This is the first entry in my Top Twenty Thursdays. Every week I (or you, should you wish to offer a suggestion) will nominate a category and present to you my definitive top twenty.
Some of my choices may be arguable, some spot on, others down right laughable, but they’re my choices. What are yours?
Today we have my top twenty animated films of all time; CGI, stop motion, cel…as long as it’s animated and feature-length, it’s allowed to be included.
The Top Twenty…
20. Basil the Great Mouse Detective; a wonderful take on the Sherlock Holmes legend, Disney style.
19. Bolt; a surprisingly brilliant movie, fantastic fun for the whole family.
18. When the Wind Blows; an animated film depicting a nuclear attack, a must see.
17. Monster House; an under-rated, darkly comic masterpiece – complete with an animated Maggie Gyllenhaal. Woo hoo!
16. Toy Story; a modern classic.
15. The Iron Giant; an often forgotten gem, based on the Ted Hughes poem.
14. Up; a beautiful, haunting and intelligent family friendly animation.
13. Paprika; an eye-opening, sophisticated, challenging, disturbing Japanese animation.
12. Pinocchio; a classic Disney film that should need no introduction.
11. Toy Story 2; in my mind, one of the few sequels that betters the original.
The Top Ten…
10. The Land Before Time
It may have spawned dozens of un-necessary sequels but the original The Land Before Time is one of the animated classics of my childhood. Since first watching it in a cinema in Aberdeen I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen it since.
9. Monster’s Inc
I infamously (and somewhat embarrassingly) wept whilst watching this film with Louise. She never let me forget it – and I don’t want to – just thinking about that emotional farewell is setting the tears welling.
8. Sleeping Beauty
Just as I’ll always be a fan of the original fairytale. Just as I’ll always be a fan of Anne Rice’s adult interpretation. I will always be a fan of this stylised, beautiful Disney film.
7. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
A relatively recent film, I’ll grant you, but when a film possesses the originality, verve and energy that this does it’s a worthy addition. Until a few months ago I’d never seen it; I’ve now watched it dozens of times and never grown tired of it.
6. Grave of the Fireflies
If you thought When the Wind Blows was dark, wait until you see this remarkable offering from Studio Ghibli. The less you know before entering into it the better, but it’s based in Japan during WWII – and you’ll need lots of tissues.
Perhaps it’s because the magnificent Zachary Levi provides one of the voices. Perhaps because, in comparison to other Disney Princesses, Rapunzel kicks serious ass! Whatever it is, I adored every second of Disney 50th animated feature. Especially the closing animated titles.
4. Whisper of the Heart
When people think of Studio Ghibli they think of Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and numerous other animated classics from this highly regarded studio. Alas, Whisper of the Heart is not one that comes to the minds of most, but it should be. Simple, engaging, touching and funny. I dare you not to sing along with country classic Country Road.
3. Beauty and the Beast
For over a decade this film rested at the top of my list but over the last several years has been notched down to third place. Regardless, it remains one of the most beautiful animated films of all time, easily deserving its Oscar nod for Best Picture. However, when I watch the film these days, I can’t help but look at it from a more adult perspective. And with Stockholm Syndrome coupled with the abusive behavior of the Beast, I find it unnerves me somewhat. What exactly are we teaching our children?
2. How To Train Your Dragon
The film that drop kicked Beauty and the Beast into second place! I cherished everything about this film; from the wonderful character design, to the inspired realisation of the dragons, to the stirring John Powell score, to the fantastic voice cast, to the ‘Spot David Tennant’ mini-game. If you haven’t seen it, go NOW! If you have seen it, watch it again. And then track down all the spin-off short films and prepare yourself for the Hammerhead Yak!
1. My Neighbour Totoro
Whilst sharing a tub of mint-choc-chip in a hotel room in Glasgow, Sammi and I were nattering away when she nonchalantly stated although she’d heard of it, she’d never seen this movie. On such stunning news, I found myself unable to prevent throwing a spoonful of ice-cream at her! How could anyone not have seen this film? In the few moments of silence that followed I thought I may have pissed her off, until a rather amusing ice-cream fight fed into a viewing of this masterpiece.
To put it bluntly, it is flawless.
To put it not so bluntly, it spanks the ass of all animated films and sends them to bed to think about what they’ve done wrong.