Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Ten Favorite Animated Movies

Been a while since I did one of these, huh?  Today I'm focusing on animated feature-length films.  I think it's a pretty nice mix of classic and modern, Disney and Pixar and some non-Disney too.  I've loved some of these since I was a small child, and others I saw as a teen or adult.  There's even one I just saw this past year and immediately loved so, so much.



1.  Robin Hood (1973)

Ye olde story of Robin Hood robbing the rich to feed the poor and battling Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham... except, they're all animated, talking animals.  Hilarious and heartwarming and swashbuckling and wonderful.  I have loved this movie so long I can't remember the first time I saw it.

2.  101 Dalmatians  (1961)

Two dalmatians and their owners stop the evil Cruella de Ville from turning 101 sweet puppies into a coat.  Much less grisly than it sounds, but at the same time, too dark for me to let my little kids watch it yet.

3.  Toy Story (1995)

The whimsical, witty answer to that question of just what toys talk about when we're not around to hear them.  With a script co-written by Joss Whedon, you can't help but laugh at the characters as you fall in love with them.

4.  Tangled (2010)

Rapunzel paints, sings, wields a mean frying pan, and dances her way into the heart of an errant knave and the audience.  I first saw this last year, and after the first hour or so, I was like, "Well, this is nice."  But after the lantern scene, I was like, "I looooooooooooooooooove this movie!"  Yeah, it shot into the top 5 tier that fast.

5.  Cars (2006)

A smirky race car gets stranded in a ho-dunk town run by an ex racing star who doesn't want the other townsfolk to know he used to be famous.  I first saw this at a drive-in theater, how perfectly fun is that?

6.  Aladdin (1992)

A humble thief finds a genie, gets turned into a prince, and tries to steal a princess's heart.  I was so very nutty about this movie when I was a teen, and I just introduced my kids to it last month (minus a couple of the scarier bits).

7.  Frozen (2013)

Do I even need to tell you what this is about?  Princess Elsa accidentally unleashes an eternal winter and nearly kills her sister, but it turns out all you need is love, just like the Beatles said.  Visually stunning AND heart-warming (pun totally intended).

8.  Anastasia (1997)

Two con men pass off an orphan girl as the missing Princess Anastasia of Russia.  Twist is, the orphan they pick?  Really is Anastasia.  First saw this at a friend's house my freshman year of college, during my first Thanksgiving away from home.  Love it, love the soundtrack, love the sheet music -- just a delightful movie.

9.  Lady and the Tramp (1955)

A prim and proper Cocker Spaniel tames a hound dog with her innocence and loyalty to her humans.  Sweet and sentimental, yes, but sassy and funny too.

10,  The Iron Giant (1999)

A lonely little boy befriends a giant robot, but fearful townsfolk think it's a Communist threat and try to destroy it.  This is a poignant look at growing up, friendship, acceptance, and love, and I wish more people had seen it.

37 comments:

  1. Would you believe there's four of these I've never seen? 101 Dalmatians, Anastasia, Iron Giant, and Aladdin. Crazy, no? This is a fun list to read!

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    1. Considering our vastly different taste in animation, I'm not surprised at all! I do think you'd like Iron Giant a lot. Possibly Anastasia too!

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  2. I LOVE Anastasia! I remember first watching it (I was probably somewhere around ten or eleven) and thinking, this is the best thing ever. I was crazy about it and went around singing the songs for about two years. ;-)

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    1. Isn't it charming? I remember dancing around my dorm room with my roommies singing "At the Beginning" and "Journey to the Past" with the CD at the top of our lungs.

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  3. Fun list! I grew up watching all of the classic Disney movies, but I never really cared for them after I turned 12 (except for Toy Story), so I never feel the same nostalgia that others do for them. It is probably because I also watched Star Wars and Indiana Jones at the same time, and those hold up regardless of age. Anyway, I do remember enjoying Robin Hood as a child though. I had a the VHS, and still remember the theme song; it is a classic.

    Tangled, and maybe Anastasia, are the only ones I have not seen.

    Of the western animated films, my favorites are currently The Lego Movie, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, and Wreck-It Ralph. However, my true favorites are Japanese films like Princess Mononoke, Whisper of the Heart, Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Wolf Children, My Neighbor Totoro, and many others.

    -James

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    1. "The Lego Movie" was much more fun than I was expecting, but I didn't love it. I do like "My Neighbor Totoro" a lot and have seen it 3 or 4 times. I know I saw "Princess Mononoke" once, but I really don't remember much of it.

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  4. I love ALL of these movies, except the last one. I've never seen it.
    You saw Cars at a drive-in?? How fun!

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    1. Oh, Iron Giant is so sweet! I heartily recommend it.

      Cars at a drive-in on our anniversary. So much fun!!!

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  5. I've seen less than half of these (Robin Hood, Tangled, Frozen, and Cars), but Anastasia is on Netflix and I've been thinking lately about watching Aladdin, so hopefully that number will go up soon. :)

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    1. Awesome! Anastasia does have some spooky/scary bits, just fyi (I know you have younger sibs). I showed my kids Aladdin recently and they thought it was great fun, though they didn't love it like I did.

