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Added by Andy Goulding on 28 Dec 2011 07:12
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Non-Disney, Non-Pixar, Non-Ghibli Animated Films

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People who added this item 47 Average listal rating (29 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.1
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People who added this item 103 Average listal rating (56 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 0
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Probably the least-seen of Isao Takahata's films, 'Goshu the Cellist' is part of the director's brilliant mid-period before he co-founded Studio Ghibli and made his most famous masterpieces. Along with 'Chie the Brat', 'Goshu the Cellist' is a mini-masterpiece that demands rediscovery. Unlike the mesmerizingly wayward 'Chie the Brat', that pulled in all sorts of directions, 'Goshu the Cellist' is a deeply focused, scaled-down piece of storytelling adapted from a short story by Japanese author Kenji Miyazawa. It tells the story of a mediocre cellist who takes a step towards greatness with the help of some seemingly troublesome animal spirits. Largely set in Goshu's woodland hut as he practices his cello at night, Takahata uses this limited space to great effect, particularly in an early scene in which Goshu's playing propels a formerly smug cat all over his cabin. The artwork, though more simplistic than Takahata's Ghibli works, is no less appealing or inventive. He throws in moments of anarchic abstraction which contrast breathtakingly with the gorgeous woodland scenery and cute animals. Particularly memorable is a baby raccoon who appears to be a prototype for Takahata's brilliantly bonkers 'Pom Poko' twelve years later.
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People who added this item 165 Average listal rating (79 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7
This French animated film, which found itself a suprise nominee for Best Animated Feature Oscar, is a terrific throwback to the wonderfully quirky animations of the 80s and 90s, the like of which used to be shown regularly on the UK's Channel 4 back when it was still good. Although this story of a heroic jewel thief, a band of dangerous crooks, a little girl and a cat who leads a double life, does have its flaws in some elements of plotting and pacing, it overcomes these little niggles with the sheer force of its immense charm. The angular drawings, the bold animation, the simple but neat animation gimmicks and the classic cliches of the crime genre all serve to make 'A Cat in Paris' an awesomely nostalgic experience for animation fans like myself who grew up intrigued, excited and a little creeped out by these unusual cartoons that differed so much from Disney and Warner Bros.
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Swedish animator Per Ahlin spent seven years developing this curious reimagining of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest', which was at the time the most expensive animated film made in Sweden. 'The Journey to Melonia' has much going for it, but given it's lengthy production process one wonders if they might not have spent a little longer actually making up their minds what to do with the script. Taking the major characters from 'The Tempest', Ahlin begins with what looks like a semi-faithful adaptation, then takes it towards a more conventional action adventure plot with elements of sci-fi before finally veering towards a confusingly self-referential direction when the characters find a copy of 'The Tempest' in an abandoned theatre and begin staging a version of the source text that the film is based on. If it all sounds like a bit of a mess, it is and you can't help wishing Ahlin had opted for a straight adaptation of the play instead.

