The Unshaved Mouse’s Top 10 Non-Disney Animated Movies

So a few months back I let slip that Hunchback of Notre Dame is my personal favourite Disney movie. But did you know that there are animated movies out there that weren’t created by Disney? My hand to God, it’s true. In fact, there are so many that I was actually able to throw together a list of my favourite non-Disney animated movies. Understand, I make no claim that these are the best non-Disney animated movies, just that they are the ones that have wormed their way into my tiny, blackened little mouse heart.
 
Gay Purr-ee
Gay Pur-ee
 
# 10 Gay Purr-ee, 1962, UPA
 
UPA are very much an also-ran in the history of American animation. They had the misfortune of trying to compete in the realm of feature length animation against Disney, and in the realm of theatrical shorts against Warner Bros. Also their most successful character was Mr Magoo.
Ha! He's BLIND! Oh that is too fucking funny!

Ha! He’s BLIND! Oh that is too fucking funny!

UPA, never able to compete with Disney in terms of money and animation quality, pioneered the technique of limited animation. But whereas later studios (cough, cough Hanna Barbera cough cough) would use this technique to flood the airwaves with cheap, awful, awful, lousy, just the worst cartoons, UPA deserve respect for turning limitation into a virtue. UPA took a minimalist and very visually striking approach to their animation, and that’s probably exemplified best here in this movie, one of only two full length theatrical animations the studio produced. The story is pretty simple. Mewsette, a naïve white farm cat, grows bored of her life on an idyllic Provencal farm and leaves for the glamour of 1890s Paris. There she falls into the clutches of the diabolical Meowrice who pretends to school her for high society whilst secretly grooming her as a mail-order bride (really). Fortunately she’s rescued by her loyal, spurned boyfriend Jean-Tom, and they all live happily ever after. Yeah, not exactly Tolstoy. So, why do I love this movie? Well, as I said, UPA were very good at compensating for their less than stellar animation by being visually striking. Take a look at this scene, where the animators depict Mewestte in the style of the great painters of the period.
 
Another point in its favour is some really strong musical talent. Judy Garland voices Mewsette and was able to rope Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg into the project as songwriters. You probably haven’t heard of them. They just wrote the songs for some obscure little thing called The Wizard of Oz. Real nobodies. I don’t want to oversell it, it’s not really a great movie. But there are moments where it rises to greatness.
***
 
220px-Twice_upon_a_time_6604
#9 Twice Upon a Time, 1983, Korty Films, Lucasfilm
 
Where to start with this one? TUAT is probably the most “cult” film on this list. It looks like nothing else ever made. The dialogue is mostly off the cuff jibber-jabber by a cast of improvisational comedians. There are around three different versions, and if you try to show the original theatrical version then producer John Korty will most likely sue you. The plot is…there’s a dog who’s actually every animal and a Charlie Chaplin lookalike and they have to go into the real world to stop the king of nightmares from freezing time…or something…it’s really, really weird but also hilarious and kinda has to be seen for yourself.
***
Howls-moving-castleposter
 
#8 Howl’s Moving Castle, 2004, Studio Ghibli
 
Ohhh…I’m going to catch hell for this one. Yes, there is only one Studio Ghibli film on this list and it’s this one. And I know what you’re wondering; Why this and not Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Grave of the Fireflies or Tales from Earthsea? (Okay, you’re not wondering that last one). Honestly, I can’t really say. Most of Miyazaki’s films are like a gorgeous toyshop that everyone is allowed into except me. I’m like the starving urchin with his nose pressed up against the window, able to appreciate the beauty of what he’s seeing but just not able to get that incredible emotional high that his movies seem to instill in other people. Moving Castle was the first Miyazaki movie to make me feel like a Miyazaki movie is supposed to make everyone feel, where I was finally allowed into the toy shop to play. Also it has Christian Bale doing the Batman voice and that never gets old.
***
The_Secret_Of_Kells_Promo_Poster
 
#7
 
The Secret of Kells, 2009, Cartoon Saloon
 
A little national bias here, maybe, but I like to think that even if this wasn’t a hometown success story I’d still love this movie. Tom Moore and his Cartoon Saloon studio set out to make a “European Miyazaki”, drawing on Irish history, Celtic mythology and monastic art to create something that looks and feels unlike anything being made either in the States or Japan. Its also benefits from some A-grade Irish acting talent (Brendan Gleeson and Saoirse Ronan to name a few) and a surprisingly nuanced examination on the nature of faith, as both something limiting and isolating and as something joyous and inspiring. And it’s final scene, where the ancient artwork of the book of Kells is fully rendered in animation has to be seen to be believed.
***
 
