Rachel’s Top 50 Animation Countdown (20-11)

Now we are getting down to the cream of the crop. Pretty much all of these movies could be first place on this list because I love them all for different reasons.  So, don’t get too caught up in the rankings from here on out.  They are all most beloved to me. 🙂

20. Finding Nemo– A film that has it all- real heart, humor, gorgeous animation, amazing vocal performances and more.  They manage to keep both storylines of  Nemo’s world in the tank and Marlin hunting for his son with Dory equally engaging and fun.  So many moments surprise me like the AA sharks. It’s probably Pixar’s most rewatchable film and being a lover of the water it is a total delight.

finding nemo519. Tale of Princess Kaguya– A movie that grows on me each time I see it.  I loved it on an initial watch but have seen it several times since and now I LOVE it.  Parts that seemed a little slow now feel like poetry.  It’s one of the most unique and visually stunning animated film I’ve ever seen and I love the way it uses music to tell the story.  It’s a very Japanese story of a woman who chooses to be obedient to her father no matter the personal cost.  At times it is quite tragic and the ending is intriguing.

tale-of-princess-kaguya-118. Wall-e– Another movie that grows on me each time I see it.  I just reviewed it in my Pixar series but I think it is just about perfect.  I love the love story between Wall-e and Eva.  I love the artistry of their space ballet.  I love the message about hope and that anyone can be a hero.

walle and eva17. 101 Dalmatians- My favorite movie from the sketch era with one Disney’s most iconic villains in Cruella Deville.  What makes her so great is she has this insane plan of killing all these puppies.  It’s not a boring motive like Radcliffe or Clayton who just want money.  No she just wants a dalmatian coat.  She is also powerful and nearly wins time and again.  I love little moments of humor thrown in and the real tension that is developed in scenes like when they are loading the van.  Small characters like Sergeant Tibbs are a total delight.

DalmatianPuppies16. Incredibles– a unusual combination of a movie about work and a superhero story.  Bob is not happy in his life because he isn’t doing what he is called to do.  His unhappiness affects his marriage which is portrayed in such a realistic way that I think is great for kids to see.  I love the messaging and the villain is very evil (again almost wins which makes him menacing).  Great voice casting, terrific pacing and story.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

incredibles915. Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh– A criminally underrated film that is viewed by many as a movie only for small children.  Each of the 3 stories is sweet and layered with great voice casting. They say Elmo means love whenever he is on stage and I think Winnie the Pooh means childhood.  He is simple and yet thoughtful with a never ending desire for honey.  We get the dry narration which is so funny and the ending in this film is perfect.  It makes me cry every time I watch it.  ‘Will you ever forget me Pooh Bear”.  Not me!  I won’t forget you on this list! 🙂

winnie the pooh ending14. My Friend Totoro- Perhaps Studio Ghibli’s most iconic film and for good reason.  It is in many ways like Winnie the Pooh, the story of in this case 2 little girls with a sweet lovable friend, the wood spirit Totoro.  Totoro flies the girls around and just wants to protect them from harm or negative influence.  It’s so inventive and good-natured I don’t mind the simpler story.  Like Ponyo it is a Studio Ghibli film you can watch with even your youngest children and they will love it.   It’s an adorable movie.

totoro13. Inside Out– Don’t cry recency bias I loved Inside Out.  I’ve seen it twice and the layers of character development are amazing.  What Joy goes through in her understanding of happiness and Riley in dealing with the emptiness of having neither sadness or joy is so engrossing.  I love how the entire world is 11 with Imaginationland changing and morphing before them.  I love the islands of personality and their connection to memories.  I love the other emotions especially Anger and Fear and how funny they were.  The ending is perfection when Riley’s parents see her as an emotional equal and they bond.  What they were able to do with Bing Bong is remarkable.  And it’s also very funny to boot.

inside out512. Princess Mononoke- One of Miyasaki’s most ambitious works with a battle between the humans and the spirits of the forest.  Princess Mononoke is torn between both sides of the battle and we feel it as viewers.  All the characters are layered and interesting and it looks so beautiful.  It’s brutal at times and even violent but one of the most original fairytales I’ve ever seen.

