Best Animated Films of 2014
5. The Boxtrolls (Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi)
Directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi, The Boxtrolls is a well-acted and exquisitely produced stop-motion animation film. Its one downfall lies in an unfortunately scattershot script. Yet amid the middling dialogue, Richard Ayoade’s lines manage to both generate big laughs and provoke thought – especially the after-credit sequence in which he ponders existentialism. The Boxtrolls is a great example of style over substance.
4. The Book of Life (Jorge Gutierrez)
The Book of Life‘s unique style is itself an ode to animation. The film’s director, Jorge Gutierrez, explained that he wanted the film to look exactly like the concept art for the movie. “My biggest heartbreak is that I see all this glorious art, and then the movie doesn’t look like that!” His desire paid off big time in what was one of the most visually beautiful films of the year. On top of that, the plot charms and intrigues viewers and features a soundtrack that, like Guardians of the Galaxy, utilizes many dated Top 100 hits.
3. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Dean DeBlois)
This sequel marries a fresh story and with the unstoppable duo, Hiccup and Toothless. The new software used for the film lead to fast rendering time and sharper images that ultimately yielded the clearest, most detailed animated movie yet. This allowed us to see every hair on the characters’ heads and every muscle twitch as they moved.
But beyond that meticulous attention to detail, DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a prime example of what a well-paced animated movie should look like. The story doesn’t lag, nor do any scenes that feel extraneous. The entire movie is tight, which is rare in today’s landscapes of overlong, overwrought filmmaking.
2. Big Hero 6 (Don Hall and Chris Williams)
From the lovable “non-threatening” character Baymax to its universal theme of forgiveness, this Marvel animated film was an easy hit from day one. While Big Hero 6 does not follow its comic book source material particularly faithfully, directors Don Hall and Chris Williams created a unique story that easily captures the attention and imagination of both children and adults alike.
1. The Lego Movie (Phil Lord and Chris Miller)
The Lego Movie proved that mixing Legos, a clever script and a handful of comedians together creates the best animated movie of the year. Phil Lord and Chris Miller shocked everyone when they succeeded in producing a film that was both highly successful and critically acclaimed. It is no wonder The Lego Movie did so well. The film is intelligent, hilarious and surprisingly meta at times. Lord and Miller should be immensely proud of their film.
Best Animated Short
Feast (Patrick Osborne)
This short, attached to screenings of Disney’s Big Hero 6, is simply phenomenal.The main character is a homeless puppy who suddenly finds himself in a new home. Disney’s short films consistently evoke a myriad of emotions and Feast is no different.
Much like Paperman (2012) and Blue Umbrella (2013), the film is initially in black and white. As food begins to appear, the scenery takes on color. Within a span of 6 minutes, a tale unfolds that made me cry out of sadness and joy. Director and writer Patrick Osborne exemplifies short form storytelling with Feast.
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