      I should do a list of my kids' favorite movies some time! That would be fun to share. And look back at in a few years.

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  6. At last! Someone who loves 101 Dalmatians just as much as me! I know Cruella is a really popular villain, but I think the movie itself is very under-loved and under-appreciated! It was one of my favorites growing up and I have very strong attachments to the story and animation, too. I'm so glad someone else enjoys it too!

    ~Jamie

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    1. Oh, it's such a wonderful film! I dearly love it. I can't stand Cruella, she's completely horrid -- when I was really little, I had a record with a picture book of the story, and Cruella freaked me out so much I made my parents hide it so I couldn't see it and get scared by it.

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  7. Frozen is absolutely fantastic! I can't believe that they managed to include such an incredibly profound message in a kids' animated movie: "True love is about putting other people's needs before your own." YES.

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    1. I know! And I loved the twist that it wasn't a true love's kiss that would fix everything this time -- nice switch-up that played on our expectations of what a Disney princess movie will be like.

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    2. Exactly! Romantic love is obviously an awesome thing, but our culture sometimes acts like it's the ONLY kind of "real love" in existence, and that's just wrong. Whenever somebody is willing to sacrifice themselves for another person, that's true love. And that's what Christ did for us on the cross. Amazing, when you think about it :)

      Of course I'd already heard this explained many, many times before watching Frozen--I mean, I'm Roman Catholic and it's one of the central themes of Catholic theology--but I NEVER expected to hear it from a goofy snowman who likes warm hugs. Thanks, Olaf!

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    3. Exactly. As a life-long Lutheran, I definitely was impressed by the themes of sacrificial love and laying down your life for a friend, etc. If you haven't read this article on how Frozen is the best theological movie in years, I highly recommend it.

      I also love how they tossed the whole "love at first sight" thing out the window, cuz that's so trite and overused and unrealistic that it tends to annoy me, so I loved that they dispensed with that too.

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    4. I know! I think love at first sight is something that can happen--very rarely--but a lot of books and movies for kids/teenagers present it as "this is the way things always work." Which, as Frozen correctly pointed out, is dangerous, because then the young and naïve (like Anna) will fool themselves into thinking that they've experienced "love at first sight" when, in fact, they haven't experienced anything of the kind!

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    5. Exactly. I believe in attraction at first sight that can blossom into love, but movies too often confuse attraction and love, and make naive people confuse them too.

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  8. In no particular order --

    * 101 Dalmations
    * Monsters Inc.
    * Ratatouille
    * Brave
    * Sleeping Beauty
    * Beauty and the Beast
    * Les Triplets de Belleville (not for kids)
    * The Incredibles
    * Charlotte's Web
    * Watership Down ...

    If i'd had room, I'd have added "The Plague Dogs", which is DEFINITELY not for little kids -- I liked the book better, but they still did a good job with it. Really sad ...

    I love 101 Dalmations in part for the story and in part for the very early-1960s animation. I've seen Aladdin (kudos to the late Robin Williams for his Genie), Tangled (sorry, it really didn't do that much for me) and have no interest in seeing Frozen. I'm not sure why, but it just doesn't appeal to me.

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    1. I haven't seen a few of those -- Ratatouille, Les Triplets, Charlotte's Web (not a fan of the book), or Watership. I really liked Brave, Monsters Inc was nice, I like Beauty & the Beast, and I need to see Sleeping Beauty again.

      The Incredibles would be my runner-up for my list. Love it!!!

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    2. I'm pretty sure that Sleeping Beauty was the first animated movie I ever saw.

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    3. Cool! My first was probably either Robin Hood or The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

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  9. YOU SAW 'CARS' AT A DRIVE-IN THEATER?!?! Aaaaahhh! The perfection! Mater would be so proud;)

    Ok. Moving on.

    Robin Hood is one of the most perfect kids' movies EVER. 'T'is dear to my heart:D

    Tangled is such a fun, sweet story (same goes for Frozen, but in different ways).

    Anastasia is amazing! Only--I first saw it when I was just a wee thing, and...as you can probably imagine, it's not (ahem) the best movie to show a young 'un. However, I watched it again when I was older, and now I love it:D In fact...I believe you've inspired me to look up sheet music and watch it again today:)

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    1. Yeah, it was especially perfect for that part at the very end where they're watching car-versions of other Pixar movies at a drive-in.

      Robin Hood is pretty near perfect. The end.

      I didn't expect to like Tangled as much as I did. Or Frozen.

      Yeah, Anastasia is not a little kids movie. But great for older ones!

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  10. Ooooo, Robin Hood. I love that movie so much, and have for as long as I can remember. I love having movies that I can't remember seeing for the first time but that I've loved forever.

