Staff Picks: The Best Computer Animated Movies

Best Computer Animated Movies
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Best computer animated movies

This week, I thought the Renegade staff should have a little more fun, and dive into the animated genre. I know at least, most of us have once in our life enjoyed a great animated film, whether as a kid or an adult. So, without further ado, here is this week’s Best computer animated movies staff picks!

Best computer animated moviesToy Story 3

Bethany Lewis

I have to say Toy Story 3. I grew up with the first two movies, loved them dearly, and watched and rewatched them over and over again. Then I had younger siblings who also loved them and would watch and rewatch them. When Toy Story 3 came out, I was well into my 20s, but the movies still had a big place in my heart. It felt like the completion of something important.

And everyone involved in the film knew it, too. After all, it took them eleven years between the second and third movie to make damn sure everything was perfect. They knew they had to get it right. They kept it true to the first two movies, aiming at a young audience, but also knew that there were a lot of 20-somethings out there who had a very real connection to the movies and their characters.

And seeing it in the movie theater was one of the most emotional and surreal experiences I’ve ever had. There were parents there with their kids, but a big chunk of the audience were 20-somethings like me who grew up with Buzz and Woody, who were those kids’ age when the first one came out. The kids loved it, and the 20-somethings cried their eyes out – for Andy, for Woody and Buzz, but mostly for ourselves and the end of our childhood. As fun, exciting, and adventurous as the movie was, it was also an intense and important cathartic experience that brought some small amount of closure to a generation.

Calibertholomew Winfield

I can honestly say I’ve only seen three CGI animated movies. I don’t have kids, and only one girlfriend to speak of in the last decade, so they never find their way into my queue. If I had to pick one, I’d say Toy Story 3. I’ve only seen it once, but remember it well enough I suppose. My write up is as follows:

Toy Story 3 – Who didn’t love toys as a kid? I’m the guy who continued to love toys into his teens and now as an adult. But not in a creepy way like Joey Gladstone. I collect action figures. Still have a few from my child hood. Anyway, the story is great, and pretty action packed, to be honest. Everyone sees these films and gets nostalgic for their old toys, well, suck it, I still have a few proudly displayed on my shelf next to my Robocop, Dutch from Predator, and multitude of horror figures. If they were all to come to life, it’d be a blood bath.

 

Best computer animated moviesWall-E

Caleb Masters

I’m a massive Pixar fan. I love everything they’ve ever put out(*pretending Cars franchise didn’t happen). Choosing between Pixar movies is at least as difficult as choosing between children…..and may be even more complicated. The Toy Story Trilogy, The Incredibles, and Up are all movies that are all so very close to my heart….but I think the movie that really set a new bar and broke through to both my inner child(which is a sap for cuteness and lovey things) and my adult appetite for larger ideas is Wall-e.

Wall-e is not just a great 3d animated movie…it’s a great science fiction movie about a world(with values similar to our own) that got so consumed with narcissism and consumerism that it forgot what the real world was like. The human race lost its heart and humanity only for it to be discovered by a malfunctioning robot left behind on earth to clean up. It’s beautiful, it’s brilliant, and for the first half of the movie it doesn’t even need words to speak volumes about any number of issues that the movie raises. This is not just one of the best animated movies out there, it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.

Even when I don’t agree with the message, I’m a sucker for movies that deliver something more than what is on the screen, and for better or worse, Wall-e has a plethora of things to say all while still being a very warm and charming Pixar experience.

 

Best computer animated moviesUp

Rick Tym

Yes, it’s true, it’s damn true. I love Up just as much as the rest of the Renegade staff. This movie is touching, funny, and an all around great time at the movies (or at home on DVD). As our fearless leader Shawn S. Lealos says, the first 15 minutes are perhaps the best 15 minutes ever committed to CGI animated projection, and the emotions evoked in this time span are maybe some of the best ever portrayed in ANY film. Heartwarming and heartbreaking, the tale of Carl and Ellie is worth the price of a thousand admissions. Carl and Wilderness Explorer Russell’s adventure expounds upon all things good and challenging about the human condition. And then there’s Dug, the comic relief dog who is as much a crucial part of the film’s heartbeat as any human character. I’ve watched this film with my two young daughters aged 5 and 3 quite a bit, and I love their reaction to it. More than this present tense, I love the fact that Up is a movie that will grow with them, with facets that will be revealed as they too grow and realize the multifaceted impacts soon to be revealed. Up is perfection, squirrels and all.

Jesse Blume

As much as I love “The Incredibles,” I’m going to have to go with “Up.” At first glance, you’d think that the unique premise of a geriatric old man tying his house to hundreds of balloons and flying to South America would be too strange to work; but then you add in the young boy scout, the talking dogs, and the immense bird, and you’d think that it would be one of the most ridiculous things ever produced. But much to your surprise, not only does it work, but it’s one of the most charming, funny, and most of all heart-warming stories you can find. Dug the Dog is the perfect representation of a loyal and loving pet, and he’s impossible to dislike. Russell might be a little annoying at first, but you grow to love him. Then there’s the famous opening montage scene. So much has been said about it that it’s difficult to find anything new to say. I don’t know a single person who wasn’t moved by that scene. I can’t think of a single thing to criticize about this film, and I don’t ever want to. It’s as close to perfect as you can get.

Shawn S. Lealos

Up – Look, Pixar is the KING of CG animaterd movies, from the Toy Story series, in which each entry was better than the last, to Monsters Inc, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo and Wall-E. However, I love Up so much. Honestly, the opening of this movie is the world’s greatest animated short film and one that made me tear up in the theater – AND THAT WAS BEFORE THE MOVIE REALLY GOT STARTED. Come on, who would have thought that an animated movie about a cranky senior citizen and a chubby latchkey boy scout could be so amazing. It had great stuff for the kids with the dogs with the voice modifiers and Dug, and it had a story that was just touching, original and smart on every level. Honestly, few live action movies do it this well. Up was perfection.

