Back when I was young, I was happy to see even one new animated film a year. Now there’s practically one a week.
In the 80s, I started a magazine called “Animato!” that later grew quite large and popular. I got to meet and interview great animators like Chuck Jones and Ralph Bakshi but later sold the magazine, and it went on to even bigger successes until the internet killed all magazines.
So I’m still an animation fan, but it’s basically impossible to see all the films and all the animated TV shows these days unless you’re a full-time animator or animation historian, I guess.
There were some really great films this year I did get to catch, though.
These days, with so much CGI, we can debate what an “animated film” even is, but generally the accepted definition is that the main characters must be animated — not just the monsters or effects. (And “motion capture” doesn’t count.)
So here’s my annual end-of-the-year list of best and worst animated films (based on their Rotten Tomatoes score). It only includes films that actually were released to theaters, even for a day, and had at least five reviews in order to get a Rotten Tomatoes score. (Lots of bad films go directly to DVD or cable.) Ties are broken by number of reviews.
- Toy Story 4 (97%)
- Klaus (92%)
- How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (90%)
- Missing Link (89%)
- The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (85%)
- Abominable (81%)
- Frozen II (77%)
- Spies in Disguise (73%)
- The Angry Birds Movie 2 (73%)
- Lady and the Tramp (65%)
- The Secret Life of Pets 2 (59%)
- The Lion King (53%)
- The Addams Family (43%)
- Wonder Park (33%)
- Ugly Dolls (28%)
- Playmobil (16%)
- Arctic Dogs (13%)