TMcBee’s Top 20 Animated Films of All Time

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All my life, watching cartoons and animated films has been one of my main interests in the media and I still continue to appreciate the works of cartoons, animation and illustrations today. I’ve always had an artistic mind ever since the first time I drew or paint something on a piece of paper, which I later improved my artistic skills and to think more creatively. But to come up with creative concepts has to be influenced by something and animated feature films were one of the things that inspire me to draw.

I’ve mentioned in an episode on the Legit Animation Podcast with gexup at itstailtime.net that I would share my favourite animated films of all time whenever I got the chance to write about it. But now with spare time on my hands, I’m finally here to announce my Top 20 Animated Films of All Time.

Just to let you know that the choices that you will see are based on my personal preference and how these films brought a huge impact to my viewing. So if some of your favourite animated films aren’t on the list, please do not complain about it. In fact, you’re welcome to mention your favourite films in the comments below or in the forums at ittailtime.net.

Well that settles everything there, let me list down my favourite animated films of all time starting with number 20.

20. Rock and Rule

Nelvana Studios’ Rock and Rule received a poor release at the box office in the early 80’s, though it had built a cult following years later. This animated feature had a cool concept of anthropomorphic people in a post apocalyptic rock band universe. Not to mention that it was the first animated feature that combined hand drawn animations with some CGI animations.

I heard about Rock and Rule in a newspaper article in the summer of last year. When I got the chance to check the film out, I was quite intrigued, though I could see the criticisms that people mentioned about Rock and Rule. Yes, the story doesn’t make sense at times and the pacing can be slow to watch, but there was something about the backdrops, the animations and the music that made me appreciate this movie a little more. I guess it’s grunge-like rock and roll vibe easily caught my interest.

 There were two versions of Rock and Rule. The Canadian version had more adult content with leading male character Omar having a punk attitude tone in his voice. The American version changed Omar’s voice to be light and “likeable”, including scenes that were edited out and made the quality way less than the Canadian version. I recommend the Canadian version of the film if you are interested.

I love music, I love rock and roll, and I just enjoyed Rock and Rule overall. Music fans or fans of sci-fi films will give some appreciation to the film despite some of its flaws. It doesn’t make sense at times, but compare to other animated films targeted to the adult viewers from the late 70’s to 80s, this one at least had a three story arc structure that can be followed quite properly. It is by far my favourite adult film to watch and I’m still waiting for an official Rock and Rule soundtrack! Too bad it never got one at the film’s theatrical release.

19. All Dogs Go To Heaven

Don Bluth’s All Dogs Go To Heaven maybe a big guilty pleasure of mine, but it is one film from my early childhood years that got me to enjoy animated films more. I remember watching All Dogs Go To Heaven for the first time at the age of 4 and I immediately fell in love with the film. Plus build me appreciate dogs more that easily made me a dog lover.

People have criticized the film for its dark themes of gambling, drinking, death and demonic beings from Hell, but I like that the film has its share of right morals that kids could learn from, even though the mischievous acts from the dogs can be quite distracting from the messages that it’s trying to bring out. All Dogs Go To Heaven provided humoured scene and many touching moments that were nicely conveyed in the film . Yeah, there were scenes that were random such as the singing alligator segment, but most of the scenes were highly memorable and not badly presented.

Sure, All Dogs Go To Heaven is not the most polish film that Don Bluth has ever produced with the odd edit wipes that finishes a scene and all of the song segments were pretty forgettable. However, I really admire some of the ideas that came into the final product of both its visuals and in the story arc. Plus seeing dogs, puppies, animals and an orphan girl in a movie like this makes me feel all innocent and cuddly every time I watch All Dogs Go To Heaven.

Personally, I think All Dogs Go To Heaven is a sweet animated feature. Does it have flaws? Yes, but the film shows some strong elements that makes it a decent film. Compare to my years of childhood with All Dogs Go To Heaven, seeing it today doesn’t give me a strong impact about it. However, at least I still appreciate the film for taking a bit of risk in becoming a family feature. If the the late Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars at its theatrical release, then I’m sure there are others who will agree in the positive scores the film has gotten.

18. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one controversial film that either people hate it for being too dark or too inaccurate from the original novel by Victor Hugo. However, there are some people that actually liked the film and I was one of those viewers that showed much admiration on this Disney feature for the first time in theatres at the age of nine.

Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame took many risks by adding religious corruptive themes and messages of lust in a full length animated feature film by Disney… and I loved it! I was pretty amazed to see the establishing shots, the animations and the dark themes that Disney did to produce this film, including scenes that were serious or even surprised the audience whatever they saw on the screen. But just like many Disney films, they had to add cheery musicals and comic reliefs into the picture. They weren’t all bad, but some parts does ruin the mood for the style the film is going for.

There were many renditions and version of this Victor Hugo classic and i really enjoy Disney’s adaptation of the film, despite how inaccurate the story is. The characters were nicely solid in Disney’s the Hunchback of Notre Dame, especially Esmeralda. She was a kinder and cooler character in the Disney version, whereas in the original story, she acted like a dumb bimbo that I literally didn’t care about her in the end.

I will admit that I find the Hunchback of Notre Dame to be quite overrated whenever people discuss about Disney films, but I can never avoid all the remarkable animations, the beautiful sceneries and the controversial themes that were filled in this animated feature. It has a few flaws (especially some scenes with the three gargoyles), but I still enjoy this film and I think it can be enjoyed by any age group, but I would say mostly the teenager and adult crowd would probably like the film more.

17. Grave of the Fireflies

I know. Studio Ghibli’s Grave of the Fireflies is the most depressing film that has ever come out in animation, but there is a strong sense of emotion with this specific film that cannot be brought out in other animated features. Yes, I did cry my eyes out when I watched this film for the first time last year, but weeping when watching a film like this is saying something. I cared about the story and became intrigued by the overall film.

Grave of the Fireflies takes the events of World War 2 in Japan, but mostly focusing on two siblings that are surviving devastating events after their mom have passed away. Some of the imagery that are shown in this animated feature really disturbs the viewers. Some scenes would make viewers show some really high sympathy and emotions in the situation that the main characters Seita and Setsuko are into. You definitely feel sorry for these characters and how young they had to live on their own during this depressing time period.

Grave of the Fireflies is a beautiful film with backgrounds done in watercolours and monochromatic colour scheme in some segments of the film. Sure, there are scenes that are haunting that I wouldn’t recommend  those with a sensitive mind, but for a anti-war film that is done in animation, this is so far the best one I’ve seen. Plus it was nice to see a film by Studio Ghibli that had a sibling bond to feel more attached to its story.

Whether you watch the original Japanese dub or either the two English dubs, Grave of the Fireflies will still leave tears in your eyes for how powerful the film is, even if the English voice cast do sound older for their roles. People would rank Princess Mononoke or Howl’s Moving Castle high on their favourite Studio Ghibli films, but Grave of the Fireflies would definitely be my runner up of favourite films done by the company. Grab a lot of tissues before you watch this movie!

16. Chico and Rita

Normally, I don’t really enjoy watching romantic films whether it is filmed live action or done in animation. However, the Spanish and English feature Chico and Rita has a romantic story that combines jazz and music to make the overall experience seductively mind blowing. It is one animated film with a lot of exotic flare in its visuals and musical segments.

The art style may throw some people off for its simplistic look, but when the designs are animated with so much character interactions that is happening in one scene, you will highly appreciate by the look, colours and atmosphere in Chico and Rita. I also enjoyed the historical period and the sights of Cuba in this feature. It’s pretty accurate with the locations and the music trends that the setting took place in the story.

The story in Chico and Rita may start with our main protagonists being two lovers at first sight, but both Chico and Rita head up to a complicated turn and go on their separate ways due to their music career and talents. You may end up liking both of the characters or hating one of them for doing something disagreeable, but it definitely shows a realistic side to their love relationship. You can even argue that their relationship is like Romeo and Juliette, but they are apart due to their media successes.

