Among the top animated movies are The Bad Guys, Turning Red, Encanto, Coco, Moana, The Boxtrolls, and The Little Prince.
Animated films, a captivating blend of art and technology, have enchanted viewers for over a hundred years. Their acclaim has soared recently, especially when referencing the top animated movies highlighted by Reddit and IMDb. 🎬
These films are no longer just a childhood fascination; they’ve firmly established their place in the broader spectrum of cinema. The realm of animation provides filmmakers with an unparalleled medium, bounded only by the scope of their imagination. 🍿
From meticulously designed characters to expansive, awe-inspiring universes, animation offers some of film history’s most visually impressive masterpieces.
Best Animated Movies
In animation, there are no limits. Filmmakers aren’t constrained by our world’s natural laws, allowing their characters to achieve the extraordinary. In fact, they’re not even confined to our planet, leading audiences on journeys to realms only found in the imagination.
The Sea Beast (2022)
The allure of the best animated movies lies in their ability to transport us into mesmerizing tales and enthralling worlds. This film, set against the vast backdrop of the sea, is a testament to that magic. The first glimpse raises expectations, and I’m pleased to say it doesn’t disappoint.
Everything from the precise physics, stunning art direction, and flawless visual execution, down to its poignant narrative, profound message, and apt symbolism is meticulously crafted.
The characters are vibrant, the dialogue is crisp without being superfluous, and the visual storytelling is commendable. A mere glance or a single scene suffices to make you feel as though you’re walking in the characters’ shoes.
Wendell & Wild (2022)
For those who lean towards the more somber tales, this narrative delves into the lives of two demons attempting to deceive a solitary girl, Kat, into aiding their return to the realm of the living.
The film marries the genius of stop-motion animation maestro Henry Selick, known for “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, with the horror prowess of Jordan Peele, the mastermind behind “Nope”. The infusion of their unique styles shines through in unexpected manners.
Turning Red (2022)
Red Pandas are the center of attention in this animated movie, and I know someone they smite. But the red panda signifies more than a cute creature in this film. It’s a symbolic representation of a girl transitioning into womanhood, that intricate phase in between.
This animated movie might not be everyone’s preference, primarily catering to a female audience. However, it offers universal appeal due to its brilliantly crafted and humorous characters. Over-the-top? Absolutely! After all, our protagonist undergoes vivid transformations with her emotional shifts. It’s a delightful exaggeration requiring viewers to immerse themselves and enjoy the ride.
The Bad Guys (2022)
This one stands out in the domain of good animated movies, even if, as another reviewer mentioned, its originality isn’t its strongest suit. Yes, the characters are splendidly written and executed, and though it might echo hints of “Zootopia,” that didn’t deter my enjoyment.
True, some plot twists are foreseeable, but once you’re invested in these endearing characters, the primary desire is to see their journey to the end. A hiccup, however, is the climax. On close inspection, it doesn’t logically align with the narrative.
Had it been more coherent, I’d give it a full 10 stars. Yet, this inconsistency doesn’t overshadow the movie’s merits in the grand scope of things.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Among the best cartoon movies, Wes Anderson made his animated debut with an adaptation based on Roald Dahl’s 1970 book. This story revolves around a conflict between farmers and a clever family of foxes.
Drawing inspiration from Dahl’s iconic family film, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is distinctively quirky and holds an edge that few in its genre achieve. Anderson’s subsequent 2017 stop-motion piece, “Isle of Dogs,” showcased stunning visuals but was criticized for some racially insensitive content.
Despicable Me (2010)
Minions mania took off with this heartwarming kids animated movie, filled with more irreverence and belly laughs than many others in its genre. Steve Carell lends his voice to Gru, a supervillain who undergoes a transformation after adopting three young daughters. This was the foundation for the now-mega-franchise, leading to multiple sequels and prequels.
A timeless masterpiece. It stands tall among Disney Studio’s finest, making it a commendable follow-up to the 1998’s Mulan, a story similarly masterfully crafted.
Surprisingly, it showcases some of Dwayne Johnson’s best work. While he might not be the first name that comes to mind for “voice acting,” he shines brightly in this role.
If one were to nitpick — and a reviewer must do so — the pace dipped slightly during the third act’s beginning. However, the concluding messages of redemption, forgiveness, and self-discovery are sheer delight. It’s a film, as the saying goes, “for children of all ages.”
Your Name (2016)
‘Your Name’ is not only one of the standout animes of recent times, amidst many notable ones, but from a personal perspective, it’s one of the best animes ever and one of my favorite animated movies.
I’d even venture to say that it ranks among the top animated films of recent years, surpassing many others released during the same period. It’s right up there with the masterpieces of Miyazaki, which is no small praise, considering the high benchmark set by those films.
