The animated film genre was effectively launched in 1937. While there were feature-length animated films released before Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it was this first Disney Classic that properly launched the genre to the Western world. The first princess and her seven short cohorts proved that legendary animator Walt Disney could sell a full-length animated film to the masses and he never looked back. In more recent times animation houses like Pixar, Dreamworks and the Japanese masters at Studio Ghibli have pushed the animated film to rival anything that live action has to offer¦ and sometimes more.
The great trick used in When the Wind Blows is understanding that the audience are aware of just how much trouble the protagonists are in, even when they remain clueless. It’s thoroughly dark and sinister throughout to watch as this lovable, if dim-witted couple ˜Keep Calm and Carry On’ blissfully unaware that radiation poisoning is slowly affecting them. Read the full review here¦
19. Bambi (1942)
One of Disney’s early forays into animal-lead animated films is an eternal classic. As is often the case with the ˜Mouse House’ they cleverly introduce death as a theme to young children, enabling them to come to terms with it when they get older.Bambi may a children’s film, but it has an enduring quality that keeps it fresh and relevant decades after its release.
18. Princess Mononoke (1997)
One of the many fantastic animated films written and directed by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, Princess Mononoke set, at time of release, a record box office record, beating the long-time champion E.T. and single-handedly caused Disney to pick-up every film ever released by Studio Ghibli to be released in the USA. So if you’re wondering why we were treated to Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle, this is the reason.
Akira is one of the first animated films to have it’s subject matter extreme psychic powers. Since then, there have been plenty of films about powers that can manipulate anything, and are on a terrifyingly huge level. They were psychic powers in animated films before, but none on this scale. No anime film since has looked as good as Akira. The set pieces are beautiful, and its cinematography is absolutely fantastic. Read the full review here¦
Dreamworks attempts to cash-in to the animated film craze rekindled by Pixar in the mid-1990s finally paid dividends when Shrek was released. An all-star voice acting cast including a career-saving role as a talking donkey by Eddie Murphy, Shrek pokes fun at all the conventions of animated films while appearing fresh, engaging and above all else, fun. It spawned 3 sequels and a prequel (Puss in Boots) and is still as good now as it was on release. Read the full review here¦
Mia Farrow’s distinctive voice is a welcome departure from the diet of harsh American accents which children are fed in this era of Disney/Pixar domination and is a perfect fit for the exquisitely drawn The Last Unicorn, making her seem at once both warm and other-worldly. Read the full review here¦
Another entry from Walt Disney animated films, Aladdin was one of the key films in the second golden age that was kick-started by The Little Mermaid. It also marked one of the first examples of a-list actor casting with Robin Williams voicing the role of the genie and absolutely stealing the show. Combine the story of Aladdin with a memorable and superb soundtrack and Aladdin stands alongside Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book and The Lion King as one of the ˜Mouse House’s’ best offerings. Read the full review here…
All these elements fuse together to create an superb film that appeals to audiences of all ages and puts Finding Nemo at the top of most people’s favourite animated film lists. While lacking the historical punch of a Toy Story or Snow White, it has enough quality and charm without dripping sentimentality to be considered an instant classic. Just remember to just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. Read the full review here¦
12. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
Studio Ghibli remain the only realistic competition to Disney and Pizar’s dominance in animated film. Howl’s Moving Castle, their follow-up to the superb Spirited Away is a masterpiece in its own right and aptly hailed as one of the best and most accomplished animated films of all time. While it doesn’t quite hold the same impact as Spirited Away, it is the studio’s second best film.
With such a blend of voice-acting, narrative pace, comedy and pathos, Ratatouille does what all great animated films should do. It takes you on a journey is discovery and adventure, never stopping, never slowing down or making excuses for the decisions it makes. Perfect is a word that is rarely applied to films these days, but Ratatouille comes as close to it as any of the Pixar animated classics like Toy Story and Monsters, Inc.. Read the full review here¦