Animation is often labelled as the children’s genre and it’s often overlooked how visually beautiful these movies are. These are our picks for the Top 10 most visually stunning animated movies, new and old, big studios and small.
My Neighbour Totoro
Set in a post-war Japan, My Neighbour Totoro tells the story of two little girls who move to a new place with their father so that they can be near to the hospital where their mother is recovering from a long-term illness and covers the little girls’ adventures with the wood spirits living in a nearby forest .
Not just one of the best from the celebrated filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki, My Neighbor Totoro is a magnificent example of hand-drawn animation from Studio Ghibli. No matter what age you are, Totoro will make you feel like a child again, and the colourful illustrations give you that real familiar, cosy feeling.
Spiderman: Into The Spider-verse
Teen Miles Morales becomes the Spider-Man of his reality but ends up crossing paths with five counterparts from another dimensions to stop one threat to all realities.
With the combination of comic book visuals and 3D fuzziness makes for an awe- inspiring, visual delight. The aesthetic and animation design is truly outstanding on screen with profound beauty. Not only is this one of the most beautiful animations we’ve seen, but we also ranked it as one of our top 5 most favourite films of 2018.
Fantastic Mr Fox
Mr. Fox breaks a promise to his wife and raids the farms of their human neighbors, Boggis, Bunce and Bean. Giving in to his animal instincts endangers not only his marriage but also the lives of his family and their animal friends. When the farmers force Mr. Fox and company deep underground, he has to resort to his natural craftiness to rise above his opponents.
Just because this is a stop-frame animation doesn’t make this any less of a Wes Anderson film. It still carries all the hallmarks, from rich detailing, striking colour palette, symmetrical compositions, its all there. The rough stop frame animation is full of character and has a wonderfully warm, hand-made charm.
Tired of living alone, ‘Mr Link’ the 8 feet tall Missing Link covered in fur, recruits fearless explorer Sir Lionel Frost to join him on a journey to find his long-lost relatives. Along with adventurer Adelina Fortnight, the trio encounters their share of trouble as they travel to the far reaches of the world. Through it all, they learn that sometimes one can find a family in the places one least expects.
LAIKA knocks it out of the park once again with a film more unique than any other and arguably the best film from them yet. Everything about this film is beautiful, the mesmerizing animation truly captures the essence of a scene and gives you layered textures and character designs to look at in awe. Combine that with likeable and charming characters and a heartwarming message and you’ve got one of the most beautiful animation films ever.
How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
When Hiccup discovers Toothless isn’t the only Night Fury, he must seek “The Hidden World”, a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired dragon hunter named Grimmel finds it first.
Stunning and Breathtaking. This sequel’s narrative succeeds in showing a beautiful development in Toothless and Hiccup’s relationship as well as the transition of Hiccup from a boy who was different from anyone else to a strong viking leader. An exciting adventure combined with great characterisation and astonishing visuals made for a heartwarming conclusion to a much loved series.
Ignoring his family’s generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming a famous musician just like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to show his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful ‘Land of the Dead.’. After meeting a charming trickster named Héctor, the two new friends embark on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.
One thing that makes this film so beautiful is it’s painted in vibrant violet and singed sienna, making the world of Coco a visual feast. Not only this, but touches on topical political themes such as the unjust rigidity of Mexican border control. It’s something to admire that the filmmakers didnt shy away and made this piece of art inherently political.
Parvana is an 11-year-old girl who lives under Taliban rule in Afghanistan in 2001. After the wrongful arrest of her father, Parvana cuts off her hair and dresses like a boy to support her family. She soon discovers a new world of freedom and danger. Parvana embarks on a quest to find her father and reunite her family.
This film is so important, beautiful and brave in how it portrays the harsh reality for women who live in places such as Iran and it deserves the same recognition and should be just as celebrated as films such as Coco. Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon as an animation house worth comparing to studios such as Pixar, Studio Ghibli and Laika.
Isle Of Dogs
When all dogs of Megasaki City are exiled to a garbage-dump called Trash Island, 12-year-old Atari sets off alone to find and retrieve his loved bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.
Dog by dog, frame by frame, Isle of Dogs is a triumph. It’s such a detailed world and the imagination is nothing short of incredible. The colour palettes are perfected, the cuts are sharp, and the pacing is just right. Honestly, you could say that about every single one of his films. But Wes Anderson manages to top himself here. If you want to find out more about the film, you can read our full Honest Review.
Kubo And The Two Strings
Young Kubo’s peaceful existence comes to a halt when he accidentally summons a vengeful spirit from the past. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey and Beetle to unlock a secret legacy. Armed with a magical instrument, Kubo must battle the Moon King and other gods and monsters to save his family and solve the mystery of the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known, his fallen father.
Like all from LAIKA, this film dares to be different. With a combination of smart storytelling, interesting character arcs, mature themes, likeable voice-work & dazzling stop-motion animation. It’s a beautifully crafted story with the visuals to match.
WALL-E, short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, is the last robot left on Earth. He spends his days tidying up the planet, one piece of garbage at a time. But during 700 years, WALL-E has developed a personality, and he’s more than a little lonely. Then he spots EVE a sleek and shapely probe sent back to Earth on a scanning mission. Smitten WALL-E embarks on his greatest adventure yet when he follows EVE across the galaxy.
Here’s another deserving winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (not to mention another one about the dangers of human waste and pollution). The first large chunk of this film has no dialogue but the animation is so beautiful that you are completely immersed and engaged.
That’s All Folks
All these films are an absolute must watch, all though they are all each very different from one another they are all beautiful in their own way. These are our top 10 picks so comment down below your favourite animation movie!