Best Animated Features 2010

Let’s put a bow on 2010 and wrap it with Art of the Cartoon’s Best Animated Features of 2010. I’ll be honest, 2010 was an an okay year in animated features, not great, just okay. I enjoyed 2009’s offering of animated goodness better than 2010, but still I have to commend all the animation studios for putting out some quality work in 2010 (by the way studios, I’m looking for a job as an animator *wink wink*). I only have a top 3 this year, so let’s go over some ground rules first:

  • I have to have seen the movie! (Yes I’m looking forward to seeing Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist, too bad it wasn’t released stateside in 2010, so I haven’t seen it. So it is OUT! )
  • If the animated movie was widely released in 2010, it counts!
  • I (obviously) have to have enjoyed the movie. Technical merit counts (animation, sound, etc…) but its the sum of all parts, so if I’m not entertained for the duration, then you’re not making the list.

Let’s do it! Hit the jump for the Best Animated Features 2010…

Just Missed…

Despicable Me – Welcome to the animation party Universal! In a world dominated by Pixar & Dreamworks, Despicable Me came from nowhere to earn a half billion dollars at the box office. It’s your typical supervillain with a heart of of gold affair, but it was executed very well by the team at Illumination Entertainment. Add to that the cute minions that could carry a film all by themselves and 3 little girls, and you have a summer animated hit.

PS: I also enjoyed Megamind, which was also a twist on the supervillan with a heart story. Even though I appreciated the comic book references, I feel that Despicable Me had more heart.

The Best Animated Features 2010

How To Train Your Dragon – I’m a fan of Dreamwork’s Animated Features, but I believe How To Train Your Dragon is the best film yet from that studio. Why? Because they took a chance instead of playing straight. A coming of age and acceptance story about a boy, a dragon, and two worlds that don’t understand each other could have been another walk in the park, but the action, specifically the flying sequences added an extra oompf to the animation. Plus the chance they took to add a dark twist AFTER the climax is a refreshing choice. I hope that Dreamworks takes more of these unorhodox chances in the future. Of course, I did wish the final dragon was a little more fleshed out. Chris Sanders and Dean Debiois team up once again to craft a story that is very similar to the hit they directed back in 2002, Lilo & Stitch. But that’s not a bad thing since Lilo & Stitch is last Disney animated feature that I was truly blown away with. That is until…

Tangled – It’s your standard Disney princess fairy tale affair, true. The story, good, but once again just another Disney ho-hum story and the appeal is definitely more towards the tween audience, specifically of the girl kind. But I enjoyed this film… alot! Maybe that was because I truly felt like Rapunzel was a your average 18 year old teenager, complete with mood swings and a lil bit of the ere of invincibility. Through the writing, dialogoue, and body mechanics I believed she had never experienced the world outside of her. However, the real reason I truly enjoyed this film was not the story or the dialogue. It was the way the CG characters moved and felt like a 2D character. With little squashes and fluid moves that used to be only seen in 2D animation, Glen Keane (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty & The Beast, Tarzan) absolutely placed his signature stamp on this film. I don’t how the animators and the team at Disney did it, but this was the first CG film to have that 2d feel. Welcome Back Disney! too bad, there’s one film that is still king of the mountain in 2010…

Toy Story 3 – I keep writing every year that Pixar is going to make a stinker one of these days, and every year I keep going with the obvious choice, the Pixar movie as the Best Animated Feature. Yes, it is SOO the obvious choice. I do my best to think outside the box, to choose something out of the ordinary, but looking at the sum of all the parts, Pixar movies usually deliver us amazing animation, outstanding story and writing, and outstanding emotional content with themes that make even adults think. Toy Story 3 is no different. From the societal caste undertones, to the theme of  abandonment, all the way to the touching finale, Toy Story 3 just has you hooked to the screen from the start. For a 3rd movie, it’s impressive that one can make an argument that it is THE BEST in the whole trilogy. I’m not so sure just yet, but having to even think about which movie is best is remarkable. It has even led me to rethink my best movie trilogies of all-time. All in all, Toy Story 3 is an appropriate bow on the Toy Story trilogy, and it’s the appropriate bow in the Best Animated Features of 2010.



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