When you start naming “Top 10” anythings, you’re bound to ruffle some feathers. Which I think is cool. I love this kind of conversation, so feel free to leave comments. Believe me, it was hard for me to not just list every Pixar film that’s come down the line because those guys can do no wrong (except Cars…I’m just not redneck enough to get into a movie about Nascar).
And this is probably one of the only “Top Animated Films” lists that won’t include Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Bambi. I’m sorry. Just because something is old, or “the first”, it doesn’t make it good. Or interesting. In my less-than-humble opinion, Snow White is one of the most overrated, boring films to come down the pike. But Ed, you might say, It was a technological breakthrough in animation. It was the first of its kind. Yea, well, just because something is different doesn’t mean its good. Just ask Paris Hilton’s parents.
So here we go. The best in animation, according to me….
10. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
There is a moment in this film that always blows me away. Jack Skellington has gone off to become the new and improved Santa Claus and his #1 fan Sally is home lamenting because she knows something’s not right. While Sally is singing her ballad she steps through a gate and swings her head to the side. That moment right there is so smooth…so perfect…it’s almost hard for me not to believe it’s not a person in a big Sally costume. And there’s also the Oogie Boogie song.
9. Flushed Away
I’ll admit it. I haven’t liked anything else this guy has done. And yes, that includes the Wallace and Gromit series. So my expectations for this were pretty low. Not only did this movie blow me out of the water, it also made Kate Winslet more attractive. The fun action peppered with jabs at America (and the UK) cracked me up. This movie probably would have ranked higher on my list if the characters didn’t look so much like those Wallace and Gromit idiots.
8. The Prince of Egypt
Like The Nightmare Before Christmas, there’s one scene in this film that sticks in my head, but with a much larger emotional attachment. It comes at the climax of the film when Moses parts the Red Sea. That whole scene…the animation as the water rushes into the sky, the swelling music…and then the eerie silence…it gives me chills just writing about it and gets my heart beating like Ed Grimley in the presence of Pat Sajak.
7. The Emperor’s New Groove
How is this cartoon not more popular than it is? Hey, I’m not the biggest David Spade fan either, but when he’s on, he’s on. And in this film, he’s on. Emporer’s plays like a Disney film done by the kids of the filmmakers: sick and tired of the schmaltz and cheese, they’re gonna show us that cartoons can be sarcastic, too. A cartoon that knows it’s a cartoon and says What the heck. Let’s just have fun with this one.
6. The Simpsons Movie
Admit it. You were just as shocked into hysterical laughter as I was to see Bart’s junk.
I can still remember thinking to myself Cartoons aren’t supposed to be this irreverently funny while I was in the theater holding my side trying to stop laughing so I could hear the next joke. Like The Emporer’s New Groove, Shrek takes the world of children’s stories and pokes it in the eye as it dumps ice cubes down its shirt.
4. The Incredibles
Are you kidding me? Superheroes more believable than their Marvel or DC cousins, an amazingly animated landscape, harrowing action (it’s hard to beat that jungle chase scene), all delicately painted around a couple struggling to keep their marriage together…wow. Well done, Pixar.
Just the fact that the animators were able to keep up with Robin Williams’ mile-a-minute freestyle is a feat in itself. Disney loves putting our heroes in a spot where you think There’s no way they can get out of this. But when I watched this, I remember saying OK really, there’s no way he’s getting out of this one. One of these good guys is gonna die.
2. Finding Nemo
Man, when things come together at Pixar, they really come together, don’t they? Everything from the casting down to the most intricate detail in a random air bubble was spot on. This is one of the few films you could pop into your player, press pause at any spot and the image frozen on your screen will be the very essence of art. You’d just look at it and say Wow. That’s beautiful. And hey, any film that is clever enough to incorporate the old Monty Python “Bruce” sketch gets extra credit.
1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Only Steven Spielberg would be able to get Warner Brothers and Disney to shake hands and agree to let their greatest cartoon characters appear side by side in the name of good moviemaking. Considering this was done before the computer animation technology we have today, it’s amazing how they got this film to work.
Yes, those are actual guns and beer bottles floating around in the air, not CG recreations, and the way they orchestrated the chaos in the Ink & Paint Club is beyond me. Roger Rabbit is a movie that loves movies and is a love letter to an era that may be gone but won’t soon be forgotten.
Yay for cartoons.