 

Best computer animated moviesThe Incredibles

Brandon Groppi

I have a lot of CG films that I love, most of them by Pixar obviously, I’d have to say my favorite CG Animated film is: THE INCREDIBLES. From it’s premise to the score, it is by far one of my favorite Pixar films. It not only is a fantastic family film (I cringe at this phrase by the way) it’s a fantastic action film. I didn’t expect it to have an impact when I saw it. Then that intro when you see bad guys zooming down the street with a machine gun blasting out of their car window.

I dislike the idea of these kind of films ( The Incredibles, Toy Story, Up) being categorized as “kid films” when they are just as much for adults as well. As Aidan Myles Green once said, ” You don’t stop loving candy when you get older, its candy! It’s great! Why do these animated have to be ‘just for kids’?!”

I agree with this sentiment. Animated films are awesome for everyone! . . . Unless it’s a Dreamworks sequel (Shrek 3, Madagascar 2,3 etc) those are awful . . .

John “D-Rock” Dotson

I remember watching this film when it first hit theaters, and just becoming blown away. Brad Bird has a great sense of story and spectacle which he embeds into all his movies. What was perfect about this film, is Bird was able to accomplish things he typically wouldn’t be able to if it were live action. Not only is it a brilliant animated film, but a timeless superhero film as well. Now hurry up and give us the damn sequel.

 

Best computer animated moviesShrek

Sandy Cilla Stachowiak

My favorite film in this category is Shrek.

Mike Myers did an awesome job as Shrek the ogre and main character. Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow were superb in their roles as well, but Donkey was definitely my favorite character, played by Eddie Murphy.

According to Wikipedia, “Shrek established DreamWorks Animation as a prime competitor to Pixar in the field of feature film animation, particularly in computer animation.”

This movie made me laugh out loud many times as I enjoyed both the adult and child humor intertwined into the story. Shrek was a huge hit and won the very first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2001.

 

Best computer animated moviesRatatouille

Patricia Marquez

There’s this joke in The Five Year Engagement where Jason Segel’s character, a chef, attends a party and is asked repeatedly if he’s ever seen Ratatouille. When I saw this I was embarrassed because my roommate of two years is a chef, and this was the first question I asked him! It’s annoying, I get it. But Ratatouille is a movie where the main character is a chef is it not? Except the chef in question happens to be the most reviled of all creatures.

There’s something quite disturbing about the mingling of food and rodent. But if Remy the rat can break into cooking through hard work and determination, then surely anyone of us can accomplish anything, right?

In that respect Ratatouille is a movie for the Obama-era, a “Yes We Can” premiering years before America saw its first African-American president. It’s an unbearably cute movie. It’s animation is impeccable. A doe-eyed Remy twitches his nose adorably offering his new friend Linguini a perfectly cooked omelet. Earlier, he blinks innocently while Linguini holds him captive in a glass jar above the deadly Siene, deliberating whether to kill or set him free.

It’s a strangely capitalistic movie. Although set in Paris, ironically the film is about the disintegration of a once successful business that has fallen into the hands of a short, dictator-like manager with no real heart in the business. The gawky and meek Linguini is the true inheritor of the restaurant, and like all great complex characters, he almost loses his job, livelihood, and friend because of his hubris.

Yes, Ratatouille is about pursuing your dreams and how dreams really can come true, but unlike the Disney fairy-tales of our childhood, Pixar’s films exhibit a central humanity and pathos even though its central characters (not withstanding Up) are animals and toys and robots. No scene encapsulates this paradox better than the one in Ratatouille, when Remy first sits on the roof of his future-restaurant and gazes down hopefully on the city of Paris.

 

Best computer animated moviesBeowulf

Stu Cassell

Beowulf – Who can deny that Angelina Jolie was as hot in the form of a CG animated character as she is in regular movies? Beowulf is filled with Norse type legendary monsters and heroes, epic battles between same, sex and infidelity, maiming, and has a stellar cast that is both note worthy and strange at the same time. Among the luminary actors are Anthony Hopkins as King Hrothgar, Robin Wright Penn as his queen, John Malkovich as his royal advisor, and Crispin Glover as the Beave – no actually he was cast as the hideously disfigured monster son of Angelina Jolie. Jolie is said to have been shocked by how overtly sexual they made her character and, if you can believe it, she said “I felt so exposed.” I don’t watch many animated films, but this was one that I found very entertaining.

 

Best computer animated moviesToy Story 2

Tony Beaulieu

Toy Story 2, because if I watched it again today it’d probably still make me cry like a little kid.

 

Best computer animated moviesMonsters Inc.

Derek Ciapala

Monsters, Inc. Twelves years later, it still puts a smile on my face.

 

Best computer animated moviesRise of the Guardians

Mike Luxemburg

Oh don’t even get me started on Rise Of The Guardians. I wasn’t even interested in that movie until a few friends of mine dragged me to a five dollar matinee. I loved it! Really interesting takes on classic characters. It did kinda waste Isla Fisher though, but it makes up for it with a really great Sandman. The story is damn well executed, and it’s got a nice message, which I like to see in movies like that.

The best part about the film was its incredibly detailed, unique settings. Each character’s special world was tailored perfectly and absolutely distinctive. There are probably better animated movies (Toy Story, The Incredibles), but this one was a big surprise to me and could do with a little more love.

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About the Author

John "D-Rock" Dotson
is a film critic and film-maker from Dallas, Texas. He attended Midwestern State University where he received a Bachelor's in Business Administration in the field of Marketing. He's a huge lover of all things cinema... except The Last Airbender. Follow him on Twitter @DRockDot
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