Saturday, October 8, 2011

The 50 Best Animated Features

I'm not a huge animation fan but, dang it, I know what's good. And I was livid after seeing Richard Corliss's woeful list of the top 25 animated films for the pages of Time Magazine. Happy Feet? Horton Hears A Who? And The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie at #3? That was just a collection of shorts hastily cobbled together! Corliss' sloppy arrangement of the titles, and the list's lack of diversity seem pandering and short-sighted (11 out of the 25 came from the 2000s, and the classic Disney era was given criminal short shrift, with neither Bambi, The Jungle Book, Sleeping Beauty, Fantasia nor 101 Dalmatians making the list; also, animated films from countries OTHER than the USA were virtually ignored). This all made me so mad, I had to put my own list together. A word of warning: you may be similarly made angry by my snubbing of titles like The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and The Little Mermaid, but I'm sorry--I was left cold by them; also WALL-E just misses hitting my list because it falls apart so badly in its second half. I should also note that there's a whole lot of Japanese product I have yet to see (mainly because I have a bias against their preferred low-frame-rate animation; it's an acquired taste). But I hope you'll note some more obscure but well-considered titles here and search them out. Anyway, it's better than Corliss' list, this is for certain. So, in order according to (1) overall quality, (2) animation quality, and (3) influence, here are my favorites:

1) Bambi (David Hand, James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Graham Heid, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Norman Wright, Walt Disney, 42)
2) Toy Story (John Lasseter, 95)
3) Toy Story 2 (John Lasseter, Ash Brannon, Lee Unkrich, 99)
4) Fantasia (James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe, Norm Ferguson, Jim Handley, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen, Walt Disney, 40)
5) The Tale of the Fox (Wladislaw and Irene Starewicz, 30)
6) Lady and the Tramp (Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, W. Disney, 55)
7) The Iron Giant (Brad Bird, 99)
8) Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (David Hand, William Cottrell, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, Ben Sharpsteen, Walt Disney, 37)
9) Yellow Submarine (George Dunning and Al Brodax, 68)
10) The Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson, 2009)
11) Beauty and the Beast (Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, 91)
12) Grave of the Fireflies (Isao Takahata, 88)
13) Sleeping Beauty (Clyde Geronimi, Walt Disney, 59)
14) Dumbo (Ben Sharpsteen, Sam Armstrong, Norm Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Walt Disney, 41)
15) Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
16) Pinocchio (Ben Sharpsteen, Norm Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Walt Disney, 41)
17) The Triplets of Bellville (Sylvain Chomet, 2003)
18) Wallace & Grommit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Nick Park, Steve Box, 2005)
19) 101 Dalmatians (Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wolfgang Reitherman, Disney, 61)
20) The Secret of NIMH (Don Bluth, 82)
21) Monsters Inc. (Pete Docter, David Silverman, Lee Unkrich, 2001)
22) South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (Trey Parker, 99)
23) My Dog Tulip (Paul and Sandra Fierlinger, 2009)
24) The Fabulous World of Jules Verne (Karel Zeman, 58)
25) Gulliver's Travels (Dave Fleischer, 39)
26) The Illusionist (Sylvain Chomet, 2010)
27) The Jungle Book (Wolfgang Reitherman, Walt Disney, 67)
28) Waking Life (Richard Linklater, 2001)
29) Akira (Katsuhiro Ohtomo, 88)
30) American Pop (Ralph Bakshi, 81)
31) Alice in Wonderland (Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, W. Disney, 51)
32) Waltz With Bashir (Ari Folman, 2008)
33) Ratatouille (Brad Bird, 2007)
34) Charlotte's Web (Charles A. Nichols and Iwao Takamoto, 73)
35) Mary and Max (Adam Elliott, 2009)
36) Alice (Jan Svankmajer, 88)
37) A Town Called Panic (Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, 2009)
38) Mad Monster Party? (Jules Bass, 67)
39) Coraline (Henry Selick, 2009)
40) A Boy Named Charlie Brown (Bill Melendez, 69)
41) Allegro Non Troppo (Bruno Bozzetto, 76)
42) Watership Down (Martin Rosen, 78)
43) Chicken Run (Nick Park and Peter Lord, 2000)
44) The Incredibles (Brad Bird, 2004)
45) I Married A Strange Person (Bill Plympton, 97)
46) Teacher's Pet (Timothy Björklund, 2004)
47) Sita Sings the Blues (Nina Paley, 2008)
48) Fantastic Planet (René Laloux, 73)
49) Twice Upon A Time (John Korty and Charles Swenson, 83)
50) The Adventures of Mark Twain (Will Vinton, 86)

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