Pop Off: Top Ten: continued
Published: Monday, October 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2012 22:10
Continuing the list of my Top 10 Favorite Animated Movies:
6.“Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Originally I had this film in the number nine slot, but then I remembered how endlessly quotable the screenplay is, so I moved it to number eight. Then I remembered how charming and wonderful the characters are, so I moved it to number seven. Then I remembered that director Wes Anderson is a creative mastermind who delivers a new level of detail and finesse previously unseen in stop motion animation, so I moved it to number six. Now that I think about it, why didn’t I put it any higher?
5. “The Lion King.” Oh yeah, THIS is why. “The Lion King” is without a doubt the reason I love animation as much as I do. It is the epitome of everything Disney has to offer. A smart and well-old story, great visuals, a memorable villain, big emotional scenes and songs that not even a severe concussion will get out of your head. I saw it when it was re-released last year, and it was easily the best time I’ve ever had at the movies. Granted, some of the films on the lower half of the list are probably objectively better, but that’s why this is a personal list.
4.“Watership Down.” Coincidentally, “Watership Down” is also one of my favorite books. When it comes to screen adaptation of books I love, I find it impossible to ignore what’s missing: the details I read but didn’t get to see. “Watership Down” is the only exception. Not only am I unphased by the absent elements, I’d say the film works better without them. Possibly because what is presented is told so well. The story is original and engaging, the enormous cast is well balanced, the voiceover work is phenomenal and the animation is hypnotically mesmerizing.
3. “The Secret of NIMH.” Apart from being a film with an exceptional story, original characters and strong themes, “The Secret of NIMH” is possibly the most groundbreaking entry in its genre. While animated films intended for adults had existed before it, “The Secret of NIMH” was the first to contain dark and mature elements while still aiming itself at a young audience. The result is a powerhouse picture that challenged every cliché, and took both itself and its audience very seriously. It contains no romance subplots, no musical numbers, just a frightened mother trying to save her family in the middle of a war between science and nature.
2. “The Fox and the Hound.” An unusual choice, I’m aware. “The Fox and the Hound” is unique in that most of its success lies beneath the surface. It asks its audience to see more than just two characters who can’t be friends anymore. It’s a film about the strength and power of interpersonal relationships, and where the villain is not a towering evil figure, but reality itself. I actually know a couple people who can’t make it all the way through this movie, it’s so sad it breaks them. If a film, let alone a children’s animated film, becomes so emotionally gripping one can’t watch it; that’s a damn good movie.
1.“Princess Mononoke.” Usually when I don’t understand certain parts of a movie, I blame the movie. But “Princess Mononoke” is a film that’s so brilliant, so complex, so wondrous and so enveloping, it made me feel unworthy of it. It’s my fault and I didn’t quite get it the first time I watched it. It tells the story of the never-ending battle between man and nature, with plenty of mystical and sentimental elements. It presents a world without heroes or villains, just the inevitable interwoven conflicts of rich and deep characters. The story combined with the visuals are so marvelous, there are moments where I can’t think or even breathe, I can only stare in awe.