Over the last several months I have been writing a sporadic series titled ‘My Life in…‘ where I highlight the films/books/moments/music that have defined me through each year of my life. As it’s been a while since I wrote a fun post, here is ‘My Life in Animated Movies’.
For each year since I was born, until last year, I have chosen an animated movie that has resonated throughout my life. Not necessarily the best animated movie of the year, but the one that would feature in a DVD collection that speaks of who I am in my soul.
1978 The Lord of the Rings
This was my introduction into the world of Tolkien and, unlike the recent adaptation of ‘The Hobbit’, can be watched without the sudden need to fall asleep.
1979 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
This was my introduction into the world of C.S.Lewis…although it’s not as good as the 2005 movie or the classic BBC serial.
1980 Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!!)
Charles M. Schulz. ‘Nuff said.
1981 The Fox and the Hound
This is the first animated film I can remember seeing at the cinema. My mother took my siblings and I to see this in Richmond (London) at a time when I was completely unaware of who Kurt Russell was.
1982 The Secret of NIMH
Why are rodents so popular when it comes to animation? When the finished product is this good, who really cares?
1983 The Wind in the Willows
This film used to freak me out. Seriously.
1984 Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Hands up who can pronounce Nausicaä correctly? I saw this for the first time during a Studio Ghibli retrospective at the Cinema Nova in 2005, a magnificent feat of animated storytelling.
1985 The Black Cauldron
Do you remember heading down to the newsagent as a child and spending your hard earned pocket money on pointless packets of stickers? Do you remember ripping open the packets hoping this time you’d find the one bloody sticker that was preventing you from completing the album, but you never did?
Disney’s The Black Cauldron was the only (the only) sticker album I ever completed and remains in all it’s disheveled, disintegrating glory in a box in my parent’s house as proof completing a Panini album was indeed possible.
1986 The Great Mouse Detective
If this film hadn’t been made it’s entirely possible my life-long love affair with Sherlock Holmes would never have occurred, for this was my introduction into the world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most beloved creation. (see, animated rodents :p)
1987 Footrot Flats: The Dog’s Tale
John Clarke provides one of the voices; ‘nuff said!
1988 My Neighbour Totoro
Runners up: Grave of the Fireflies, The Land Before Time
Simply the greatest animated movie of all time…ever…period! The only people who could possibly disagree with this accolade are those who have never seen it. Hopefully you’re not one of them.
1989 The Little Mermaid
I used to have a crush on Ariel. Just saying.
1990 Duck Tales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp
This film will forever remind me of my childhood. And dodgy NES games. And rediculously addictive theme songs.
1991 Beauty and the Beast
Until I saw My Neighbour Totoro this was my favourite animated movie of all time. At one point I knew it word for word…not exactly something a childless man should be admitting to, which I guess is why I live a socially isolated life :p
A film I can no longer watch due to it being a trigger to the abusive relationship I was in.
1993 The Wrong Trousers
Wallace and Gromit were never better than they were in this masterpiece!
1994 The Lion King
As those who have read this blog know, I once served Jeremy Irons coffee. Squee!
1995 Toy Story
The second best Toy Story movie, after its first sequel, of course..
1996 James and the Giant Peach
Better than A Nightmare Before Christmas. Oooooo, controversy :p
1997 Princess Mononoke
Often forgotten fact…Neil Gaiman worked on the script for the English language version.
1998 A Bug’s Life
I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again; David Hyde Pierce is a genius.
1999 My Neighbours the Yamadas
Perhaps Studio Ghibli should consider using the word Neighbour in all of their movie titles, for this lesser-known animated masterpiece is superior to some of their better known films.
2000 Titan A.E
I watched this in Halifax with Rachel. She didn’t like it. Although she, like I, did enjoy the very-Whedon ‘Bob’ exchange.
2001 Monsters Inc
Runners up: Waking Life, Shrek, Spirited Away
For years after watching this movie Louise (and anyone who I told/found out) teased me mercilessly over the fact I bawled my eyes out when they say goodbye to Boo; one of my favourite animated characters in the history of animated film!
2002 The Wild Thornberrys Movie
This movie was on the television the day after I was assaulted in 2007. I watched it curled up in a ball and remember thinking ‘why couldn’t you be the Rugrats Movie’? (as I have always loved the Rugrats!)
2003 The Triplets of Belleville
Magnificent. Beautiful. Inspirational.
2004 The Incredibles
One of the all-time great CGI movies and easily one of Pixar’s finest.
2005 Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
I very nearly didn’t get to see this movie as I refused to switch my phone off for the preview screening I was attending. The phone had no camera facility and I needed to have it on for work (as I was on call). Fortunately, they relented as long as they witnessed me putting it on silent (something I always do when going to the cinema anyway!)
2006 Happy Feet
I watched this with my parents on Christmas Day 2006; my last ‘enjoyable’ Christmas. Given I was suffering from Glandular Fever at the time I fell asleep when Mumble arrived at the zoo so, to this day, have no idea how the film ended as I didn’t wake up until the credits had started rolling.
This is a film I watched during an anxiety ridden flight from Melbourne to London in 2008. My least favourite Pixar film, most likely because of the bad memories it brings of this horrible flight! Also, more animated bloody rodents!
Another Studio Ghibli gem.
2009 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
A film that never failed to make me smile…until three days ago, when even this was unable to break the insidious depressive episode I’ve found myself in.
2010 How to Train Your Dragon
Runner up: Tangled
My favourite CGI animated movie of all time. Simply stunning.
2011 Puss in Boots
I’ve never really been a fan of the vastly overrated Shrek movies, but this spin-off was quite marvellous. The short that accompanies it on the DVD is also wonderful :)
Perhaps it’s the red-headed Scottish heroine. Perhaps because it reminds me of Miyazaki. Perhaps because it’s highly under-rated. Perhaps because I watched it on a good mood day. I don’t know. All I do know is that I loved this movie from beginning to end and it should have received far more acclaim than it did.