Animated Films: Not Just for Kids Anymore

by on December 31st, 2014
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Animated films have captured the hearts and minds of movie lovers for decades, and with the technology we have today they are more fascinating and realistic-looking than ever before. The Disney company Pixar has cut a swath through the animated genre over the past 15 years, bringing a whole new level of talent to the field with films like “Toy Story,” “Cars,” and “Up” and raising the bar for other animation studios. With wonderful stories, original music, and beautiful artwork, today’s animated films are a far cry from their humble, silent beginnings.

The Best

Up

This multiple award-winning Pixar film takes a look at some very somber issues, such as miscarriage, losing a loved one, and being remanded to a nursing home. Although children loved it, “Up” is better suited for adults than young ones because of the subject matter. The elderly main character is utterly likeable, though, and a young friend adds levity to a sober storyline.

Toy Story

This mega-hit was groundbreaking upon its release in 1995, mixing a smart, fun story with good music and fantastic computer animation. It also played on the nostalgia of parental units at the time with references to toys the previous generation grew up with. A good dose of humor made this one an instant favorite with crowds of all ages.

“Coraline”

Based on the brilliant story by Neil Gaiman, this superb stop-motion animated film is a personal favorite (in fact, it inspired me to attend art school). With a darkly adventurous story and interesting characters, “Coraline” would have been amazing in any medium, but the stop-motion element really makes it stand out and lends a certain beauty to the film that inspires and induces awe. Stages were actually built and hand-painted for scenes rather than using digital animation. Characters were hand-sculpted and wore tiny hand-made clothing.

Each movement you see onscreen was painstakingly created by hand, which means every character had to be reposed after each one. Often the animation crew would only get through two or three seconds of the film over an entire day of working, and they did the entire movie once before filming it to make sure everything was right. That’s dedication.

“Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs”

Based on a beloved and award-winning children’s book of the same name, “Cloudy” is full of what kids love: colorful animation, snappy dialogue, fun music, humor, and adventure. Although it bears only a passing resemblance to the book, the story is very well done and the characters are engaging and smartly written. And who doesn’t love the idea of the skies opening up and raining gigantic food?

Whether you’re looking for entertainment for the kiddos or just to relive your own childhood, it’s worth your while to check out some of the newer animated movies. They’re not just for kids anymore.

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