Well, here we are again to go over one of those lists we like so much. On this occasion we bring you a list of 10 animated films from all times that, in one way or another, have left their mark on the history of animated cinema, either because of their technical content, their script or their importance in our country or internationally.
As we usually say, it is impossible not to leave out wonderful animated films and, of course, everything is debatable. This list does not pretend to be a ranking, but it is a walk from the first Disney animated films of the 30s, through the incredible talent of Pixar that has marked the history of short films and animated cinema and, stopping also in some film productions more modest than for its style of animation or content, we found interesting to bring here.
There are probably thousands of thousands of people who have not yet seen the first great animated film in history: Snow White. Starting from the classic tale, from this first film, Walt Disney built a magnificent career of handcrafted animation films that marked the childhood of millions of children at that time.
Snow White, as the first great work of animation, had to solve many technical problems to reach the final result. And, although animation today has little to do with Disney’s original works, it is still advisable to go back to the origins and return to that time when dozens of cartoonists, without computers or Adobe programs, brought characters to life and manually animated each endearing gesture of Snow White, the Stepmother and the 7 Dwarfs.
We go back a little over a decade from that Snow White to stop for a moment in Disney’s thirteenth animated feature film: Alice in Wonderland, based on Lewis Carroll’s disturbing novels “Alice in Wonderland” and “Alice through the Looking Glass”.
This film was released in the United States in 1951 and took 3 years to arrive in our country, after numerous successes.
The technical advance in terms of animation and the visual impact of the film is evident and, although a spectacular new version by Tim Burton was released in 2016, we believe that the original animated film of the 50s is still a marvel.
Without a doubt, this is a cult film that has become Studio Ghilbi’s main hallmark. And this is because, despite the great successes of this powerful Japanese animation studio, “Totoro” created a new style of animation with some fantastic and very personal themes that could only come from the head of its creator Hayao Miyazaki.
The beauty of the images and the rhythm of the events lived by some sisters in a languid summer, are two of the main attractions of this animation film that every motion designer should see at least 100 times in his life.
It may not be a spectacular film, but what this film pioneered was the integration of animated characters (cartoons) with flesh and blood actors, with surprising visual results for the time.
“Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” had a really solvent director, Robert Zemeckis, and a not inconsiderable budget of around $70 million. As for the animated characters, Rabbit Roger Rabbit was the humorous one, while Jessica Rabbit’s excessive curves were the ultra sexy one.
It didn’t work out too well at the box office, but technically it laid the groundwork for the integration of animation and real image that has been refined over the decades.
The spectacular nature of “The Lion King” 2019 must be acknowledged, but before the 3D computer animation reached these levels, the film already worked very well in its 1994 version.
Emotions also come when they are animated in 2D, this film is a great example of that. This 90’s film, which was the 32nd Disney Animated Classics, brought about a certain rebirth of the animation factory that had gone through difficult times.
I’m sure you know the story (by the way, it’s exactly the same as the 2019 film) with biblical and Shakespearean touches that together create a fable about friendship and family.
“The Lion King” marked the 90’s not only because of its 2 Oscar Awards for Best Soundtrack and Best Song and for being one of the most successful films in history, but also because of the mark that its musical has left on half the planet.
Good old John Lasseter was comfortable directing one of the films that has surely been a turning point in the world of animated films, the first feature film from Pixar, the animation studio that led the catharsis of animated films with films like this first Toy Story of the saga, which occupied a very important place in the film tastes of adults too.
A team of more than 100 animation professionals, animators, character creators, illuminators, texturizers… gave life to Woody, BuzzLightyear and all those toys that are now part of our lives.
To give you an idea of the dimension that Pixar had in front of the giant Disney, suffice it to say that in the Lion King (1994), of which we have just spoken, nearly 800 animation professionals participated.
We enter the 21st century with another of our favorite Studio Ghibli animation films, “El Viaje Chihiro” (The Chihiro’s Journey) released in 2001. In this seventh film by the very personal Miyakazi, inside the studio, the magical atmospheres are still present.
The special sensitivity of this Japanese filmmaker tells us this time the story of Chihiro, a 12-year-old girl who enters a supernatural universe from which she must escape with her parents. The budget for this film, whose production began in 2000, is quite far from that of the big American productions, remaining at around 19 million dollars.
You may know the exquisite graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi on which this French animation film directed by Vincent Paronnaud is based. The protagonist of this story is Marjane, an Iranian girl with political concerns who lived some of the excesses of the Shah in the late 70’s and later also the problems that women lived with the Islamic revolution.
A raw journey through several decades of the history of Iran told with a very personal style of illustration that makes you live the vicissitudes of Marjane in first person.
Persepolis won the Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Palme d’Or.
It is a luxury the level that the Spanish animation films have nowadays, but in this case beyond productions like Planet 51 or Catch the Flag, we have chosen to put the accent in a more intimate film.
“Wrinkles” is an animated film based on the graphic novel of the same name by Paco Roca which was awarded the National Comic Prize in 2008. In this case the film was directed by Ignacio Ferreras.
It is a delicious film, and also a hard one, which revolves around the magical friendship of two elderly people in which Alzheimer’s begins to intrude. As a curiosity, it should be noted that 75% of the production of this film was made in Spain, while for the rest, companies from the Philippines were subcontracted.
We could not finish this post without talking about what has been for all the great surprise of 2019 and early 2020 in animation films, the multi-award winning Spanish film “Klaus”. A film specially thought for Christmas, promoted by Netflix, which after winning the Annie Awards (what we could consider the Oscars of animation), getting the British Bafta for best animation film and leaving out of the Oscar nominations Disney and its Frozen II, could not get the so desired statuette that we are sure will not take long to reach the showcases of the national animation cinema.
It is a film with a great bill in which a charming story stands out with some very well outlined characters and a point of humor that works of luxury.
So far this animated journey of more than 7 decades of great international and national animated films. I’m sure you have your favorite too, and you’re looking forward to watching one again.
We’ll read and see you in the next post!
Photo of Zakaria Ahada at Unsplash