Layout 1
#6
 
Kung Fu Panda, 2008, Dreamworks
 
My natural Disney-snob instincts notwithstanding, I will give Dreamworks their props when I feel props are due. And this one is definitely prop-worthy. It’s really no great mystery as to why this movie works; it’s a Kung Fu animated comedy with amazing Kung Fu, great animation (seriously, Dreamworks upped their game so hard with this one) and it’s funny as hell. It succeeds at everything it sets out to do. Just, a great, fun flick. Also, saying “skidoosh” will cure whatever ails ya.
***
Akira_movie_poster
 
#5
 
Akira, 1988, TMS Entertainment
 
Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda! Tetsuo! Kaneda!
***
Toy_Story_3_poster
 
#4
 
Toy Story 3, 2010, Pixar Animation Studios
 
Toy Story 3 is the worst reviewed of the trilogy, only garnering a miserable 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. But I respect this movie more than any other in the Pixar canon because I know as a writer the absolute hardest part of the trade is endings. Finding a way to cap a story in a way that is satisfying unexpected and earned is the greatest challenge any writer has to face and more often than not we fail. Toy Story 3 manages the almost unprecedented feat of being a satisfying conclusion to a trilogy (seriously, think about it. Sequels that are better than the original are fairly common but how often does a threequel manage to be as good as the first two?). But more impressively, this movie takes its characters and the audience about as low and as dark a place as you can conceive, to the very lip of the inferno itself. Towards the end, I was so swept up and invested in these characters and so convinced of their peril that I actually thought Pixar was going to do it. I thought the movie would end with the toys holding hands, one last gesture of love and solidarity in the face of pitiless oblivion, and then they’d be gone.
 
Now.
 
Considering that we actually go from that to one of the happiest most, satisfying endings I can remember seeing and that it in no way feels like a cheat or a cop out? That, my friends, is truly masterful filmmaking.
***
Batman_under_the_red_hood_poster
 
#3
 
Batman: Under the Red Hood, 2010, Warner Bros Animation
 
Ooookay. So, this will take some explaining. Alright, keep in mind this is a list of my personal favourites, I’m not going to make the case that this movie is better than Toy Story 3. And yes, I am aware that I have nominated a Batman animated film as one of my favourite movies and it doesn’t even have Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as the Joker. Yes. I chose this over Mask of the Phantasm. Mock me all you want but I shall be heard. I have chosen this movie not simply because I think it’s a great Batman story, but because right after endings, twists are the next hardest thing to do well as a writer and this movie has one of the best twists I have ever seen. Seriously, if I ever teach a writing course, I will use this movie as a text on how you do a twist right. So let me set the table, and it goes without saying after here be spoilers. 
The movie  begins several years in the past, with Batman racing to save Robin (Jason Todd) who’s been caputred by the Joker. So far, so predictable. The trick is, this time he fails. Joker beats Robin to death with a crowbar and then blows him up because Mr. J is not known for understatement. Years later, a new criminal appears on the scene called the Red Hood, who starts systematically wiping out the Gotham criminal underworld. Batman methodically puts the pieces together and realises that the Red Hood is none other Jason himself, back from the dead (superhero heaven has no pearly gates, only revolving doors). Batman becomes consumed with guilt, convinced that Jason has come to enact vengence on him for letting him die. He finally confronts him in an abandoned warehouse and tells Jason that he’s sorry…and then this happens.
Okay, so if  you couldn’t watch the video let me sum up.  Jason tells Batman that he forgave him a long time ago and that he knows he did everything he could to save him. What he’s pissed about, however, is that Batman didn’t kill the Joker because of it. The Batman comics have a very set routine. Every so often the Joker escapes from Arkham asylum, hatches a new scheme, kills a bunch of people, gets stopped by Batman, gets locked up, rinse lather repeat pretty much every few years since the forties. And of course after reading enough Batman comics you’ll find yourself screaming “For the love of God JUST KILL THE BASTARD!”. Jason essentially becomes the personification of the frustration here. Why don’t you just kill him. And finally, we get an answer that actually makes sense. Because Batman knows that if he were ever to lost control like that, he wouldn’t be able to stop. Which…kind of implies that he’s one bad day away from a killing spree and probably not the best person to be engaging in a life of vigilantism but, fuck it, it makes sense.
So why does this twist work? Well, on a technical level it’s nearly flawless, it makes sense given everything we’ve seen up until now, and doesn’t require any of the players to act out of character. It doesn’t contradict the facts as we know them. But at the same time, it’s completely unexpected because at no point are we led to believe that there is a twist (unless it’s that the Red Hood is Jason and we find that out fairly early on). Because Batman assumes that Jason’s motive is revenge, because he views everything through the prism of his own guilt, we do too. Batman is such a a hyper-competent, all knowing hero that we never stop to consider that maybe he’s wrong. And lastly, it works because it’s hugely emotionally satisfying. The desire for forgiveness is one of the most powerful emotions there is. When Jason tells Batman that he’s forgiven him….my feels, as the say on Tumblr.
***
Movie_poster_who_framed_roger_rabbit
#2 
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? 1988 , Toucstone Pictures/Amblin Entertainment
I trust I don’t have to justify this one? Great casting, gorgeous animation and a hilarious whip-smart script from an age when movies could be entertaining and still be about something (and you could ride the trolley for a nickel and young people showed you respect dagnabbit). Twenty five years later and the live-action-animation integration in this film has still to be bettered. And of course, the scariest villain that was ever snuck into a PG movie. Do you remember Judge Doom? When he killed all hope you ever had of a good night’s sleep? And he used to TALK! LIKE!!! THIIIIIIIIISSSSSSSS?????!
BAHIA!

