Radu of Radu Presents: The Movie Photo blog has once again tagged me to come up with a list. This time a list of top animated films. While Radu’s site often centers on compiling comprehensive lists on all manner of movie themes, lists I refer to quite often because I find them entertaining, this blog and blogger are not good at it but I do appreciate his thinking of including me as part of these challenges. And, although I am compelled to always mention I hate to be put in a position to compile lists in regard to film, I can’t resist this topic for some reason so I’m giving it a go.
For the record, this “top” list is made up of my personal favorites and they are not listed in any order of preference with one exception – I have left the absolute best for last. Also, you’ll note I list only eight but I’m quite a cheat as I actually mention more than ten if you take note of my brief commentary in several instances. I am just not made to rate films and this is an impossible task. Woe is me.
- Despite the romance of Lady and the Tramp, despite the innovation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and despite my affection for a princess named, Aurora, in another Disney classic, my absolute favorite of Disney Studios‘ classic animated features is of a less fancy sort. That is, it is much simpler animation, certainly by today’s standard, but it’s a film that delivers raw, real emotion, a film that never fails to move me. The one with the most heart…
From 1941, Dumbo
- I’ll stay with Disney for this next mention. I was mesmerized when I saw the gorgeous waltz scene in Beauty and the Beast on the big screen so it’s not easy to choose a “modern” feature from this studio to beat it. But one does – a film I absolutely adore…
From 1994, The Lion King
- A Pixar shout out. Here’s to a film that I think is underrated, which is baffling, but one that deserves a lot of attention. For its animation, characterization, humor and adventure…
From 2004, The Incredibles
I figure this list should probably center only on feature-length films, but the shorts mentioned here were shown in theaters so they count for me – plus they are among my favorites. As in the case of the last mention in this post, the following is not one film, but rather a collection that I simply cannot exclude from any mention of animation I may make.
- Not only does Fleischer Studios deserve mention for innovation in animation during the Golden Age of the genre, but I’m a huge fan of the Superman theatrical shorts the studio produced between 1941 and 1942. 17 shorts in all. These are definite must-sees if you’re a fan of the Man of Steele – as I am – he’s my favorite superhero. But also if you’re a fan of animation in general.
From 1941, Episode 1, Superman
- I remember seeing this next entry in a theater and laughing heartily throughout. I enjoy the clever mention of popular, traditional fairy tale characters. With a great story and great voice talent to boot, I’m a believer in this DreamWorks fantasy…
From 2001, Shrek
- Next is a wonder from Pixar.
I must mention Pixar’s 2003 film, Finding Nemo as well. Another film I enjoy immensely.
- For comedy, mystery, noir, acting and animation I’m cheating with this one (perhaps). This is more than a very enjoyable film, however. I find it an astounding accomplishment. “I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way.”
From 1988, Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Now – no disrespect meant to the talent involved in all the wonderful films noted above. And, in reality, how can one compare styles and quality when we’ve been so lucky to have so much greatness to entertain us? THE main reason I hate lists – but I can’t help but compare in this instance. There’s a studio that had an animation department that put the “gold” in the golden era of animation – for me. We will never again see the likes of the talent assembled there again – the talents that made up Warner Bros.’ Animation, known as Termite Terrace.
There is no technological advancement that can equal the animation talent of that studio or no popular actor who can equal the genius of voice artist, Mel Blanc - the undisputed king of a lost art. For my money the greatest animated theatrical shorts ever produced were the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies of Warner Bros. Period.
From 1942, “The Wabbit Who Came to Supper”
Take a look at “The Wabbit Who Came to Supper” here.
By the way, I highly recommend the Warner Bros. Collections on DVD and the Platinum Collection Volume I now on blu-ray and any other form you can get your hands on in order to watch these wonderful cartoons. There simply is nothing better.
There it is – as comprehensive a list as I can muster.
There are many other animated films I’ve enjoyed and can watch over and over again but these are the ones that stand out (today) as essentials for me. I hope you’ve enjoyed perusing the list and, if there are any on it you haven’t seen, they are all highly recommended by this fan. No film I’ve listed here should be a surprise although some may feel I’ve left out several worthy mentions. Perhaps most telling about this list is that I am in regard to animation as I am in regard to live-action film, a traditionalist.