Here at The Plot Bunnies, we definitely feel like -accidentally- punching people in the face, sometimes. We love all things that make entertainment more awesome, including awesome female characters, songs, robots, and animation. So, to follow up on Anais L’s rant, we decided to give you, lucky readers, a list of our favourite animated movies. Because we can. Not because Anais L talks about animation so much that we’re starting to see the world in stop motion.
Here it goes!
The Tigger Movie (2000)
Winnie the Pooh is a part of almost every human being I know. We watched him as kids and collected the books and toys. Everyone grew up with the character they identified with the most. Did you love Eeyore? Or Piglet? Or Owl? My dad used to call me Roo. Seriously, I’m about to break out into sloppy tears. But! Imagine all of your favourite Winnie the Pooh characters dressed up like Tigger and embrace the brain cuddles. It can has all the cute. If you need to sit down with a small child and entertain them for 90 minutes, try The Tigger Movie. You’ll get nostalgic warm ‘n fuzzies and they’ll probably be bored but at least the magic screen is still firing photons into their retinas.
Tigger is sulking because he doesn’t have a family of other Tiggers, so the Hundred Acre Wood crew write him a letter and try to impersonate Tiggers at a party. Of course, the whole debacle implodes when the costumes fall apart and Tigger runs away. Rabbit, the original party pooper, has been trying to convince everyone to get ready for the big winter storm, but no one listens to him. Because Rabbit. You know what happens next. Tigger realizes his friends are his true family, we all have a good cry, and Pooh eats some honey. Oh, Pooh! It’s the stuff good things are made of.
Serious family movie recommendation, this film is the biz. Hold on to your seats parents, because the beginning is going to straight to your feels center. I know grown men who have wept in the first five minutes of Up. I think if you don’t have an emotional reaction to the start of this movie, you’re a robot. That’s how we test for cylons now. So, not only does Up open with a sucker punch to your humanity organ, it then gets hilarious and wonderful and I know you’ve seen it so why am I still talking?
(Option 1: You haven’t seen it? SHUT UP AND I HATE YOU.)
(Option 2: Right? It’s the best. Let’s get together with a box of tissues and a tub of ice cream and watch it again. Squirrel!)
Curmudgeonly Carl tries to escape in his house of balloons to South America, but ends up trapped on an adventure with Russell, the world’s sweetest wilderness explorer. Adults and children, and adults who are still children, can enjoy Up. It’s for everyone. Similarly, I recommended The Incredibles, Monsters vs. Aliens, and Rango. Full of great stuff for the whole fam dam.
The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
I love Wes Anderson films, so no big surprise that I want people to check out this stop-motion animated comedy. I think kids could watch this movie and enjoy it, because it looks amazing, but it’s the strange, Wes Anderson charm they might not understand yet. Some negative reviews felt like the film was just an Americanized version of Roald Dahl’s original story and lacked the darkness and danger of the novel. I agree that children can handle more than we give them credit for, but that’s not what Anderson movies are about. His stakes are often emotional, internal. And anyways, I think farmers are scary enough. With all the bang and flash of digital animation and 3-D, it’s nice to see filmmakers use stop-motion again. It totally fits with the Wes Anderson vibe and makes me happy. The Fantastic Mr. Fox lost to Up at the Oscars but I can’t say which one I prefer. They are different and wonderful in their own ways. You should also check out A Town Called Panic (or because it’s French: Panique au village), another movie from 2009 and the first stop-motion film to be screened at Cannes. Animation can be classy too, bitches!
It’s safe to say there isn’t anything about Tangled I don’t like. It was the sweetest coming of age story in the recent years, the one that I got shamelessly and irrevocably addicted to. We meet Rapunzel, a stolen princess with the magical hair, who is basically made of sunshine and rainbows. Her personality is sparkling and her optimism is contagious. Imagine being stuck in the tower with a chameleon for a company – 10 out of 10 people would go crazy in under a week. Not Rapunzel! It’s impossible not to love her! And then the reluctant and unwilling ‘Prince Charming’, aka Flynn, aka Eugene, shows up, and what does she do? She knocks him out with a frying pan! If she isn’t your hero by the point of the story – who are you? Get out!