Chico and Rita is an animated feature that is calmingly great with a romantic story that is both entertaining and nicely expressive. It is the only animated film I’ve scene that exposes a bit of nudity after a love scene. Therefore, I wouldn’t even watch this film when a child is in the room, even for that specific scene. Anyone that loves romantic stories and music will get a kick of excitement whenever they watch this film.

15. Toy Story 2

Pixar is the iconic animation studio that pioneered full CGI animations, including being the first company to make the first full length CGI film in 1995. When Toy Story 2 was announced in theatres in 1999, I was unsure about the film until I decided to get the film on VHS months later around the holidays. In results, I was impressed by the film and found it better than the original. While people think Toy Story 3 is the best film out of the Toy Story trilogy, I still find Toy Story 2 to be Pixar’s strongest.

Normally people would praise Wall-E or Up more for the best Pixar film(s), but to see a sequel that developed the characters well, made the humour hilarious and introduced a new premise with newer characters to them was something I couldn’t place lower for favourite animated film done by the company. It was great to see Woody, Buzz and the others doing something completely different rather than copy and pasting the same scenario from the first film.

Toy Story 2 had a lot of great laughs (especially in the blooper scenes), but it also had some touching moments that pulled on your heart strings, especially the montage sequence of Jessie’s past. It was nicely expressive and getting Sarah McLachlan to sing that segment was the right choice. The film also had strong moments that makes the audience ponder the reality of possessing toys, whether they last forever if they are taken with a lot of care or people lacking the interest of the toys as they are growing up.

Toy Story 2 is one animated feature with great laughs, great animations for its time and moving scenes that leaves quite a big impact to the viewers. While I think some of the humour and scenes are a tad bit cheesy, but it is nicely balanced with other moments that adults will appreciate as well. Toy Story 2 is definitely one of the better animated sequels I’ve seen, though there is another animated sequel that tops over Toy Story 2 in my opinion.

14. Spirited Away

From all the films that were made by Studio Ghibli, Spirited Away is by my favourite film that Hayo Miyazaki has ever created. It’s difficult for me to sit long while watching a Studio Ghibli film, but Spirited Away had a engaging tale of a young girl entering through a world that is out of the ordinary. The film is like Alice in Wonderland or the Wizard of Oz in a way, but provides a world of Japanese culture and spiritual myths in its tale.

It was unique to see the amazing colour and details that were created in Spirited Away, which is one of the reasons why I appreciated this specific Miyazaki film. The characters that Chihiro encounters in the fantasy world from Spirited Away were intriguing and quite surreal at times, which I didn’t mind the oddity and beauty of these characters that made them both fun and sympathetic. Each character had such distinctive designs and made them easily memorable throughout the film.

While there were some scenes that were quite questionable as to how the audience would react, especially one scene where Chihiro cries her eyes out in the second act of the film, but the rest of the scenes in Spirited Away felt like a magical ride. I haven’t seen the film in its original Japanese voice track, but the English version is surprisingly not bad at all and had a good performance in the voice acting overall.

Spirited Away is so far one of my favourite films by both Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. I recommend anyone who is fourteen and older should watch this movie if they haven’t seen it. This film is praised by many and it received an Academy Award for best animated feature in 2003. There are a lot of people that liked Spirited Away a lot and I am one of the individuals that really enjoyed watching this gorgeously fun film.

13. Kung Fu Panda 2

I liked the first Kung Fu Panda when I watched it in theatres in 2007. When I heard about Kung Fu Panda 2 coming out in 2011, I was skeptical that it wouldn’t be any good. Boy! I sure was wrong with that thought in mind. Kung Fu Panda 2 became one the best animated sequels that I have ever seen and definitely the best CGI film that Dreamworks has ever created.

When a sequel is made for animated features, it needs to take its direction and presentation to a new level compare to the original and Kung Fu Panda 2 really displayed it well with further character development, stronger back stories, and improved model designs and animations. The film also had scenes that weren’t only comical throughout, some scenes were surprisingly moving. Knowing more about Po’s character in this film was pretty mind blowing compare to what we knew about him in Kung Fu Panda 1.