ULTIMATE BAHIA!

***
A_Scanner_Darkly_Poster
#1
A Scanner Darkly, 2006, Thousand Words
Keanu Reeves plays “Fred”, a narcotics agent who’s been observing a drug dealer named Bob Arctor and his circle of friends to trace where they’re getting their supply of Substance D, an insanely potent drug that’s going through the American population like a dose of the salts. Trouble is, Fred has become so messed up from using D that he doesn’t realise that he actually is Bob Arctor. This was Robert Linklater’s second rotoscoped film after Waking Life and it’s probably the greatest adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel ever filmed, and yes, I’m including Blade Runner in that. The rotoscoping is a trippy, alienating effect that really puts you into Fred’s queasy, shifting worldview. But it’s not just a head trip, this is a beautiful, deeply compassionate film that gives a sympathetic and very credible portrayal of the horrors of drug abuse, no mean feat considering the drug in question is fictional. It also helps that many of the cast like Robert Downey Jnr and Winona Ryder know whereof they speak. And it’s not all misery either. The movie isn’t afraid to wring some very, very funny comedic mileage out of the paranoia that starts to affect Bob and his friends.
But the laughs don’t last long. From the moment the movie begins we know this won’t end well. A Scanner Darkly is a movie that takes place after the last battle has been lost. There is no more freedom, no more choice. There are only the corporations that will get you hooked. If not on D, it’ll be something else. At one point Bob asks his girlfriend “are you an addict?” and she just replies “We all are”. And yet, even in hopelessness, this movie finds beauty. And maybe that’s enough to get by.
“This has been a story about people who were punished entirely too much for what they did. I loved them all. Here is a list, to whom I dedicate my love:
To Gaylene, deceased
To Ray, deceased
To Francy, permanent psychosis
To Kathy, permanent brain damage
To Jim, deceased
To Val, massive permanent brain damage
To Nancy, permanent psychosis
To Joanne, permanent brain damage
To Maren, deceased
To Nick, deceased
To Terry, deceased
To Dennis, deceased
To Phil, permanent pancreatic damage
To Sue, permanent vascular damage
To Jerri, permanent psychosis and vascular damage …and so forth In memoriam. These were comrades whom I had; There are no better. They remain in my mind, and the enemy will never be forgiven. The “enemy” was their mistake in playing. Let them play again, in some other way, and let them be happy.”
Philip K. Dick

