Animate This! My Favorite 3-D Animated Movies
1118 5.7 6.427. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
Okay, I'll admit, the story was boring, & the people looked stiff despite the motion capture technology.
But still, at the time of it's release, the visuals were really something to behold. For me, this was a major stepping stone that would eventually lead to some of the most high tech images we are seeng on the screen today.
748 7.4 7.526. Waking Life (2001)
Philosophical musings accompanied with expressionistic graphics of computer-generated "paint", overlayed on top of life-action.
And if that description is hard to understand, then let me instead say that Waking Life is definitely not a kid's film.
Or for those who watch films exclusively so that they can turn their brains off.
A unique movie-enjoying experience when approached with the right frame of mind.
2574 6.6 7.325. Cars (2006)
To be honest, for me, the story in Cars really isn't the strongest I've seen in these type of movies, the characters, while a worthy effort, aren't the most memorable, and just the very concept of a universe of cars "running" around by their own "ignition" and with the ability to talk doesn't lend itself very well as a consistent idea in believability, no matter how much suspension I try to apply into my sense of belief.
However, I'm still including this film onto this list of favorites on the basis that the visuals on this thing are pretty damn insane.
The reflecting light off of the hulls of the shiny race-cars is eyecatchingly reflective, the realism in may of the backgrounds shots are incredibly affecting, the just the sheer amount of detail in everything is amazing (consistency in the color-schemes keep it from getting too distracting like in Speed Racer).
After watching Cars, it truly boggles the mind of where computer graphics will be in twenty, or even in just ten years from now.
The Mighty Celestial's rating:
1068 6.8 724. 9 (2009)
9 is a sci-fi movie that takes the high tech of it's visuals & combines them with the kind of original character designs that I always believed could be utilized more often with the whole CGI technology that is currently available at filmmakers' mouse-maneuvering fingertips.
However, the story, while not bad, still is not matching with the level of creativity of the look of this movie.
While I found this a great sci-fi flick to look at, at the same time, with it's lack of character developement & overblandness of it's plot premise, to some viewers, it can also come off as pretty forgettable.
It's place on this list it based soley on it's style over substance.
The Mighty Celestial's rating:
1073 6.2 6.623. Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)
A tribute to all those 50's black & white sci-fi horrors flicks, but now in cool 3-D-like computer graphics. And in full color.
The graphics are absolutely top-notch, but some of the sheen has been lost due to the fact that they're also something that I'm sure viewers are pretty much starting to become accustomed to by now. And teen-agers today, let alone the more targeted little kid audience, will barely, if at all, get any of the references made to the Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman, the Creature Of The Black Lagoon & the like.
Now don't get me wrong. I think that MvA comes off with enough of the high quality that we expect from this type of picture, but to some movie-goers, it may feel like it came out a fews years too late.
939 6.6 6.722. A Christmas Carol (2009)
I've always had a soft spot for any film adaptations of the Charles Dickens classic. It's an affection that began with me as a kid with the old 1938 black & white version, which played every year on our family TV set.
So when Robert Zemeckis' 09 take on the series came along, I had my heart set on not enjoying this flick.
But after I watched it,
I found the energy of the cool angle- shots & sense of frenetic movements really made this quite an enjoyable ride.
One of the things that always frustrated me with animation, 3D or not, was it's limited use of camera angles.
Zemeckis took good advantage of the range of possibilities that come with animation as far as where to put the "camera', & IMO, used it as quite of an effective storytelling tool.
The number of holiday animated movies & special have increased so much lately, it gets real easy to become desensitized during the Holiday Season to Yuletide based entertainment. So, even this probably isn't the last version of Scrooge's tale that we'll see, it was kinda cool for me to be able to watch one that sparked some real movie-watching excitement.
Plus, the fact that this one was more in line with the original book adaptation, made me appreciate this updated effort even more. For my money, it gave the story a more darker edge & a fear factor that may not be suitable for younger audiences, but adds an extra bit of spice for the more mature & educated viewer. Y'know....
1004 7.2 7.221. Brave (2012)
As far as a Pixar picture, this is definitely one of the best looking with the level of detail & realism of the graphics, especially in keeping with being their latest release.
the story, whilst solid-enough to keep the kiddies entertained & maybe even kill a couple of hours for an adult viewer,
overall it doesn't stand up to level of the many of Pixar's previous efforts.
So even though this probably won't go down as a groundbreaking computer-animated history, the Brave's ability to at follow through in it's tradition of eyepopping graphics is what has me including it on this list.