That said, there's much to recommend 'The Journey to Melonia'. It's big budget is visible on screen but not in an overwhelmingly glossy way. The characters looks like appealing newspaper cartoons come to life and the colourful surrounding and lively animation is great. Also, though I was a little taken aback by them at first, some of the more outlandish character designs are far more imaginative than most animators would have attempted. Aeriel, for instance, is here part albatross, part human, while Caliban (one of Shakespeare's most fascinating villains, although here he is more of a put-upon hero) is a creature made out of fruit and vegetables and eventually ends up lumbering around as a Godzilla sized monstrosity. The wild plot lurches and superfluous supporting characters (Captain Christmas Tree Foot anyone?!) are almost mesmerising and keep you glued to the screen to see where it's going. And where it ends up is a pro-revolutionary ideal in which Prospero is chastised for his enslavement of Ariel and Caliban and everyone celebrates a world without leaders. Now there's a message I can get behind. Viva la Revolution!
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People who added this item 9 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.2
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Based on the critically lauded TV show 'Batman: The Animated Series', 'Mask of the Phantasm' is one of the best Batman films, animated or not. A Batman love story no less, 'Mask of the Phantasm' is filled with the incisive psychological content and strong, uncompromising storytelling that made the series so great. Despite it focusing on Bruce Wayne's inevitably doomed love life, 'Mask of the Phantasm' never once threatens to become sentimental and uses the dark, tainted romance to generate plenty of action and intrigue. I've never been a big fan of superhero films but for some reason Batman has always been an exception to that rule. I love the noirish moral ambiguity and psycholgical edge of the franchise at its best and 'Mask of the Phantasm' represents just that.
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People who added this item 69 Average listal rating (33 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 6.8
This Australian/Israeli stop-motion production is the feature debut of Israeli director Tatia Rosenthal and is based on short stories written by Israeli author Etgar Keret, who also collaborated on the screenplay. Examining the theme of the meaning of life and hope through the bizarre stories of the inhabitants of a Sydney apartment, '$9.99' is wonderfully animated and features a fine voice cast that includes Geoffrey Rush and Anthony Lapaglia. Like an animated version of Robert Altman's 'Short Cuts', the plot weaves together many different stories involving the interlocking lives of the apartment dwellers. Some of the stories retain a realistic quality, while others are surreal, fantastical or just all out strange. The most prominent is the story of a selfish angel with a bad attitude, the result of the suicide of a homeless man early on in the film. But there's also a bone-chillingly odd thread that really got under my skin, which involves the relationship between a man and a girl who doesn't like body hair. The climax of this tale is extremely creepy and feels like just a step too far into the weird. When the stories thematically knit together at the end, the film reveals its shortcomings in not quite being able to marry together the disparate atmospheres of the different tales. But for the most part '$9.99' is a real fascinating curio and well worth seeking out.
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People who added this item 28 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.4
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People who added this item 977 Average listal rating (626 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.3
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People who added this item 51 Average listal rating (26 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.9
Michel Ocelot's films always have a storybook charm to them but are often diverse in approach. 'Tales of the Night', though it shares a storytelling style with its predecessors, is a far cry from the luscious unconventional CG of 'Azur and Asmar' or the charming traditionally-animated simplicity of the Kirikou films. Instead, Ocelot here goes right back to the roots of animated features and pays tribute to the silhouette films of Lotte Reiniger with this spot-on homage. Pieced together from five episodes of Ocelot's TV series 'Dragons and Princesses', the film adds one newly-created story and some connecting material to make a beautiful feature for cinemas. The premise here is the same as Ocelot's earlier 'Princes and Princesses', a young boy and girl meet up each night in a small theatre where, with the help of an old cinema technician, some costumes and a computer, they stage plays of fantastical stories. As with Reiniger, it's easy to forget you're watching silhouettes as the animations are so expressive and the result is as lovely and engaging as any of Ocelot's more eye-catchingly lush creations.
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People who added this item 25 Average listal rating (13 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.2
Based on an extremely popular children's book, 'Leafie, a Hen Into the Wild' (known in English-speaking territories as 'Daisy, a Hen Into the Wild') broke box-office records for South Korean animation. Although its posters make it look like a cutesy fable for the tiniest of tots, 'Leafie, a Hen Into the Wild' is actually a brutally honest, deeply moving and frequently extremely sad tale of a selfless, devoted mother who, having escaped a miserable life in a farmyard, adopts a little duckling whose parents have been killed by a one-eyed weasel. In its unflinching approach to the story, 'Leafie...' combines elements of 'Bambi', 'Animal Farm' and 'Watership Down', although it is quite unlike all those films in visual style. Choosing to adhere to a 2D look, director Oh Sung-yoon combines traditionally cartoony characters (some cute, some grotesque) and painterly backgrounds which make for beautifully evocative settings.

