Dear Animation Fans,
Who knew debates over the best animated films of all-time would get so…. animated?
As we continue our Greatest Movies A-Z series with WatchMojo, we made sure to draw from a long history of classic animation feature films. Even though for this first season we are focusing on genres, and animation is a medium, it’s a category we just couldn’t ignore. Enjoy.
Again, we gave ourselves some guidelines:
- One film per letter
- Articles don’t count (the, an, a, etc.)
- Final list should encapsulate the genre
The last rule dictated a lot of our hardest decisions. We also had to ignore certain “outdated cultural stereotypes” at times to focus instead on the larger cultural impact.
So here’s some take-aways from our decision-making process. If your favorite movie isn’t in our final video, there’s a very good chance it’s a decision, and not an omission.
LESSONS FROM ANIMATION A-Z
Now that this first video is out, here’s some take-aways from our decision-making process. If your favorite movie isn’t in our final video, there’s a very good chance it’s a decision, and not an omission.
TOP DECADE: 00s
It makes sense that the decade which saw the introduction of an Oscar category for Best Animated Feature is when the medium really started to flourish. Pixar changed the game, taking the shine off Disney’s new golden era (until Disney gobbled Pixar up, too), while Anime surged in popularity. DOn’t sleep on the 90sl of course. And ‘88 alone gave us three Toho masterpieces - how does that happen??
HARDEST LETTER: S
The default here would have been to go with the O.G. Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Recency bias would put Spider-man: Into the Spiderverse ahead of the pack. And nostalgia could have carried Shrek right to the top. Hell, even South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut would compete in almost any other letter. Instead, we had to go with what many consider Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece, Spirited Away.
CHEATED OUT: Fantastic Mr. Fox
They probably won’t be the most vocal corner of the Internet, but it’s impossible to deny the _Frozen-_heads and what that film did for Disney’s 20-year drought of creating a true animated classic. Sorry, Wes.
BEST BATTLE: Toy Story vs Toy Story 3
If you accept that one of the Toy Story movies has to make the list (and yes, accept it!), then it really comes down to which one. You could easily argue any of the four films, but Toy Story 3 has the most convincing track-record to compete (between box-office, Oscar nominations, and general love). Still, we went with the original. Not only is it a great film, but it made computer animation acceptable - beloved, even. Those kind of innovations are a nice tie-breaker.
SPECIAL CONSIDERATION: Persepolis
Anime junkies will argue for Princess Mononoke here, while Disney die-hards often consider Pinocchio to be Walt’s early-era masterpiece. But Persepolis is an excellent and important film not made by the two titans of animation that definitely deserves a place in the conversation of greatest animated films of all-time.
Think your list would be better? More balanced? Less heart-breaking? Let us know.
Dear Cast & Crew