I really love movies, and I think that animated movies in particular can be real works of art. I know some people write them off as for children, and indeed some of the films on this list are, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be enjoyed by adults. This is a list of some of my favourite animated films that are in dire need of some love!
A stunning work by Cartoon Saloon, an Irish animation company. Their art style is dreamy and and the Secret of Kells tells the story of a young boy who meets a master illuminator, and the adventures that result from their friendship. It’s a tale of forest spirits, mysterious books and the looming threat of Viking invaders.
By the same studio as The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea is in a similar art style and is about a broken family and the quest they go on to put the world to rights. Young Saoirse is a selkie, meaning she can transform into a seal, and her growing powers attract more and more attention from the spirit world as the story goes on. While the plot is nominally about faeries and a quest to save them, the real heart of the story is in the family and how they must be forced to overcome their grief. Song of the Sea is special to me because as a child I wanted nothing more than to be a selkie, and was convinced that one day I would find out that I really was one.
Based on Khalil Gibran’s bestselling novel (which if you haven’t read you should, or at least watch the movie) the Prophet is the tale of the artist Mustafa who must escape the authorities who believe his work incites rebellion. The story is beautiful, and the art style is varied as different animators worked on different sections, giving it a great deal of variation and making the movie as a whole a feast for the eyes. I would recommend watching the trailer to get a better grasp for the film’s varied style, so I’ve linked it above in lieu of an image.
I’m not actually sure how underrated this one is! I’ve never seen it mentioned anywhere, but it’s possible that like me it was one of those films you thought was Disney and watched as a child. For the record, this is definitely not historically accurate! It follows the young Romanov princess Anastasia, the sole remaining member of her family that was slaughtered at the start of the Russian revolution with the aid of the dark sorceror Rasputin. Now 18, she goes on a journey to find her family, aided by two conmen who intend to take her to her sole remaining relative in Paris. It’s a brilliant watch with great animation and an engaging story. The soundtrack is brilliant and I still sing “Rumour in St Petersburg” when I’m cooking. I wanted to be Anastasia as a child and I’m pretty sure I had the official doll of her, but insisted on her having the rags rather than the ballgown because I preferred that outfit.
Shockingly, this is the only Studio Ghibli film on this list, but it’s my abosolute favourite one. Kiki is a young witch who must leave home at 13 to begin her training accompanied by her wisecracking black cat Gigi. It’s a very peaceful movie, as there’s no world ending danger, no mad villain trying to kill everyone; often the central conflict is whether or not Kiki can deliver something in time. There are tense moments, but the most striking thing is how accurately the film portrays Kiki maturing throughout. This film makes me unbelievably happy and is my go to when feeling down.
Only one Disney film as well, but this is a film that noone seems to talk about and it gives me goosebumps. It’s way darker than most Disney, and the soundtrack is mind blowing. Quasimodo has spent his entire life locked in the bell tower of Notre Dame cathedral, with only his guardian, Judge Frollo, and the gargoyles for companions. In the film he finally ventures out and begins to see through Frollo’s lies and manipulations, befriending the gypsy Esmerelda along the way. I actually prefer the film to the book by Victor Hugo, because I just get upset by the book as in his typical style it’s very depressing. The Disney version is still dark, but it has some lighter elements to it and a real sense of adventure. The soundtrack is the standout element though, as it is hauntingly beautiful and, in my opinion, Disney’s best (yes, better than Frozen!).
A stop motion animation film by Wes Anderson, this is my favourite Roald Dahl adaptation. It faithfully tells the story of Mr Fox and his battle against the farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean, and is hilarious the entire time. It’s actually quite adult in its humour, with a lot of poorly covered up swearing (What the cuss?!). It’s a great story, as expected of Dahl, and realised with sass and sarcasm by the bucketload.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and have perhaps found something to watch for your next movie night.
If you’re more into books than movies, try my Summer 2016 Reading List.