'Leafie, a Hen Into the Wild' was a real surprise, as I sat down to watch it expecting an easy-going piece of Saturday night escapism and instead got an intensely emotional experience that left me feeling oddly sad when it ended. Although there are elements of the uplifting in Leafie's self-sacrificing approach to adoptive-motherhood, the film's overwhelming effect is one of haunting melancholy and the effect stayed with me long afterwards.
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One of a handful of traditionally animated films made by Dreamworks, 'Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron' is a surprisingly good film from a studio whose work (a few exceptions aside, as we shall see) often leaves me cold. A 19th century Western following the fortunes of a stallion who becomes separated from his herd and encounters humans for the first time, 'Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron' is unusual in that its titular hero is not anthropomorphic but instead portrayed with relative realism. Spirit is given a voice by Matt Damon but this is only heard in narration. While it may have been more interesting to portray Spirit's emotions through gestures alone, the narration is not detrimentally distracting from the often exciting action scenes. Far more distracting is Bryan Adams' typically sappy music which appears far too regularly. Most laughable of all is a rocker called 'Get Off My Back', which mars an otherwise amusing scene in which Spirit continually ejects an unwanted rider.
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People who added this item 270 Average listal rating (142 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.7
'Tekkonkinkreet' is a gritty, gripping, beautifully stylised story of two homeless orphans, Kuro and Shiro (Black and White) who help each other survive on the streets of Treasure Town. Despite the magical sound of that plot description, 'Tekkonkinkreet' is actually a violent, sometimes gloomy, fast-paced thriller which makes great use of its distinctive artwork (clearly the work of Studio 4°c, who also made 'Mind Game') to create a world of its own. The heart of the film is the relationship between the two brothers, which spawns many desperate action sequences and scenes of yearning despair.
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People who added this item 1171 Average listal rating (660 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.7
Satoshi Kon's final film before his untimely death is a mixed bag which reportedly inspired Chris Nolan's 'Inception'. The story of a research psychologist who develops a device to enter patients' dreams, 'Paprika' has a confusing plot jammed with ideas. Some would say there is too much going on but through sheer relentlessness 'Paprika' achieves a wonderful sort of dreamlike logic of its own. The colourful, busy images we are presented with are so beautifully rendered that often the viewer doesn't mind if they've lost the plot thread and can just drink in the visuals.

Where 'Paprika' really falls down is in its characterisations. The characters here are flat and unrealistic, mere pawns in Kon's gorgeous game. Particularly jarring is an unlikely eleventh hour romance which should have been hinted at throughout but instead comes out of nowhere and never fails to leave viewers going 'Wait...what?!'.

'Paprika', then, is best enjoyed as an art film but it is also more playful than such a serious tag would suggest. There's also a particularly fine plot thread about movies which makes several references to classic films, particularly pleasing for a film buff like myself. While it doesn't reach the heights of Kon's previous two masterpieces, 'Paprika' is still a sad reminder of what a unique talent we lost when Kon succumbed to pancreatic cancer aged just 46.
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People who added this item 196 Average listal rating (108 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.7
This French CGI animated film, which tells the story of a mutated flea and the Parisian humans who befriend him and must ultimately protect him, has an easy charm and visual attractiveness that compensates for its rather weak story. The characters are all likable and amusing but the greatest pleasure comes from gazing at the beautifully rendered animated version of Paris and its inhabitants. It may be missing something to make it really special but 'A Monster in Paris' is unusual and appealing enough to give it the edge over most of the obnoxious mainstream animations.
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People who added this item 57 Average listal rating (37 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.4
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People who added this item 907 Average listal rating (595 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.8
It was always going to be a challenge to make a feature length movie starring Mike Judge's iconic TV addicted duo Beavis and Butthead, partly because their hysterically funny antics are best suited to the seven minute vignettes Judge created for the wildly popular MTV series, and partly because many people found the giggling pair extraordinarily annyoing even in that short space of time!

