Mind=blown, thanks to animated innovation and artistry.
With dozens of animated movies being released every year, fans of the medium have an array of fully-animated features to enjoy. Since the turn of the century, Pixar alone has made and released over twenty animated films – that’s to say nothing of the other industry giants like Disney and DreamWorks Animation.
But even among the sea of films, there are a select few that stand out. Whether it’s their peerless art direction or their innovative, refreshing ideas, these one-of-a-kind animated movies are definitely worth your love and time.
Masterfully directed by Wes Anderson (Grand Budapest Hotel), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) is one of the best of Anderson’s career. As clever and cunning as its titular character, the stop-motion animated comedy film is an absolute joy from start to end, with Anderson’s distinct visual style and wit making it a truly unique viewing experience.
The movie is based on Roald Dahl’s 1970 children’s book of the same name, and follows the titular Mr. Fox (George Clooney) and his exhilarating thieving spree.
It goes without saying that animation isn’t solely meant for kids. Those of you who know this might be familiar with the incredible Waltz with Bashir. A documentary, an anti-war film and an autobiography all rolled into one, Waltz with Bashir is a striking tale of the lasting effects and horrors of war.
Waltz with Bashir proves that there’s no limit to the poignant stories animation can tell. The film follows veteran Ari Folman as he attempts to recover his memories of his harrowing experiences as a soldier in the 1982 Lebanon War.
Not only is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse one of the best films by Sony Pictures Animation, it may very well be one of the greatest animated movies of all time. With a revolutionary visual style that honored the webslinger’s comic book origins, it’s easy to see why this animated movie ranks among the most beloved Spider-Man films.
The film follows teenager Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) and his beginnings as New York City’s new Spider-Man. When the devious Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) threatens to destroy the fabric of the multiverse itself, Miles is joined by various Spider-People from across the infinite Spider-Verse.
The third and final installment in a trilogy of Irish animated fantasy films, Wolfwalkers proves that animation has never been better than it is today. From directors Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart, this underrated, stunning film was an international co-production. It won several awards upon its release, including five Annie Awards, and received several other nominations at the BAFTA and Academy Awards.
Wolfwalkers begins when the young girl Robyn (Honor Kneafsey) befriends the mischievous wildling, Mebh, a member of a tribe said to possess the ability to turn into wolves at night.
Directed by Gore Verbinski (of Pirates of the Caribbean fame), Rango is a stellar example of what it means to be truly unique. This Nickelodeon animated Western features a talented, all-star cast, which boasts the voices of Johnny Depp (Corpse Bride), Isla Fisher (The Great Gatsby), Alfred Molina (Spider-Man: No Way Home), Bill Nighy (About Time) and more.
With each of its characters, vistas and villains as unforgettable as they come, Rango is a good time for fans of animation and gunslinger movie buffs alike. The film follows Rango (Depp), a chameleon who accidentally finds the desert town of Dirt, an animal-populated town in need of a sheriff and protector.
Whether you’re a fan of anime or not, Kimi no Na wa (known more widely as Your Name) is a touching fantasy adventure film that is as dazzling as it is grounded.
Your Name explores the bond between Mitsuha Miyamizu and Taki Tachibana, two Japanese high schoolers who begin to swap bodies without explanation. However, Your Name isn’t just filled with your average body-swapping film hijinks; the animated feature has been lauded for its excellent music, stunning visuals and the emotional depth of the protagonists’ bond.
Everyone knows Shrek as the animated comedy that turned the fairy tale on its head. It isn’t very widely known that it is based on a novel of the same name, as the 2001 animated film garnered a fandom of its own.
As raunchy and irreverent as it is hilarious, this fantasy comedy adventure film spawned a popular franchise of films and shows, though nothing quite comes close to the quality of the initial 2001 release. Shrek begins when the titular ogre Shrek (Mike Myers) finds his home occupied with fairy tale creatures. To restore the privacy of his abode, he must rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) for Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow) with the aid of a talking Donkey (Eddie Murphy).
More than a tale of man vs. nature, Princess Mononoke is a must-see film. Set in a fraught Muromachi Japan, the movie follows Prince Ashitaka, who becomes embroiled in a war between the spirits and the ruthless humans who threaten their forest domain.
From visionary director Hayao Miyazaki and the talented artists at Studio Ghibli, Princess Mononoke easily ranks as one of the greatest anime movies of its time. While each of Studio Ghibli’s films holds a special place in the hearts of fans, Princess Mononoke greatly expanded the reach of the company’s influence in the west.
Based on the chilling children’s novel from The Sandman author Neil Gaiman, Coraline is a stop-motion horror film that is sure to give every kid a fright. It features the voice talents of Dakota Fanning (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Ian McShane (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum), Keith David (DC League of Super-Pets) and more.
Coraline transcends its source material with its colorful take on the original tale. It tells the story of its titular character discovering a world in her new home, unaware that the idyllic, “other world” harbors more sinister secrets of its own.
In 2022, Entergalactic realized the potential of adult animation. It tells a familiar tale of romance that audiences thought they’d seen before, but its characters and visuals are so full of new life that the film may have started a genre of its own.
From American musician Kid Cudi and Netflix, Entergalactic is a sight to behold. It tells the story of Jabari and Meadow, two neighbors who find themselves falling in love.
NEXT: 10 Best Animated Movies, According to IMDb
Emilio Gabriel Lapitan is a writer and aspiring author. A lover of stories of any kind, he is passionate about video games, TV, movies, theatre, comic books and cats.