Okay. I’m jumping on the bandwagon here, and Ptfan1 and Anarchist (aka spencercourt) are far more qualified than I to make such a list. I may read like a fiend, but I don’t see that many movies. However, both their lists don’t include any animated/computer-generated movies and what, by the way, is up with that? Is it, like, unmanly or something?
I never, NEVER, go see a movie that I know to be a comedy. I love humor in movies, which is not the same thing. The surest way to turn me off is to suggest I see anything with Adam Sandler or Jim Carrey in it (there’s an exception to the Jim Carrey rule.) If I see a comedy, it’s quite by accident. Such was the case with the one and only comedy I think deserves a “best of” nod: Clueless. Very funny and sophisticated.
Now on to the “best of” animated/CG movies. In first place is the undisputed king of the genre: Bambi (1942). Many argue that Fantasia is Disney’s best classic animated movie, but I disagree. I chiefly remember Fantasia as the movie that showed every other Saturday at midnight at the local art theater, and it was a big hit with the self-medicated crowd. (On alternate Saturdays, Rocky Horror Picture Show.) Bambi set the stage for the best that followed. A truly great movie in this genre ideally has animals, a happy ending, and it has a message. Sometimes they will make you cry (on a scale of 1 to 5, it needs to be at least a 2-Kleenex movie. 1 Kleenex=not sad enough. 5-Kleenex=too sad.)
Before I proceed with the other four movies in my top five, let me say that I haven’t seen three of the most acclaimed movies in the genre: Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, and WALL-E. One day, I hope to correct that, but for the moment, here is my list. They are in no particular order. Recently, a writer for the NY Times, Stanley Fish I believe, did a top 10 movies of all time. If I recall correctly, he said that The Best Years of Our Lives was the best movie ever made. Number two was Sunset Boulevard. After that, he said, everything else was tied for Number three. So to steal his line, the other movies on my list are tied for Number two.
The Lion King (1994). No introduction or explanation necessary.
An American Tail (1986). Oddly, you won’t find this Steven Spielberg movie on anyone else’s list, which truly stumps me. Fievel is a little mouse who becomes separated from his family as they are immigrating to the U.S. I don’t believe they were the ones who sang it in the movie, but hearing Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville sing “Somewhere Out There” is enough reason to see the movie. Fievel sings it to the moon, saying that somewhere out there, his family is underneath the same moon and stars as he is, and he prays they will be reunited. Geez. I gotta go get a Kleenex.
Shrek (2001). Only a one-Kleenex movie, because most of it is hysterically funny. Eddie Murphy as Donkey is unmatched. What it lacks in sadness, it makes up for in message: It’s okay to be just who you are.
Bolt (2008). Three Kleenexes. It has a dog, a cat, and a hamster. How could it go wrong? There is a scene at the end of the movie where Bolt (the dog) is trapped with his beloved person Penny inside a burning building. He desperately seeks a way out, and finds one, but it’s too small for Penny to follow. So instead of saving himself, he goes back and lies down next to her, intending to die with her. You can use up your three Kleenexes in that scene alone. All the very best things about dogs…the love and loyalty.
I have to do an Honorable Mention here, which is Charlotte’s Web. Not the original animated version, because I never saw it. What I did see was the more recent (2006) version, with Dakota Fanning as the little girl Fern. I adore Dakota Fanning. I couldn’t include it in my list, because only Charlotte, the spider, is CG in this movie. I’m probably the only person on the planet who never read this book as a child, so I was totally unprepared for the fact that Charlotte dies at the end. (Dang! Would somebody please pass the Kleenex?)