How could a film more complex than Shakespearean poetry, more violent than all the Looney Toons shorts combined, longer than two Disney films put together possibly be for children? That's easy, it isn't, necessarily. Since when were animated films ever for just children? This misconception has turned many adults away from some of the most ingenious, powerful, brilliant films of all time. Princess Mononoke is undoubtedly one of those films, probably as good as any live action film you'll ever see. Everything, from the beautiful music to the storytelling, to the character development, the use of color, cinematography, etc. Everything is in place. This is the height of the animation industry, in terms of storytelling power and construction. Who else but Miyazaki?
What could be more fun than observing as history is being made? Ya, Disney and his legendary staff of animators know this, too. Snow White is more than just a landmark film, it is high entertainment at its very fullest, from beginning to end, a triumph.
Once again, history is being made here, and not just does the staff of Pixar make sure every pixel of animation is intact, they make sure they have made a truly great movie. They succeeded. Woody and Buzz practically jump off the screen; they are almost as if you have always known them, but for some reason are being introduced for the first time. And just like Snow White, this is high entertainment and a triumph from beginning to end.
This is probably the tightest Miyazaki film. Though at 2hr. and 4min. it is not his shortest film, the storytelling is bright and to the point. Dola is among the funniest of all animated characters and Mark Hamill's performance as the evil Muska is a real stand-out. Miyazaki's keen eye for directing is at its most indisputably deft here. Can't help but admire the brilliance at work here.
While much darker than his first movie and not quite as riotously entertaining, Pinocchio still does not fail to genuinely impress. Talking animals enter for the first time in a Disney feature and rough edges are gracefully sanded off (one must wonder as they are watching this, what is left to fix? While only on their second film, the Walt Disney Company is already dealing with perfection). An impressive film.
My Neighbor Totoro is such a beautiful film. It is told with the most tender of hearts and minds, and an unadulterated hope and optimism. Yes, the mom is sick and the kids are making it into more than it is; but that is, in a sense, the power of the film, the unfiltered innocence of the children and how they view the world, and how you wish you were more like them again.
This is not the most fun movie to watch, not the most exciting or exhilerating experience; however, this is probably THE textbook of animation ingenuity (And since when was reading a schoolbook fun, right?). Fantasia is the brainchild of a studio at the height of their ingenuity and creative skills; and in that respect, this is an all-time (yet very wierd) classic.
Now, instead of unadulterated, unfiltered innocence, we are able to see Miyazaki's unfiltered mind and imagination. For a Japanese picture, this is a very American film. It seems almost as though Miyazaki is kissing up to the western audience, surrendering to something happy, slightly less complex than Mononoke, and much more free and unphilosophical. No-Face is probably the most complex character in the film (yes, even more complex than the whiny Chihiro), yet there is still something brimming underneath the surface. Miyazaki has that special power, I can't explain it.
There was something very beautiful happening during the Disney renaissance. The Little Mermaid captures this feeling perfectly. The bright and dark colors, precise and exciting animation, fast-paced, yet carefully managed, storytelling, and strong characters, among other things, permeate the rebirth that happened in this era, and certainly in this landmark film. Something seems very beautifully perverse underneath all the drawings and the music in this movie. Probably cause Mr. Disney was dead.
Watch The Little Mermaid, then watch this (their both underwater adventures). Isn't it amazing what computers can do, AND the entertaining storytelling quality of Pixar! However, I still like hand-drawn animation more - gotta love the blood, sweat and tears that fall on the page as their hand gets tired of gripping a pencil all day!
And now for a film even darker than Pinocchio. For anyone who remembers Bambi as the most innocent of films, look again. Bambi is about the brutality of the human race, in a sense; but also the necessity of death. Love, in the end, however, conquers and undermines all.
Impressively smooth stop-motion animation makes this film a stand-out in the animation genre. Beautifully macabre, funny, and scary all at the same time. Best music of any Disney cartoon - dead serious! (and for those who don't know, Disney owns Touchstone - so THERE)
Sometimes the animation looks as if its not moving at all, like they took a cut-out from a magazine and moved it across the page. But no one can deny the magnetic quality of this film (like the ohms!), and its potential for extreme cult following.
The first 30 minutes (the silent section) is, I believe, the greatest animated work I have ever seen. WALL-e's romance with Eve is beautiful, heart-warming, and hilarious. however, the last hour is thrown in the dumpster and flushed down the toilet. WHY? I must ask you, WHY?!?!?!
The most beautifully animated film I can ever remember watching (except maybe for WALL-e), Howl's Moving Castle impresses and impresses and impresses and then lets you down right at the end. It's kinda like blowing up this homongous baloon, folding it a million different ways, then popping it with a needle. Here kid!
I used to think this film was much better than it really is. The key element missing from this film is... Miyazaki. HELLO, it's Studio Ghibli!! But he was too busy making his masterpiece My Neighbor Totoro. This could have been such a moving film, but I feel that the sad moments come all too quickly and too often to maintain their effect. Still a classic, though.
I must begin by saying, The Lion King might well be the most overrated animated film of all time. It has never deserved comparison with the Disney classics, and therefore shoudln't be compared with them. The animation looks very "fake," and the mood is not as carefully developed as it should be. However, there is still some obvious genius at work here.
I don't like Jane, I didn't care for their villain, Woody lost some of his touch, but Buzz Lightyear got even more totally awesome! Zurg was a wonderful addition to the film - Oh, and the animation looks lightyears ahead of its time.
If you think Eddie Murphy is funny, then you are in for a treat. His characterization of Donkey is a work of art, as well as the many parodies and sarcasms loaded throughout the film. This, however, is definitely not pixar, as it fails to tell a moving story when it eventually attempts to get serious.
I'm not a big fan of Billy Cristal's characterization of Mike Wazowski, but I did rather enjoy John Goodman's voicework as Sulley. Boo is adorable, and this really is a very good, funny, enjoyable movie.
This is where I start digging on holy turf. Beauty and the Beast really isn't that good. The storytelling is intact, but it is sadly, a little too forced. The animation is sketchy at times, but the overall experience is still exhilerating. I totally have mixed feelings about this film.
WOW! The Hunchback of Notre Dame really delivers in many ways. It is very dark, very perverse, very funny, and very entertaining. It is an unsung classic of animated brilliance, yet still somehow seems a little aware of the fact that "kids are watching." Still, "Hellfire" is a brave, impressive song.
This might be Pixar's most artistically conceived film, a very delicate and thoughtful film, brimming with imagination, yet reigned in with a short leash for reality. In some ways, a little over-serious at times, but still great fun.
Kiki's Delivery Service, for some reason, just ranked as the no. 1 Miyazaki film of all time on rottentomatoes.com. While obviously not as ingenius as his more creative works, Kiki's is still passable as a wonderful example of great movie directing.
Very slow and overrated film that's almost as lethargic as its main character. The beauty of Pixar's sensitive storytelling is still present, but I can't help but feel betrayed by the one-dimensional villain.
Every single scene is swamped by a super-charged sentimentalism for the original Toy Story film. It's attempts to admire the original turn into a sappy swamp of pointless screenplay elements, as well as some amateurish story-telling.
The dynamic storytelling, side-splitting comedy, bold social commentary, involving music, would not be complete without Disney's inaccurate historical accounts that play on formulaic cliches and mediocre villain development.
This is a list of what I would consider to be the greatest examples of profound animated cinema of all time. This is a list that considers over-all greatness, not just entertainment value (though I'm tempted to make that list, too). For example, I personally find the movie Fantasia to be extremely dull and yawn-inducing, but must, however, consider its greatness and influence on animation and therefore place it high on this list. Hope you enjoy!