I only saw Kung Fu Panda 2 once and I immediately appreciate the story in the film and what it had to offer. Despite the ending to be quite open for the next Kung Fu Panda film and the lack of scenes with Master Shifu in the movie, everything else was spot on, especially that awesome villain. I know people find the first Kung Fu Panda film to be very memorable, which I also think it’s a great movie too, but the villain in Kung Fu Panda 1 was a bit of a mix bag for me. At least with the villain in the sequel, he felt more of a threat to our main heroes, especially Po.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is one of the best animated sequels that is done in near perfection. I wasn’t too sure about the film at first due to how the film was being promoted on its theatrical release in 2011, but now I do regret for not watching this movie so sooner. I hope once Kung Fu Panda 3 finally comes out in theatres, it has a better sale  in the box office. Can’t believe people saw Hangover Part 2 over Kung Fu Panda 2… Hangover Part 2 was basically the same film as the first one!

12. The Triplets of Belleville

When I heard about the French, Belgium, UK and Canadian film The Triplets of Belleville years ago, I thought I wouldn’t get highly invested in it. It provided strange imagery and I thought the character designs looked really ugly. Though years later when I decided to watch this movie for the first time, I was highly impressed with the overall film itself.

What really makes Triplets of Belleville a must recommend movie for all fans of animations is the way it tells its story only through what you see on the screen without the use of voice work. It is amazing that 99.9% of the film had no dialogue throughout the entire film while the 1% had just little dialogue or grunt sounds that were used in some scenes. For a full length animated feature that tells a story only with actions and barely any speaking, it is pretty mind blowing to view.

The Triplets of Belleville also had an intriguing way to tell its story. You think it would be about the girl band, the Triplets of Belleville. In fact, they become supporting characters to the main character Madame Souza, who is off to find her only grandson after being kidnapped by a pair of man in black suits. Now that is a story concept that I like to see more in animated features or any film what so ever.

Now I don’t think all animation enthusiasts wouldn’t go crazy about The Triplets of Belleville if they are not into a feature film that is mostly silent. But for anyone who appreciates more about the art style in an animated film rather than the dialogue, then I suggest give this film a try. It’s not a film that I would watch every year, but I do appreciate the originality and style the film had to offer.

11. The Iron Giant

Did you ever wanted a robot or any kind of cool looking creature when you were a kid? Of course you did! Admit it. Based on the novel, “The Iron Man”, Brad Bird’s interpretation of the story called ‘The Iron Giant” was release in 1999 and got well received by critics. I can see why a lot of people liked it and the film got me to highly appreciate it too.

I never understood the love of The Iron Giant when I was in my pre-teen years, but as I got older, I tend to admire a lot of things in the overall feature. The way the film told its story with great animations and the film’s colour scheme is what I admired most whenever I watched The Iron Giant. This was an animated film outside of Disney that became surprisingly good and definitely is the best film that Warner Bros. has ever made.

The best thing about the film was the friendship bond between Hogarth and the Iron Giant, which they provided some great moments that will make the audience chuckle with joy or get their heartstrings tugged. I also found it sweet that Hogarth would teach the Iron Giant all the things and the life style that happens on Earth. The other characters were great too with strong personality and distinguishing designs. The character interactions with these characters were greatly storyboarded in the final product and were enjoyable throughout the film.

Overall, The Iron Giant is a fantastic animated feature. The audience has a sense of care with the dilemmas that happens to the main characters, including many moments that both kids and adults can really enjoy. I do admit that The Iron Giant pulls some predictable moments (which is common in most American animated films), but it does provide moments that you wouldn’t expect to happen. The Iron Giant is one animated film that you don’t want to miss out. Oh by the way, does the Iron Giant kinda looks like Clank from the Ratchet and Clank series, except bigger?

10. Fantastic Mr.Fox

Based on Roald Dahi’s children novel Fantastic Mr.Fox, the 2009 stop-motion feature of the same name provided a lot of wit in its comedy and brought back some familiar tricks of stop-motion animation and filming, making the overall film pretty unique than other stop-motion films. People really liked Fantastic Mr.Fox and I’m one of those viewers who liked the entire film.