49 comments

  1. Let me comment on your choices:

    10) Never Seen
    9) Barely Heard Of
    8) Never Seen
    7) Ok, I’ve seen this one. The animation is gorgeous and the voice acting worked wonders. But the ending disappointed me…somehow I can’t remember how it ended, but I remember that the ending disappointed me.
    6) Great choice, definitely on my top 5 favorite Dreamworks Animation films (although I’m less than impressed by its sequel…yeah, I know…I deserve to be punished for saying that)
    5) Never Seen
    4) Another great choice, my 2nd favorite Pixar of all time
    3) Never Seen
    2) I’ve seen it and honestly found it overrated (Don’t hit me!). To be fair, I’ve only seen it once and it was many, many years ago, so I can’t quite remember what I didn’t like about it. I probably should give it a second watch. But even if I did and I did end up liking it, I don’t consider films mixing live people in the real world with animated characters as animated movies. That’s why I refuse to consider “The Smurfs”, “Hop”, and “Yogi Bear” to be animated movies.
    1) Never Seen

    I probably should work on a Top 13 Favorite Non-Disney Animated Movie list, thanks for the idea!

    1. I’d normally agree with the live action thing (for example, I don’t consider Mary Popping an animated film) but I think the toon town scenes push it over the threshold. I know most of it takes place in live action but there are hardly any scenes without some animation.

  2. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is probably one of the best “mixed” movies ever made, even better then Marry Poppins. Loved every minute of it, even the part where Jessica supposedly went 3D long enough for the infamous pantie shot. I also loved the fact that though ‘Toons were indestructible, they weren’t completely Immortal as they could be killed by the Dip.

    The Batman choice was good, I love the fact that it’s about the only one that truly explains why he doesn’t kill criminals, even psychotic ones like the Joker.

    Kung Fu Panda was good for many reasons, but mainly that they used an almost All Star Cast for the voices. It also had what in many respects, may be a unique message. “There is no special ingredient.” I think kids today need to hear this message, especially young girls. You don’t need a special ingredient to be special, you already are.

    As far as the Toy Story movies go, I actually prefer Toy Story 2, but 3 is good too. The idea that Andy leaves his toys to Bonnie to play with is actually a good ending, emplying both an end, and a new beginning. I actually preferred 2 because it showed what toys might think as we grow older, what would their world truly be like if the kid who played with them no longer did. You got to see that with Jessie, who’s kid left her and she felt alienated afterwards. Toy Story definitely had a good story to tell in all 3 movies, and each one is gold.

    They’re all good movies, haven’t seen the others to gauge how great or bad they are, so I won’t talk about them, but my favorite, all time animated movie, is Cars.

    Cars to me is one of the more subconsciously “adult” movies they’ve ever made. While it has a good message for the kids, it also has one for the adults. The kids get the message that you need to be a team player, to listen to the adults and their advice, and mostly that they need to keep their word when they give it. Adults get the message that sometimes winning isn’t everything, and that every action, no matter how small, has major consequences. Think making an interstate was a good idea? how about the fact that it killed not just one, but hundreds of small towns in America. Radiator Springs is based on Seligman, Arizona. A town that had an interstate built right next to it, and nearly killed the town. I know, I’ve been there, that an I can name every stretch of road in the scene when they play “Life is a Highway.”

    Ok, I’ll stop.

    Thanks for the Reviews mouse, and if you need any help in your plans, just raise a sword above your head and yell, “Knight, attack!”

  3. 10. I heard it was a lot like The Aristocats
    9. Never heard of
    8. Never heard of
    7. Heard it is good.
    6. Like it a lot and easily one of DreamWorks best. I just wrote a review on it that isn’t published yet.
    5. Never heard of it
    4. OMG a 99%, so awful. I love this movie.
    3. I think I watched it once. Looks great though
    2. Never watched
    1. Never watched

    We have very different tastes, but I was interested in it. Great article.