princess mononoke11. Tangled– Disney’s first romantic comedy is so well done.  I love Flynn and Rapunzel’s relationship.  I love Mother Gothel and I think the songs are great.  It has probably Disney’s biggest plothole but I will forgive it.  I love the lanterns and the artistry throughout.  I saw it in 3D and it blew me away.   Great side characters as well and just a terrific rewatchable movie with real heart and lovely message about finding a new dream.

tangled flynn and rapunzel

Rachel’s Top 50 Animation Countdown (30-21)

30. American Tail- The recent death of James Horner had me revisiting American Tail a few weeks ago, and I really do love it.  Much like the great early Disney movies it has scares, laughter and a lot of tears.  Horner’s music is iconic in my childhood.  I like the voice performances and the ending is so satisfying.  I even like the sequel. It’s really cool to have the first Jewish animated character that I am aware of and a lot of good educational opportunities for parents and kids with the immigrant story.

american tail29. Nightmare Before Christmas- A groundbreaking stop motion movie with amazing Danny Elfman songs.  I love the clever story of the man who swaps out Christmas for Halloween.  Jack is a character we really root for because he has such pure intentions.  I also love the romance with Sally and their bond throughout the film.  It looks seamless and different  and is scary in moments without being over-the-top. Great vocal performances and music.  The rare movie which is great for Halloween and Christmas.

nightmare28. The Wind Rises- the final film from Hayao Miyazaki and perhaps his most grown-up .  The story of Jiro who designs the airplane for the Japanese army in WWII.  It is his dream to help people fly but then it is used for war, which is an interesting dynamic.  He also falls in love with a girl who isn’t well and that is moving.  It is layered, moving film and subtle in how it portrays war, romance, life, and dreams.  It also looks stunning and will make you cry but for all the right reasons.  You almost forget you are watching animation for stretches but then the artistry will take your breath away. It makes me want to seek out  my dreams.

the-wind-rises27. Alice in Wonderland– the movie that embraces nonsense and I love it for it.  It has a non-linear plot with eccentricities that are different and surprising.  Basically its Alice meeting a bunch of colorful characters one after another and I like going on that journey with her.  The music is so much fun with great voice performances throughout.  Only part that doesn’t work for me is when it throws in a narrative with the walrus and oysters which feels completely out of place.

Alice-march-hare-mad-hatter26. Toy Story 3- Takes all the strengths of 1 and 2 and combines them into an extremely satisfying ending to the Andy part of the Toy Story chapter.  Andy has grown up and the toys are given to a daycare which is full of peril, humor and real heart. The incinerator scene is shocking, gut-wrenching and extremely tense.  My nieces hate it for those reasons but I was engrossed.  The ending is perfect reminding us all of when we had to say goodbye to childhood and pass our memories on to others.

25. Lego Movie-  One of the most inventive movies I’ve ever seen.  It is for me what Wreck-it Ralph should have been.  I love all the different worlds and how they capture a child’s randomness in play.  I love the journey Emmit goes on from following all the rules to trusting in his own ingenuity.  I love the visual appeal and how every scene moves and feels like legos coming together. I love the voice performances and all the jokes.  I love the live action scene which makes me tear up every time. It’s a child trying to explain his world to his parents and that is beautiful.   I was so skeptical going in but to me it is about perfect.

the_lego_movie_2014-wide24. Jungle Book– I hate the ending but love the songs and characters.  Baloo is one of my favorites in all of Disney and Shere Khan is a menacing villain.  I also like Kaa with his creepy hypnosis.  It doesn’t leave any space to be bored but goes from one delightful scene to the next.  All the voice performances are top notch and it’s one of my favorites to rewatch and smile. I’m also a sucker for any film about friendship and how yes family is key but friends are pretty darn great too. 🙂

jungle book223. Ratatouille– I just reviewed Ratatouille a few weeks ago and it is such a lovely film.  It looks gorgeous.  I love how it captures Paris as the City of Lights.  It makes me want to go there every time I see it.  I love Remy and how he feels uncomfortable in his skin.  He doesn’t belong in the world he was born into and food is his way of leaving that world. He meets Linguini and finds a purpose.  It is funny and Ego is one of my favorite characters ever in animation.  His speech at the end is perfection.  Ratatouille is also very funny particularly the interactions between Remy and his imaginary mentor Gusteau.

