Okay, so these aren't objectively the greatest animated movies of all time, but these are definitely my all-time favorites. An objective list would have to include Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, as that was the film that proved animated features were a viable genre, but as it's not on my list, well... you get the idea.
What prompted this seemingly random train of thought? (Me? Random? Nah...) Well, I just finished watching Wall*E, and I'm very remiss that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences shuns animated films from the "Best Picture" category. No, I don't think Wall*E should've taken the trophy that ultimately went to Slumdog Millionaire, but it certainly deserved to be nominated in lieu of, say, The Reader.
For those who might not remember, or simply didn't know, the whole reason behind the "Best Animated Feature" category was a misguided reaction to Disney's Beauty & the Beast being nominated for Best Picture back in 1992, and rightfully so (come on, now... Bugsy was nominated, for crying out loud).
But, still, the Academy's logic doesn't hold up. After all, films nominated for "Best Foreign Language Film" are also eligible for "Best Picture," so why not animated films?
Anyway, I'm getting off topic here, so here's my list (in alphabetical order):
Bambi - The "Old Yeller" of cartoons. If you didn't freak out when it was revealed Bambi's mother was killed, you're not human. Not only that, you fail to recognize the absolute brilliance of implying something off-screen, rather than depicting it on-screen. I wish more screenwriters could figure out how to do that. Might even help the horror genre from releasing so many ridiculous movies.
Finding Nemo - following a stellar resume of suberb films, this one was (in my opinion) the first Pixar film that actually appealed more to adults than to children. And who knew computer-animated water could look so good?
The Fox and the Hound - Disney's clever little tale about two friends from different sides of the track. An unintentional commentary about life in the real world, this film should almost be required viewing.
Grave of the Fireflies - I talk about this one a lot... a Japanese World War II film which seems to have no business being a cartoon, but it is. It's brilliant, sad, and altogether brilliant. My regular readers will recognize this film from several of my "must see" World War II films list.
The Incredibles - quite possibly the best superhero movie of all time. And, ironically, the most human. Sure, it's in good company as far as superhero films go, but few are as re-watchable as The Incredibles.
Iron Giant - sadly, this wonderful film is probably also one of the least-watched animated greats of history. I can't say enough about it, save that I made someone watch it, and she cried. Just to put things in perspective, she claimed to dislike 1) cartoons, 2) movies about aliens, and 3) movies about robots. But I guess cartoon movies about alien robots are okay.
The Lion King - Disney's most complete traditional animated film, in my opinion. Adult and youthful humor masterfully mixed together, unforgettable characters, and the first on-screen death of a charater in Disney animated history (the far-less great Hunchback of Notre Dame would show the first human on-screen death in a Disney animated film).
The Little Mermaid - I actually like this film better than Beauty & the Beast, and it's on my list because it's responsible for Disney's renaissance of the 90s (Aladdin and The Lion King, anyone?). It's also arguably responsible for the general survival of theatrical animation. And it's awesome.
Spirited Away - another Japanese film, this one by the "Walt Disney of Japanese Animation," Hayao Miyazaki. Subtle, fantastic, depressing, and joyful all wrapped up in a nice and colorful two-hour film. What more do you want from a movie?
Wall*E - the best Pixar film to date (and that's saying a lot, though I have yet to see Up). If anyone can think of a better film primarily based on the same two lines of dialogue, then go ahead and argue with me. If not, shut up.
Yes, there are other fine and great animated films out there, and I'm sure some of you will inform me that I inexplicably left off Fantasia, Princess Mononoke, and The Nightmare Before Christmas, and I won't argue with you. I did admit to being subjective, after all.
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