  4. 10. Never heard of.
    9. Never heard of.
    8. Yes, my favorite Ghibli film too! 🙂 Good choice.
    7. Came incredibly close to seeing this, watched even the beginning (DVD at friend’s house) but then had to leave. 😦 Will have to watch it now seeing your love for it.
    6. Fun movie but when it comes to Dreamworks, nothing beats Shrek for me.
    5. Was hesitant to watch it after being told it was “hyper violent” and “stupid” by a friend. But said friend lets his religious beliefs paint his views when it comes to movies, books etc., so now I want to watch this as well.
    4. Yup, awesomeness. The Toy Story trilogy is the finest, flawless trilogy in movie history. Suck on that, Star Wars.
    3. Great movie! Though I actually would have picked the Batman Beyond movie, Return of the Joker, over this. Simply because that movie had an original story which was more shocking and heart wrenching than UtRH. What are your thoughts on Return of the Joker, Mouse?
    2. Does this technically qualify for this list? I haven’t seen it for soo long, need to rewatch soon enough.
    1. Ditto as 2. Though coincidentally I watched Waking Life just a couple of months back for the first time and was completely, utterly spellbound. Linklater gives life!

    1. In fairness, Akira is SUPER violent and the plot is a little silly. It’s really all about the atmosphere. WFRR counts for me because the animation isn’t discrete, there’s some in almost every scene even if most of what you’re seeing is live action.

      1. Yes, I love RotJ and Red Hood more than Phantasm too! 🙂 Would love to see a blog post on your top ten “superhero based cartoon movies/shows” in the future. 🙂

  5. I wanna see The Secret of Kells 😀 😀 😀 When I took Romanesque and Gothic Art we had a vote whether to end the class with Italian Gothic or Irish Romanesque-into-Gothic and we overwhelmingly voted to study the Irish art, and I just fell in love with subject and how it swings back and forth from “intricate knotwork beauty” to “horror movie prop” ❤ I had also just read "How the Irish Saved Civilization" at the time so I was filled with ethnic pride, so the Book of Kells in particular has kinda stuck with me as a "when anyone mentions it I get happy a little excited" thing. 🙂

    The only Miyazaki film I've seen is Howl's Moving Castle and it didn't do very much for me :\ Granted I was watching it in a room full of giddy and loud college students so maybe I couldn't get the full effect |D

    I was never "into" the Toy Story franchise; I liked the movies well enough but I wasn't a huge fan. Didn't even see III until like a year after it came out. That said, when I did watch it, I had tears running down my face at the end. I wasn't even actively crying; the tears just started falling without any prompting.

      1. I have some of his other books and the hyperbole is noticeable (as are his random sideswipes at Islam; there was a wholly unnecessary chapter in “Mysteries of the Middle Ages” that was just him saying “I’m not a bigot, but it alarms me that Muslims live in America”, that was just awful) but damn if they aren’t ridiculously readable.

      2. I know. I was very upset that my long wait in a train station was supposed to be filled with learning about the roots of feminism with Hildegard of Bingen and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and suddenly it turned into Fox News apologia. >.>

  6. Unshaved Mouse,
    From all the fans of the ocean and its redhead Goddess:
    May two-dimensional, animated Esmeralda be the closest thing to a hot woman that would allow you within three feet of her.
    Fucking traitor. And I had such high hopes for you.
    Your list is utterly stupid, for there is no non-Disney film that is animated. All that is animated is Disney, now and forever. These are just silly chromosomal aberrations in a body of tumors (Dreamworksss and such).

    Go drown yourself. Oh, wait, that may pollute Atlantica.

    1. Since you just implied that my wife isn’t hot, I must respectfully inform you that you have sown the seeds of utter destruction. Enjoy the time remaining to you, brief though it may be.

      1. No, you shall enjoy your life sleeping on the couch. Three feet I said. Your hot wife and I, we had a telepathic feminine chit-chat. Your marital sex life is as gone as this year’s Guinness Day. Bwahahahahahaaaaaa!

  7. Well since everyone else is doing it in this format…

    10) Been on my watch list for a while but I haven’t seen it
    9) Never heard of
    8) Howl’s Moving Castle gets better every time I see it but it still rates no better than number 7 among Miyazaki’s films (from 1 to 6, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Castle in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service, The Castle of Cagliostro, Porco Rosso). But Miyazaki’s works are so great that I can’t really fault anyone’s choice for their personal favorite
    7) Liked this one quite a bit. The animation is gorgeous
    6) Number 3 for Dreamworks behind Prince of Egypt and How to Train Your Dragon
    5) I was somewhat underwhelmed by Akira. It just went too far off the rails for me. I have sort of a mixed experience with sci-fi anime in general (I’m not a huge fan of Ghost in the Shell either) but I definitely respect how groundbreaking Akira was
    4) My least favorite Toy Story movie. But that’s not at all a bad thing considering that all three make it into my top 20 films and I consider it the 2nd best trilogy of all time behind Lord of the Rings
    3) I can’t wait to see this. I’m in the middle of watching Batman: The Animated series for the first time and I’m going to go through Batman Beyond after that. Once I’m done with those I’ll check this one out
    2) I wouldn’t count it on my list because of the mix of animation and live action but it’s an undeniably fantastic film
    1) Haven’t seen, looking forward to it though

