Animated movies are an incredibly diverse and robust genre. Where a live action movie might fail because of bad CGI or poor practical effects, an animated movie is almost granted a pass because our brains (or at least mine) automatically switch gears and suspends our disbelief. This allows us to enjoy things like fictional creatures or strange new worlds a little easier because we know it isn’t real right away. We don’t have to mess around with the dirty details like “there’s no way that sword should be stuck in that stone” or “there’s no way that mouse can talk”. While most often associated with movies for children, animated movies can contain very adult themes and imagery that make for some of the most compelling stories I’ve ever seen.
#10 – Justice League : The Flash Point Paradox
The Flashpoint Paradox is such a cool movie that makes The Flash one of the most important characters in all of DC. It took the concept of the multiverse, which isn’t new, but made it easily digestible with one big “what if” question. That question being “What if Barry Allen was never The Flash?” and you can see the repercussions that has on the world of DC comics. The changes are drastic and impressive all the way through the universe that we can see. It’s not overly complicated either, which makes the watchability of it increase because you aren’t a huge comic book or DC fan.
#9 – The Sword in The Stone
Very similar to many of the other movies on this list, The Sword in The Stone is a movie I watched at an impressionable age and it has definitely influenced my taste in animation and story. To this day I am a huge fan of the classical Arthurian legends and that is thanks to this movie. It taught me the basics of the story but through the lens of a child version of Arthur. It made it relatable and made me want to learn more. I was a huge reader growing up and wanted to learn more about all the aspects of this world. I remember reading T.A. Barron’s Merlin series as a kid and absolutely loving it. I don’t think I would enjoy it as much as an adult but it made my appreciation towards The Sword in The Stone grow and it remains a favorite of mine. Speaking of Arthurian tales, I cannot wait for A24’s The Green Knight.
#8 – Justice League : DOOM
When you’re talking animated movies, a large portion of them are comic book movies and one of my favorites is Justice League : Doom. It is the pinnacle of the DC Animated Universe. While the live action DC movies of late have been very hit or miss, the DC Animated Universe consistently pumps out fantastic movies with incredibly talented actors and directors. Featuring the classic Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly as Batman and Superman, and Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern plus Michael Rosenbaum as The Flash, Justice League : Doom is a compelling and critical look into Batman’s level of trust for his comrades and how much he trusts himself. For DC fans of any caliber, Justice League : Doom is a must watch and #8 on my all time animated movie list.
#7. The Hobbit (1977)
Very similar to #6, the original animated adaptation of The Hobbit is amazing. It’s definitely more faithful to the original source material than the unfortunate Peter Jackson trilogy. I still have only ever seen those movies once, in theaters. I didn’t even buy them on blu-ray when they released and I don’t think I ever will. While the animation is a little… grimy, let’s say, it’s still leagues ahead in story and score than many other animated movies that I’ve seen. The effort to make a faithful adaptation shines through and the result is this charming and very catchy movie which is why it is #7 on my list.
#6. Robin Hood (1973)
I’ve mentioned bits and pieces of this on other posts, but the movies that I was interested in most as a kid were vastly different from what other kids my age probably watched. My parents had this collection of the old school Disney animated movies and amongst them was Robin Hood, the anthropomorphic version AND the Kevin Costner version. Hearing that rooster sing that awesome opening song with the lovingly crafted hand drawn animation made a huge impact on me as a kid and definitely influenced my taste in movies for many years. The voice talent is spectacular as well, with famous voices like Roger Miller and Brian Bedford. This is my gold standard for any Robin Hood adaptation
#5. The Incredibles
I wasn’t much of a Toy story kid when I was growing up, it just didn’t really vibe with me for whatever reason. I wasn’t much of a Pixar fan in general until the Incredibles came out. It is a very well done movie that treats the audience with respect. It’s not just a dumbed down and oversimplified super hero movie for kids. There are complex relationships and factors at play that influence the whole story and while you may not have understood all of them as a kid, you probably understand them as an adult. The Incredibles remains one of my all-time favorite pixar movies and is #5 on this list.
#4. My Neighbor Totoro
This is my second favorite Studio Ghibli movie. It’s got such a sweet and whimsical way about it that I can’t help but feel like a kid when I watch it. Whenever I have kids or nieces / nephews, I think that this will be one of the movies we watch to get them into animation. Totoro is a simple and wholesome design and the side characters are fun and entertaining. The whole movie feels like you’re wrapped in a blanket on a rainy Saturday with a cup of hot chocolate. I just love everything about My Neighbor Totoro and I’m sure you will too if you haven’t already seen it.
#3. Transformers : The Movie
Besides Star Wars, I think that this is the movie I watched the most growing up as a kid. I even think I still have my original VHS tape of this movie in my parents basement somewhere and I intend to keep it as a relic of the bronze age medium. The rough around the edges animation and edgy soundtrack are so nostalgia ridden that I can’t help but smile whenever I think of the movie. Optimus Prime remains to this day, one of the most intelligent well rounded heroes of modern pop culture and the voice work of the legendary Peter Cullen maintains consistency for the character in a way that few others are able to do. I think that the only person who loves this movie more than I do is Matt Ferguson, an artist I discovered on Instagram a few months ago. I highly recommend checking out his work and following him for some great artwork.
#2. Spider-Man : Into the Spider-Verse
First of all, we respect the hyphen here at moviesnotfilms.com. Second of all, Christopher Miller and Phil Lord are absolute geniuses. They managed to make one of the most amazing Marvel movies of all time without the help of actual Marvel Studios. The concept has proven so successful and well received that, as of the time of this post, people seem to believe that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man : No Way Home will be a live action version of this beloved movie. I saw it when it originally came out in theaters (much to my delight) and people still make r/moviedetails posts about little easter eggs and artifacts in the background of this movie. The “What’s Up Danger” scene where Miles jumps off the side of the building is awe inspiring and remains one of my favorite movie scenes of all time.
#1. Spirited Away
This isn’t exactly a hot take by any means, but Spirited Away is my #1 animated movie of all time. It has the magic and heart of a Studio Ghibli movie paired with the breathtaking art and fluid animation. The detail of the world contained in this movie is astoundingly deep and well developed. It’s got the perfect amount of mystique and intrigue for any age or culture, which is what makes it my number one animated movie of all time (so far)
So, what do you think? Let me know @MoviesNotFilms on twitter, or leave a comment. Honorable mentions included The Grand Search for Christopher Robin, Moana, Ghost in The Shell, Princess Mononoke, and Kubo and the Two Strings.