Animation has long been an underdog when it comes to critically acclaimed movies, but it often has a unique ability to explore real adult emotions and themes while keeping the surface material digestible for kids. As the capabilities of animation have improved over the years, audiences are realizing the value of animation as a medium, and it is now something celebrated by a wide variety of people. ages. With that in mind, it’s time to review the best animated movies of all time, as chosen by critics.
Reviews from different publications will inevitably have varying lists when it comes to their rankings, but several movies make it to the majority of lists. Therefore, these films were chosen for their storytelling, quality of animation, and overall performance with audiences and critics. Although the films appear in a certain order, they are not ranked.
The Lion King (1994)
There Couldn’t Be A Conversation About The Greatest Animated Movies Of All Time Without Disney The Lion King to come, so why not mention it first? The Lion King, a landmark film from the Disney renaissance period, is the story of a young lion named Simba who must overcome the death of his father and find his place in the circle of life.
Intertwining adult themes of loss, fate, inner strength and redemption with lighthearted humor and stunning visuals, The Lion King proved early on that animation can reach heights as great as live-action movies. The film was successful enough to produce two sequels and a live-action version; unsurprisingly, audiences and critics alike agree that the original is by far the best, both in terms of storytelling and overall quality.
Spirited Away (2001)
Legendary director and Studio Ghibli creator Hayao Miyazaki has directed a number of the most critically acclaimed animated films. While the work of Studio Ghibli deserves its own article, Taken away as if by magic appears in the top ten of almost every list of best animated films. Of all Miyazaki’s films, which can be as heartbreaking as they are whimsical, Taken away as if by magic was perhaps the most widely received and opened the door for Ghibli films to reach a more mainstream audience.
Taken away as if by magic, which follows a young girl who works at a supernatural station for spirits to redeem her way into the real world, was the first animated feature to receive the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2001. The film won been hailed for its hidden messages that reveal themselves as the viewer ages; indeed, children may relate to the loneliness and young Spirited Away’s desire to acclimatize to a new city, and older audiences may find layered criticism of consumerism and pollution. With nuanced storytelling and breathtaking hand-drawn animation, Taken away as if by magic is a timeless film for its viewers.
How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
The only image on this list crossed out by DreamWorks, How to train your dragon is the story of two outcasts who find friendship in each other and bring out an inner strength neither of them would have thought possible before. Young Viking Hiccup lives in a world whose sole purpose is to slay dragons, the problem being Hiccup’s unwillingness to follow the path of violence his village has chosen. When he slaughters a young dragon he nicknames Toothless, Hiccup decides not only to save his life, but also to rehabilitate him. Over the course of the film, Toothless and Hiccup grow to lean on each other, forming an unbreakable bond that brings peace to their warring species. It’s lighter than some of the other entries, but its encouragement to stand up for what’s right in the face of adversity is a valuable message for all audiences.
The Toy Story series (1995-2019)
With every toy story film appearing in critics’ recommendations to some degree, it’s fair to approach them collectively, as they’ve proven to meet the highest standards of animated storytelling. the toy story The series follows best friends – and toys – Woody and Buzz as they try to be there for their owner Andy while constantly being thrown into the world outside of Andy’s bedroom.
From the original toy story in 1995 following the most recent of 2019 toy story 4, this collection is one of the few in the history of animation that can boast a runtime of more than 20 years. The nostalgia factor alone makes these films appealing to rewatch, but the heart, intricate world-building, and stylized animation that stands the test of time make this series a truly rare gem.
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (2018)
One of the most recent additions to the animation greats is Sony Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse. After several poorly received animated films, fans were concerned about the major studio’s first attempt at an animated Spider-Man movie. However, fans were blown away by the finished product, with some calling it the best Spider-Man movie ever made, including the live-action versions.
Spiderverse showed a style never seen before on the big screen, combining digital animation with hand-drawn accents drawn on it. Ultimately, every second of the film took over a week to complete. In addition to the innovative visual style, the new spin on Spider-Man’s origin has resonated with audiences, and with two sequels in the works, it’s safe to say Sony hit the nail on the head with this film.
Inside Out (2015)
There’s no shortage of Pixar movies on top critics lists, and Upside down is no different. The film was a commercial and critical success that reminded audiences of Pixar’s best qualities. Framing a preteen girl’s emotions as individual characters was not only a clever storytelling tactic, but also an invaluable method of explaining to children the complexity of their emotions in terms they understood. Similar to other Pixar entries, Upside down mixes humor and heart, using adorable caricatures of emotions to address mental health issues, the importance of family relationships and the fears that come with growing up.
Finding Nemo (2003)
The world of Nemo swam into theaters in Pixar’s golden age in 2003 and set a new standard for animated films moving forward. Besides its captivating story, the visual style of The world of Nemo is gorgeous, with careful attention to detail and compelling water mechanics that still hold up today.
After the harrowing journey of a single father trying to save his son after he was abducted by divers, The world of Nemo explores the loving but dysfunctional relationship between father and son, emphasizing the importance of trust and letting go. With punchy emotional beats, comedic supporting characters, and an impressive voice cast, it’s no wonder The world of Nemo continued to linger in the hearts of audiences long after its release.
There’s a reason Pixar is known as one of the best producers of animated content, and Pixar At the top is an excellent example of its quality. Up’s powerful storytelling through the wordless montage of Carl and Ellie Fredricksen’s relationship is an incredible achievement in filmmaking, and the film’s subsequent events serve to flesh out and give meaning to their partnership while being an adventure. light and fun.
Carl and Russel, a boy scout turned stowaway, are on a trip to float Carl and Ellie’s house – by balloon – to Paradise Falls. Hijinks naturally ensue along the way, but the real emotion comes from Carl’s palpable love for Ellie and his grief over her passing. Any movie that can approach these topics naturally while still being humorous and fun is truly remarkable and definitely deserves a spot on this list.
Yet another Pixar standout, WALL-E is an extraordinary anomaly in this genre in that it holds children’s attention without resorting to extensive dialogue. With the main character being mostly silent, much of this film’s emotions are displayed through WALL-E’s physical surroundings and expressions. Viewers are taken with the abandoned garbage robot on Earth on a journey through space as it pursues EVE, its true love. and a much more advanced robot. Released in 2008, WALL-E tells a warning about contributing to climate change and excessive consumption. While some may call this movie ahead of its time, its message is all the more relevant today.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Wes Anderson may be known for his highly stylized and absurdly comedic live-action movies, but Anderson has proven himself to be an animation geek with entries like Fantastic Mr. Fox. Using stop-motion animation and an all-star voice cast, Fantastic Mr. Fox carries all the whimsy and humor of a Wes Anderson movie while packing a surprisingly emotional punch. Exploring dysfunctional family dynamics and the danger of falling prey to greed, it’s another film that strikes the perfect balance between being kid-friendly and resonating emotionally with mature audiences.
There is no longer any doubt that animated films can have the same level of emotional impact as live cinema. With stunning visuals, nuanced writing, and unique storylines, the aforementioned films linger with audiences long after their initial viewing. And with ever-improving digital media capabilities, as well as a resurgence of interest in the medium, moviegoers can expect great things from the future of animation. In the meantime, perhaps it’s time to revisit these films with a new appreciation for the quality they truly possess.
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