    And I guess I’ll just throw out my top 10 non Disney animated films as well
    10) Finding Nemo
    9) Toy Story 3
    8) Toy Story
    7) Princess Mononoke
    6) Toy Story 2
    5) Whisper of the Heart
    4) The Prince of Egypt
    3) Millennium Actress
    2) Up
    1) Spirited Away

    In case you hadn’t noticed, I love Pixar and I love Ghibli

  8. I feel with you…I don’t really get Studio Ghibli movies either.
    I won’t comment on all your choices, because I haven’t seen all of those movie…Kells is on my watch list though, since the animated heroine put it recently on her top 30 list of favourite movies.
    Just so much: If I had to pick a Pixar movie, it would Up, and I really don’t like Akira for a couple of reasons.
    Movies which certainly would made my list are The Secret of Nimh, Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (The adventures of prince Achmed), Watership Down and The Last Unicorn. In fact, most of them (and a couple of from your list) ended up on my top 10 list of animated movies everyone must see…which would look different if I wrote the article today, but nevertheless:
    http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/animated-movies/articles/178717/title/top-ten-animated-movies-everyone-should-see

    1. I could never really get on board with Watership Down anymore than I think I could enjoy a truncated, abridged one-movie version of Lord of the Rings. There’s just too much good stuff that has to be cut and the movie just feels like a very pale imitation of the book to me.

      1. I know, but I nevertheless enjoy it for its unusual animation. Especially the dream sequences are very memorable. And I love the way the rabbits keep whispering all the time. Plus, it does manage to keep the three most important points, the different structures of the four warrens, in the story.

  9. Well I know I’ve been bouncing back and forth between coming on here and not, but I haven’t ever left here, mate. Always love seeing people put a list of their favorite movies/shows/ect., because it shows a little bit of a person’s personality. And, just like everyone here, I must now do the traditional commenting on your choices.

    10: I’ve heard about it here and there, and if I remember correctly, another thing that makes it interesting is that Chuck Jones directed, right? I mean, from what it looks like, it sort of has his style of animation. Might be me.
    9: I’ve done a review on it already, but I gotta agree with you: it’s the most cult film here. Though, I gotta say, knowing that George Lucas was executive producer, you have to wonder why he wouldn’t try bringing this back than making the prequels.
    8: That is a good choice, and I don’t mind something like Spirited Away, as it’s sort of typical to see that or Princess Mononoke (true story: just about fell asleep in the middle, need to watch that movie again)
    7: So many good things are said about it. Need to check it out.
    6: I personally think Prince of Egypt is the best Dreamworks film out of all the ones they did, but I’m with you in terms of entertainment. Funny enough, I haven’t seen the second one.
    5: This is, honestly, one of my favorite movies of all time, and a lot of it has to do with the animation and the storytelling. Admittedly it can be confusing (especially at the end), but it feels like one of the most sophisticated films I’ve ever seen. Though, I’ll be the first to say that in order to get the whole experience it’s best to read the six volume manga (read the first three and was plesently pleased by it).
    4: I didn’t cry at the end of the film, but I agree that this is the perfect book-ending to this series. In fact, why are there shorts? Leave it alone Pixar.
    3: Agreed. This is the most deep and emotional of all the animated Batman films. I would at least put it a few movies down from Mask of the Phantasm, but still a great film to watch, especially if it will get people to read the Death in the Family series.
    2: True story: I first saw this film when I was 13 near the end, and Judge Doom didn’t freak me out. Just gotten used to him now and days, but I can see why people see him as one of the most threatening and scarriest villains around.
    1: I haven’t read anything by Philip K. Dick (even though I own one of his books), but from what I’ve seen, this is rotoscoping done to perfection.
    Well that’s my thoughts. Great list by the way.

