10. Fantasia- Like going to the greatest concert and art gallery of your life together. It is a rich and textured experience that teaches me something new every time I see it. I notice new details or am inspired with how the music tells the story I hadn’t seen before. It goes everywhere from Greek myths, to Mickey Mouse, to dinosaurs, to the Devil himself. That’s why I don’t get it when people say it is boring. I really don’t. I think some people just don’t like classical music but I do and I think Fantasia is a bold stunning achievement in animation. (I know I had Tangled higher in my ranking but only barely).
9. Secret of Nimh- Has one of my favorite protagonists of any movie ever. Mrs Brisby doesn’t want to be a hero. She is scared, visibly shaking at times, but will do anything to save her son. The story is deep and has just enough magic to make it unpredictable. The animation is so lovely full of light when it needs to be and darkness when appropriate. It will make you cry, you will walk away inspired and wanting to discuss with your friends the wonderful story you’ve been a part of. Bravo Don Bluth! (Even if you did leave Disney to do this movie in a w ay you shouldn’t have!)
8. Song of the Sea- This was a film that I sat in the theater for about 10 minutes and wept. Not just tears but all out cried. It made me think of my cousin and her little boy who she left behind. The journey Ben goes on to forgive his Mother (and his sister) is so moving. Like Nimh there is just the right amount of magic and mysticism with his sister being selkie and the owls and everything else. It tackles grief in such a loving beautiful way it is something I could watch as part of my Bible study (not a Christian film I’m just saying it tackles those weighty issues perfectly). It also looks so beautiful and perhaps the lack of 2D animation made it especially stunning. I wish I had been able to see it in 2014 because it would definitely have been my favorite animated film of the year.
7. Prince of Egypt- Dreamworks you made the top 10. Congrats! :). Prince of Egypt is Dreamworks masterpiece IMO. Take out the scheming priests and their song and I think it is a perfect film. I love the reverence and awe we feel at the burning of the bush and the parting of the red sea. I love the music and all the voice performances. I love how it focuses on the brothers and how painful it is for them to be at war with each other. It’s another one that I could watch as part of my Bible study because it is from the Bible! I don’t know why they don’t have it on blu-ray. Get it together Dreamworks!
6. Toy Story- This may surprise you guys but I recently rewatched it and was so completely charmed by the story. In a way Woody is the CEO or President of the room when here comes this new shiny toy to challenge his leadership. The voicework is perfect as we all know. The jokes are funny. The scenes at Sid’s house are touching and exciting. Toy Story is about the perils of jealousy and how we can forgive others who have seemingly wronged us. It also is about growing up and seeing things as they truly are not as we wish them to be. Both are Buzz and Woody’s journey and I relate to their experiences, which is pretty amazing when you think they are toys. It has so many memorable lines and I guess when push comes to shove of the 3 Toy Story movies this is the one I’ve loved the longest. I can’t think of anything I would change about it.
5. Cinderella- I love Cinderella. You guys all know that and Disney’s Cinderella is such a special movie. The songs are perfection especially lesser known songs like Sing Sweet Nightangale. That sequence takes my breath away. The animation throughout is lush and layered and beautiful. Cinderella is a character who works so hard and so unlike other princeses who need to get rescued she brings her own rescue to her. When she gets her dress ripped to shreds it is completely devastating and she almost loses her faith and that’s when the rescue comes. So it is for many of us. I love Lady Tremaine as a villain. I love the mice and Lucifer. Perhaps the scenes with the King and Duke go on a little long but it helps us get to know the Prince so that is good. I just love it!
4. Little Mermaid- If I was going on just nostalgia Little Mermaid would be #1. What can I say that I haven’t already said about this movie. I love Ariel and relate to her quest to find where she belongs. I love the Ashman/Menken songs. I think Ursula is a brilliant villain unlike any other with her drag queen looks and trucker voice. I love all the bubbles and the ocean (you know I always love the ocean!). I think Eric is a really cool Prince who we get to see interact and be quite tender to Ariel. I just love it.
3. Spirited Away- Hands down the most original movie I’ve ever seen. I remember the first time I watched it I sat dumbfounded, mouth agape. I had no idea what was coming up next. Was it going to be the boy who turns into a dragon or a giant baby or the weird lady who ruled the bathhouse? Every scene is a surprise and delight. Everything is challenging and interesting. We get to see the young girl grow up, get a job, figure things out on her own and become strong through all of these spirits who are sometimes tough to figure out. Are they evil or good? Sometimes we don’t know. The animation is breathtaking. The story amazing. It’s a masterpiece in every way possible.
2. Beauty and the Beast- This is another movie that has a high sentimental value for me both because I loved it as a 10 year old girl and I went to see the Broadway show with my cousin Lisa on our trip 4 months before she passed away. There are a few little plotholes but it doesn’t matter a bit. As far as fairytales in animation it doesn’t get better than this. The animation is sweeping and beautiful. Belle is such a likable character who reads and is independent. The character of Gaston is interesting because he’s basically the town hero and he lets one person not liking him eat at him until he is a mad man. All the side characters are a delight and the Ashman/Menken music is the best ever in all of Disney.
1. Up- This actually wasn’t a hard decision for me to make. Up is my favorite movie, animated or not. The first 10 minutes of the life of Carl and Ellie is something I have seen countless times and it still makes me cry. What’s amazing is we see Ellie for minutes and yet she is an active presence throughout the rest of that movie. Carl talks to her, he feels her there. That reminds me the people I love who have passed are an important part of my life even though they are gone. If you’ve ever felt weighed down by grief and loss you will relate to what Carl is going through. He feels so guilty for the life he gave Ellie. He has this regret that I think many of us experience no matter how much time we have with those we love. The movie is about how going on this great adventure helps him come to terms with that grief. But then it is also very funny and sweet with Doug, Russell and Kevin. Plus, a villain voiced by Christopher Plummer. Sign me up! It’s beautifully animated and the music is perfect. It’s a movie I could watch every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of. When Carl reads that note from his wife at the end it is almost as emotional as the beginning. Perfection.