What I admire when watching Fantastic Mr.Fox is the production of the film. For me, the way the scenes were animated, the craftsmanship of the models, the right choice of actors to voice the characters and the use of foley in the sound design department were the strongest aspects of the film. If you watch the behind the scene segments of the film, the actors would literally gesture out the scene while their voices are being recorded. So, if the scene was set outside, all the actors and recording crew would actually go outside in order to make that scene believable.

Besides the production and comedy in Fantastic Mr.Fox being good, I also like that it provides themes of survival, trust and acceptance in the story. You get scenarios of Mr.Fox and the other animals surviving from the three men that want them destroyed. Even scenes that build conflicts and bonds between the main leading characters, like Mr.Fox and Ash Fox for example. You see characters like these conflicting negatively about their problems with one another until the final story act where they resolve their differences and changes for the better.

Fantastic Mr.Fox is a stop-motion film with an odd style and a lot of quirky humour. The film contains subtle touches in scenes that becomes modernly heartwarming and quite memorable. Come on! You didn’t like when the characters replaced any bad word with the word “cuss”? Some viewers may find the film weird or incredibly bland, but I still think it a nicely produced stop-motion feature that takes old film and animation tricks and made it come back again to modern films…or maybe raw looking stop motions really intrigues me.

9. Mary and Max

When it comes to a stop-motion feature that becomes expressive in both storytelling and visual direction, I will have to choose the dark comedy film Mary and Max from all the stop-motion films I’ve seen. It is amazing to see a claymation film to have wit in its narration, but throws in many dark topics and scenes that describes the stories between the two main characters, Mary and Max.

While the witty narration and odd humour may not get my highest interest in Mary and Max, but the themes that Mary and Max discuss about in their pen pal letters is what got my attention about this film the most. Themes like bullying, child negligent, anxiety, loneliness, depression and even Aspergers were dealt with in the film and to be honest… I can relate to some of those themes that were shown in the movie.

I was a child that got bullied many times at school due to my mild learning disability, which caused me to have high anxiety and feel anti-social as I got into my teenager and young adult years. In other words, I can understand Mary and Max’s scenarios when it comes to these topics. Seeing some of these scenes in Mary and Max made me bawl my eyes out, but at least there were moments that balances the mood out like comedy and other emotions.

Mary and Max is an incredible stop-moion film with an achromatic and sepia scheme and a witty dark style that keeps it consistent throughout. I was amazed by Mary and Max for being based on a true story and having  many expressive and funny moments that kept me further to watch it. I give this movie a must recommend, even though the mentioning of navels and turtle anus in Mary and Max’s letters are quite unsettling for me to handle.

8. A Goofy Movie

When you hear an iconic Disney character getting his/her own movie, you would get so excited about the film, and a Goofy Movie gave me that great satisfaction in results. A Goofy Movie was one of those films that I would see all the time as a child (especially at my day-care) and still wouldn’t bug me if I saw it again. Normally seeing an animated film all the time would kind of get on my nerves once in a while like Finding Nemo for example, but there was something about A Goofy Movie that I didn’t get tired of it so soon.

Sure, A Goofy Movie had that high school and cool pop music trends embedded in the movie for the character Max and his friends, but I didn’t see it that much of a problem like some viewers and critics did. I focused more on the important part of the film. The father and son relationship between Goofy and Max. You would think you would get a lot of slapstick and comedy with these two together (which you do), but there are times when the film displays a deeper side between Goofy and Max, seeing their bond slowly adapting to accept their differences.

The bond between Goofy and Max kind of reminds me of my relationship with my father. There were times I got embarrassed or annoyed by my father performance as a kid, just like Max was with his dad Goofy in A Goofy Movie. But as I got older, I accepted the cool and good side from my dad as we understood one another better as the years gone by. So there is a reason why I put A Goofy Movie pretty high on this list.

In results, A Goofy Movie is a great film by Disney with its vibrant colour palette, catchy songs, and bold move of extending the concept of the show Goof Troops to display Goofy’s son Max as a teenager. People may complain about other characters from Goof Troops that didn’t show up in the movie, but focusing on the theme of father and son relationships, I was okay without those characters. It’s great for once to see Disney make a film about its original creations and nothing based on a fairytale.