    1. I realised something about the prince of egypt. Every time i see it, i remember how good it is, and then i completely forget afterward, but kung fu panda i’ll always remember (plus i remember the underrated show that went with it). But PoEisbetter though.

  10. If you’re looking for a Ghibli/Miyazaki film that has a nice but not overwhelming emotional punch, there are several that are less “epic” in scale and visuals, and are more interested in developing their characters and leaving enough time for the audience to catch themselves and reflect:

    – My Neighbor Totoro is one of the best movies about being a kid ever made. It’s about growing up and experiencing life’s changes and challenges, and best of all, it’s told entirely through the viewpoint of children WITHOUT denigrating those viewpoints as somehow impossible or invalid. Did Mei REALLY find supernatural soot-sprites in the attic, or was she only imagining them? Does it really matter either way? This movie, in some ways, is in the same spirit as Calvin & Hobbes.

    – Kiki’s Delivery Service is all about the insecurities of adolescence. There’s no real villain or conflict – it’s all about Kiki maturing and finding her place in the world.

    – Porco Rosso looks like an action movie with a strange gimmick (LOL the main character is a pig, WTF), but it’s actually a very poignant story about what it means to be human, told through the eyes of a World War I vet. one of my very favorite Ghibli movies, actually.

  11. Hey Mouse, now that you’ve seen Princess Mononoke again, would you say that is your favorite Ghibli movie or is it still Howl’s Moving Castle?

  12. Re: Red Hood. It’s batty that Batman won’t kill someone who continuously escapes to kill people. Political correctness trumps human life. I don’t know why murder doesn’t bring it home for audiences but let’s say the Joker raped 10 people. Jailed. Escapes and rapes those 10 people again. This is not someone who is fit for human society, even locked up. Whether it’s terrorists, mass murderers, or rapists, being kind to them brings cruelty to the innocent goodly people of the world.

      1. Yeah, I get that. Kill Joker – no more Joker. The Dark Knight did a better job of driving that point home. I actually saw the film on your recommendation. It was actually pretty good despite the anime animation. Now that you mention it, my beef is not with the plot device in the film but Batman’s whole “one rule” moral code. Maybe I’m thinking of the Hush story where Batman echoes this inane sentiment. Much more satisfying is the Taken/Liam Neeson route. When you think about it, didn’t Mufasa die because he took pity on the hyenas when they attempted to kill his son? Didn’t the Enterprise crew almost get killed because they offered Khan to surrender? Mortal threats need to be eliminated. Just making a point that I think goes unnoticed in these films. Keep at it, Mouse. I think you’re one of the best in the business.

  13. If you enjoyed The Secret of Kells, you MUST check out his follow-up, Song of the Sea. I really liked SoK, but a few narrative details kept me from completely loving it like I wanted to. Song of the Sea fixed those issues for me and it owns a proud spot in my DVD collection. Far and away the best animated movie to come out last year.

    Like, I almost DON’T want to recommend it because I don’t know if you’ll be able to handle how amazing it is. Song of the Sea is the truth, yo.

  14. Hello Mouse, long time reader, first time commenter here. I just want to say how awesome I think you are and how much I love your list. You’ve got a ton of my favorites up here.

    Your reviews have encouraged me to discover some new films as well as rediscover some old favorites, and also to finally start up my own movie review blog. The first one I did is for The Secret of Kells, and I love that movie for pretty much all the reasons you listed here (also I may have borrowed a joke from one of your other reviews, and no, this isn’t a desperate plea for you to come check it out and notice me).

    Well, I’m off to read your Fantastic Four review. Have a nice day =)

  15. I’ve got some pretty good news about Twice Upon A Time – last fall they finally released it to DVD, and it’s got BOTH versions of the film! The downside is that the Warner Archive (the site through which it’s legally available) only ships to the US.

  16. Do Toy Story 3 and Who Framed Roger Rabbot really count as “not Disney”? Disney owns Touchstone and Pixar, after all.

      1. Be that as it may, hardly anyone considers those movies “separate” from the rest of Disney’s output. Disney Animation and Pixar are practically conjoined twins at this point, and it’s worth mentioning that Pixar started out as a subsidiary of Lucasfilm, which Disney also owns.
        So, if you were to replace those two movies on your list with movies that were NOT produced by Disney or any of its subsidiaries, which ones would you pick?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s