Top Ten Thursdays: Animated Films

Childish, simplistic, and lacking critical value...these are terms often associated with animated films.  Sure, many animated movies are meant for children, often lack legitimate plots and are low on production value.  However, to be dismissive of the genre completely is unfair and arguably ignorant.  I have decided to compose a list of ten animated films that I find to be either visually stunning or thought provoking as an answer to the undeserved criticism attached to the genre holistically.

10. Waltz With Bashir (2008)

This film uses animation to create a level of distance to the nightmare and monstrosity that was the Lebanon War.  However, the films final shots of actual war footage remind viewers of the realities of war.

9. Alice (1988)

 A Czech film that mixes stop-motion with live footage, Alice is a rethinking of the Lewis Carroll classic that is in all likelihood not only one of the most unconventional animated films on this list, but of all time as well.

8. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

 Fantastic Mr. Fox is a stop-motion masterpiece from contemporary auteur Wes Anderson.  With an all-star cast of voice-over work, this film is a study of fading glory and familial growth as originally told by Roald Dahl.

7. Up (2009)

This Pixar film is, like all their works, gorgeous.  The brilliance, however, comes not in its beauty but in its study of aging, grief and the dismantling of the nuclear family in contemporary culture.

6. Shrek 2 (2004) 

A gem from the dark horse animation studio Dreamworks, Shrek 2 is the masterpiece of a continually impressive series of films.

5. Waking Life (2001) 

Waking Life is Richard Linklater's oneiric study of the philosophy and legitimacy of dreams.  It is, like his early work Slackers, a series of seemingly disconnected dialogues between scholars, celebrities and Linklater's friends on what dreams are and can be.

4. Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

  This is Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki's masterwork.  A sentimental and heartbreaking study of growing up, Howl's Moving Castle rivals any of the Disney classics.

3. Beauty and the Beast (1991)

  Two Words: Ballroom Scene.

2. WALL-E (2008)

 Not only is this film a great example of neo-expressionism, but it is also the most scathing critique of mass consumer culture to date.

1. Akira (1988)

A late-eighties commentary of legitimate Cold War fallout fears, Akira is so well made and cinematic that it is easy to forget that you are not watching a live action film.  On a side note, we can only hope that greedy studios stay away from making a live action version of this...god knows it would be terrible.

Honorable Mention

Steamboat Willie (1928)
Fantasia (1940)
Bambi (1942)
Music Video for Aha's Take On Me (1985) 
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Lion King (1994)
Toy Story (1995)
Chicken Run (2000)
How To Train Your Dragon (2010) 

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