7. The King and the Mockingbird

Have you ever heard of this film? …Yeah! Pretty obscure, isn’t it? Paul Grimault’s one and only full length animated feature Le Roi et L’Oiseau or The King and the Mockingbird is a film that took decades to complete and became one masterpiece of animation in France. This film just came out of curiosity when I first checked it online many years ago. Even if I first watched the film only in its original French audio, I was blown away by the visuals and animations in this animated  fantasy tale.

The King and the Mockingbird is one of those films that gets me highly inspire to draw, design or do anything that makes me think of creative and artistic things. There was something about the film that just mesmerized me every time I took a glimpse of the movie and that rarely happens whenever I watch  animated feature films.  It’s incredible to see some of the compositions, animations and backdrops in this film, which is still mind blowing today to know that everything in the movie was all done by hand.

There are two versions to the King and the Mockingbird. I prefer the final 1980 version more just because it expresses the film with greater emotions with its scenes and music. Even though there were some animations that weren’t fully consistent than the other scenes, but you kind of forgive it since the film took about 30 years to complete. The 1952 version known as The Curiosity of Mr.Wonderbird is just a butchered version and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone unless you don’t have access to watch the 1980s version.

People would mention that films like Disney’s Fantasia or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs are masterpieces in animations. For me, The King and the Mockingbird is my favourite film that I consider to be a great work of art. Combining two fairytales into one extinguishing adventure is all I need to see for this film. For any animators out there or any animation enthusiasts that haven’t seen the film yet, I highly recommend you to watch this movie right away, even if it’s in its French audio track without English subtitles.

6. The Prince of Egypt

I get this unsure feeling whenever film and animation companies make films based on Biblical stories. But surprisingly, Dreamwork’s The Prince of Egypt really shocked me for how the studio made one huge budget film based on Moses’ story and became one epic experience from beginning to end. Sure, there were some changes in the film that isn’t like the original bible tale or the movie The Tenth Commandments, but with its high animation production and simple events of what people know most about the story of Moses is what made it easily watchable.

There was something about Egyptian culture that became a big thing during my younger days in the late 1990s and stumbling across watching the Prince of Egypt with my sister for the first time was one mind blown experience. My sister and I thought it was an incredible film, with its amazing backdrops, distinguishing character designs, solid conflicting moments between Moses and Rameses, and a powerful music score by Han Zimmer. Even the musical numbers were pretty good too, except for Playing with the Big Boys Now. I thought that track was unnecessary to be honest.

While I was really pleased with the dramatic scenes and the music with the Prince of Egypt, I found that it wasn’t strong for its comedic moments, though I am aware that it wasn’t meant to be a comedy film in terms of the tale it was telling. It was going for more dramatic and epic tones in the movie which is amazing that kids, teens and even adults would appreciate a lot when watching it. Is it a perfect film? Well, almost. It could have been better if a couple of scenes didn’t felt kinda force once in a while, though that’s just a nitpick of mine.

Dreamworks in the 1990s had a thing for trying to be successful like Disney with its traditional animations. Most of them were done poorly in the box office and I found some of their traditional films to be okay at best. But the Prince of Egypt on the other hand left me with great expectations and in my opinion is the best film that Dreamworks has ever worked on. Whether you believe in God or not (or you just don’t know), this is a film that you got to watch at least once in your lifetime.

5. Beauty and the Beast

I am aware that Beauty and the Beast is quite an overrated Disney film that gets praised by many, but I just couldn’t resist to not add the film on here because it is one of the first Disney films that I watched in theatres when I moved to Ontario. Heck, I even had a Beauty and the Beast theme party for my 6th birthday to make me like this film from my early childhood. While I wouldn’t say that Beauty and the Beast isn’t my favourite animated film of all time, but it sure is the best feature that Disney has ever produced.

