These Films Aren't for Children: 8 Profound Animated Movies
These Are Animated Films for Adults
Just because a film is animated doesn't necessarily mean that it's made for children. This couldn't be more true in the case of these eight exceptional, profound animated films.
Based on Marjane Satrapi’s critically-acclaimed graphic novel, Persepolis follows the experiences of a young Iranian girl as she grows up during a volatile period in Iran's history.
Released in 2007, Persepolis utilizes a visually striking style of black and white animation to capture the tone and atmosphere of this touching coming-of-age story.
Sometimes Painful to Watch
7. The Plague Dogs
The Plague Dogs, released in 1982, is based upon the third novel by Richard Adams, author of Watership Down.
For an animal lover, this film can be difficult to watch. It follows two dogs who escape from an animal testing facility only to be subsequently hunted down by the government and media.
Both thought-provoking and heart-wrenching, The Plague Dogs is not light viewing. Watch with a supply of tissues nearby.
An Animated Bladerunner
Released in 1988, Akira is a landmark anime film based on the manga by Katsuhiro Otomo.
The film follows Tetsuo and his friends, members of a motorcycle gang who get involved in a secret government project. After Tetsuo subsequently begins to develop psychic powers, he attempts to reach and release the entombed Akira while being pursued by robotic police as well as his own gang through the dystopian post-apocalyptic world of Neo-Tokyo.
Akira is violent, dark, and deeply cynical about mankind and its future.
Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi
Spirited Away Trailer (English)
5. Spirited Away
From the Studio Ghibili production company and renowned director Hiyake Miyazaki, Spirited Away is a movie embedded with metaphor. Can children watch this movie? Yes, absolutely. Will they understand any of the rich subtexts running through it? No way.
The movie centers around a ten-year-old girl named Chihiro, who is moving with her parents to a new town. When her parents take a short cut while driving to their new home and get lost and discover the entrance to an abandoned theme park. There, her parents gorge themselves with food and turn into swine. Chihiro is subsequently swept up into a mysterious world where she encounters strange spirits and a malevolent sorceress who tries to steal her name in order to prevent her from ever returning to the human world.
Miyazaki's films are known for being interwoven with metaphors, and Spriited Away does not disappoint. In fact, Miyazaki has said that he set the film in a bathhouse because he wanted to tackle the issue of children being exposed to Japan's growing sex industry. Among the characters that Chihiro encounters while working at the bathhouse are a polluted river spirit, a No-Face spirit that gives away gold and then eats the people who accept it, and Yubaba, the sorceress who runs the bathhouse, who keeps the girls working there by stealing their identities from them.
Princess Mononoke Trailer (English)
4. Princess Mononoke
Princess Mononoke follows Ashitaka, a young warrior who becomes infected while protecting his village from a berserk boar-god. He will die unless he can rid himself of the curse, and so he sets out on a journey to seek succor from a deer god who lives deep within the forest.
Ashitaka arrives to find that the the animals of the forest are at war with a nearby mining town that is destroying their home. Led by Lady Eboshi, the townspeople are determined to use their modern weapons to strike down the gods of the forest. The denizens of the forest, led by Princess Mononoke, a human girl who was raised by a wolf god, are equally determined to neutralize the encroaching threat of man. Ashitaka sees the validity of each side and tries to end their hostilities, but both sides distrust his motives.
This is a bloody film with a message about what might be considered the necessary evils of modernism. It is an apt reflection of the societal conflicts within Japan between traditionalist Shinto beliefs and the rampant modernism and industrial growth of the twentieth century.
3. South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut
From South Park's creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, comes South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, an R-rated animated musical that sets out to smash as many conventions as it can get its hands on.
This film is an irreverent, funny, and satirical movie about censorship that contains a score of tunes that are uproarously funny, raunchy, and often downright catchy as well.
South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut Trailer
Not Your Typical Bunny Movie
2. Watership Down
Based on Richard Adams’ award-winning novel, Watership Down follows a group of rabbits who flee when their warren is destroyed, setting out to find a new home for themselves.
The group encounter other warrens in their travels, including that of the despotic General Woundwort, from whom they must defend themselves.
Be warned: this is not your typical bunny movie. It is dark, bloody, and likely to traumatize any child who watches it. It is, however, a brilliant film that adults should see.
Watership Down Trailer
Hotaru no Haka
1. Grave of the Fireflies
Grave of the Fireflies is a film that is beautiful, touching, and intensely sad.
Seita and his little sister Setsuko are children living in wartime Japan. When their mother is killed in an air raid, the pair set out in search of shelter and food. As the days wear on, survival becomes more and more difficult for these two abandoned orphans of war.
Though set far away from the combat, this deeply moving film is probably one of the most profound anti-war films ever produced.
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© 2013 Alisha Adkins