. Voices: Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Buddy Hackett. Disney: 1989.

5. Howl's Moving Castle - Many may not agree with me here, but I think this is the best film from revered Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, featuring a woman at the wrong place at the wrong time, cursed by a witch into old age. She ends up working for the mysterious Howl in his castle as war brews around the world and they uncover a nefarious plot. Beautifully animated, as is all of Miyazaki's films, this is a magical movie. Voices (English Language): Emily Mortimer, Christian Bale, Billy Crystal. Studio Ghibli: 2005.

6. The Incredibles - A family of superheroes band together to fight a supervillain in a world of closeted superpowered people. Pixar's best film, this has a perfect balance of dynamic characters and action for a really super finished product. Inventive and fun. Voices: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson. Pixar: 2004.

7. Kiki's Delivery Service - Before the eye-popping animation of Miyazaki's Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke was a charming little film about a witch in training, Kiki. Together with her black cat, she ventures to the city to find her talent in life and wins the hearts of all she meets. Voices (English Language): Kirsten Dunst, Janeane Garofalo, Matthew Lawrence. Studio Ghibli: 1989.

8. Princess Mononoke - One of the first anime to be released to theaters in the United States, Princess Mononoke is considered one of Hayao Miyazaki's twin masterpieces with Spirited Away. The film follows a young man who wishes to uncover who or what is behind the cause of the demon that has infected him, and finds a young wild woman who lives among the wolves and protects the forest with her life. Insightful and gorgeous. Voices (English Language): Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson. Studio Ghibli: 1997.

9. Aladdin - A street rat stumbles upon a genie in a lamp and with it, tries to win the heart of a princess and fend off a power-hungry villian. Voices: Scott Weinger, Linda Larkin, Robin Williams. Disney: 1992.

10. Spirited Away - A sort of Japanese Alice In Wonderland, this childrens' story follows a young girl trapped in a strange spirit world that is both dangerous and wonderful. Utterly gorgeous, this is easily Hayao Miyazaki's most popular film. Voices (English Language): Daveigh Chase, Jason Marsden, Susan Egan. Studio Ghibli: 2001.

11. Mulan - To save her elderly father from dying in battle, Mulan poses as a man to take his place when he is called to duty. Voices: Ming-Na, Eddie Murphy, Harvey Fierstein. Disney: 1998.

12. Shrek - The success of Shrek and Pixar films launched dozens of animated films with in-jokes aimed at the adult audience that brought their children to the theater, earning a new audience for animation, void of the musical element that was once assumed. Luckily, Shrek also happens to be very, very funny, poking fun at the fairy tale stereotypes identified with Disney. Voices: Michael Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy. DreamWorks: 2001.

13. My Neighbor Totoro - A movie for very young children, this is another Miyazaki film, following a family that's moved into a new house near spirits like the cuddly totoros. Voices (English Language): Dakota Fanning, Paul Butcher, Elle Fanning. Studio Ghibli: 1988.

14. Toy Story - The debut film of Pixar wowed audiences with its computer generated depiction of toys that come to life when humans leave the room. The animation company has been unstoppable since, and with good reason. Voices: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts. Pixar: 1995.

15. Akira - The classic, violent anime based on the popular graphic novel features a boy with psychic powers. Voices: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Kyama. Streamline: 1989.

16. Monster House - This computer generated film is a little scary for the young ones. It follows a group of children who decide to put a stop to a house in their neighborhood that's eating people. Voices: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin James, Mitchel Musso. Sony: 2006.

17. Cinderella - One of the classic Disney animated films in cell animation, this film is told with lush, full drawings - one of the few early Disney films to do so before they simplified things following Sleeping Beauty in 1959. Cinderella is about a step daughter who is forced into the role of maid to her family after her father's death, only to have a prince fall for her when she sneaks out to the ball. Voices: Ilene Woods, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton. Disney: 1950.
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18. The Care Bears Movie - Things are simple in a universe where hate can be erradicated by fuzzy, different-colored bears with symbols on their tummies. In their first feature film, Tender Heart and the gang go up against a freaky green head in a book and meet their cousins! Voices: Mickey Rooney, Georgia Engel, Billie Mae Richards. Nelvana Limited: 1985.

19. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm - While I have an affection for the third movie based on the amazing Batman: The Animated Series universe (Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman), Mask of the Phantasm is by far the most popular, scoring higher ratings on Rotten Tomatoes than any other Batman film (animated or live action) until this summer's The Dark Knight. Voices: Kevin Conroy, Dana Delany, Mark Hamill. Warner Brothers: 1993.
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20. Finding Nemo - Pixar had another hit with Finding Nemo, in which a cautious fish seeks his missing son through the wide, varied world of the ocean, meeting friend and foe alike on his voyage. Funny and beautiful. Voices: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Eric Bana. Pixar: 2003.
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21. The Return of Jafar - This direct-to-video sequel is a gem among crappy Disney sequels, spawning another sequel (Aladdin and the King of Thieves) and an Aladdin television series on The Disney Channel. Voices: Scott Weinger, Linda Larkin, Gilbert Gottfried. Disney: 1994.
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22. Toy Story 2 - The sequel to Pixar's first hit was just as vital as the original story, allowing for a third sequel which is scheduled to hit theaters in 2010. Voices: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Kelsey Grammer. Pixar: 1999.
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23. Ghost In the Shell - An important anime with stunning animation for its time, violent and intended for an adult audience, Ghost In the Shell is a science fiction film featuring robot assassins that has inspired special effects artists such as The Wachowski Brothers (The Matrix). Based on a manga property, it has had a successful sequel, a couple of animated television series, and video games based on its world. Voices (English Language): Christopher Joyce, Mimi Woods, Richard Epcar. Palm: 1995.

24. The Iron Giant - Brad Bird's (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) directoral debut, The Iron Giant takes place during The Cold War, and follows the friendship between a lonely boy and a giant robot. Voices: Jennifer Aniston, Vin Diesel, Harry Connick Jr. Warner Brothers: 1999.

25. Grave of the Fireflies - A powerful, critically-acclaimed anime that takes place at the end of World War II, where two young children fight to survive amid famine and indifference. Voices: Tsutomu Tatumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Yoshiko Shinohara. Studio Ghibli: 1988.

1 comment:

Asvic said...

A list that'll agree with for the most part.