The interesting thing about Tangled – the part that may be often overlooked if you don’t pay close attention – is that the relationship between Mother Gothel and Rapunzel represents the social issues the young people often have with the older generation that often makes them feel too naïve, not good enough, ridiculous. Now, you can crumble under the pressure, or you can take Rapunzel’s example and ‘follow your dream’! This movie is made of win all over.
Not sure which of my obsessions came first – Haven or Tangled – but this picture explains everything.
If we forget for just a moment about the absolute cuteness of the story – and don’t laugh, I do find everything fuzzy cute, even rats – the best thing about Ratatouille is the message that it carries. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, and what other people think about you – it’s always in your power to be anything you want to be.
We follow two storylines – the one of the rat named Remy whose biggest dream is to become the chef, and a young man named Alfredo Linguini, who by some twist of fate ended up being the illegitimate son of the best Parisian chef with little talent for the art of cooking. An unlikely alliance, one might think, but the one that allowed both of them to find their place in life.
The other thing that I find particularly fascinating about Ratatouille is, perhaps, the way it combined the incompatible things – rats and food – and, surprisingly enough, made them work. The cinematography of this film is stunning. And admit it, you could feel the smell and the taste of the exquisite food cooked by the ‘little friend’ Remy.
How To Train Your Dragon (2010)
Excuse me, did you say ‘dragon’? I was sold to the idea of watching this film loosely based on the British book series by Cressida Cowell the moment the world ‘dragon’ came up.
How To Train Your Dragon is the story of friendship between two outcasts – Hiccup the Viking, sort of, and Toothless the Dragon, the story that is bittersweet and touching and every kind of adorable. Once again, DreamWorks managed to successfully bring up the issue of social acceptance, or lack of thereof, and the fact that you don’t need to be like everyone else to be happy. Not only is it your right to fight for your personality, but is it pretty much your duty as well.
The film was directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois who also directed Disney’s Lilo & Stitch, and you can catch the similar feel and vibe when you watch How To Train Your Dragon, which also focuses primarily on the importance of friendship and understanding between two lonely hearts that don’t even have to be of the same species to form the bond with each other.
I will probably never be okay with the very idea of 3-D and its imminent presence in the industry, but I have to admit that How To Train Your Dragon with its fantastic visual effects and flying/fighting sequences is a rare example of a justified use of 3-D.
Are you excited about How To Train Your Dragon 2? I know I am!
Princess Mononoke (1997)
To say that I have a history with this flick is an understatement. I first saw the posters when I was 10 (the movie was released in France in 2000). I was fascinated by San from the first second I saw her. The fierce look in her eyes, the dagger in her hand, the blood on her face… everything about her captivated me. I wasn’t allowed to watch it at the time, for… obvious reasons, now that I think about it, and I didn’t hear about this movie again until nine years later, when I finally bought it on DVD. I watched Prince Ashitaka try to prevent the war between humans and gods three times in a row, that same night.
What do I like about this movie? Everything. The story, the world, the wonderful characters, the sheer beauty of the cinematography and the music, and beyond that, this movie is just so damn smart and nuanced that it will blow your mind. There is not one line of dialogue I don’t adore, not one shot that I don’t like. I’ve watched Princess Mononoke nearly 20 times, and every time I watch it, I find a new reason to love it. It is, for me, the best movie ever made. I would fight anybody to the death over it.
Les Douze Travaux d’Astérix (The Twelve Tasks of Asterix, 1976)
I have never seen that movie in English, so I have no idea if it is as good as the original version. I hope it is, though, because otherwise, non-francophones would miss out on a great movie. This one is based on Asterix, a French comic series, but this one was the only Asterix movie that wasn’t based on a previously published comic book. The screenplay is original, and it may be why it stays one of the best Asterix movies ever (yes, those are a thing).