I've always been a vocal proponent of Mike Judge as one of the overlooked geniuses of American satire. His work is always dense with painstakingly accurate characters who never stray from their personalities for the sake of a laugh. His other major series 'King of the Hill' is an absolute masterpiece of character comedy which is rarely given its dues while his live-action films have all been equally sharp and underrated. But Judge will likely always be best known as the man who created Beavis and Butt-Head and that is no small feat. The MTV series, which many mistook for dumb, was actually one of the cleverest creations of recent times. Judge was presenting American youths with an exaggerated image of themselves. MTV addicts spent most of their time sat watching music videos going round and discussing/mocking them. But when Beavis and Butt-Head came on, the viewers sat and watched two characters watch music videos and discuss/mock them.

So does Beavis and Butt-Head work if you remove the hilaious music video segments and open out the small town aesthetic to give them a larger playground. The answer is yes, to an extent. 'Beavis and Butt-Head Do America' sets up an amusing if well-worn cross-country road trip plot and then relies on the strength of its two leads to carry the rest. There are some fairly ingenious little musical inserts here and there but the most impressive thing is how Judge sustains the laughter for so long without letting irritation or boredom creep in. That said, there is still a sense that Beavis and Butt-Head are more effective in their shorter adventures on a smaller canvas. Variety's review at the time of the film's release probably summed it up best: 'The good news is 'Beavis and Butt-head Do America' doesn't suck. The bad news is it doesn't rule, either.'
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This little-seen version of Lewis Caroll's 'Alice in Wonderland' was a joint British/French production, directed by Dallas Bower but dominated by the wonderful if slightly creepy (as befits the material) stop-motion puppets of French animation pioneer Lou Bunin. Framed by live action sequences and starring a live action Alice, the film is thoroughly charming if flawed (the songs, for instance, are half-realised at best) and deserves to be more widely recognised.

Unfortunately a bullying Disney also planned to release their own version of 'Alice in Wonderland' (which emerged two years later) and embroiled the makers of this version in an unsuccessful but damaging legal dispute. While neither film proved to be a commercial success, Disney's version found latter day fame through television screenings and rereleases, while Bower and Bunin's film has sunk almost without trace.
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People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.8
Klyuch (1961)
Lev Atamanov is best known for his feature length version of 'The Snow Queen' but the real lost gem in his canon is 'The Key', a didactic story about the importance of giving something back to the world rather than just coasting along and enjoying yourself. There's a real Russian feel to the message here which puts an unusual spin on the story. Disney would never make baddies out of the fairies who come to bless a new child's birth with the gift of eternal happiness but Atamanov gets inside the idea of what this oft-used plot device would actually mean, as well as examining how one person's idea of happiness could be another's idea of hell. Atamanov moves away from the more traditional animation of 'The Snow Queen', embracing the minimalistic UPA style that was in vogue at the time and which suits the satirical material better.
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People who added this item 1928 Average listal rating (1198 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.1
This list will probably annoy a lot of people for its intentional exclusion of so much popular animated sci-fi. It's just down to personal preference but generally I've never been a fan of the sort of dystopian future sci-fi action films that so many people adore. So you won't find any 'Ghost in the Shell' or 'Patlabor' here. But even I can see that 'Akira' is a classic.