ratatouille522. Sleeping Beauty– The lyrical look to this animated version of the Sleeping Beauty ballet is so unique and special.  I love the faeries and how smart yet funny they are.  I love Maleficent and her seemingly petty spat with Stephan leading to the curse of Aurora.  She’s such a great villain.  Phillip is my favorite Disney prince because he is brave and shows a lot of spunk when dealing with Maleficent. My only flaw of it is Aurora is pretty bland. But look at this image and see how deep the trees are layered on to each other.  It’s amazing. The story is equally special.

sleeping-beauty-woods-221. Frozen– The opposite of Aurora is our two princesses in Frozen and I love both of them.  Much like Ariel Elsa has this thing that makes her different than the world she is born into.  She doesn’t belong and is taught to fear her gifts and hide them.  I was really moved by that.  Meanwhile Anna is left to wonder what happened to her sister.  I related to that as well because I have 3 sisters and sometimes it can feel impossible to get through to them- especially one that is particularly private and introverted.   I love the relationship of the sisters as it grows and I love the ending.  I think Olaf is in it for just enough comic relief (and one sweet moment).  I love the songs and the vocal performances are some of the best ever in Disney.  The way the villain was handled definitely surprised me and I thought the take on the traditional Disney romance was fun.  I know the haters are out there  but make your own list!  This is mine.

anna and elsa

Here is my youtube review

Rachel’s Top 50 Animation Countdown (40-31)

40. Aladdin- I know for some people Aladdin would make their top 10 but I’ve never been as big a fan as most people even though I do like it (hey it made this list!).  It’s a ton of fun with one of the most iconic performances in all of Disney.  The Menken/Ashman/Rice songs are wonderful.aladdin and jasmine39. Batman Mask of the Phantasm- vastly underrated superhero movie with terrific vocal performances.  Actually my favorite batman movie.  I think the animation is also underrated.  Get it on blu-ray studio!

batman mask38. Persepolis- One of most unique animated films I’ve ever seen.  About a girl growing up in the Iranian Revolution.  It looks striking, with an extremely likable lead character and a story with a lot of layers of family, personal and political drama.persepolis237. Big Hero 6- I was really moved by the relationship of Hiro and Tadashi. A lovely film about grief and remembering those who have past on while also being a superhero movie with a diverse, funny group unlike any I’ve seen before.  I love Baymax so much and SanFransokyo was so creative and beautiful.BigHero6Team36. Snow White and 7 Dwarves- I realize this is a little out of sync with my Disney rankings but this where I felt it fit in this list.  Snow White is not just great because it was first but it holds up remarkably well.  It’s funny, sweet, scary and has great songs.  I love how the Queen is the queen but it isn’t enough for her.  She also has to be prettiest in the land.Snow-White-and-Prince35. Iron Giant- A lovely animated story by Brad Bird about a boy in 1950s who finds a giant and has to keep it from the government.  Love the animation, story, everything. iron giant234. Mulan- Underrated Disney movie with a strong female heroine, good laughs, strong ensemble of characters, sweeping battle animation, great score and fun songs.  Only weakness is lame boring villain. mulan and li shang33. Corpse Bride- a beautiful ghost story with haunting music and a visual style that I actually like even better than Nightmare Before Christmas.  The story isn’t quite as layered or interesting and the characters not as good as Nightmare but I still love it.  There is enough story of the unlikely match thrown together for me to love it. corpse bride32. Lion King- Another one I’m sure people will be upset having so low but I love Lion King.  That’s why it beat out 18 other films.  It’s epic, beautiful, heartfelt and has an amazing villain.  Some of the pop elements, juvenile humor and way they handle Can You Feel Love Tonight I could do without.  Still hugely satisfying engaging film about whether we take the easy way out or the tough one that we are destined for. It’s also some of Disney’s most glorious animation they ever did. lion king231. Dumbo- It depresses me that so many outside the animation community see Dumbo as a racist Disney movie.  That or it is ‘too sad’.  It has its perhaps questionable segments but at its core is a message about acceptance of people and their differences.  The relationship between Timothy Q Mouse and Dumbo is sweet.  The watercolor artwork is lovely capturing the bright colors of the circus.  The elephants dream is weird and a delight. I love it! Walt-Disney-Screencaps-Timothy-Q-Mouse-Dumbo-walt-disney-characters-23109179-2560-1536-1024x614Here’s my video on this list: