my top twelve favorite non-Disney/Pixar animated movies

Usually when I talk about animated movies on this blog, I focus on those made by Disney’s and Pixar’s animation studios.  There’s definitely a reason for that – both Disney and Pixar have produced some of the greatest animated films ever made – but other companies have also come out with some excellent ones, several of which I love.  Some of them are not as well know as they should be, so I want to share them with you.

(In no particular order.)

// The Little Prince (2015) //

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I hardly understood a thing about the book and that goes for this film as well.  The themes are understated and subtle, so much so that I’m sure they went over the heads of little kids everywhere.  A hauntingly beautiful film with an almost dreamlike quality to it at times and a beautiful score (the ‘Trapped Stars’ scene makes me cry simply because of how moving the soundtrack is). And Jeff Bridges turns in an exemplary voice performance as the Aviator.

//  How to Train Your Dragon (2010) //

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My brother, Noah, insists that the second movie is better than this one, but I can’t decide.  HTTYD1 started it all and Hiccup and Toothless’ friendship is more at the forefront here and the ‘Forbidden Friendship’ scene and the bit where Hiccup takes Astrid dragon riding…those scenes cannot be beat in terms of beauty and emotion.  There’s nothing in the second film to equal them.

// How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) //

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I read somewhere that the composer for HTTYD2 said he wanted to show that the musical themes from the first film had matured in the five years that had passed (well, four years in The Real World) and I think that idea goes beyond the soundtrack.  The characters have matured, of course, and HTTYD2 is a more serious, sometimes darker film in general (compared to the first one).  I dig it.

// Anastasia (1997) //

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The only issue I have with ‘Anastasia’ is the film’s villain, Rasputin.  He’s creepy, demonic, and just plain annoying, as there’s plenty of drama and tension in the movie without his occasional presence.  But other than his unfortunate inclusion, ‘Anastasia’ brims with life and love, not unlike the film’s heroine, and the songs are splendid (to say the least).  I haven’t yet given the Broadway soundtrack a try, but that’s on my to-do list.  The film is lush and beautiful and utterly charming.

// The Adventures of Tintin (2011) //

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This is a very obscure animated film, right up there with ‘The Little Prince’ in terms of how many people know about it, and I think that’s a shame.  The animation is stunning, the voice acting is good, the humor is great (honestly, I love quoting the best lines), and John Williams’ score is so much fun. ❤

// The Prince of Egypt (1998) //

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While some people might say that this movie took too many liberties with the book of Exodus, I’d have to disagree and say that it merely took creative license in fleshing out a lot of events that were either never mentioned or quickly brushed over in the biblical account.  Again, the songs are gold.  I especially find ‘The Plagues’ both effective and emotional.  Moses is given good characterization, as is pretty much everyone else.  And ‘Prince of Egypt’s portrayal of God (in the burning bush scene) is the most respectful and powerful I’ve seen in any movie, ever.

// The Croods (2013) //

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This is one of the very, very few movies that makes my brother, Noah, cry (or at least tear up).  It’s on par with Pixar when it comes to emotionalness, in my opinio, because just thinking about it can give me a lump in my throat (similar to ‘Saving Mr. Banks’).  Not that ‘The Croods’ is particularly sad or anything – it’s actually very funny for the most part and the characters are great and the animation is gorgeous (that scene in the treetops, though!  Eep trying to catch the last bit of sunlight!  Grug riding the sun!).  But there’s those two scenes (SPOILERS AHEAD), first where Grug sends them all off into the ‘mysterious beyond’ and then when he draws on the cave wall, and it gives me ALL. THE. FEELS.

// The LEGO Movie (2014) //

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I have seen this movie a billion times, but I still love it.  I think it’s genius, the way they take all the cliches and instead of turning them around, they actually embrace them for real and make them almost new again.  Plus, you can’t beat the voice cast.

// The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) //

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‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ touched my heart, surprisingly, and set me on the path that would end with BatBale and Chris Nolan awesomeness, so I have a lot to thank it for.  Sure, it’s not as deep as ‘The LEGO Movie’ (and everyone says “‘The LEGO Movie’ was deep?”…yes, yes, it was) but it has a certain flavor to it and actually made me like Robin (*looks up at LEGO minifigure of Robin I have on my super-special shelf of favorites*), which is a Superman-worthy feat in and of itself.  So, yes.  I love it.  I just hope ‘The LEGO Ninjago Movie’ will be as good.

// Megamind (2010) //

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Heroes are great, but villains truly do get all the good lines.  My favorite thing about ‘Megamind’ (besides, of course, the quotablity of it) is the storyline.  There are good, admirable characters throughout, but the plot holds my attention more than the people (for once).  It’s rather brilliant, the story. (More spoilers…)  How Megamind is a total villain at first and then he gradually turns into the hero as Hal/Titan becomes more and more evil and twisted.  It’s cool and the character changes are very believable.

// Epic (2013) //

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To tell the truth, I don’t love this one as much as I used to (because I’ve seen it way too many times and it doesn’t hold up under a dozen viewings) but I couldn’t leave it out.  It’s a very eco-friendly film, but the characters are so good that I don’t much mind.  MK, Nod, Ronin, Queen Tara, Mandrake…great characters all. (And Colin Farrell’s Irish accent is, y’know, *heart eyes*.)

 // Kung Fu Panda (2008) //

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Perhaps ‘Kung Fu Panda’ wouldn’t have made the list a year ago.  I still don’t like Po.  But after watching all three films (and being pleasantly surprised with the quality of the third one) the KFP franchise is one of my favorites.  Not terribly high on the list, but there anyway.  Shifu is a big part of that; I think of him as the emotional core of the first film (not so much the other two, but he’s still awesome in both) and his story is the one that interests me the most.  Not Po, but him and Tai Lung.  Also, even if you hate the movie, the music is still WOW. (Always a big thing with me no matter what film I’m watching.)

Anyway…

Do you spot any favorites on this list?  What are some of your favorite non-Disney/Pixar animated movies?

Eva

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36 thoughts on “my top twelve favorite non-Disney/Pixar animated movies

  1. Three of my favorite non-Disney animated films are on here: Anastasia, The Prince of Egypt, and Epic! The first two I loved when I was a kid, and Anastasia actually inspired the novel I’m writing! The Prince of Egypt–(*claps hands to chest*)–such a powerful, God-honoring film, with one of Hans Zimmer’s finest scores. I agree, “The Plagues” is such an emotional piece–but so is “Deliver Us,” in a similar vein. I first watched “Epic” on a very long plane ride a few years ago and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it!

    Oh yeah…and I thoroughly enjoy the random, crazy humor of The Lego Movie 😉 My dad can’t stand it so we (being his naughty and mischievous children) love to tease and torment him by quoting it XD

    I would really like to see Megamind. My sister saw it recently and said it was hilarious.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tin-Tin, Epic, HTTYD 2 (and 1), and Kung Fu Panda all make my favorites list, and they get watched a lot over here. None of them are worn out yet, fortunately! My nephew and I just rewatched Tin-Tin just last week. We love that one so much and also quote it quite a bit too. 😀 Those also happen to be the only ones on this list I’ve seen as well.

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  3. Prince of Egypt, Anastasia and The Lego Movie are the only three on that list I’ve seen. In Anastasia’s case, it was in history class in grade 7. I remembered it being OK (also around the time I was trying to grow up too quick), but it’s a weird movie for a history class considering its multiple historical inaccuracies. I’ve wanted to see How To Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda and Lego Batman for a while though.

    Of the three I’ve seen, Prince of Egypt is my favourite.

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    • Yes, that is weird that they’d show Anastasia in a history class. Huh. How to Train Your Dragon is about as perfect as an animated movie should be, so you should probably watch it ASAP. 😉

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  4. TINTIN YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I love that movie so much. In fact, it’s probably my favourite animated movie. Ever.)

    Also, as much as I’ve heard of the Broadway Anastasia soundtrack, it’s amazing!! And I haven’t seen the movie… now I’m keen to give it a try. 😀

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  5. I think that the best part of HTTD2 is “For the Dancing and the Dreaming” Peter Hollens and his wife did a cover, and it is GORGEOUS.

    I’ve seen several most of these. I don’t “love” most of them. Epic and HTTD 1&2 are cute. Megamind was weird. I didn’t care for Kung Fu Panda. I liked Anastasia and love the music and want to see the Broadway musical (my little sister did and she has been raving ever since).

    I’ve heard of Tintin. The people who mentioned it grew up on the graphic novels. Not sure if it be my thing.

    I watched Prince of Egypt ages ago, but my sisters have talked about the music which clearly I did not appreciate, so I need to watch again for that. Especially as Maribeth mentioned (did I know this?) since Hans Zimmer wrote it!

    Other non-Disney/non-Pixar. Rise of the Guardians was okay. I loved hearing Chris Pine’s voice. I grew up on Thumbelina. We girls all love Swan Princess (the song! plus some really funny lines). Despicable Me isn’t Disney/Pixar either, I think. I’ve seen both and find them hilarious and cute.

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    • I looked up the Hollens’ cover yesterday and you’re right – it. is. so. BEAUTIFUL. ❤

      The Tintin graphic novels are hilarious. I love them even more than the movie. 🙂

      Rise of the Guardians is quite good, but I never fully connected to it the way some people have. Maybe because everything is so easy for Our Heroes. I want to watch The Swan Princess sometime, as I've heard lots of good things about it.

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  6. I LOVE THESE MOVIES!!! And I totally agree, Rasputin is basically completely unimportant, but I love the rest of Anastasia. And the Prince of Egypt music is amazing.

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  7. I love Anastasia! I saw that at the cinema when it first came out. Seeing that was what got me interested in the real Romanov family (of course things did not happen in real life how they did in the film). Beautiful soundtrack and animation.

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  8. I agree with a lot of these! I have not seen Tintin, The Little Prince, or The Lego Batman movie. I didn’t care for the Croods, the clothing, (rather lack thereof) really bothered me…
    You’re right about Epic! While it is a good film, it can’t exactly hold it’s own on repeat.
    I am /most/ curious as to why you don’t like Po! I find him loveable with a rich backstory and good character. (Perhaps do a blog post of it? I’m not sure… but I’d like to hear why you don’t like him!)
    Megamind is too good, it should get more time in the spotlight. What would you think if they made a second? I think if they did it right, it would be epic. It would be hard to top, though!

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    • Yeah, there is a pretty severe lack of clothing in The Croods, but I guess that since it’s constant in that, I get sort of…numb to it? I dunno. Plus, it’s animated. If it was a live-action movie with all the characters dressed like that 24/7, I would be reeeeeally uncomfortable.

      Okay. So. Po *is* funny. But he’s also a bit of a loser and he never really improves, in my opinion. And everything comes so easily for him – kung fu, inner peace, chi (is that how you spell it?). He doesn’t have to work hard for much of it. HOWEVER. There were a couple parts in the films last time I watched them that made me pause and think “You know, I actually *like* Po in this scene”, so my opinion of him could very well change for the better. 🙂

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  9. I SO need to watch “The Little Prince.” That, and “Prince of Egypt”–I adore the soundtrack but I’ve never had a chance to actually sit down and watch the film.

    I also really want to watch “Kubo and the Two Strings”; Rosie saw it and said it was beautiful.

    Oh! Have you ever seen any of the Wallace and Gromit animated movies? “A Grand Day Out” was probably the first film I ever saw; and I love it very, very dearly. It was a huge part of my childhood; and I was sad when Peter Sallis died earlier this summer.

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      • I think I would!!! I’ll bump it up on the “to-watch” list 🙂

        Really? I would think you might enjoy them (“A Grand Day Out,” at least); it’s very sweet and fun and wholesome, and the animation is excellent. Every time I watch AGDO I just want to reach into the screen and grab Wallace’s cheese-and-crackers and devour it . . . it looks that delicious.

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      • Hey, couldn’t help but pop in and say I KNOW THAT MOVIE! I was brought up on Wallace and Gromit, and “A Grand Day Out” was always our favourite. 😀

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      • Eva–let me know what you think, if you try them! 🙂

        Miss Meg–YAY!!!!! A fellow fan! *high-fives you*

        “Crackers, Gromit! We forgot the crackers!

        😉

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  10. I’ve seen all those except for the Lego Batman Movie, which I’m sure I’ll see eventually.
    I LOOOOVE The Little Prince, although it was kinda weird, and HTTYD is wonderful! I love Tin Tin although I don’t know if I would still love it. Prince of Egypt is in my top 10 favorite movies of all time. The Lego Movie is awesome. Epic is pretty good. Megamind is terrific and hilarious, same with Kung Fu Panda. I must say though, I don’t like Anastasia, or HTTYD2, or the Croods.
    But this was a great review! loved it.

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    • I can’t get over how awesome The LEGO Batman Movie is. ❤

      Yes, The Little Prince is kind of weird, but I love it all the same. Looks like we have a lot of similar tastes when it comes to animated movies!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Tintin is fun, and I ADORE Anastasia. Like, have the soundtrack memorized and have the sheet music kind of adore. I liked The Lego Movie more than I expected to. Epic is cool. Been years since I saw Prince of Egypt, but I liked it a lot.

    My fave non-Disney animated films are Anastasia and The Iron Giant and lots of different VeggieTales eps 🙂

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    • Oh, wow. I didn’t know you’d even watched Anastasia. Ditto for The LEGO Movie! (And LEGO Batman – was *not* expecting to enjoy that as much as I did.)

      I’ve heard good things about The Iron Giant – I’m sure I’ll check it out one of these days. 🙂

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      • I saw Anastasia about a year after it was released. A college friend invited me to spend Thanksgiving with her, and we watched it together on that trip. Been a fan ever since. I’m right there with you in not caring for the Rasputin parts, though.

        I’ve seen The Lego Movie once, and it made me laugh a lot, but I didn’t love it. When my kids are just a bit older, I’ll probably get it from the library for them. I haven’t seen Lego Batman yet, though.

        The Iron Giant is very sweet and kind of thought-provoking. Not what I expect from animation.

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      • The first time I watched The Lego Movie, I was entertained and nothing more but I’ve come to really love it. It’s one of the few animated movies I’ll sit down and watch all the way through (as opposed to catching my favorite bits and pieces when my siblings watch it).

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  12. Very impressive list. My favourites on this list are “Anastasia”, “The Adventures of Tintin” and “The Prince of Egypt”. I wonder whether you have also seen film “Anastasia” with Ingrid Bergman? My favourite non-Disney animations are “Balto” and “Ferngully: The Last Rainforest”.

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