The first time I saw this cyberpunk action film I was mesmerised by its beautiful visuals but found the storytelling to be too chaotic and unfocused. But on subsequent viewings I've realised that the enigmatic, event-filled plot is actually one of the film's major assets, especially in terms of rewatchability. But what keeps me coming back to 'Akira' is the startling look of the film. Unlike the stiff, cheap look of much anime, 'Akira' features full, fluid animation and immense detail that draws you into its world. Filled with energy, invention and, crucially, a smattering of humour (how seriously most of these sci-fis take themselves is one of the major turn-offs for me), 'Akira' an unforgettable, if sometimes disorienting, experience.
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People who added this item 64 Average listal rating (29 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.8
Putting a new satirical spin on the Japanese giant robot sci-fi film, 'Roujin Z' sees an electronic hospital bed that cares for it patients needs rampaging through the streets when its unwilling elderly test subject decides he wants to go to the beach! Although the animation is as limited as many other animes (motionless characters with trembling lips), the artwork is reliably interesting and the plot is ambitiously satirical, silly and serious all at once. Written by Katsuhiro Otomo of 'Akira' fame, 'Roujin Z' shows the same expertise in writing as that more famous film did, forsaking the usual ice-cold stony-faced wannabe cool for multi-faceted characters, lively comedy and the defiant appointment of an ailing, elderly man as the film's central hero. Director Hiroyuki Kitakubo, who made such a fine job of the 'Tale of Two Robots' sequence in 'Robot Carnival', brings the same sense of energy to this film, albeit with a slightly less anarchic focus.
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People who added this item 146 Average listal rating (85 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.2
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People who added this item 160 Average listal rating (82 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.2
Felidae (1994)
This highly unusual German animation is a semi-successful attempt to create a sort of sleazy film noir using cats as its main characters. There are moments when the animation style and the murderous and sexual content seem distinctly at odds with the animation style and some of the character designs are less than subtle (neighbourhood bully Kong is one of the most lasciviously overstated brutes in animation history) but 'Felidae' is often gripping and sometimes visually exciting, as in the nightmare sequences that have contributed strongly to the film's cult following. By the end most animation fans should be entertained, even if the story never quite comes together.
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People who added this item 24 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.8
Dominique Monfery's 'Eleanor's Secret' is a charming little film about a family who inherit the home of grandmother Eleanor, where they used to spend their holidays. Grandson Nat, whom Eleanor used to read fairy stories, inherits her library of first edition classics but his inability to read stands between him and the ability to bring the stories to life in the absence of his dead grandmother. With the help of the miniature inhabitants of the books, including Alice, Peter Pan and Pinocchio, Nat must race against the clock to read aloud the secret spell that will ensure the books go on living and are not sold off by a dodgy antiques dealers who has not been honest about their real worth.

Beautifully and appropriately animated in the fashion of a storybook come to life, 'Eleanor's Secret' is consistently wonderful to look at in a humbly simple way. It occasionally seems unsure of its own central metaphors, which occasionally seem like a jumble of half-realised clichés, but its dedication to time-honoured tropes is also in keeping with its central theme of the magic of stories. Corny but heart-warming, the result is like a cross between 'The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr, Morris Lessmore' and 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids'.
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People who added this item 1043 Average listal rating (641 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.5
'Hoodwinked!' was one of the earliest independently produced computer-animated features and, as such, if was made on a comparatively tight budget. As such, the bulk of its reviews focused not on the excellent script, the strong voice-acting or the easy charm but instead spent the majority of their column space complaining about the visuals. Most reviews understandably compared 'Hoodwinked!' to the Shrek franchise but said that it was let down in relation to that by its cheap animation. In fact, the animation makes the best of its financial restrictions by opting for a charming imitation of the stop-motion style, with the cumbersome characters resembling clay models in their design and movements. It adds to the storybook feel, which is so deftly subverted (but, crucially, not cynically undermined) by the 'Rashomon' inspired story, in which the well-known moment when Red Riding Hood goes to visit her Granny becomes a cordoned-off crime scene, in which the Wolf, Red, Granny and the Woodsman are all held in custody and asked to give their side of the story, with every tale introducing new and important details which cast the previous information in a whole new light. It's cleverly constructed and consistently funny, which makes the critical drubbing it received even more frustratingly superficial. As far as I'm concerned, 'Hoodwinked!' could have been advertised with the tagline 'Better than Shreks!'
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People who added this item 156 Average listal rating (88 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8.1
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People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.3
Abra Cadabra (1983)
Graphic designer Alexander Stitt is one of the great hidden treasures of the animated feature. His solitary two films are utterly unique and the sort of unexpected gems that are a joy to unearth. The second and sadly last,'Abra Cadabra', is a witty take on the Pied Piper story only with added space wizards! The visual style is quite unlike any other animated feature I've come across, completely forsaking inking in favour of bold colour splodges of characters. The script is witty with plenty for both children and adults, without resorting to the cheap nudge-wink veiled dirty jokes and adult references that are par for the course in modern, less sure-footed animated films. A series of tongue in cheek reaction-captions punctuate the action, flashing up comments like 'GOODNESS!' in big white letters at key dramatic moments. The humour draws on both pantomime and modern satire and the fleeting musical numbers are all adapted from famous nursery rhymes or other well known traditional songs. These disparate ingredients knit together wonderfully into an utterly charming whole.
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People who added this item 98 Average listal rating (48 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.7
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'The Plague Dogs', from the makers of the darkly brilliant 'Watership Down' and based on another Richard Adams book, is an unbelievably depressing animated film squarely aimed at adults with little concession to children. And it's all the better for it. While it may not be as regularly rewatchable as 'Watership Down', 'The Plague Dogs' has much to say about man's capacity for animal cruelty and it doesn't fudge the message with any cutesy or comic asides.

