10) THE INCREDIBLES
The Incredibles is an animated delight for children and adults alike. Centered on a time following the placement of superheroes into 'civilian relocation' we are introduced to the Parr family.
Bob Parr, also known as Mr. Incredible, is a super strong hero who is middle-aged and struggling to put the cape down to live life as an average Joe. His wife, Helen, who was the once daring Elastigirl, has settled in nicely as the mother of their three children.
Under the radar, as the world in which the Parr's live is one where superheroes are no longer welcome, Bob tries to continue saving people. It is through Bob's longing to reclaim the glory of his youth that the family is thrown into an adventure of their own, one in which they almost lose their lives, but in the end learn to appreciate one another for who they really are.
The kid aspects of the movie are great. People have super powers and ride around in fancy airplanes and jets. It's totally right up any ten-year-old's alley. The adult aspects are equally hard hitting. The themes of having to give up on ones dreams to work a 9 to 5 are addressed. Marital issues, such as when one partner wishes to embrace the mundaneness of middle-aged existence, while the other pines for the excitement of youth, is also hit upon. I think the best part about this movie is how it takes everyday problems faced by middle-aged parents and puts it against the oh-so-fun superhero backdrop.
The animation in this movie is quite good. The dialogue is very realistic and the characters are well-rounded. This is one animated flick I have enjoyed watching dozens of times and I am sure will watch a dozen more.
I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars. I'm sure you will too.
9) FINDING NEMO
Finding Nemo is a beloved favorite of kids and adults alike. Set against a breathtakingly beautiful animated ocean backdrop, we follow Marlin the clown fish as he sets off to retrieve his son Nemo, who has been taken by a diver.
The characters in this animated delight all have fun personalities. Dory, a blue tang fish with short-term memory loss, has a bubbly and bright attitude. Marlin, after suffering the crushing loss of his wife and their eggs, approaches life from a pessimistic and fearful point of view. Then you have Nemo, a young fish, who is trying to explore all that life has to offer, despite his dad's efforts to keep him sheltered at all costs.
Some great parts of the movie include sharks that are going to group meetings to refrain from eating fish, "Fish are friends, not food" and surfer-dude turtles that travel the ocean with a light-heart and philosophical perspective on life.
Finding Nemo is one of those movies you cannot help but watch again and again. The theme to the movie is that sometimes in life you need to just have faith that things will work out (Dory) and that you need to let go of fear and have confidence in yourself and others (Marlin and Nemo).
8) TOY STORY
Toy Story was the first computer-animated movie to ever be made. It came out in 1995 and is voiced by big-time actors Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. Until this very day it can stand its own against newer made movies.
In the movie, toys are actually cognizant beings who choose to go 'inanimate' when being handled by humans. The plot revolves around cowboy doll Woody vying to be the favorite of his owner Andy following the acquisition of new astronaut doll Buzz Lightyear. Tensions run high between Woody and Buzz, as Woody is resentful that Buzz has replaced him as #1, but eventually the two action-figures become friends.
The movie has some sadder aspects. Andy's neighbor is an angry and unhappy kid who enjoys mutilating and blowing up toys. Buzz Lightyear, who believes he is a real astronaut, is devastated when he comes to learn he is but a toy. It is through these adversities that Buzz and Woody become united as friends and can overcome what they face. The main theme in this movie is of acceptance, love and self-worth.
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7) MONSTERS, INC.
Monsters, Inc. has a great and unique premise. It came out in 2001 and is voiced by John Goodman and Billy Crystal. Goodman lends his voice to the large and furry monster Sully. Crystal is the voice of the much smaller monster Mike.
Sully and Mike are the best of friends and they both work for the largest scare factory in the monster world. It is through the screams of frightened children that the energy needed to run their monster universe is generated. In order to retrieve these screams specific doorways are made. When the monsters walk through them they enter a child's bedroom in the human world.
Monsters are led to believe that children are toxic to them, that one touch can harm or kill them, but Sully and Mike accidentally let a young girl into their world, and they come to find out that things are not as they seem. The movie is adorable and sweet and produces plenty of laughs as you watch the two friends try to deal with the toddler they have let loose. It is very sweet and funny.
Barnyard is a funny movie with a great moral behind it. Don't back down from what's right, stand your ground, and stand-up for those weaker then you.
The movie is set on a barnyard filled with animals that talk when their farmer is not around. They throw parties, tend to one another, and seem to live an altogether pleasant existence. That is until a group of vicious coyotes decide to set their sights on the chickens, and the group needs to stand-up to them.
Although the movie itself is not jaw-dropping the morals it wishes to purvey makes it a favorite of mine. It teaches a valuable moral lesson to children in a fun and clear way without beating you over the head with the message.
Shrek is a mean and green ogre who lives on a smelly swamp and eats raw onions as a snack. He enjoys his solitude and has no real desire to mingle with others. When his swamp is overrun with fairy-tale creatures who have gone on the run from Lord Farquaad he is forced into traveling to Dunlap to address the matter with the Lord himself. The two end up striking a deal. Shrek is to rescue Princess Fiona from the tower in which she is being held captive so that Farquaad can marry her, and Farquaad will clear out Shrek's swamp. As one would expect, things do not go quite as planned.
This movie is original, funny and contains the message that one should accept who they are. Another point raised by the movie is how one should not judge a book by its cover. Overall its a fantastic movie that has gone on to generate 2 sequels and several shorts.
4) WRECK-IT RALPH
I cannot say enough about this movie. I love it. It's original and it speaks to me on a deep level. Here you have arcade game characters that are self-aware and when their games are not being played. The movie opens with Fix-it Felix's villain, Wreck-it Ralph, sitting in a support group for game villains.
This movie is all about accepting yourself, striving to be a better person, and not allowing other peoples perception of you to hold you back. It is both funny and touching. There is not a dull moment as you'll either be laughing or anticipating what will happen next.
Coraline is a Tim Burton movie that is as dark and atmospheric as all the other movies he has made. Based on the Neil Gaiman novella, it is unlike the rest of the movies on this list. Although the movie can be dark at times there is a beauty to it. The message behind the movie being that you should beware when the grass looks greener on the other side for you should appreciate what it is you have.
This is the type of movie that one absolutely loves or hates, as most of Tim Burton's films are, but it is well-made and the story is interesting and the ending quite clever.
2) CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS
This is a fun and sweet flick that revolves around a quirky inventor who is desperate to make his father proud.
Set in a small seaside town that has fallen on hard-times after the local sardine cannery has shut its doors, failed inventor Flint Lockwood develops a machine that can create food from water, which falls from the sky like rain. Things take a turn for the unexpected though and Flint finds himself in quite the predicament.
Bill Hader and Anna Faris voice the two main characters alongside a very impressive group of A-list actors and actresses. The animation is well done and movie is quite funny. The best part of the movie being when Flint sculpts a mansion out of Jello and proceeds to jump around in it like a bouncy house. Too cute.
Madagscar is a great movie about a group of animals who reside at the Central Park Zoo. They end up being put stranded in the wild. With no idea what it's like to be free in nature, the four friends (a hippo, zebra, lion, and germaphobe giraffe) get tangled up in some mischief, their lives and friendship hanging in the balance. Ultimately, it is their friendship and love for one another that pulls them through.
This is a very funny movie. The lemurs are a joy to watch. The characters are voiced by Jada Pinkett Smith, Chris Rock, David Shwimmer, and Ben Stiller.