This isn’t just an offhand remark; it’s a testament to the lasting impression ‘Your Name’ has left on me. It’s the kind of film that, once experienced, lingers in your memory.
The visual splendor of ‘Your Name’ is undeniable. The animation is both intricate and exquisite, with each frame meticulously crafted and bursting with vibrant, atmospheric colors. Complementing this visual treat is the film’s soundtrack, which seamlessly enhances the movie’s ambiance and stands out as a stellar musical collection in its own right.
The Lego Movie (2014)
It’s unexpected, but The Lego Movie has cemented its place among the best animated movies ever. This film is a unique blend: uproariously funny, visually stunning, brimming with imagination, a brilliant satire of overplayed “chosen one” tropes, and unexpectedly heartfelt.
Front and center is the animation. It masterfully mirrors the aesthetic of a DIY stop-motion film but with the polish of a blockbuster budget. The meticulous detail and ingenuity infused into every scene are mind-blowing. Sometimes, there’s so much action on the screen it borders on sensory overload.
Yet, on closer inspection, it’s clear every element is made up of recognizable Lego pieces.
The dynamic world—constantly deconstructing, reforming, and moving—is a visual feast. The ingenious integration of real-world items into this plastic universe is a stroke of comedic genius, with the revelation of the “Kragle” being a highlight. All these elements come together to create a cinematic experience that’s truly unparalleled.
How To Train Your Dragon (2010)
I’ve seen How to Train Your Dragon about 5 times now, and its charm never fades. Each viewing enriches the experience. This film is one of DreamWorks Animation’s crowning achievements and stands tall among the best animated movies ever made. Watching it on the big screen, especially in 3D, is a mesmerizing experience, with some genuinely breathtaking scenes.
I can confidently say that watching How to Train Your Dragon was one of the most enjoyable cinema experiences I’ve ever had.
The script is not only engaging but also boasts significant dramatic depth. This movie transcends age; both adults and kids will find it captivating and leave feeling enchanted. I won’t be surprised if it spawns a series similar to Shrek.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
When I was a kid, I watched Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas and found it more imaginative than scary. In fact, considering the film frightening for younger audiences is somewhat a compliment. ‘Nightmare’ skillfully blends horror, musical, fantasy, suspense, and, true to Burton’s style, it punctuates the narrative with perfectly timed comedic moments.
Under the direction of Henry Selick, and with the screenwriting expertise of Michael McDowell & Caroline Thompson, Burton brings to life the unique worlds of Halloween-town and Christmas-town. They innovatively play on holiday clichés and populate these worlds with a range of both terrific and terrifying characters.
The Incredibles (2004)
Even 17 years after its release, ‘Incredibles‘ remains a shining example of Disney animated movies. It’s compelling, entertaining, witty, ambitious, original, mature, and thoroughly enjoyable. The dialogue is top-notch, and the animation still stands out. The characters are intricately crafted, making the world of this superhero-themed animated film feel incredibly authentic.
It’s my favorite Pixar film, and I believe it always will be. If you haven’t witnessed this cinematic gem yet, pause your reading and dive in. Even if you’ve watched it before, it’s worth revisiting. Its brilliance never fades.
I truly appreciated the background score, particularly during the escape from the Dragon sequence. While I wasn’t a major fan of the pop music included, when compared to classic Disney cartoon movies, this animated film still stands out as original and humorous. Any fan of animation will surely be pleased.
The animation is impeccable, fluid, and boasts beautiful backgrounds. The script delivers genuine laughs, especially with fairytale characters like the Gingerbread Man and Robin Hood.
These characters linger in memory, and the stellar voice cast infuses the film with vitality. Mike Myers gives depth to the ogre, but it’s Eddie Murphy who truly shines and steals the show.
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
The intricate hair detail on Sully the Yeti’s arm is impressive, but what truly stands out in ‘Monsters, Inc.’ is the deep warmth of its characterizations, rivaling even the beloved Disney animated movies and surpassing the notable ‘Shrek’ from earlier that year.
Goodman and Crystal’s comedic chemistry hearkens back to the golden days of Martin and Lewis. Crystal’s classic comedic style brought genuine smiles, even to me, a critic often tough on comedy. While Eddie Murphy’s donkey in ‘Shrek’ was clever and amusing, Crystal’s one-eyed monster takes it a notch higher with his sharp, endearing humor.
Toy Story 3 (2010)
In 1995, Pixar made a significant mark with the release of Toy Story, and they’ve been making history ever since. I’ve consistently enjoyed every one of their films. Not only has Pixar continually improved its graphics and attention to detail, but their creative teams consistently deliver compelling stories. The visuals might be dazzling, but the underlying narratives truly captivate.