The premise? Simple. Ceasar’s counselors freak out because they believe Asterix, Obelix and the other Gauls are Gods, because if they are, that means Rome can never defeat them. To try to prove them wrong, Ceasar challenges our heroes to accomplish 12 tasks.
The story in itself is fairly simple and there is not much to say about the characters: if you know them, well, you know them, obviously. If you don’t, don’t worry, you’ll get who’s who pretty fast. That’s not the point of this movie though. Each and every one of the tasks is an excuse to find new ways to make you laugh. It has aged, but there is still some pure comedy gold in this movie, and it is famous for one particular moment that will talk to every single person that has ever had to deal with administrations. I can only say one thing. Watch. It.
Ah, Persépolis. I resisted this movie for 3 years before finally giving in (I tend to do that when people harass me about a movie). It is not for children. I mean, you can try to make them watch some of it, but ultimately, it doesn’t really have anything for them, and, although it is quite subtle about it, it gets pretty damn dark. I wouldn’t put anybody under 13 in front of this film.
It is the story of Marjane Satrapi, who is both co-director and co-writer of the film. She narrates her life as an Iranian child, teenager, then woman, as her country undergoes a revolution that will make it become an islamic republic. For me, Persépolis is the Iranian revolution equivalent of Maus. It is about war, freedom, racism, feminism, and most of all, about how we, as humans, deal with the horror and injustice in our lives. It’s one of those movies capable of making you laugh, then cry like a baby in a few minutes. It’s beautiful, it’s intense, it’s deep, it’s a must-see.
I believe this wonderful film is one of the best love stories ever told on the big silver screen. The masterminds at Pixar managed to create a deeply emotional story that feels beautifully close to the heart in a universe as vast as outer space. From Louis Armstrong crooning ‘La Vie En Rose’ to Wall-E’s adorable obsession with collecting interesting garbage, Walle-E is honestly one of the most masterfully crafted animated movies ever made – and dare I say, one of the best movies ever made. Period.
The sweet little thing traversed the universe… just to hold her hand.
Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937)
!I love this movie for reasons you can’t even imagine. I watched this movie for hours on end when I was a kid, and I mean hours. The moment the credits started rolling, I’d scream until my mom rewinded the VCR and played it from the beginning. Again.
So why I chose this movie is half nostalgia, and half admiration for such an astounding production for something that came out 80 years ago. It’s a beautifully animated film, something that’s held up quite well in modern times despite its age. The incredible balance between light and dark moments, and the grandiose, sweeping songs will remain in my heart until I die.
This, and Cinderella.
!This is one of those films that I had to watch a second time to really appreciate. The first time I watched it, I was only armed with the superficial knowledge that it might be similar to its lighthearted stop-motion predecessors (Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride etc.). However, the first viewing disappointed me, and made me uncomfortable for some strange reason. After being forced to view it a second time for a school project, I did some research.
!While on the surface it may seem like a half-decent stop-motion animated family movie, the themes it explores will blow your mind out of the water. Death, isolation, and growing up. Realizing the depth to this movie really made me appreciate it for what it was really for.
Alright, that’s our mini-list of animated movies, people! But since we kept throwing titles at each other three days after our brainstorming session, we’re going to be extra awesome and give a shout out to a few other movies.
The Lion King, Kung Fu Panda, Les Triplettes de Belleville, Mulan, Lady And The Tramp, The Iron Giant, Heavy Metal, Corpse Bride, Nightmare Before Christmas, Hotel Transylvania, Anastasia, The Little Mermaid, Akira, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, Spirited Away, The SpongeBob SquarePants movie, The Fox And The Hound, Coraline, 9, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Despicable Me…
There are way more, but we’re out of breath. Until next time, folks!