Once upon a time, Disney completely changed the way movies were made. Starting with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Disney set the standard for animated movies in terms of character, storytelling and creepy fade-outs on the villain’s eyes. Ever since then, the majority of animated movies produced by their competitors were less than spectacular. From the cheap knock-offs (like Anastasia) to the “Who the hell thought this was a good idea?” (A Troll In Central Park? Really?) most of them were shlock. Although just like a broken clock is right twice a day, if the other studios took the shotgun approach and just kept firing, eventually something would stick to the wall. I might be mixing metaphors, but you get the point.
#7 – Shrek
A few too many poo jokes and pop-culture references for me to put it very high on the list, but this really is a fun movie.
#6 – Prince of Egypt
This animated rendition of the story of Moses is really quite epic in its scope. It’s a big story with big emotions, but still retains a lot of humanity in the core emotions of the lead characters. The songs are pretty catchy too, and a lot of the voice work is stellar.
#5 – Land Before Time
This movie made me cry when I was younger. That is all.
#4 – Iron Giant
This is a surprisingly touching movie, but what makes it work is the underplayed, natural way the story and events unfold and the way the relationships feel. The relationships unfold in a very real, natural way, which is often difficult to achieve. Plus, as a young boy, the idea of having a pet 100-foot tall robot is just awesome.
#3 – Secret of Nimh
Probably Don Bluth’s best movie, I didn’t like this one very much when I was younger (I preferred movies with masculine wise-cracking male leads) but I found a new appreciation when I was older. The film has a lot of depth to the characters and what is happening, but it never gets over the top or preachy about it. Many of the issues and morals that are grappled with are underplayed or not discussed, but an insightful viewer can easily understand the greater meaning behind it all. Definitely worth your time.
#2 – How To Train Your Dragon
I didn’t expect much from this movie when I first heard about it. I knew Dreamworks was capable of making solid movies (Shrek and the like) but in the initial trailers, I thought it looked just ok. But then it got great reviews. And more and more people I knew recommended it. I finally decided to check it out. It blew me away. The characters are all very well constructed, the subject matter is compelling, the movie knows the proper way to use 3D, and the music is just amazing. And while I won’t spoil it, I think that the ending to this film was probably one of the best I’ve ever seen in a “kids” movie. Seriously, watch this movie.
#1 – Everything Pixar has ever made
Once and for all, PIXAR IS NOT DISNEY. Pixar was an independent animation studio that had exactly nothing to do with Disney until 2006. Some of their animators got their start at Disney before working for Pixar, but most animators worked for Disney at some point. In 2006 Disney bought Pixar, but the powers and minds that be at Pixar still retain creative control over the movies they make.
For Attebiz Movie Reviews, I’m the J-Man.