Too often disregarded as a child’s medium, the beauty of a great animated flick can transcend age and genre — with a range of absolute classics being cartoons! Damn, what a world we live in.
Finding Nemo (2003)
While it was a big part of my childhood movie intake, I can’t really find the time for kid’s movies anymore — except for when the new Pixar one rolls out. Truly the masters of the genre, the studio is behind all three of my picks today, but Finding Nemo tops them all. A wonderful selection of colourful characters, a hilarious and heartwarming story and some stunning animation that still manages to amaze 15 years later — it’s basically totally perfect.
Monsters, Inc. (2001) – The funniest film in the studio’s canon, Billy Crystal gives some of his most memorable moments here. Despite this, there is a big heart at the center of it, and is possibly one of the most original movies Pixar has made.
The Incredibles (2004) – Showing how Pixar are able to give us any genre they so choose, epitomising their legendary early-00s period, The Incredibles is one of the best superhero movies, period — with brilliant action and some hilarious moments.
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
First thing I would like to say here is: ANIMATED FILMS ARE NOT JUST FOR KIDS. Thank you. I’m gonna give multiple films the equal honour of this award, but consider Monsters Inc. top of the lot. Just about missing out on a mention in my Best Movie of All Time category, this is my favourite Pixar film. Considering how much I love that lovely, lovely studio, that is a ridiculously high honour. This is hands down the funniest Pixar movie, a colourful and in-your-face comedy flick with an oh-so lovable heart beating at its centre, with some of my favourite characters in film and countless quotable moments littered throughout its runtime. It’s the culmination of all that is brilliant about Pixar’s films.
Chicken Run (2000)
I announced in school how much I love this film and people laughed. UNCULTERED SWINE. *ahem* But seriously, this is the grand shining beacon of our very own, Bristol-based Aardman’s work. Chicken Run is an absolute marvel in animation, making it a true spectacle as well as just a pleasant, and ridiculously fun watch.
The Incredibles (2004)
Probably the second best Pixar film (aside from Toy Story 2, which I’ve given a different honour) The Incredibles is the studio’s most quick-witted, fast and fun film, with the comedy writing at its finest and the chemistry of the characters in the family working so well. This may well be the greatest superhero movie aside from The Dark Knight.
The Iron Giant (1999)
One of the most underappreciated films in history, this one. Charming and lovable, The Iron Giant has high-wit comedy, a genuinely emotional story and well-realised characters at its disposal. Every fan of animated cinema, or, film in general, should watch this if they haven’t already.
Toy Story (1995)
I feel disappointed I couldn’t wrangle Ratatouille into this spot but I think I’d feel worse leaving Toy Story out. The mother of all Pixar films, this was the first and still one of the best they’ve produced. The animation was so impressive for the time and it still looks pretty good to this day, and I think that’s a testament to how well made a film this is.
Belleville Rendez-Vous (2003)
Not a silent film, but there’s effectively no talking throughout, which is actually totally fine because all the storytelling is done visually in a unique and beautiful style that utilises exaggerated features and muted, earthy colours. Not only is this film really funny, it’s also got an intriguing story involving kidnapping and blowing up frogs – literally.
101 Dalmatians (1961): Not generally considered the best Disney film, except by me, I love this film and I don’t know why.
A Town Called Panic (2009): Stop-motion plastic figurines gabbling in French in a crazy universe where animals talk and mer-people want to steal your house and make giant waffles. This is an amazing film that is absolutely bonkers.
Coraline (2009): Perhaps the best stop-motion film I have yet seen, genuinely creepy and imaginative and visually stunning, a dark masterpiece from Henry Selick.
Toy Story (1995): I must have watched this a gazillion times as a kid, it’s still funny to this day and the animation also stands up, the voice cast couldn’t be better either.
The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
As a fan of Lego and Batman, The Lego Batman is my obvious choice. Will Arnett is incredible as the Caped Crusader, even in bricks. Hilarious pop culture references are only exceeded by insanely catchy Who’s The Batman. Not to mention, the stop-motion is a work of genius.
Spirited Away (2001)
It’s beautiful and weird, yet kids and ex-kids can relate to this fantastical story. I think kids films should be allowed to be properly scary in places; it helps form a rounded view of the world. If, in that world, wandering off into disused amusement parks results in giant warty heads enslaving you or if creatures can be made of nothing more than soot or if your parents can be turned into pigs because they didn’t tip their waiting staff…
The Iron Giant (1999) – A standalone animated movie which is neither Dreamworks nor Disney but packs the emotional punch associated with either. A simple story of a boy and his giant alien robot friend out in wholesome 50s America, waiting for the tin hat brigade to turn up and start taking shots at him. The giant looks amazing, the pathos ladled on thick and the childish sense of wonder survives intact – the best Superman movie from Warner since the 80’s.
Inside Out (2015) – Widely lauded as THE defining animated movie of its generation, the thing with Inside Out is its interest in understanding and discussing mental health. What could be more current a topic? Totally in tune with the feelings we’ve all been through, and brilliant in breaking each emotion down to a simple concept. If we could prescribe this movie when appropriate, we might move past the current obsession with pills for all ills.
Titan AE (2000) – If it weren’t so beautifully animated, Titan AE could slip between the cracks as an average, big-budget spectacle in line with Edge of Tomorrow or Elysium. But no, an animated kids movie with an indie pop soundtrack album and pre-emptive toy range makes for an undeserving flop at the box office. This film should have been some kids Star Wars. However, it was released in the wake of the Phantom Menace marketing juggernaut and sank without trace. Pity, it’s better than people remember.
The Lord Of The Rings (1978) – I don’t have time for nine hours of Hobbits walking to Mordor to return some jewellery. My Lord Of The Rings gets the job done in 130 minutes with unique painted animation, and John Hurt, Anthony Daniels and Christopher Guard. Sure, it stops halfway through the story, but we get the gist, right? Do we need Hobbit songs and hours of muttering from Sméagol? Do we heck.
Stay tuned for more Best Thangs Of All Time!