Studio Ghibli is one of the, if not the best animation studios of all time. Chances are when you ask someone their favourite animated film it will be a Ghibli film like Spirited Away (2001), Princess Mononoke (1997) or My Neighbour Totoro (1988). However, they all pale before the magnificence of Porco Rosso (1992). Okay, yes that might be a bit of an overstatement but I really like this film. The film follows ace bounty hunter sea pilot Porco Russo as he fights sea pirates, fascists and Americans with no boundaries, what's not to love? As with any Ghibli film, it looks fantastic from start to finish. It has a beautiful soundtrack which only improves on an already great story. The great thing about Porco Russo I feel is that it’s basically the gateway drug to all the Ghibli films as it’s an easy watch and not too weird, well as not weird as you can get for a pig sea-pilot. Everyone raves about certain Ghibli’s films but I think this underrated gem deserves a lot more recognition.
Animated movies are fantastic, so I literally cannot pick a favourite. However, I need to be on brand and discuss Tangled for the moment. I will never say this is my favourite because there are so many good animated movies (Spiderverse, Isle of Dogs, Ratatouille, Inside Out, Lilo and Stitch, The Lego Movie and the How to Train Your Dragon franchise get a special shoutout) but in terms of which one I've watched the most, it's definitely Tangled.
I've probably seen this film at least 20 times. At LEAST. I know it's a fairly boring choice at this point, but I really love Tangled. I've watched the animated spinoff series, I have literally consumed every Tangled thing I can. As a child, I watched Barbie as Rapunzel and all I wanted was Disney to make an adaptation. Literally 8 years later (9 for the UK) and I got what I wanted, and it was phenomenal. I remember literally watching it in the cinema for the first time, seeing the Disney logo and crying. Yep, I was not prepared for what was to come.
I assume everyone's seen Tangled but if you haven't, you need to. The plot revolves around Rapunzel who was stolen as a baby and locked in a tower by a woman called Gothel, and for her 18th birthday, she wants to see the 'floating lights' that mysteriously appear only on her birthday. When Flynn Ryder tries to hide from royal guards after stealing a crown, their lives are changed forever.
I love the animation so much. Rapunzel was Disney's first CGI Princess, and the film is literally breathtaking. Disney literally had to create a new software so they could animate Rapunzel's hair, it's insane. I love the characters so much- Rapunzel is warm and energetic, and Flynn Ryder's personal growth in this film is unmatched. Mother Gothel is an actually terrifying villain, rather than one of the annoying 'twist villains' Disney loves so much these days. Oh, and the side characters are actually charming, rather than annoying (looking at you, Olaf). Without a doubt, the floating lights scene/'I See the Light' is one of the most beautifully animated scenes of all time and never fails to make me cry. Oh, and the soundtrack slaps in its entirety.
If you couldn't tell, I love Tangled. Just a little bit.
Meet Courgette, he is a plasticine foster child who after the death of his mother has to navigate the prickly world of children’s care homes. With a story will break your heart and piece it back together again and simple yet effective animation. This French piece was the nominee for an Oscar in 2016, and deservedly so, it's masterly crafted and written. I can attest to watching this in the original French with English subtitles as to hear the original voices and intonation of the characters is valuable; however, it’s not essential as it’s animated so there is no clumsy dubbing. This does make for an easier viewing experience especially as this film already is a very accessible story intended to reach many people. I’ve watched this hour-long feature at least 15 times as I never get tired of its honesty, you learn every child has a voice with this film giving them a platform. The animation is what makes the film though as it adds a toy like nature to the characters further driving home their youthful vulnerability. It’s an inspiring tale with stunning design to go along with it.
If you don’t know Emperor’s New Groove, you might at least know the correct response to: PULL THE LEVER, KRONK! It’s become one of the most iconic lines from this utterly bizarre but completely wonderful Disney classic, which sees Emperor Kuzco transformed into a llama in an attempt by his advisor, Yzma (the one with the eyelashes like spider-legs) and Kronk to kill him. Now out of the palace, he must fight for survival and regain his throne with the help of Pacha, a llama farmer.
To me – this is one of the last risky, slightly weird Disney films, and completely underrated. I’ll admit I’ve had days where Emperor’s New Groove has willingly been watched multiple times, and it never fails to cheer me up no end, with its beautiful and colourful animation. And if you haven’t seen it yet, well. Just be careful not to throw the emperor off his groove…
I forced myself not to cheat and just talk about Paddington for this, but this Studio Ghibli film is equally as soothing and lovely! The eponymous Kiki is a thirteen-year-old trainee witch who must leave her hometown to spend a year in the Big City as part of her magical education. It perfectly captures the fear of transition and all the mistakes and bad feelings that come with growing up, losing and re-finding friends, and trying to figure out who you are. These emotions are beautifully exhibited as usual through the Studio’s trademark hand-drawn animation, vivid to the extent that in bakery-set scenes you can almost smell the fresh bread coming off the screen. You’re left with a hazy feeling of: maybe everything is actually going to be ok.