I adore this particular installment, not just because it reunites us with beloved characters that feel like old friends, but also because it offers a poignant story. It masterfully blends action-adventure, comedy, and drama elements, making it a holistic cinematic experience.
This film serves as Pixar’s perfect response to Dreamworks‘ recent offering, SHREK III. Interestingly, when Pixar’s MONSTERS INC. was released, it was overshadowed by the success of the first SHREK. Had SHREK not been such a standout film, more people might have recognized the brilliance of MONSTERS INC. Now, with RATATOUILLE, Pixar has a chance to shine.
In fact, RATATOUILLE might just be Pixar’s crowning achievement, even though I also loved TOY STORY II and THE INCREDIBLES. What truly captivated me about RATATOUILLE was its sheer originality and creativity. The storyline is so unique that it stands apart, unlike the familiar arcs seen in films like THE INCREDIBLES and TOY STORY II.
This film stands tall among the best animated films ever, masterfully blending heartfelt emotion with humor. The emotional depth is palpable, and while it didn’t bring me to tears, it’s bound to move many to cry.
Every character, from the minor ones like Ellie to the central ones like Carl, undergoes significant development. Even Charles Muntz, the antagonist, is portrayed with layers – a depth often missing in many contemporary superhero films.
Unlike some recent Pixar movies that lean heavily on sentimentality, this film, reminiscent of Pixar’s style in the 2000s, balances melancholic and comedic moments. This movie exemplifies animated perfection – it’s a roller-coaster of emotions, effortlessly transitioning between humor and poignancy, and showcasing brilliantly developed characters. In my view, it’s Pixar’s finest work.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)
Superhero movies and their comic book counterparts aren’t as aligned as they might appear. Today’s film industry is obsessed with the “extended universe,” where studios merge various titles and characters into a single franchise (think Avengers, X-Men, Justice League).
This strategy is a way to monetize even their lesser-known entities. While comics follow this method, they also offer something not often seen in today’s films: standalone stories.
These tales allow storytellers to explore unique narratives without the baggage of a larger universe’s implications. Spider-Verse embraces this opportunity, cleverly addressing the intricate nature of expansive superhero universes.
And I get it – you’re probably thinking, “Another Spider-Man movie?” But trust me, Spider-Verse acknowledges this and offers a fresh perspective.
Kubo And The Two Strings (2016)
I recently watched Kubo and the Two Strings, and it stands out as one of the finest films I’ve seen this year. In an era dominated by comic book adaptations, sequels, and remakes, that’s a significant distinction. While I approached those movies with an open mind, considering their franchise backgrounds and objectives, I yearned for something fresh and unique.
Kubo delivered precisely that. Created by Laika studios, the masterminds behind Coraline, Paranorman, and the Box Trolls, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Although I admired Coraline, Paranorman and the Box Trolls didn’t quite resonate with me. But Kubo? It was a delightful surprise.
Inside Out (2015)
While watching this exceptional movie, I went through a rollercoaster of emotions, precisely as intended. Once again, Pixar outdid themselves with Inside Out. For years, Toy Story held the title as my top Pixar film, but that shifted immediately after experiencing Inside Out.
Much like Toy Story, Inside Out provides a relatable premise for adults: the journey of understanding and regulating emotions as one grows up. Recognizing that it’s natural to feel anger, sadness, joy, and fear, but the key is knowing how to handle them.
The concept of a control panel governing a person’s emotions isn’t new, with films like Osmosis Jones (2001) touching upon it, but it was less impactful. Inside Out, however, elevates this idea to unparalleled heights of excellence.
The Lion King (1994)
Arguably the pinnacle of Disney animation, this film encapsulates humor, heart, familial complexities, outstanding animation, and unforgettable tunes.
Rafiki, the wise baboon, remains my favorite character, especially for his enlightening words to Simba: “The past can hurt, but the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” Such profound truth! I thoroughly enjoyed Zazu’s quirks, Shenzi’s wit, Pumba’s naivety, and Timon’s shrewdness.
In essence, I regard this film as unparalleled in excellence. The voice casting was impeccable, with Mathew Broderick bringing Simba to life flawlessly. And Mufasa? The quintessential king and father figure!
Princess Mononoke (1997)
Miyazaki’s work here feels deeply personal, reflecting profound themes. Set in a fantastical era, the narrative intertwines the age of ancient Shinto deities, representing places and natural elements, with the emergence of human settlements, metalwork, and ensuing wars.
This world teeters off balance. A remote clash between industrial progress and the natural world injures a forest deity.
When this deity, tainted by this conflict, infringes upon the farmlands, it’s slain by a young sentinel. However, the malevolence that influenced the deity then infects the boy, gradually consuming him. This propels him on a quest not only for his own cure but, as he soon realizes, to restore equilibrium to the world.
