Top 10 Best Animation Movies

While retrospective Hayao Miyazaki Arte comes to an end tomorrow (it is not necessary to emphasize that it was simply a must) and a few weeks away from the release of the new film by Sylvain Chomet, The Illusionist, who will be criticized here in the coming days, our comrade Alexandre Mathis from Plan-C, who sometimes has dubious tastes but who defends them rather well, offers us to establish a ranking of the best-animated films, all countries and genres combined.

As usual with these tops, many films remain on the side when they deserve to be there, but you have to make impossible choices and that’s the point of it. Thus in the great forgotten of the classification which follows we can quote PersépolisWaltz with Bachirthe Iron GiantNinja ScrollJin-RohFinal Fantasy: Advent ChildrenMetropolis … in the same way the choice was made to quote only once each studio (Ghibli, Pixar, Disney…) and each director.

If you want to establish your own ranking, please comment or on your own blog, I will establish a list at the end of the article.

But place in the classification itself, trying to be original:

10 – Midori by Hiroshi Harada (Japan, 1992)

A obscure work and therefore extremely rare, Midori does not shine with its very rudimentary animation and consists essentially of still shots which largely reproduce the vignettes of the manga by Suehiro Maruo . But it is an incredibly powerful film, trash, glaucous and hyper deviant. The kind of film not to put in everyone’s hands but essential for those who love the Japanese underground.

9 – The Strange Christmas of Mr. Jack by Henry Selick (USA, 1993)

It is oddly in this film that he did not realize that all the elements of the universe of Tim Burton are found . Morbid and fantastic mixture, with just the right amount of musical passages, this joyful nightmare continues today to be an object of worship for the young public who discovers it. It is simply marvelous and it was before Coraline the proof of the immense talent of Henry Selick .

8 – The Lion King by Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers (USA, 1994)

In the midst of the plethora of masterpieces laid by the studio with the mouse, the Lion King stands proudly. Rarely has Disney been unable to produce such a universal and touching story. And even if the set is largely inspired by King Leo of Tezuka, it is undoubtedly with Fantasia what came out the best of the studio. A film that never ages and the scene of Mufasa’s death is still just as terrible…

7 – The King and the Bird by Paul Grimault (France, 1980)

Adaptation of a tale by Andersen, screenplay by Jacques Prévert … what more can I say? Le Roi et l’Oiseau is quite simply the founding film of modern animation, the never hidden inspiration of the new geniuses from studio Ghibli. History is timeless, the animation is just as timeless. It’s beautiful, funny, moving, simple, and the music of Wojciech Kilar is one of the most beautiful compositions in the history of cinema.

6 – Wall-E by Andrew Stanton (USA, 2008)

It’s not easy to choose from Pixar productions. Between Là-HautMonstres & CieLes Indestructibles … we touch on excellence. But we will nevertheless remember Wall-E because if it is not perfect the whole first part (before the arrival of the human characters) is quite simply a model of cinematographic perfection. Returning to the basics of cinema, the studio invokes the blessed era of the dumb and brings out a real emotion from a pile of scrap metal. Magic!

5 – Perfect Blue by Satoshi Kon (Japan, 1998)

Satoshi Kon could do live cinema, but he understood that animation allowed him to release images that were impossible to create via a camera. Specialist in complex stories (apart from his recreation Tokyo Godfathers ), he is undoubtedly one of the most ambitious directors, tackling the dizzying themes of dreams or schizophrenia. I could very well have chosen Millenium Actress or Paprika which are pure masterpieces of the genre, but it was with Perfect Blue that I discovered this genius…

4 – The Tomb of the Fireflies of Isao Takahata (Japan, 1988)

If Pompoko and Mes Voisins les Yamadas are just as essential, the Tomb of the Fireflies still acts as a culmination in Takahata’s career. This story of brothers and sisters lost during the war is undoubted to be put in what was most upsetting on a cinema screen. Impossible to hold back tears even after many revisions. This film on sacrifice is of infinite sadness and grinds our hearts but it is magnificent.

3 – Princess Mononoké by Hayao Miyazaki (Japan, 1997)

Still a most difficult choice… Since the creation of the studios Ghibli Miyazaki has grown considerably and his films touch almost all of them perfectly. If my Neighbor Totoro or the Traveling Castle are undoubtedly the best for the “general public”, his most accomplished work remains Princess Mononoke

From his graphic violence to his speech committed against the destruction of nature by man, by the construction of a story cut out with incredible finesse and its pure moments of emotion, it is indeed his greatest masterpiece .

2 – Akira de Katsuhiro Ôtomo (Japan, 1988)

Who forgot his first vision of Akira? Doubt no one, unless you completely missed it. A metaphorical work that finds its source in the trauma of Hiroshima, an essential part of the cyberpunk movement, the founding stone of adult Japanese animation, Akira is one of those few films that are never forgotten, that one experiences as a shock of cinema. 

Atomic explosion against the backdrop of opera, appalling mutations, by adapting his river manga (published over 10 years) Ôtomo signs what comes closest to Kubrick’s work(to which he bows out in the most beautiful way in an unforgettable finale) than any other attempt. It is to see urgently for those who would never have seen it because we never really get over it.

1 – Ghost in the Shell by Mamoru Oshii (Japan, 1995)

By adapting the manga of Masamune Shirow to his sauce, Mamoru Oshii delivers what is akin to the ultimate SF film. To fully understand the importance of Ghost in the Shell (which James Cameron has always described as visionary) it suffices to observe the vast majority of Science Fiction films that have been released since. 

All are inspired by it to different degrees, the most flagrant example remaining Matrix … Adult film par excellence, GITS tackles dozens of major themes but one in particular dominates, and this is not the relationship between man and the machine. 

Indeed, the central subject, which is found in most of Oshii’s filmslies in a question: “what is man?”. A philosophical work under the sign of allegory, the film is extremely difficult to access (however less than its equally successful sequel, Innocence ) and requires several visions to unravel some secrets. But it is the ultimate proof that animation is not a childish art, and that these films can be deeper than most live films.

Nicolas Gilli

Hi, I'm Nicholas Gilli, I'm a blogger who is very much interested in blogging about film-making gadgets. I have experience as a cinematographer in the film industry for more than 15 years. My blogs would comprise of articles about film making gadgets and guides on how to use them. Even if you are a beginner you will learn a lot about cinematography here. Happy reading.

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