When it comes to movies, animation has to be one of my favourite genres. It’s unsurprising for everyone who knows I’m fond of Japanese anime. However the West has an equal amount of fantastic animated movies, and here I have picked my top 12 western animated movies.
First I want to give out my honourable mentions. These are films within the genre that I think deserve to be on the list, but when I narrowed it down to 12, I picked ones that meant just that slightly bit more to me. I also wanted to give a shoutout to movies that I haven’t watched but I’ve been told are fantastic.
Up! – One of the most popular Pixar films to date, I think the introduction story about the old man’s past, is the best part. Everything after that lost my interest pretty quickly, and it’s not a film I plan on ever watching again.
Wall-E – Another popular film, which although I enjoyed, it wasn’t enough to watch again. Yes the characters are loveable. The scenery is beautiful. Music is also fantastic. But nothing makes me want to go back to it.
Finding Nemo – I remember it was the first film I saw with my dad at the cinema. But honestly I don’t rate it much as a film. I did however adore Finding Dory, and was very tempted to add that to my list.
Toy Story – I know, I know. Everyone loves Toy Story. Well as someone who grew up not playing with that many toys, there was a large part of me that disconnected from the film. The characters are fun and the plot is great, I also applaud their 3D animation work considering how old the film is now. As a child however I didn’t really enjoy the film.
The Lego Movie – A fantastic and fun film, one of the best in recent years undoubtedly. It simply didn’t make it onto the list because my list was already full.
The Iron Giant – I have never watched the film.
I can’t remember the first time I ever saw Madagascar. I do remember laughing a lot. It seems the biggest factor in animated movies for me, and Madagascar does make me laugh. The interaction between the four animal friends, the ridiculous King and everyone’s antics are fantastic. Unlike some films, the plot doesn’t feel forced. I can’t say much for the sequels, which can be considered hit or miss, however the original is solidly in my movies collection under “Family Fun”.
11. Big Hero Six
Big Hero Six is an interesting movie for me. In some ways I find it has a lot of failings. The plot and characters feel a bit cliched in places, there are parts that I physically grimace at, and overall I think it should really only get a 7/10. However it makes it to my list because darn it I just love the little first bump they do. Fa la-la-la!
10. How to Train Your Dragon
An absolutely fantastic movie. I found the plot very solid. The characters aren’t my favourite, but they’re not terrible either. Overall the movie just hits a good cord. It’s a movie that’s gone down well in my family, from the youngens to the oldens.
9. The Yellow Submarine
When I went to my uncle’s house, this was the only film cartoon film he had, and so he played it when we visited. As I grew up, it became a sort of tradition to watch the film when we visited. The plot is silly but fun, and the music is classic.
Shrek absolutely hits everything humour wise that I enjoy. Shrek and Donkey’s banter is fun to watch, and I really love the twist on the fairy tale trop that the original film takes on. The film is as enjoyable now as an adult as it was for me as a kid. The sequels I can’t say much about. However I’m always more than happy to rewatch Shrek.
7. Kung Fu Panda
Normally I would avoid a film starring Jack Black. He’s just not my kind of comedian. However Kung Fu Panda is a fantastic work. I’m most impressed with how well they’ve created their setting, so accurate in showing traditional Chinese culture. In this way, the franchise has garnered a huge international following.
6. Wallace and Gromit A Grand Day Out
If you’re not familiar with Wallace and Gromit then I highly recommend you watch one of their first 3 films. They have one of the best representations of British culture. Wallace is a loveable character who likes Wensleydale Cheese. Gromit is his intelligent and loyal pet dog. Although Gromit doesn’t speak, his facial expression say more than enough. A Grand Day Out is my favourite of the original three films. Firstly because it involves going to the moon to harvest cheese and involves a robot. Secondly because the penguin from the next film terrifies me.
5. Nightmare Before Christmas
A Nightmare Before Christmas has to be one of Tim Burton’s best films. Surely? The story is original, the characters rememberable. As a holiday tale (Halloween or Christmas?) it’s also completely acceptable to watch it every single year. I also love the sound track. a great film and a nice change of pace for Disney who doesn’t have much in the way of goth/emo/alternative characters.
Ratatouille is one of the most beautiful animated films I’ve watched. I’m not saying that just because of how much food is involved. I think the entire ambience of the film is lovely. The story is very original and doesn’t feel forced. The ending is also refreshing in the sense that actions do have consequences, but it’s still a happy ending.
3. Monsters Inc.
Monster’s Inc really captures the spirit of children, and looking after children. There’s a great dynamic between Mike and Sully. The humour is exactly up my street and it’s a truly feel good film. I’m also a fan of films that are able to build up worlds, in this case the Monster World, and fill it out quite well.
2. Lilo & Stitch
Lilo & Stich is my favourite Disney film. There are so many fantastic Disney films that i’m sure deserve to be on “Top” lists. However Lilo & Stitch stands out to me because it’s set in a more realistic world than many of their other movies. Ok, so there’s a whole lot of aliens involved. But the plot line with Lilo and her sister facing child protective services really brings it back home for me. The opening song He Mele No Lilo is also one of my favourite Disney songs ever.
1. The Incredibles
I truly believe that The Incredibles is a perfect film. I can find no faults, at least, no substantial faults with it. The main characters are great at showing relationships in famlies. The humour is great. The plot is interesting. It’s endless quotable, and a film I could watch again and again happily. There may be other films that beat it in one aspect or another, but I think it’s hard to find a film you can say “They nailed every part.”. Not only is it my top Western animated movie, it ranks high in my top movies regardless of genre.