Disney has been the staple for animated movies for years now bringing in big bucks and pleasing critics and fans alike. Along with Pixar, they have mastered great storytelling while appealing to both children and adults. Other studios have tried like Dreamworks’ Shrek and Universal’s Despicable Me with varying success, however its rare to find a great serious animated movie targeted to adults. Yet, it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. These animated movies weren’t all by big studios or even done in this country although they are all must sees
As a big fan of British author Neil Gaiman, I wasn’t surprised about how much I enjoyed this film. Like many of his stories it uses a dark environment to tell an interesting story. Animated in a beautiful and vivid stop-motion animation the movie looks visually stunning. The alternate world concept that Caroline encounters feels so creepy and well done that I still get shivers down my spine thinking about it. It’s a great movie that teaches that things aren’t as they appear.
Spirited Away (2001)
I’m not going to lie, it was hard to create a list like this and not just include Studio Ghibli movies. They seem to always find something magical that perfectly catches an essence of childhood or innocence.
The premise is simple, but the execution of the story takes you through a magical journey. It is a charming tale about love, determination, and growing up and along the way you get introduced to an incredibly rich and imaginative world. This is a must see movie.
Treasure Planet (2002)
Treasure Planet is a classic example of a movie that proves that putting a story in space and adding aliens can do nothing but improve how awesome a story is. This is Disney’s animated version of “Treasure Island”. It is a fantastic coming of age story with a young rebellious teen working through the emotional issues of losing his father at a young age. With a nice ambiguity of morality it is a nice change of pace from most Disney movies who far too often follow the good guy and bad guy tropes.
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
This is an extremely tragic tale of a young man and his sister caught in the aftermath of WWII. This film has an emotional breath about the victims of war that is astonishing. When I watched this as a kid I had no idea what I was getting into. Every animated movie I had seen so far had been either action packed or funny. This was one of the first animated movies that gave me respect for the medium to tell a serious story. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but this should be a much watch for anyone.
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
If you didn’t have the pleasure of watching the Batman animated TV series then you really missed out. The show was popular enough that it warranted it’s own spin off movie. This was the first imagining of batman that really nailed it. Despite some serious restrictions the show had for being kid friendly it had an underlying dark and mature story. It also featured some of the best voice actors for batman with Kevin Conroy as “Batman” and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) as “the Joker”
Despite everything it had going for it, the movie was a box office bomb. Netting only $5.6 million of its $6 million dollar budget. Some people still swear by this as one of the best animated superhero movies.