A lot of the Disney films that contains a princess in its story usually has a love story where the girl and boy falls in love at first sight. With Beauty and the Beast however, Belle and the Beast develop a caring bond as the story progresses. Disney did a good job directing the main couple this way compare to previous Disney films like Snow White or Cinderella, which those films pretty one dimensional and quite unnatural for those main leads. The others characters had fun personalities, the backdrops were gorgeously painted and the song segments were nicely sung too. In other words, the presentation in Beauty and the Beast is highly remarkable.

What also makes Beauty and the Beast a good film in my books is the atmosphere. It had a nice subtlety tone  to its visuals and sound, which means there weren’t too many obnoxious sounds and scenes  in its storytelling. Disney films in the 90s were filled with popular trends and too many comic relief  moments like Aladdin, The Lion King and Hercules. Beauty and the Beast had little of that and balanced the film beautifully in terms to express the scenes in the right way. The film itself had a classy vibe that even watching it today can be watchable again.

There is a reason why Beauty and the Beast is loved by many. It won an Oscar at the Academy Awards in 1992, including being nominated for best picture (though it didn’t win). Even hearing a few stories about the film back from my first college at Sheridan College where the animators worked really hard on the film or had to redo some scenes that weren’t going right. Yeah, it maybe overrated, but its a film that holds dear to my heart and by far the most beautifully crafted film that Disney has ever released.

4. The Secret of Nimh

Whenever someone ask a favourite film by Don Bluth, most people would right away say the Secret of Nimh. And seriously, who could blame them? The Secret of Nimh is a magical and a mature western animated film that stars talking mice and rats. Many people would think that talking mice in an animated film is really childish, but with the Secret of Nimh really takes a different tone and tells an exciting tale in a dark fantasy vibe the film is set in.

There are many good things that you can describe and say about the Secret of Nimh with its lovely animations, good character designs and a story that leaves the audience quite unexpected when first watching it. I think what makes this film so compelling is its main character, Mrs.Brisby. I really love how she is just an ordinary mouse who is facing dangerous destinations and tasks just to help her ill son. She takes a lot of courage just to help her family out. The other characters are great too and while a few are quite predictable in their motivations, most of them were nicely presented.

I remember watching The Secret of Nimh at a young age and couldn’t really get into it at first. Not sure if it was the philosophy and scientific elements in the movie, though as I got older, I became to appreciate the film more. There were scenes that made me laugh, cry, excited and shocked as hell. There were many moments and themes in the Secret of Nimh that were deep that made the overall story a lot more compelling. Even though there were some dark moments that kids can easily get scared with, but it was a daring move for Bluth to make this mystical tale come to the big picture.

The Secret of Nimh still holds up as one of my favourite Don Bluth films ever made. The film became a really innovating feature for its time with a quite dark tale that other American animated films wouldn’t put out in a family film. I would never get tired of this film even if I reach to my 30s. I also think that the Secret of Nimh is a great stand alone film that works really well on its own. It didn’t need a sequel at all!…I’m looking at you Secret of Nimh 2.

3. The Brave Little Toaster

Now you’re all probably thinking that a title like the Brave Little Toaster sounds like a completely cheesy film for an animated film. While the The Brave Little Toaster was one of the earlier films that I watched as a toddler, I’m not going to lie that watching it many years later still holds up today. Yes, it is cartoony looking and the animations aren’t as phenomenal as the other animated films that I’ve mentioned previously, but its what the film delivered that just brought an impact to my liking.

Based on the novel by Tomas Disch, the 1987 film versionThe Brave Little Toaster was well presented and made some changes that was a lot more welcome at home. The Brave Little Toaster had a fun script, enjoyable characters and scenes that showed a variety of moods in the scenes, whether they were funny, sad, scary, or exciting. It also had a pretty decent voice cast, including having two Saturday Night Live actors to voice in the movie which overall made the film  really entertaining.

What’s really great about The Brave Little Toaster is the overall adventure of these five appliances to find their human owner. They go through many obstacles and dangerous areas just to get to their master. There were some scenes that did frighten me as a child, but it surprises me that the film expresses such subtle moments that were quite touching and even dark at times. Even in one of their musical numbers, they sang a hauntingly catchy song about cars being crushed in a car dump… and I still love it even to this day.

