All month long, you’ve been bombarded by recommendations for Christmas films to watch, and that’s all well and good, but now Christmas is here and soon you’ll be turning to the best films of the year to cram in that best-of, year-end goodness. Well, these are my Top 5 animated films released in (America) in 2014. I have a kid, which means I’ll be watching these over and over and over and over again in 2015, but at least with these 5 films, I’ll be happy about it.
1. The Wind Rises
An incredibly moving swan song from Hayao Miyazaki about Japanese aviation engineer Jiro Horikoshi, the creator of the A-6M World War II fighter plane. Joseph Gordon Levitt’s performance as Horikoshi is pitch perfect, and the sound design – using human sounds for machines — adds a level of soul to the film that is undeniable. Read our full review.
2. Ernest & Celestine
An Academy Award-nominated English dub of this charming French film about the unlikely friendship between a bear and a mouse. Despite her size, Celestine takes no guff, stands up for herself and speaks her mind. Great movie for people raising “mighty girls.”
3. The Book of Life
This movie, produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by Jorge Gutierrez, is simply a banquet for your eyes. It’s so beautiful, I felt as though I had to hold my hand over my heart to protect it. Desperately waiting for the Blu-Ray release so I can watch it over and over again and catch every granule of gorgeous detail.
4. The Tale of The Princess Kaguya
An incredible fairy tale from Isao Takahata — the art on this is so vibrant and rough and lovely. I mean, for that alone, I loved this picture. I wish it had been in wide release, especially since it’s one of Studio Ghibli’s last releases for a while.
5. Frozen Sing-A-Long
Look, I can’t explain why I seem to be the only parent who is NOT tired of this movie. And I get it, it seems like this release is just another way for us to spend more money on this juggernaut, but here in Los Angeles, the El Capitan (our Disney movie theatre) did these sing-a-longs, and it was, dare I say it… magical to hear a full movie theatre sing “Arendelle’s in deep, deep deep deep… snow…” (I can’t tell you what it sounded like when everyone sang “Let It Go” because I was too busy sounding just like Idina Menzel… I bet.)
Those are our favorites of 2014 – what were yours?