2127 6.3 7.120. Chicken Run (2000)
After watching this stop-motion animated tale about a group of not-so spring chickens who are lookin' to get sprung, it made me realize three things about me & my tastes for animated flix:
1. As far as stop-motion animation is concerned, I'm really digging the style of these Aardman Studios blokes.
2. With some of these films, I don't always have to use obvious puns no matter how much they might be staring me in the face (y'know... puns like "fly the coup").
3. For some reason, the obvious puns that I avoid making on movies like these tend make me incredibly hungry. For example, at the moment of this posting, I'm feeling a strong urge to go out on a chicken run.
6072 7.5 8.319. Toy Story (1995)
The first computer movie that showed how sophisticated graphics can be intergrated into a really top quality & solid story.
One whose visuals matched it's plot in emphasizing the warmth & color that was starting to become more & more "faded" in the tired 2-D animated family films that movie producers had seemed to be tiredly cranking out at the time.
3581 6.7 7.218. A Bug's Life (1998)
1857 7.5 7.717. Coraline (2009)
As a comicbook nerd, I first became aware of Coraline as a graphic novel written by comicbook writer Neil Gaiman (though, it's original format of release is as a novella).
It's horror fantasy for young readers and as a film, it's a fine modern update of the Alice In Wonderland theme, with it's mixed ingredients of creative psychodelica, slightly edged childlike wonder, along with a nice dash of horror, but just enough to gurgitate a lump of fear in the throat of the kiddie audience within its targeted age. But not so much that it would scare any of it's viewers to the point of absolving their parents of any responsibility for any trauma that might lead 'em up to the top of a building with a sniper gun, later on in life.
861 8.2 8.116. Mary and Max (2009)
A story of friendship via the long distance post.
Pen pals Mary and Max share each other interests & severe shortcomings despite being on opposite sides of the world. And learn that the distance between personal warts (along with facial birthmarks) is not as far the distance between two hemispheres.
618 7.2 715. Frankenweenie (2012)
Almost 30 years after making his first film, Tim Burton updateds the 30 minute live action feature into a full length stop-motion animated flick.
Frankenweenie tells the macabre tale of how a pet dog is bought back to life by his child owner. After the bull terrier gets killed by a car (the leading cause of death amongst canines, after old age), the young lad decides to a take a page out of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, & ressurect the Spuds Mckenzie look-alike through the use of electricity. I guess mad scientists have figured out that electricity is spark of all life.
But that's not the point. What matters is a boy and his dog.
A bond that not even the Grim Reaper can hope to sever.
but still, through the use of love & , well...y'know.... more electricity...
and probably some string, I guess...
the boy & his dog will can never be separated. For long.
Though, now that I think about it,
when a kid's dog "bites it",
it seems to me that making a simple trip to the pet shop would really be a heck of alot easier than building a secret lab in the attic.
3977 7.2 7.914. Toy Story 2 (1999)
The first Toy Story not only introduced film goers to the artificially 3D generated world of Pixar, but also set the standard for the merging of quality storyline with sophisticated computer graphics, not to mention with big box office numbers.
The sequel not only managed to continue this tricky balancing trick, but, according to some, maybe even surpassed it.
1519 7.4 7.613. Despicable Me (2010)
So what's the best way to make a world-feared supervillain to realize the error of his dastardly ways?
Add three insanely cute little orphaned girls to his horde-sized family of yellow miniaturized minions in a plot that despite being about as formulaic as it gets, still manages to pull the proper amount of heart-strings.
I usually don't fall for animated flicks that wear their saccharin-saturated cuteness om their sleeves,
but after a few minutes of sitting thru Despicable Me, there was something about the genuineness of it's story's intent that Gru on me.
6873 7.6 8.112. Finding Nemo (2003)
As good as the story was in this Finding Nemo (and a it was a story I did like) the world of the undersea looked just so beautiful in this flick, that it felt like this Nemo's story could've used more of an extra punch, just to meet the same high level of quality in the graphics.
And if it's seems like I'm being picky with this film, it's only because I think that while it's a solid feel-good family-fare that was very good, it's one that had the potential to have been great.
1250 7.6 7.811. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
This entry is based much more on the fact that they were able to create such a good story, one that doesn't talk down to it's audience, young or old. And in this age of high level tech animation (whether it be 2D or 3D), the quality and style of Mr. Fox's storytelling seems to help the "rough" stop-motion technique of this movie to come off more effectively as a distinctive style than it does a hindrance of any kind.
3351 8.1 8.310. Up (2009)
A cranky old man & an annoying little kid team up with a talking dog & a flightless giant mother bird named "Kevin",
to embark on an semi-Indiana Jones type of adventure.