Following the adventures of a pair of laboratory dogs who escape (although one of them, Snitter, has clearly been operated on already and is somewhat mentally affected) but find surviving in the outside world difficult, especially when they must also evade their former captors who are tracking them across the countryside, 'The Plague Dogs' goes much further than 'Watership Down'. Death hangs even heavier in the air with five prominent deaths throughout the film (including an unforgettably grim moment in which a man is accidentally shot in the face), and the swearing that was restricted to 'Piss off' in 'Watership Down' is stronger here too. There are parrallels. The look of the film is similar to 'Watership Down' and John Hurt returns as the voice of Snitter, but 'The Plague Dogs' is a film to approach with caution. Animation fans should find much to appreciate but animal lovers and the easily upset will have a harrowing time.
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People who added this item 208 Average listal rating (126 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.9
Masaaki Yuasa's bizarre, stylistically diverse 'Mind Game' is indeed an entertaining workout for the brain. The story leaps about all over the place and it is impossible to guess where it will go next. To say too much about the plot would be to ruin the experience of seeing where it goes but it is not too much of a giveaway to say this is a film that deals with multiple potential timelines, shapeshifting supreme beings, awkward long-term loves and dysfunctional families, all while employing constantly changing animation styles, sometimes shifting with mind-boggling abruptness. Praised by no lesser animation greats than Bill Plympton and Satoshi Kon, 'Mind Game' starts out with some rather unpleasant scenes of violence and juvenile humour. But viewers who are not put off by this will find that this quickly wanes in favour of a less in-your-face, sometimes even cerebral tone. Fans of strong narratives may be disappointed but fans of the experimental will find much to enjoy here and what initially seems like an incoherent splurge in places becomes clearer with subsequent viewings. There's much to unlock in the climactic montage, which has a hypnotic beauty that is worth watching 'Mind Game' for alone.
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People who added this item 8 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 9 IMDB Rating 7.4
Foam Bath (1980)
The only feature length film by painter/animator Gyorgy Kovasznai, 'Habfurdo' ('Foam Bath') is one of the most bizarre animated features I've ever seen (although Pannonia Studios already had a track record with the notably barmy 'Hugo the Hippo'). A contemporary adult musical which largely takes place in one small room, 'Foam Bath' tells the story of a nervous wreck of a bridegroom who visits the roommate of his would-be-bride in an attempt to get her to call off his wedding because he can't stand his betrothed's family. Their overwrought dialogue is punctuated by strange, upbeat little songs and all sorts of loopy animation techniques which make for a fascinating and somewhat unsettling experience, even as the film takes a surprisingly sharp turn into farce. Unlike any animated feature you'll have ever seen, 'Foam Bath' is certainly an acquired taste but animation enthusiasts should find much to enjoy in its bold design and absurd combination of slim plot and tongue-in-cheek musical accompaniment.
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People who added this item 15 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 0
Bruno Bozzetto's second full-length animated film was a great improvement on his fine but uneven debut 'West and Soda'. 'VIP: Mr Brother Superman' (aka 'The SuperVips') is a hilarious superhero parody full of great jokes and a satirical bite that was missing from 'West and Soda' but which characterises most of Bozzetto's better shorts. The story follows the adventures of two descendants of superheroes (know as Vips), the powerful hero SuperVip and his beloved but ineffectual little brother MiniVip, as they find themselves having to team up to take on an evil tycoon and her plans to rule the world through an unusually aggressive form of advertising. The visuals have all the usual simple charm and energy of a Bozzetto production and the terrific sequences in which Happy Betty explains her methods for maintaining an efficient, happy workforce are worth the price alone and could easily have been removed from the film and released as separate shorts in themselves.
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People who added this item 60 Average listal rating (30 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.8
Lev Atamanov's lovely animated feature of Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Snow Queen' is one of the most respected and influential Russian animations of its era. It famously influenced Hayao Miyazaki to go into animation, a fact that has seen it preserved and brought to many more audiences than it would otherwise have reached. For all this, 'The Snow Queen' is an attractive but fairly straightforward telling of a fairy tale, much in keeping with the conservatism of Russian work from the era. Like 'The Humpbacked Horse' though, it is bursting with energy and Atamanov has clearly put his own personal stamp on the film, with the Queen herself proving a particular mesmerising figure. As is often the case with foreign animation, 'The Snow Queen' is available in many different versions for English language speakers, including subtitled and dubbed, but also several which cut out portions and one infamous one that adds a corny live action Christmas introduction with Art Linkletter. It's something of a minefield tracking down a decent copy on DVD but animation fans should have little trouble finding versions to watch online.
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People who added this item 37 Average listal rating (19 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.1
The Fleischer's second animated feature was sadly also their last. 'Mr. Bug Goes to Town' (aka 'Hoppity Goes to Town') plays like a forerunner of the popular Pixar and Dreamworks bug-themed animations of the late 90s, only folksier (hence the Frank Capra parodying title). With a better-defined story than their previous film, the Fleischer's delivered a delightful, colourful and pacey film about an insect community under threat from humans. The characters, particularly the villains, are memorable and the set-pieces numerous and enjoyable.