The Iron Giant (1999)
For a long time, animated movies were pigeonholed as solely for children. While the foundational Disney classics primarily targeted kids, they remain delightful for audiences of all ages.
However, with the emergence of TOY STORY and its subsequent counterparts, animated films have evolved, demanding more serious regard. THE IRON GIANT stands as a testament to this evolution.
This 87-minute gem is nothing short of spectacular in every respect. It’s also rich with nods to various influences, something rarely seen in animated features.
At its core, this movie pulsates with a heart as vast as its titular character. A massive yet gentle robot crash-lands on Earth and forms a bond with a 10-year-old boy.
My Neighbour Totoro (1988)
This beautifully animated film breaks away from the norm: no obligatory villain, no preachy moral lessons, no formulaic plot, and thankfully, no spontaneous singing from the characters. It’s fresh air and a delight for all age groups.
Even if the soundtrack isn’t available in your native language, the story remains accessible; my children, aged 4 and 6, could follow along with just a little guidance. The Japanese language adds a unique charm. The movie boasts stellar direction, captivating backgrounds, and a consistent magical ambiance. It’s truly one of a kind.
Spirited Away (2001)
“Spirited Away” is a brilliant fusion of imagination and originality. While the characters and concepts largely offer fresh perspectives, the central theme revolves around Chihiro’s coming-of-age journey, which resonates deeply.
The film, though reminiscent of the enchantment found in classic Disney tales, is presented with a distinctive Japanese touch. While it may have a different cultural approach, its core message is universal: inspiring younger viewers to embrace courage and resilience.
“WALL-E” stands out distinctly from Pixar’s earlier offerings. The primary characters, WALL-E and Eve, communicate mostly through non-verbal cues, barely uttering more than each other’s names.
Remarkably, the first half hour is nearly wordless. Yet, their silent romance is utterly captivating. Despite their limited dialogue, each character exudes a deep personality, showcasing remarkable character development.
The visuals are vibrant and striking. The sound effects are impeccable. The robot characters exude charm and endearment. The film’s score is particularly noteworthy, enchanting listeners with its beauty. Kudos to Andrew Stanton for his stellar direction and co-writing.
‘Akira‘ stands as a monumental force in cinema, holding its ground alongside iconic movies like Citizen Kane and Pulp Fiction. Although its significance might be challenging to assess considering its release over sixteen years ago, its initial influence was mainly within Japan.
Paradoxically, its limited early reach amplified its long-term impact, boosted by the power of ‘word of mouth’ and the proliferation of affordable VHS in the late Eighties.
Its lasting appeal has been so significant that it underwent a digital remastering, costing over US$1 million, leading to the ‘Special Edition’ on which these observations are based.
Instead of traditional marketing, Akira subtly seeped into the cultural consciousness, reminiscent of a digital contagion, influencing the emerging Generation X. Its growing allure became undeniable when Hollywood realized that youths were moving away from mainstream films of that era, like Last Action Hero, gravitating towards something more avant-garde and rebellious. Akira had found its niche.
The Best New Animation Movies
Best Animated Films
The best animation movies are memorable and impactful due to a combination of elements. Here are some factors that contribute to making an animation film truly stand out:
- Storytelling: Like all movies, a compelling and original storyline is at the heart of a successful animation. It should engage the audience, evoke emotions, and leave a lasting impression.
- Character Development: Well-developed characters that audiences can relate to, empathize with, or even love to hate play a significant role in the success of an animated film.
- Visual Artistry: Exceptional animation requires a high level of artistry. This includes character design, background environments, and the fluidity of the animation itself.
- Sound Design: This encompasses the film’s score and sound effects. Memorable themes or songs (think of Disney classics) can elevate an animated movie to iconic status.
- Voice Acting: Talented voice actors bring characters to life, infusing them with personality and making them memorable.
- Themes: The best animations touch on universal themes that resonate with children and adults. This broad appeal can make them timeless.
- Innovation: Pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in animation can set a film apart. Innovations in technology or storytelling can make a film stand out.
- Cultural Relevance: Some animated films are poignant because they touch on societal issues or cultural moments that resonate deeply with audiences.
- Humor and Heart: Balancing humor with genuine emotional moments can make an animated film appeal to audiences of all ages.
- Technical Excellence: This pertains to the quality of animation, the attention to detail, and the seamless integration of different animation techniques or special effects.
- Uniqueness: Original concepts or fresh takes on old ideas can set an animation apart in a market saturated with content.
- Consistency: Maintaining a consistent world in terms of its rules, aesthetics, and logic helps fully immerse the audience.