As we look ahead to the future at the host of promising animations coming our way, such as How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Boxtrolls and Big Hero 6, and even further ahead to eagerly anticipated titles such as The Good Dinosaur, Zootopia and Finding Dory. This seems like the perfect time to take a look back at the innovators of the genre and compile our list of the top ten greatest animated feature films ever made.
10 – Peter Pan
Nothing provokes nostalgia quite like the sound of the ticking clock in Peter Pan, which was used to indicate the arrival of the feared crocodile. The catchy tune alone takes you back to your childhood, though that’s not to say this film is solely confined to memory, as, much like our titular protagonist himself, it has an everlasting appeal, and is undoubtedly going to outlive us all.
9 – The Jungle Book
Any animation that has four vultures impersonating The Beatles is not one to be sniffed at, and the Disney classic The Jungle Book is one of the most vibrant, entertaining animations ever created. Taking the audience to the heart of the jungle where tigers, orang-utans and bears roam with a medley of memorable songs and a story born out of the mind of the renowned novelist Rudyard Kipling, this has a worthy spot in our list.
8 – Up
If Up had remained as poignant and moving as it is in the opening quarter of an hour, this Pixar production would be sitting pretty at the top of our list – however, as the film enters into more dramatic, playful territory, it does lose some of its profundity. However that doesn’t take anything away from a film that will make you cry like very few animations that have ever been made.
7 – Monsters, Inc.
Arguably Pixar’s funniest picture to date, Monsters, Inc. features two powerhouse vocal performances from Billy Crystal and John Goodman, and like any great animation, finds that perfect blend between joviality and poignancy: as to counteract the quirky, comical aspects of the production is an incredibly heartwarming tale.
6 – Pinocchio
When You Wish Upon a Star has become Disney’s signature piece of music. Across so many wonderful productions, and some quite brilliant songs, it’s this emotive, melodic number which is a symbol for Disney and everything they stand for, and the song originates from a film that follows a similar notion, as one of the more magical productions to have ever graced our screens from the much celebrated animation studio.
5 – Spirited Away
There is simply no way of compiling a list of the greatest ever animated features, without including one from the breathtaking archive of Studio Ghibli. While innovator, and master storyteller Hayao Miyazaki has very recently retired with his final feature The Wind Rises, it’s one of his previous endeavours that makes our list, as Spirited Away captures the spirit and essence of the Japanese studio, being a film that is as deeply emotional as it is enchanting.
4 – Mary and Max
Adam Elliot’s one and only feature film Mary and Max is really rather special. Featuring the vocal abilities of Toni Collette and the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman, the film cuts between Melbourne and New York, chronicling the touching relationship between a young girl and an obese, middle-aged man with Asperger’s. Just thinking about it now brings a tear to the eye.
3 – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
World War Two hadn’t even begun, and Elvis Presley was two years old when Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was first released. 1937 was the year, and this was the film to mark the debut for a certain Walt Disney. Now, to this day, here lies a tale that will resonate with audiences, and will do so with generations still to come. That’s pretty magical.
2 – WALL-E
WALL-E is Pixar’s most ambitious project to date, and represents something quite unique when it comes to film’s aimed at a younger audience. Given the attention spans of children and the obligation to entertain, it’s incredibly brave of the studio to release a film that has little to no dialogue at all in the entire opening hour. Instead we focus in on the friendship between two robots, and in spite of the lack of speech and the fact that they’re, well, robots, this love story has more heart to it than the majority of films ever written.
1 – Toy Story/Toy Story 2/Toy Story 3
Okay, okay. You may call this cheating, and perhaps in some ways it is – but who can honestly separate any of the three Toy Story productions? Each film is so special, and each so integral in creating an exceptional trilogy of films. Managing to have the same impact and effect on those who watched the first film back in 1995 as children, to watching the third 15 years on as adults, the Toy Story franchise is everything that is magical about animations and more. If we had to choose, we’d probably opt for the first one for kickstarting it all. But you could go as far as to call it the greatest trilogy of all time. I mean, even The Godfather tailed off at the end!