I have a number of different blog post ideas but unexpectedly this was one that a few people preferred for me to do! So I’m going to make a list in no particular order of animated films that I think are visually stunning, each in their own individual ways.
Long Way North (2015)
Long Way North is a 2D animated French-Danish film produced by French company; Sacrebleu Productions, released in 2015 and directed by Rémi Chayé. The plot of the film is as follows; “In 19th-century Saint Petersburg, a young girl from the Russian aristocracy named Sacha anguishes over the fate of her grandfather, a renowned scientist and Arctic explorer who has yet to return from an expedition to the North Pole. Against the wishes of her parents, Sacha flees home and launches a quest in search of her grandfather and his ship.” I chose to add Long Way North to this list as I adore the 2D flash style animation and how there are no thick black outlines, everything is soft and round, I love simplicity.
Watch the trailer for Long Way North here
The Book of Life (2014)
The Book of Life is a 3D animated feature length film produced by Reel FX Creative Studios, directed/written by Jorge R. Gutierrez, produced by Guillermo del Toro and released in 2014. The plot of The Book of Life is as follows; “In the Mexican town of San Angel, Manolo, Maria and Joaquin have been friends ever since childhood. Although their lives have taken different paths — Maria was sent to Europe, Joaquin joined the military, and Manolo studied to become a bullfighter — one thing remains the same: Manolo and Joaquin both want to marry Maria. Little does the trio know that battling husband-and-wife deities have made a high-stakes wager on the love triangle’s outcome.” I chose to include The Book of Life to this list because LOOK AT THOSE COLOURS AND SHAPES, what a beautiful universe Jorge R. Gutierrez has created.
Watch The Book of Life trailer here
Lilo & Stitch (2002)
Lilo & Stitch is a 2D animated film released in 2002, written and directed by one of my favourite film making duo’s; Chris Sanders & Dean DeBlois and produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation. The plot of Lilo & Stitch goes at follows; “A tale of a young girl’s close encounter with the galaxy’s most wanted extraterrestrial. Lilo is a lonely Hawaiian girl who adopts a small ugly ‘dog,’ whom she names Stitch. Stitch would be the perfect pet if he weren’t in reality a genetic experiment who has escaped from an alien planet and crash-landed on Earth.” I added Lilo & Stitch to this list for a few reasons but the main ones being, those watercolour backgrounds!! and I love Chris Sanders’ character designs so much, he draws the most beautiful designs of women.
Watch the Lilo & Stitch trailer here
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
One of my favourite animation techniques is stop motion so it just had to make an appearance on this list. Kubo and the Two Strings is a stop motion animated film released in 2016, produced by the animation company; Laika and directed by Travis Knight. The Plot of Kubo and the Two Strings goes like this; “Young Kubo’s peaceful existence comes crashing down 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 his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known.” I decided to add Kubo and the Two Strings as much like every other Laika film, you can see the handcrafted detail in every frame, all the materials, textures, stitches and more look as if you could reach out and touch them. It was very hard to pick just one Laika film as they’re all so beautiful.
Watch the trailer for Kubo and the Two Strings here
Your Name (2016)
Your Name is a Japanese anime film released in 2016, produced by Japanese animation company CoMix Wave Films, Inc and directed by Makoto Shinkai. The plot of Your Name goes as follows; “Mitsuha and Taki are total strangers living completely different lives. But when Mitsuha makes a wish to leave her mountain town for the bustling city of Tokyo, they become connected in a bizarre way. She dreams she is a boy living in Tokyo while Taki dreams he is a girl from a rural town he’s never visited.” Although I could add many anime films to this list, I had to add Your Name as I saw it at the cinema and it was so breathtaking on the big screen.
Watch the Your Name trailer here
Song of The Sea (2014)
Song of the Sea is a 2014, 2D animated film produced by Irish animation studios; Cartoon Saloon and directed by Tomm Moore. The plot is as follows; “An Irish youth discovers that his mute sister is a selkie who must find her voice and free supernatural creatures from the spell of a Celtic goddess”. Similar to Long Way North, I added Song of the Sea as I love 2D animation, you only have to look at the artwork in this film though to understand why I added it to the list, with it’s beautiful textures and colour pallets in every scene, it’s easy to get lost in this universe.
watch the trailer for Song of the Sea here
Anomalisa is another stop motion entry in this list, released in 2015, produced by Starburns Industries and directed/written by the legendary Charlie Kaufman. The plot of Anomalisa is as follows; “Michael Stone, an author that specializes in customer service, is a man who is unable to interact deeply with other people. His low sensitivity to excitement, and his lack of interest made him a man with a repetitive life on his own perspective. But, when he went on a business trip, he met a stranger – an extraordinary stranger, which slowly became a cure for his negative view on life that possibly will change his mundane life.” I’ll say this now, this is not a film for the whole family. Although this film is animated and as many people will assume, animation is okay for kids, this film has a 15 age rating and mature themes. I saw this film not too long ago and it’s still left an impression on me, hauntingly beautiful story-wise and visually, although I am used to seeing stop motion animation puppets, it’s a whole new experience when the puppets closely resemble real life humans, worth a watch if you’re in the mood for awkwardness and existentialism.
Watch the trailer for Anomalisa here
The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)
Another Japanese animated film as well as another 2D animated film, The Tale of Princess Kaguya was released in 2013, produced by the legendary animation studio; Studio Ghibli and directed by Isao Takahata. The plot goes as follows; “Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her – but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime.” Similar to Laika in the fact that I could have picked any of Studio Ghibli’s films to make this list, however I decided to pick The Tale of Princess Kaguya as I love the hand sketched look that this film went with, the water colours and different brush strokes really make this film feel unique.
Watch the trailer for The Tale of Princess Kaguya here
The Croods (2013)
Revisiting a previous director, The Croods is a 3D computer animated film directed by Chris Sanders, produced by DreamWorks Animation and released in 2013. Here’s the plot of The Croods; “Prehistoric family the Croods live in a particularly dangerous moment in time. Patriarch Grug, his mate, Ugga, teenage daughter Eep, son Thunk and feisty Gran gather food by day and huddle together in a cave at night. When a more evolved caveman named Guy arrives on the scene, Grug is distrustful, but it soon becomes apparent that Guy is correct about the impending destruction of their world.” The Croods made this list as once again, Chris Sanders has a real eye for art in animated films, The Croods is full of lush greenery and environments as well as beautifully designed characters of all shapes and sizes, there was a sequel to this film in the works but to the best of my knowledge it has stopped production, I’m very disappointed.
Watch the trailer for The Croods here
So that’s my round up! I’m sorry if my descriptions weren’t that informative but you really have to see these films in order to appreciate how visually stunning they are, even if you just watch the trailers that I attached in each entry. As always, thank you for taking the time to read this post and if you have anything you’d like me to try writing about, let me know!