Top 10 Animated Movies Of 201113.12.11 # Top Ten # 7 Comments
2011 was a good year for animated film. Not a great one. Just good. Pixar fumbled and Dreamworks upped their game. Winnie the Pooh and The Lion King 3D brought a strong old-school flavour. As did Tintin, in a different way. And once again the sheer number of animations crept up, slowly consuming the family film genre. Next year there are significantly more. These are Movie-Moron’s top 10 animated movies of 2011.
10. Puss in Boots
This mixture of the fairy tale and the western successfully flushed the memory of Shrek the
Turd Third, rediscovering the heart, charm, and wit of the first two movies. Suave Puss (Antonio Banderas) was paired with Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) against Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) in this tale of what the notorious fighter, lover and outlaw did before he met Shrek. Probably the greatest piece of cat cinema since Mr. Bigglesworth in Austen Powers.
9. Winnie the Pooh
One to make the adults dewy-eyed with nostalgia, this animated revival of A.A. Milne’s much-loved creation was short, yes, but also as sweet as the honey which that ponderous ol’ bear loves so much.
8. Arthur Christmas
Likely that avid followers of Aardman Animations are mainly looking forward to next spring’s Pirates!, a return to the claymation format that first made the studio’s name. However this seasonally-themed adventure marked a critically-approved return to CG animation for Bristol-based Aardman, following the disappointment of Flushed Away five years previously.
7. The Adventures of Tintin
Baffling how Spielberg’s knack for character has so comprehensively deserted him over the course of the last decade or so, as his sense of jeunesse has metamorphosed into an almost pitiful childishness – exemplified by the endless chases, scrambles and scrapes that wearyingly dominate this first instalment in he and Peter Jackson’s proposed Tintin trilogy.
Perversely, it is the oft-maligned mo-cap animation which actually proves to be the saving grace of Secret of the Unicorn, with the Beard delivering some individually magnificent shots, such as when Tintin and Captain Haddock’s ocean rowing transmutes into a puddle on the street down which Thomson and Thompson are bumbling.
The makers of Ice Age this year delivered another anthropomorphic animal – a macaw voiced by Mark Zuckerberg. Is this a good thing? Really, is it?!
5. The Lion King (3D)
Any Disney classic rereleased onto the big screen is never likely to struggle to find an audience (witness the success this year in the UK of the BFI’s ‘Disney 50’ programme of screenings). But when you take The Lion King – one of the House of Mouse’s biggest-ever blockbusters – and give it a shiny new 3D makeover, the results are sure to be spectacular, no? And so it proved, certainly at the US box office, with nearly $100m duly coined in.
4. Cars 2
The critics might worship the likes of WALL-E, but Pixar are smart enough to know that sometimes the li’l uns who form the core audience of any cartoon movie just want a bunch of really cute characters and some madcap antics – which is roughly what they got from the second Cars, an improvement on the original thanks to a dose of espionage-spoofery.
After Zack Snyder delivered the owl-trocity of The Legend of the Guardians last year, this desert creature western was a much happier animated outing for a big-name live-action director – in this case, Pirates of the Caribbean’s Gore Verbinski. Any animation which features the legendary Harry Dean Stanton is more than okay in my book.
2. The Secret World of Arrietty
If Studio Ghibli seems to be treading water to an extent following the start-of-the-century triple-headed enchantment of Spirited Away, The Cat Returns and Howl’s Moving Castle, then this lush-looking take on enduring kids’ fave The Borrowers was still a bewitching animated treat.
1. Kung Fu Panda 2
Whisper it quietly but after so many years of trailing hopelessly in Pixar’s dust, DreamWorks Animation is now hot on the trail of the current leaders of the cartoon pack.
While last year’s How to Train Your Dragon amply demonstrated that DreamWorks could deliver the cute characters and the spectacular showpiece scenes, Kung Fu Panda 2 was even better – with a touching origin tale for Jack Black’s Po, and top-notch baddies in the shape of the nefarious Lord Shen (voiced by Gary Oldman) and his awesomely block-headed gorilla henchmen.
Leave your thoughts on 2011’s animated movies in the comments. What are your top picks?