Top 25 Badass Animated MoviesJune 28th, 2011 |
Brace yourself… We got ourselves one LOOOOONG ass post here!
I love cartoons. Hell, it’s no mystery to anyone here. The art of making a series of lines and colors pieced together in sequential motion to create the illusion of life, is something that I truly respect beyond like you wouldn’t believe. (Hopefully my art style shows that.) Recently, Time.com made a list of the top 25 best animated films of all time.
And this list is bullshit.
Let’s get it out of the way right now. This is a list made up by a dork who has no idea what makes great animated movie. ‘The Fantastic Mr. Fox’ makes that list, but ‘The Incredibles’ or ‘Monsters Inc.‘ does not? The piece of shit ‘Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who’ makes the list, but ‘Fantasia’ or ’Peter Pan’ can‘t make the cut? The ONLY movie by Hayao Miyazaki that makes the list is ‘Spirited Away’ with nary a mention of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind or Princess Mononoke… But oh, we gotta give props to the environmentalist dancing penguin movie! (What? Was Ferngully not preachy enough? What about Wall-E? Oh wait… That’s #2. I’m shocked speechless. Really, I am.) I was going to go off on a tangent insulting the article writer and his mother… But I decided to let it go, and present my alternative list. Unlike the writer of that article, you all have a brain and are completely capable of making your own list of great cartoon movies. So I’ll let you go ahead and do so. By all means, you’re more than welcome to add your opinions and additions below. (In fact, I welcome it.) In the meanwhile, I present to you my top 25 badass animated movies of all time! Why are they badass? Because I’m biased. There are better movies made than those on this list, and while you may not agree with my choices… At least I won’t tell you it’s good because I’m kissing up to someone famous. (Fuck you, Happy Feet.)
25. The Road to El Dorado- I‘ve written an entire blog entry about this one before, so let’s move onto the next one.
24. Rock & Rule- The name is Rock & Rule… What about it isn‘t obviously badass? It’s one of those early 80’s movies made in the spirit of Heavy Metal or Wizards. Like Heavy Metal, it’s got an awesome soundtrack. Unlike Heavy Metal, it’s a badass and fun movie to watch. Oh sure, you can nitpick the movie apart from here to the ends of the Earth with it’s plotholes, but it’s highly watchable, and funkatastic with it’s soundtrack. Besides, you find me another movie that involves drug use, devil worship and mild sexuality. Well, besides…
23. Fantasia- This movie is an acid trip without taking the acid. It’s beautifully animated (despite being over 70 years old) and it’s a wonder to watch. But let’s be honest… We all know the badass part of it is Night on Bald Mountain, which gives us the Chernabog, who may be Disney’s most evil and badass villain ever made. (Except for #12.) And for many of us, it was the first time we ever saw cartoon boobs.
22. Transformers: The Movie- Oh really? You’re sitting there surprised I put this one on the list? Come on. 1980’s power rock soundtrack, a giant planet eating robot, Sharkticons, “One shal stand, one shall fall”? Please, it inspired an entire generation of Transformers fans, of which you know I am one of. It goes on the list, but at least I put it the higher numbers.
21. Ducktales: Treasure of the Lost Lamp- This movie is actually a really underrated gem of Disney’s movies. It’s not been released to DVD yet, but you can rent it on iTunes, and I do recommend doing so. If you remember how awesome the cartoon show was… This movie is more of the same, but bigger and better. I really didn’t understand why it’s not more popular. It was a really great animated movie. It might have been the short run time though.
20. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society- Okay, here’s the thing. I love Masamune Shirow (even if in his later years he has been turning out some really pornographic material) and GitS was my first major exposure to manga and anime. And to be honest… I have a warm spot in my heart for it.However, as beautifully animated the first two animated movies were, they were boring as shit. When the series Stand Alone Complex came out, it took all the elements that was good about GitS, and made up some new stuff that was also good, and got rid of the boring stuff. I consider GitS: SAC the best anime series ever made, with beautiful animation, extremely interesting characters, and some really solid forward-thinking about a post-cyberpunk society. And the animated movie, Solid State Society was basically one giant wonderful story, stand alone story. I loved it. It was, to me, the GitS movie I was waiting for.
19. An American Tail- One of the biggest influences in my art and life is Don Bluth, and his movie about Fievel Mousekewitz and his journey into the new world, was not just an amazing animated masterpiece, but probably the real reason that launched the Disney Renaissance. (You see, it made a lot of money and was a critical success, and the then-new CEO Michael Eisner was like “We’re Disney. We make cartoons! How the hell did this beat us at our own game?!” Next thing you know, Roger Rabbit and the Little Mermaid was made.