Sadly, personal and professional tensions between the Fleischer brothers caused their studio to be absorbed by Paramount and the commercial failure of the film (significantly affected by the attack on Pearl Harbour two days after its release) was the final nail in the coffin. 'Mr. Bug Goes to Town' was forced into the 'buried treasure' category, kept alive by numerous television airings and a dedicated cult of animation fans.
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People who added this item 96 Average listal rating (41 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.1
Gandahar (1988)
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People who added this item 489 Average listal rating (251 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.8
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People who added this item 62 Average listal rating (26 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5
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Laika
People who added this item 108 Average listal rating (75 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.7
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As an obsessive lover of the medium of animation, I have always loved the masterworks of Disney, the modern classics of Pixar and the breathtaking Japanese animated films of Studio Ghibli. Most people are familiar with the films from these three sources but to stop at that is to miss out on whole other worlds of animated brilliance. This is my attempt to compile as definitive a list of the lesser known animated feature films I love as possible. The only rule is that they cannot be the work of any of the three studios named above and I must deem the films worthy of inclusion (you'll notice many famous absences, including the overrated 'Shrek' series and the horrendous mess that was 'Happy Feet'). I intend to keep adding to this list as I see more of these gems so if you have any suggestions or recommendations please leave a comment and I will endeavour to follow them up.

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