Yesterday I brought you part one of my top ten computer animated movies that aren’t animated by Disney or Pixar. Today I’ll be bringing you the remaining 5 movies. While I was fairly clear what my #1 was going to be, it was tough to decide what order to place the rest of these movies in.
#5 – Shrek, Dreamworks (2001)
Shrek was one of the first animated movies that successfully combined subtle adult humour with a storyline that kids could enjoy. On top of that it had a smart script, lots of little twists, and a great ending. The only problem with this movie is that the animation hasn’t aged so well.
#4 – Rango, Nickelodeon (2011)
The movie which inspired my pen name, Rango was self aware, funny, dark, and also a western, a genre I consider to be dead in the water (which it might be considering how well The Lone Ranger has done). It had some fantastically creepy character designs, great characters and lots of other little touches that just made it a damn good movie. My only “problem” with it is that it doesn’t tone anything down, which might be an issue if you were expecting this to be a kids movie. I would seriously think twice about taking any kid below the age of ten to watch this.
#3 – Megamind, Dreamworks (2010)
Megamind was showing at around the time the original Despicable Me was in South Africa. I ended up watching Despicable Me when it was on the big screen and only catching Megamind much later on DVD. Boy, that was a mistake. This movie has a fantastically strong story, great characters, unexpected twists, fantastic animation, and is also extremely funny. If I had to choose between Despicable Me and Megamind, I would pick Megamind every time.
#2 – How to train your Dragon, Dreamworks (2010)
HttyD (for short) is probably one of the least funny movies in this list. That’s not to say it isn’t funny, but it doesn’t have any sidesplitting jokes. The thing is, everything else about it is so great that it doesn’t matter that it’s not that funny. HttyD has an interesting world, great story and characters, awesome animation, mind blowing flying sequences, and an extremely satisfying ending that does something basically unheard of in most movies, animated or not. The only problem I have with this movie is a small one, but for some reason it really annoys me. I consider it so annoying I almost placed this movie at #3. There’s a scene that has one line of extremely unnecessary dialogue. You can tell that they put in the line to add some humor to the movie, but the line isn’t that funny and feels horribly out of place. Yes, it’s weird that this one thing bothers me so much, but it does.
#1 – Kung Fu Panda, Dreamworks (2008)
Number one ladies and gentleman, goes to Kung Fu Panda. Boy, do I remember the first time I watched this movie. It was a Sunday afternoon and I was bored, so I decided to check what was showing at the cinema. Jumping jehoshaphat Batman! There’s an early screening of Kung Fu Panda!
After the movie was over, I remember leaving the cinema and thinking to myself “It’s movies like this that make me want to write!” I had heard that Kung Fu Panda was good, but this movie absolutely blew me away. The thing that made this movie great was not the awesome animation, the funny jokes (one of which is so subtle I missed it until I watched the director’s commentary), the well paced plot, the amazing voice acting (Jack Black was perfectly cast for this role), or the kick-ass action sequences (the final training scene between Master Shifu and Po still blows my mind).
No, it wasn’t any of those things.
It was the characters, which are exceptionally complex for a movie that could have probably gotten away with cardboard cutouts. In all fairness, Monkey, Viper, Crane and Mantis were supporting characters, and what they did have to offer wasn’t amazing, but it was good enough. However, Po, Shifu, Tai Lung, Tigress and even Mr. Ping were all amazingly well written. Po is a stereotypical nerd, even if it’s never stated as such. He’s overweight, smells, has no sense of co-ordination and is obsessed with the Furious Five (and like any good nerd he has their action figures). His journey from zero to hero was great because he didn’t take the typical hero’s path. He had to find his own way to become the kung fu master he always wanted to be. There was also a great moral to Po’s story, although it’s up to you to figure it out.
Man, I could talk about this movie for a while, so I’m going to stop there or I’ll end up writing an essay about this movie. If you’ve been in a coma since 2008 and just woke up, out of all these other movies, this would be the one I would see first.
And that rounds up my top ten favourite computer animated movies that aren’t animated by Disney or Pixar. If you agree (or disagree) feel free to add a comment below, on my Facebook post, or send me a tweet! But for now: skadoosh.