18. Metropolis- A wonderfully fun, and sometimes rather dark anime from 2001, based on the manga from Omasu Tezuka. And after watching it, you’ll probably never think of the song “I Can’t Stop Loving You” the same way again.
17. Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths- You know what I love? Super-heroes. You know what I love about super-heroes? The fact that only with super-heroes can you do a story where evil alternate universe versions of those heroes are trying to build a quantum bomb that will end up destroying the entire multiverse, and it’s up to the good heroes to traverse across dimensions to stop them. This stuff ONLY happens with super-heroes. (And maybe Star Trek.) Flawed? Totally. But it’s so utterly fun, I love it. Besides, that line with Batman telling Owlman: “There is a difference between you and me. We both looked into the abyss, but when it looked back as us… You blinked.” Hell to the yeah.
16. Batman vs. Dracula- Honestly, I know what you’re saying. You’re like “Wait, but that’s THE Batman. The stupid Batman show?” Look, whatever your opinion of the show was, the Dracula movie here… It’s a complete and total homage to the Hammer Dracula films. Dude is drawn like Christopher Lee, the music plays up the violin chords like the Hammer films, and even Gotham looks a little more gothic in design than usual. Plus the fight with the vampire Joker and Batman in the blood bath was a little unsettling. It’s got a couple of holes, and they totally do that Alucard thing, which by now is like the world’s worst kept secret identity… But it’s a fun horror flick that’s not pretentious at all. (And in today’s world of horror, that’s saying a lot.)
15. Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven‘s Door- One of the greatest animes of all time, and this is it’s movie. Really, not much more to say than that. They did such a good job on the show, that when the early rumors were abound that the DVD release wasn’t going to have a dub job, and be subtitled only… Fans bitched. It was one of the first times anime fans finally acknowledged that the English dub jobs can actually be good!
14. Tarzan- Really, out of all the traditional 2D animated movies, I think this one of them all, has the greatest animation. It’s fluid, the character designs are wonderful, and the rescue scene with Tarzan, Jane and the Baboons is just one of the greatest minutes and a half of animation ever done. The only reason it’s not higher on this list is because of that annoying gorilla. But it does contain probably the most horrible Disney villain death of all time… Yikes!
13. Dragonball Z: Super Android 13!- I admit it. I loved DBZ. I mean, it was a great show, and what I liked the most about it… Was the dubbing of it. I’ve seen the subtitles and the like, and you know what? It’s not as fun. The cheesy rock soundtrack, the screaming about sending people to another dimension, and really… Who doesn’t love that it’s over 9000? It’s a stupid fight show, that never took itself too seriously in the slightest. And the dubbing, there was a certain logic to it, that really showed through with this movie. (Like non of the heroes would swear, they’d always say “darn it!” and the like. The villains would, but not the heroes. They’d never say kill, they’d say destroy. It’s a funny logic to it that’s hilarious.) That said, this one was one of the more self-contained of the movies, made a little later, so the animation was better, the dubbing was smoother, and it had all the characters we liked. (Hey, at least it’s better than the live action movie!)
12. The Emperor’s New Groove- Watch THIS and try and tell me that Yzma is not the greatest Disney villain of all time? This movie is like a big budget version of a Chuck Jones cartoon. It’s witty, funny, and just a joy to watch. And even more amazingly, the spin-off cartoon, The Emperor’s New School was also a great cartoon in it’s own right.
11. Beauty and the Beast- The follow up to the Little Mermaid, this was a great animated movie. Also, it was the first animated film to be nominated for the best picture Oscar, which caused a huge stir at the time, because it’s a cartoon and shouldn’t be taken seriously. So they made the best animated movie Oscar category, which of course goes to whatever movie Pixar is doing. Anyway, movie’s great, songs are wonderful and Gaston is hilarious.
10. Batman: Under the Red Hood- You know, it’s a really good Batman story. I had my skepticism, because the story of how Jason Todd survived his death, always… Well, it wasn’t that good. (Superboy-Prime punching the universe?) But they re-wrote it, got rid of that horrible Superboy-Prime crap and actually made it a good movie. There’s a few moments in the movie that really takes me out of it, because it was probably left in from the original comic script. (Amazo, cyber ninjas, ect.) And if they had more time to flesh out the story, it really could have been extraordinary, as opposed to just great. And it asks the question I’ve always wondered: Why is the Joker still alive? And Batman’s answer… Just wasn’t that good of an answer. You actually started thinking that Batman was wrong.
