They say a picture speaks a thousand words. A hand drawn picture more so. This means that a movie, and that too animated, would speak volumes and volumes of beautiful words as the visuals weave their way into your right brain. But it so happens that many an animated movie goes unnoticed every year because of the dominance of superpowers like Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, and their likes (with all due respect).
We bring to you some of the most visually stunning, gripping, and immersive animated movies which many have not heard about, or have just heard, but never got a chance to see.
1. The Sword in The Stone (1963)
A Walt Disney classic, but very few people have actually ever seen it. It tells the story of a young servant boy and how he becomes King Arthur after running into a forgetful wizard named Merlin one day.
2. The Last Unicorn (1982)
This one is an underrated classic from the yesteryears. A brave unicorn, apparently the last of her kind, sets out on a quest with a magician and a woman to find King Haggard, who is apparently herding all the unicorns for himself.
3. Grave of The Fireflies [Hotaru no haka] (1988)
A beautiful presentation by Studio Ghibli, Grave of The Fireflies tells the story of two kids (brother and sister) orphaned because of the World War II in Japan, and the struggles they face in a country ravaged by war. This movie doesn’t hold back on the feels.
4. Titan A.E. (2000)
The A.E. in the title indicates ‘After Earth.’ Aliens decimate the planet, and it is upon the young son of a scientist who has to find the Titan ship before aliens do, and save all of humanity. Voice characters include Matt Damon and Drew Barrymore.
5. Spirited Away [Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi] (2001)
An Oscar-winning film, directed by the great Hayao Miyazaki, this Studio Ghibli feature film is a treat for the eyes. A family who are moving wander into a different worlds, and the parents are turned into pigs. The little girl wanders and gets a job in a bathhouse where 8 million Gods are regulars. She has to save her parents from becoming food, and take them home.
6. The Triplets of Belleville [Les triplettes de Belleville] (2003)
An elderly woman, Madame Souza, embarks on an epic journey to find her grandson Champion, who is kidnapped during the Tour de France, along with Bruno, her dog, and the Belleville Sisters, an age-old song and dance group. It was nominated for two Oscars, one BAFTA award, and has won 19 other awards.
7. Howl’s Moving Castle [Hauru no ugoku shiro] (2004)
Yet another beauty by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, Howl’s Moving Castle is a story about a young woman cursed to live in an old body, and her journey of breaking the spell with the aid of a vain young wizard in his walking castle.
8. Corpse Bride (2005)
A treat for the eyes by the legendary Tim Burton, this stars his favourites Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. A shy groom practices his wedding vows in a cemetery, unknowingly on the grave of a dead young woman. She rises from the grave under the illusion that he has married her.
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9. Waltz With Bashir [Vals Im Bashir] (2008)
A surreal Israeli animated documentary film takes us on Ari’s journey, a director who can’t remember his days in the Israeli Army and he sets off to roam the world and interview his friends and comrades in the hope of regaining the memories of his lost days. The movie has 56 nominations, including an Oscar, and has won over 43 awards all over the world.
10. 9 (2009)
A rag doll with the digit 9 on his back wakes up in a destroyed, post-apocalyptic dystopian future, and realises that there are others like him and that he may be the saviour of all humanity.
11. The Secret of Kells (2009)
A young boy trapped in a medieval outpost under raid, joins an illuminator for an adventure of a lifetime as the latter holds many secrets and wisdom from the ancient book that he carries. This was also nominated for an Oscar.
12. The Illusionist [L’illusionniste] (2010)
In this Oscar-nominated French film, an out of work French illusionist does not find direction in his life and hence, travels to Scotland. He meets a young woman there who takes him on an adventure that changes both of their lives.
13. Legend of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (2010)
A young barn owl is kidnapped by evil owls of an orphanage who brainwash kids to make them soldiers. But he escapes, with new friends, to the island of Ga’Hoole, where elder Guardian owls prepare to fight the evil owl army.
14. The Tale of The Princess Kaguya [Kaguyahime no monogatari] (2013)
A bamboo cutter finds a little woman, the size of a finger, inside a stalk of Bamboo. She grows up to be the beautiful Princess Kaguya and is entertained by many men to ask her hand in marriage. But she must ultimately meet her fate when the Emperor of Japan propositions her. Another Studio Ghibli production.
15. Song of The Sea (2014)
A little girl child who is the last in a line of women who can turn into seals, escapes her grandmother’s confinement with her brother, so that she can free the entrapped spirit world from the modern world. This one was also nominated for an oscar.
16. Anomalisa (2015)
A customer service author, trapped in a mundane and mechanical life, goes on a business trip and meets a stranger who changes his life and makes him believe again in the extraordinary. A moving masterpiece, this movie was nominated for an Oscar, Golden Globe, Eddie, and many other prestigious awards.
Some movies from the above are meant to be enjoyed with kids, and some have mature content which can give immense feels to adults as well. Sometimes, animation speaks louder than human films.