I’m an incredibly indecisive person and can rarely decide on my favourite anything - even a Newfess just now asking for my favourite fruit had me stumped. This animated film, therefore, may not necessarily be my favourite, but is certainly one that everyone should see.
Very few people are aware that The Beatles actually made films. Maybe there is a reason for this - while their music has carved an impressive cultural legacy, the films have had much less of a long-lasting impact, with really only fans being aware of their existence. The Beatles were arguably pioneers of the musicians-making-films genre, which has since led to the likes of Quadraphoenia and A Star is Born. Those who do know these films, however, will know just how bizarre they all are. The films undoubtedly got weirder the deeper into the 60s we got - A Hard Day’s Night is relatively normal compared to the strange dialogue in Help! and the spaghetti scene in Magical Mystery Tour, and then in 1968 we were gifted Yellow Submarine.
Given both the name and the fact it’s an animation, you would be forgiven for thinking it’s a children’s film. Please do not show this to your children. It has every essence of a children’s film - bright colours, talking animals and a magical soundtrack - but with a big dose of LSD chucked in.
Yellow Submarine is a nonsensical delight. I can’t even attempt to describe the plot, but it features the Fab Four during their underwater frolics with imaginary creatures such as the Blue Meanies and, of course, Jeremy Hillary Boob PhD. The soundtrack is from the lesser known, heavily-instrumental album Yellow Submarine which was sandwiched between two of their best works - The Beatles (better known as The White Album) and Abbey Road, but nevertheless features some wonderful music including ‘Altigether Now’, ‘All You Need Is Love’, and - one of my personal favourites - ‘Hey Bulldog’. The overall vibe of the film is more reminiscent of the trippy imagery surrounding the Sgt Pepper album, showing the band to really push the borders of creativity. And this evidently paid off - the psychedelic imagery has led to the film since being considered a landmark of animation.
If you fancy straying from Disney and experiencing The Beatles at their hey day of psychedelia, look no further than Yellow Submarine.
You just cannot blame Flint Lockwood for trying.
With the basis of his society being on the production and sales of sardines, it really is not Flint’s fault when everyone suddenly develops a distaste for them. What was he meant to do? Watch his world fall apart? Or create the “Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator”? I know which one sounds better in my eyes.
All Flint wanted to do was to feed the people of his town. And yet, when gigantic steaks start falling onto the residents’ plates, we know that disaster has struck!! The giant tornado of spaghetti and meatballs is the real enemy in this film, threatening to destroy the whole town and then the whole world. But Flint will not let this happen!
I think that there really are some moral meanings to be taken from this film. Firstly, greed leads to destruction. There really is too much of a good thing, and if you make bigger and bigger requests on a society that cannot handle them, then you are going to cause chaos. And secondly, it really should not take a near death experience to realise that you need to tell your child you are proud of them. When Flint’s dad finally tells him that he appreciates his work, the world is restored back to stability, but this time with some love in Flint’s life.
Anyone who knows me knows I am not the biggest fan of animated films. Yet, when the universe called out to me and said hey! Look! They've combined one of your favourite superheroes with animation, I had to watch it. Since that day, there has been zero regrets and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has become one of my favourite films ever.
Beyond being funny, creative and wonderfully animated much to my embarrassment, this film truly has an understanding of the character of Spider-Man. This film has some of the most inventive visuals I've ever seen in an animation movie and the incorporation of the comic book style had me literally drooling. This movie has so much heart, it is breathtaking - the colours - oh hot damn.
The opening and closing credits alone are genuinely greater than the majority of cinema to come out in 2018. This is a film that was produced with pure heart. Also the casting choice...John Mulaney playing a cartoon pig who carried a hammer everywhere he goes had me in stitches.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse is what happens when you let talented people do their thing and we need more films like this. Bring on Spider-verse 2!
When it comes to choosing your favourite animated film a lot comes to mind, especially from the Disney and DreamWorks collection. For instance, the greatest piece of art that came from DreamWorks' animation studio, Shrek (my favourite film to recite and make references to when drunk!).
However, there is one film that immediately stands out. And when I say this is my favourite animated movie, it's my absolute favourite. If someone was to ask me how many times I've watched this film I wouldn't know what to tell them, it's to the point where I could recite every line, act out most scenes and join in on the hula dance to "He Mele No Lilo".
The film I'm talking about it the Disney animated adventure Lilo & Stitch. Made in 2002, the film follows an extra-terrestrial entity, named 626, who escapes a galactic prison and crash lands on Earth. Where he then gets adopted from an animal shelter, by a little girl called Lilo, after impersonating a dog. And Lilo decides to call him Stitch. The film is endearing, with a cute story, loveable characters and the excellent use of classic Elvis on the soundtrack.
Now we have Disney+ here in the UK, I'm able to watch and obsess over all the Lilo & Stitch movies, as well as the animated series they ran between 2003-2006.