“Wall*E” has got me thinking. Animated films are beyond kid flicks, with the ability to conjure emotions, have us reexamine our lives and weep for a drawing.
All of these movies have the pedigree to enter the best of the best. And sure, Pixar’s films could make up the whole list. There won’t be any hybrids either, which means no “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” or “Space Jam.” So, with that in mind, here are my Top 7 animated films of all-time … until I see “Wall*E” on DVD, at which point I will then feel very comfortable adding it to the list.
7. Iron Giant (1999)
Not many people saw this gigantic robot on the big-screen. A young boy befriends a giant, alien robot. The government is out to destroy the robot simply because they don’t understand it. The story is great for kids because it helps them understand that paranoia leads to violence (which is a bad thing). Visually, it might be the best hand-drawn film ever. Celebrity voices include Jennifer Anniston, Harry Connick Jr. and Vin Dissel.
6. Transformers: The Movie (1986)
“The Touch” by Stan Bush is known by twenty-something nerds everywhere. At the height of its popularity “Transformers” jumped to the big screen with a violent film, which included the death of Optimus Prime (don’t worry, he was brought back). The animation hinted at the anime style from Japan that would eventually become popular in the United States. The voices included Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy and Orson Welles in his final role. Michael Bay is bringing a live-action “Transformers” to theaters next summer.
5. Lion King (1994)
This was the first Disney film that didn’t have one single human being. Scar was the personification of evil and Timon and Pumbaa kept the laughs coming. Some might say “The Little Mermaid” is better, but that film is actually a step back for women’s equality. Just listen to the lyrics “Kiss the Girl.” It kills me not to have “Fox and the Hound,” “Bambi,” or any other classic on the list but when watching them now, the films are slow, the songs are bad and the stories are way too simple. Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones and Nathan Lane are part of the voice talents.
4. Toy Story 2 (1999)
Just like “The Godfather,” the sequel is better. The film took off with a fast paced “Star Wars” knock-off and never slowed down. Tim Allen and Tom Hanks were back as Buzz Lightyear and Woody. Added to the mix were Joan Cusack and Kelsey Grammer. The story doesn’t lean on the first film like a crutch, which can’t be said for “Lion King II: Simba’s Pride,” “Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World” or “Cinderella II: Dreams Come True.”
3. Shrek (2001)
The tagline for the film was: The greatest fairy tale never told. It turns the table on all the classics such as “Three Blind Mice” and “Peter Pan.” When the gingerbread man cries out, “Not my gumdrop buttons,” your heart actually goes out to him … when you finish laughing. The tag team of Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy is one of the best odd-couple relationships of all-time. The sequel had some good laughs, but the originality of the first was lost. And let’s not talk about part three. Other voices include Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow.
2. South Park: Bigger, Badder and Uncut (1999)
Wow, three films from 1999 made the list. Most would think this is the exact opposite of a Disney-flick. The animation is low-grade, with most being 2-D. There is constant vulgarity and every political group is attacked. But the striking similarity is the music. “South Park” is a fantastic musical and not just because Brian Boitano is spoofed. There is a tribute to “Les Miserables” that Trey Parker and Matt Stone nail. Additional voices are from Minnie Driver, Issac Hayes and George Clooney.
1. The Incredibles (2004)
Brad Bird directed this film, as well as “Iron Giant.” A family of undercover superheroes is forced out of their suburban life and back to fighting crime. Not only is the CGI top-notch, but this film actually stands up against other super hero films. Animated films are typically viewed as second-class movies, but you could put this film right next to “Spider-Man” or “Batman” and still get your fill of villains, super powers and action. The voices include Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson and Jason Lee.
That’s the Top 7, what did I miss to round out the Top 10?