    Oh, and Anastasia too. I saw that one for the first time more recently and watched it over again as soon as I finished it. It was that sort of day. :)

    I really like these 'top ten' posts of yours. :)

    xx

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    1. Glad you like my top ten posts, Sarah! I've got a couple more genres to post about, and then I'll have to get more... esoteric or creative in my subjects for them, or something :-)

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  11. I have to admit that I wasn't that crazy about Anastasia. I think part of the problem was that I found it a bit creepy and weird at times. However, the other movies that you mentioned I really enjoyed too.

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    1. Faith, yes, all the stuff with Rasputin gets pretty creepy, so I understand if that would put you off.

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    2. Have you ever seen the scene from Bedknobs and Broomsticks where a lot of the characters from Robin Hood appear and play a game of slapstick soccer? It's a good time.

      I made a note to watch Anastasia if I get to your house. Or maybe Robin Hood because I'm not sure if I ever saw the whole thing.

      You might like Lilo and Stitch.

      Charlotte's Web is so sad, and full of thoughts about death! I showed it to Jacky and David anyway, love the songs.

      Reddit's favorite is The Emperor's New Clothes.

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    3. Noumenon, yeah, I saw Bedknobs and Broomsticks two or three times as a kid. The underwater part was fun, though my favorite part is the attack of the bewitched suits of armor.

      You could watch both at our house, Robin Hood with the kids and Anastasia after they're in bed.

      I might like Lilo and Stitch. I should really see it some time.

      I am not a Charlotte's Web fan. First, I hate spiders, and second, I don't like sad and melancholy things most of the time.

      The Emperor's New Clothes, not The Emperor's New Groove?

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  12. I love Aladdin and The Lady and the Tramp. Lilo and Stitch is also great but I'd have to go for Monsters Inc and Monsters University as my favourites. I haven't seen any of the others yet. The Fox and The Hound is great but very sad.

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    1. I've seen Monsters Inc twice, but haven't seen Monsters University yet. Or Lilo and Stitch.

      The Fox and the Hound, though... I hate that movie. It is way too sad and horrible, all about evil grownups ruining a beautiful friendship with their establishmentarian rules. Ugh.

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    2. (Uh, by which I mean, yes, The Fox and the Hound is a very powerful movie! And I will never watch it again.)

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  13. I've seen five of these movies and at least liked them all -- Tangled, Cars, Aladdin, Frozen, and Lady and the Tramp. Of these, Tangled is my favorite too; it's definitely my favorite Disney princess movie of all. I love the lantern scene and Flynn's redemption arc and the whole theme of growing to find new dreams. Also, I'm Rapunzel's age, and Flynn has the greatest character depth of any animated Disney prince I've seen. I really WANT him and Rapunzel to get together -- it's not just an inevitable conclusion. (My only minute quibble with this movie is that I just don't like the name Eugene. Fizgerald is great, though.) I'd really love it if you did a review of it!

    And Cars -- Cars rivals Tangled as my favoritest animated movie. McQueen's character arc is just so wonderful. Also, I find the story to be an interesting commentary on the modern American idea of "success." We idolize those who have been "successful" -- movie stars, sports stars -- without really caring whether they are worthy of adulation or not. McQueen starts out a product of this, desperately chasing "success" in winning, only to discover that winning isn't all there is to life, that there is fulfillment in unexpected places. And he winds up giving one of those transcendent moments that make us realize that there is so much more to life than just getting ahead.

    Aladdin is quite fun too; I think it has my favorite ending of the old Disney princess movies. And the Genie is unforgettable. Frozen I find myself weirdly ambivalent about. While I'm watching it, I can really enjoy it, but the story gives me several issues that bother me when I think about it otherwise. And Lady and the Tramp is a very sweet story.

    One animated movie that I quite like that isn't on this list is The Sword in the Stone (1963). It's got a very cute, zany sense of humor that I really liked. Have you ever seen it?
    ~Marcy

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    1. Marcy, hee, a lot of people seem not to like the name Eugene. Maybe it's because I had a great-uncle named that, but it doesn't bug me. Maybe one day I'll review it!

      I'm amused, though, that you consider Aladdin to be an "old Disney princess movie." I was 12 when it came out, and it doesn't feel "old" to me at all.

      I've only seen The Sword and the Stone once, and I liked it okay, but didn't love it. However, I'd like to rewatch it now and see if my kids would like it, so perhaps I'll change my mind upon a second viewing!

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    2. Okay, "old" wasn't the best word to use there. What I was driving at was that when I was young, I always thought there were six Disney princesses -- Aurora, Cinderella, Ariel, Belle, Snow White, and Jasmine. Later on Disney added other princesses, like Rapunzel, Anna and Elsa, etc. So when I said "old," I really meant something like "original" -- I was comparing "Aladdin" to the other five original Disney princess movies, not the newer ones, if that makes any sense.

      I don't hate the name Eugene either; it's just I like Flynn a lot better. :)
      ~Marcy

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    3. Marcy, I do get what you meant. I tend to divide them in my head as Classic Princesses (Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora), Modern Princesses (Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan), and New Princesses (Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, Anna, Elsa).

      I do like the name Flynn too, mostly cuz he's named after Errol Flynn, just like I love that Lightning McQueen is named after Steve McQueen :-)

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Agree or disagree? That is the question...

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