The Brave Little Toaster is one of those films that you cannot judge a book by its cover. It is best to check the film out whether you think it is good or not. Me personally, I have such huge memories with this film since I was told by my family that this is the film that I would always wanted to watch as a wee kid. It’s just one animated feature that leaves you unexpected for a kids movie, like other 80s animated films that had a balance of family friendly and dark sceneries to them. Heck, I admire The Brave Little Toaster a lot that I actually wrote a case study about the film in one of my classes two years ago….Yeah, I’m not afraid to admit that.

2. Persepolis

Based on the autobiographical graphic novel by Majane Satrapi, the 2007 French film Persepolis is one animated feature that left me pretty speechless in a good way. I didn’t knew about the film at its original release, though I got to know about the film last year when I flipped through the channels and seeing the film playing on TVO. I became curious about the movie and it really astonished me to watch a film with a original art design and an exciting story that told true life events of the author living her life during the Iran-Iraq war.

The storytelling in Persepolis isn’t the only thing that makes the film incredible. The art direction in the film is brilliant that presents the film in an achromatic style for Marjane’s past, including some coloured scenery or cutout animations when the scenes are set in the present time or narrating historical stories. I also love how the film has a fun sense of homour and how it lightens up the mood once in a while. Persepolis had a great balance to express the scene right when the film wanted to be serious, dramatic or funny.

I think what is best to watch Persepolis is the main lead Marjane herself. She’s a smart and rebellious female that despite the lifestyle in her home country was tough throughout her past, she is also not ashamed about her nationality. I really applaud a character based on a real person to think really bold like that and would stand up to cruel or misunderstood people that their thoughts are not right or just completely ignorant. You don’t really see a character act like that in an animated film about politics and life events.

Persepolis may have some political content that is quite hard for me to comprehend, but this is the only animated film that I can watch that has many political themes to them. It even had a pretty good English dub too, even though the French one is a little bit better, the English version isn’t that bad at all. While the film took out a few scenes that were originally in the graphic novel, but the story of Persepolis is still a great coming to age story whether it is in a graphic novel or in film format.

1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit

I’m sure I’m going to get some complaints with my number one pick since the film I chose is not fully done in animation. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one of those debatable film whether it is a live-action film or an animated film. It’s quite in between and even if the film does have live actors in it, it plays a huge role of animation. This is like any kids dream come true to see a film where both real people and cartoon characters interact with one another. While the combination of live-action and animation has been done before this film was out, but Who Framed Roger Rabbit took those familiar animation techniques and made it better.

There were many things that I really admire about Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The 1940s setting, the sense of humour, the film noir dramatic sequences, the characters, basically everything that I was seeing in this film I enjoyed immediately. Not only that the film had original characters to tell its fictional crime detective script, but had so many familiar iconic characters like Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse to interact in the scenes as well. But best of all, Who Framed Roger Rabbit took so much risk to do their animations all by hand and doesn’t look so outdated even to this day. It still looks amazing today whether you watch it on DVD or even on Blu-Ray.

I personally had to pick Who Framed Roger Rabbit as my number one choice just because this was the film that got me to appreciate animation and cartoons forever. It showed me that not all cartoons had to be just for kids and can show that even adults can admire animated films as well. Who Framed Roger Rabbit surprisingly had a story that is entertaining that will be loved by kids, but also has some subtlety  and mature themes that an older audience will appreciate more. In other words, this is a film that I will not get tired of, even if the zaniness from the cartoon characters can be a little overwhelming.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit proves to be a film that you can tell a quite mature story with cartoon characters in them. The film technique and animations used in Who Framed Roger Rabbit were done with a lot of care and having the actors to pretend they are talking to actual cartoon character made it pretty believable. There were many right decisions in producing Who Framed Roger Rabbit, including having Richard Williams as the animation director. It was a smart move to have Williams direct the animations for the movie because it would fall apart if Robert Zemeckis didn’t had him to make this film happen. Who Framed Roger Rabbit will be the film that I will always treasure and be my favourite animated feature of all time.

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