9. Ninja Scroll- I saw this movie in college during the summer of 1996. At this time, we were used to our anime being essentially robots, magical fireballs, fuzzy animation and the occasional boob shots for no reason. Then we rented this one on a whim. Holy crap, we were blown away. Now bear in mind, this movie is stupid. It’s like goes so far into the ‘stupid’, it creeps up the other side, into ‘awesome’. One of the opening sequence pretty much set the entire tone of the movie, with the Koga Ninja getting slaughtered by Tessai the stone giant, is just insane the first time you see it. And the whole conflict with him and Jubei just continues the insanity. But there’s a few things in there, like pretty much how the character Kagero gets treated by some of the villains that make me feel a little squicky.
8. Justice League: New Frontier- This was one of the earliest DC Animated movies, and it’s one of the best. A period piece set after the Korean War, at the dawn of the Silver Age of comics. It’s mostly a Green Lantern story, but it’s quite clever and incorporates quite a few of the DC heroes in it. There’s some truncation, from the great comic story it’s based on. (The bit with Aquaman and Superman at the end.) But I’m a big sucker for awesome, epic super-hero stories, and I’m also a sucker for period pieces too. Combine the two together, and it’s quite great. In fact, if they had fleshed out the truncated parts a bit more, they could have easily released this theatrically. (The animation not quite up there, but the story makes it work.) Seriously though, with the success of X-Men: First Class, and the less than stellar success of Green Lantern… Maybe Warner Bros. should consider a live action version of it?
7. Kung Fu Panda- As of this time, I have not seen Kung Fu Panda 2, but I intend to soon. You see, when Kung Fu Panda came out, it was around the same time that Wall-E came out. And everyone was like “Oh, Wall-E is great! Eve is so cute!” And I was like, Wall-E is pretty good, but I liked Kung Fu Panda more. At least KFP was about kung fu fighting. Wall-E… I think the message in the movie was that if we pollute the Earth enough, Wal-Mart will send us on a Galactic Cruise for a few centuries, and then the Earth will fix itself. Or something like that. But seriously, Kung Fu Panda is awesome to watch, especially that opening dream sequence. (I was actually disappointed the entire movie wasn’t done like that!)
6. Princess Mononoke- Hayao Miyazaki’s environmental movie here was the perfect way to do it. It’s not preachy, the people of Iron Town and Lady Eboshi are not depicted as soulless monsters, the forest spirits are not all pure and good… It’s a very level and honest movie about industry vs. nature, with the character of Ashitaka as our eyes into this conflict. It tells the same story, that movies like Happy Feet tries to tell… Minus all the pandering and pretentiousness. It’s honest, haunting and beautiful. I think it’s Miyazaki’s greatest film he’s ever done. I truly admire this film.
5. The Incredibles- This movie proved to the rest of the world that super-heroes CAN be taken seriously, and be a financial success. This movie is near prefection, and of all the sequels that Pixar seems to be making with Toy Story last year, Cars this year and Monsters Inc. coming up soon… The one I want the movie, is the one they won’t give me. I want a second Incredibles movies. The scene where Dash is running away from the scissor ships, and he discovers he can run on water? Good God, that scene STILL just totally gives me goosebumps. It’s just so freakin’ super, I loved it. If I have only complain, it’s that because of this movie, we now see what the Fantastic Four movies SHOULD have been and weren’t.
4. Mulan- I love Mulan. It was intelligently written, and beautiful to behold. It was also Disney’s last musical movie until the Princess and the Frog from ‘08. Yeah, they took some liberties (like a lot) from the original poem, but I can totally forgive it. They took the message of women and men being equal, and did not get preachy or pandering in that ‘After-School Special’ sort of way that we were all expecting. You felt for Mulan. You understood where she was coming from, even if you were a guy… You understood. It’s a beautiful movie. In almost every way. And the animation and coloring styles in the movie is so damn influential on my and my art, that I can’t even begin to explain it. This to me, is everything I love about Disney movies. The only reason it’s not higher than this, is because of how important the other three are to me.
3. The Secret of Nimh- This is one of the first animated movies I ever saw, and it was probably one of the biggest influences on me ever. Don Bluth showed me what adventures can await, with a little mouse. To a six year old kid who was so wrapped up in Star Wars at the time… It was eye opening. I just remember seeing it (and still do) and thinking “that is so beautiful.” And I’ve spent years trying to recapture that same feeling. So yeah, you ever wonder why I try to emulate an animated look with the comic? Blame Don Bluth. He got me when I was six years old. (And then Mulan got me again later!)
2. Tangled- I believe I went off on how great it was last November here. No need to repeat myself, right?
Yeah, those are my choices. I probably would have added a few more in there too, but anime like Read or Die, or Talespin: Plunder and Lightning are really a compilation of episodes and not really films. I could fill an entire list out of just animated series that kicks rocks. I could give honorable mentions to stuff like ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Ponyo’… But I‘ll leave it at that for now. What about yours?