Colorful, but not overwhelming (like Cars or Speed Racer),
touching, but not over-sentimental,
exciting, but not at the cost of the story.
Another score for the people over at Pixar.
2603 8.2 8.59. Toy Story 3 (2010)
2613 7 7.68. Kung Fu Panda (2008)
It seems like these days, every season, an animated movie comes out displaying the next level of computer-generated visuals. At the time of this posting, it's this movie & Wall-E. While on one end, this film comes with all the standard plot devices that usually accompany the story of these animated features, Kung Fu Panda has enough of it's own style to stand away on it's own. I don't think that the story was told as successfully as many of it's predecessors, but the next level of the "anthropormorphic" facial expressions & the characteristics of the movements achieved in this film seem to make up for it.
622 7.6 8.57. The Wrong Trousers (1993)
Stop-motion with a British flavor, that doesn't try to whack you over the head with it's look, humor or more importantly, with any kind of "universal life-lesson".
While it's distinction from other animated films is much more subtle and evenly consistent, the overall result of The Wrong Trousers left me not so much with a roaring laughter that other animated features try to shoot for, but more with a satisfying smile that was firmly set in place from beginning to end.
3357 7.6 86. Ratatouille (2007)
107 7.2 75. Appleseed Ex Machina (2007)
So far, the most updated amazing computer animation in any animated feature.
Simply put, the computer-generated visuals in this film truly have to be seen in order to be believed.
However, even though the story is solid, as the sci-fi epic that Appleseed's visuals aspire to be, it does lack some originality in it's plotline. It is for this reason, combined with the indistinguisnness of the faces (as is usually common for most 3-D anime) that prevented this film from being ranked higher on this list, despite the fact that the graphics are, so far, some of the most favorite that my eyes have ever laid upon.
That said, there wasn't a frame in this movie where I just wasn't completely stunned with awe. The technical details & intricate designs in Ex Machina are some of the most striking ever to be generated on film.
Iron-Man's armor looks like it was created by Fisher-Price compared to the "hardwear" that these guys are sporting.
A true marvel to behold.
1010 6.4 6.74. Monster House (2006)
Even tho the animation in this film doesn't have the chance to get as creative as other comp.-animated movies of this generation & that focus on non-human subjects, this movie does very well with what it has. The facial expressions are choice quality & the movements during the action sequences are both smooth & dynamic. While there have been many animated films that have come along that look "better",for me, Monster House is one of the rare ones that have the whole package. For what it is, the story is well done, the characters are engaging & the action scenes are very high in the area of thrill. And the script does not insult the intelligence of the viewer, despite being based on a child-based fantasy genre.
MH flows with the same roller-coaster ride that was felt with some of those high quality Spielberg-ish action flicks of the 80's.
4049 7.8 83. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Is it a Halloween movie with a Christmas twist, or a Christmas movie with a Halloweenic slant? Or is it both?
For me, I look at it like discovering that your trick-or-treat bag has been filled with presents instead of candy.
And no rocks. Well, maybe one coal.
IMO, the best thing by far to have Tim Burton's name on it. Such a great cast of creative & endearingly maniacal characters. Innocent enough for kids who can still see the world thru bushy-tailed bright-eyed glasses, yet twistedly dark enough to keep the interests of those of us adults who've had that part of our spirits crushed a long time ago.
An inter-holiday movie for all ages on either side of the perspective spectrum.
3954 8.1 8.52. WALL·E (2008)
While not so surprising in that I (we?) expected the details in the graphics of this film to be as detailed & realistic as they were, it's still quite stunning to behold.
WALL-E is a futuristic story that involves themes of loneliness, environmentalism, technological over-dependence & the effects of idleness on the soul of humanity when it is stripped away from the natural strife of life.
And even though these are all themes that are ones we've seen many times before, it's still quite surprising how often & consistantly filmmakers are able to intergrate the amazing graphics into the quality of the storytelling in a manner that seems fresh & keeps the messages from feeling too cliche. At the rate that these types of highly sophisticated computer animated flicks are being released, it's remarkble that the ratio has been so much more good than bad.
5646 7.2 81. The Incredibles (2004)
One of the best voice castings for the lead roles I've seen (or is it heard?) & it has a great story, full of charm, wit & family chemistry. I always thought that Hollywood never seem to be able to put out 100% in any feature dealing with superheroes, but they really did with this one. The effects are incredibly cool, the over-all visuals are stunning & the characters are all drawn with an equally high level of quality & dynamicism (.... is that really a word?). Added with the "Jack Jack Attack" story on the DVD, & I know that it will probably be a long time before the family "I's" get dethroned from #1 on my list.
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