As someone who's majoring in Animation I have always loved animated films since I was a kid. Of course I've always loved Disney but there are so many other amazing animated films. I thought it would be cool to include some of my favorite underrated animated films. There will be only be 2 Disney films included on this list only because they are extremely underrated and not on your typical Disney watch list. All of the other movies but are by other animated studios. Sometimes a film does not get a lot of hype but that doesn't mean it's not spectacular. So here's my top 12 favorite underrated animated films of all time!!!
1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame-(1966)
Words cannot describe how I feel about this film. Everything about this movie blows my mind. From the animation to the dark depths and religious symbolism this film is unlike any Disney movie I have ever watched. And the characters?! Quasimodo and Esmeralda are very relate-able and Frollo is by far the most realistic Disney villain I have ever seen. This movie is gorgeous and you'll pleased to know it has a happier ending than the original book by Victor Hugo. The movie is very underrated but totally worth the watch. I cannot count the number of times I've seen it but it will forever go down in my book as my favorite underrated animated film, and probably my favorite Disney movie ever. OH AND DID I EVEN MENTION THE SOUNDTRACK?!!!!
This movie is yet another masterpiece by Don Bluth (And if you don't know who he is do yourself a favor and google the man.) The film gets a lot of slack for looking like a Disney movie and 9 times out of 10 people mistake it for one. The film is about the long lost princess Anastasia. Anastasia was a real life Russian princess but the film is no where near historically accurate. Even so the film makes of for that with it's cast of colorful characters. Anastasia is a tom boy who an't afraid to slap people while Dimitri is handsome con man who will make your heart soar. The animation is very pretty for 2D style and the songs are quite beautiful. Overall this film is a beautiful representation of just how good a animated movie can be that isn't Disney.
3. The Book of Life-(2014)
Okay so I have loved this film since it was first released because it was directed by my favorite director of all time Guillermo del Toro who is Latino. This film is very faithful to the Mexican Culture not just because of the look of the film but also the film is centered around one of Mexico's most well known holidays, The Day of the Dead. I love the CGI in this movie because the characters look like puppets because the movie is basically a story within a story and that's how the characters are represented in the real world. Not to mention that the colorful backgrounds combined with heartwarming songs bring the film to life. This film will continue to be one of my favorite due to the diversity, wit, and thought put behind the movie.
4. The Prince of Egypt-(1998)
So I didn't really grow up in a religious family. Until recently there weren't very many parts of the Bible that I read. But you know which one I had read on several occasions? Do you which story in the Bible is my absolute favorite? Do you know why? That's right everyone!!! Moses because of the incredible movie that no one ever expected to work The Prince of Egypt. I watched this film all the time as a kid and was always in awe of Moses. I mean have you seen the scene in which he parts the red sea? Or are you one of those people who tried to sing both parts of The Plagues, cause I know I was. The pain between Moses and the Pharaoh who Moses considers a brother is just heartbreaking. You'll find yourself torn apart between both sides it's that realistic. It doesn't matter if your religious or not I recommended this film to anyone who just loves a good story and incredible animation. Oh and not like you needed another reason to watch this film but it won a Oscar for best original music. Need I say more?
5. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron-(2002)
OKAY IF THIS MOVIE WASN'T APART OF YOUR CHILDHOOD YOU MISSED OUT!!! I literally remember jumping up and down on my bed every time the song Get Off of My Back came on during this movie because I would get so pumped!!! The movie has very little dialogue and most of the time that's just Spirit's inner thoughts. But goodness gracious the movie pulls it off like nobody's business!!! The film tells the incredible story about a free spirited horse whose entire life gets flipped upside down only for him to realize that he doesn't want to leave the man he's shared the past several moths with. The movie will have you whooping and hollering for Spirit one minute and crying the next. I will always have a fondness for the nostalgia this film brings in and I will recommend this over the new Netflix TV show they've based off of this any day.
6. The Iron Giant-(1999)
THIS MOVIE! THIS MOVIE THOUGH!!! IT WAS JUST TOO DEEP FOR YOUNGER ME OKAY!!! This film seems like a corny comedy but it is so much deeper than that! The movie talks about souls, death, and the injustice violence can cause and this was a kid's film!!! I also love the cartoon styled animation and this produced one of my favorite animated side characters ever (His name is Dean and he's a abstract artist who lives in a junkyard). Anyone who's looking for something that can entice both kids and adults this is the film for you!
7. Rise of the Guardians-(2012)
Okay let's get it over with and just state that for the record this movie did not get the credit it deserved okay? I mean you had a all star cast with voices like Huge Jackman, Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, and Isla Fisher. The CGI animation is some of Dreamworks best if not some of the best animation I've ever witnessed on the big screen. Oh and the connections made with myths and holidays is just too clever!!! Yet for critics it wasn't that successful. Still in my book gets goes down as a way too underrated legend.
Now I know what some of you are thinking, why the heck is this film on my list let alone number 8? Well because as stupid as I first thought this movie was I cannot stop laughing whenever I watch it! And I think that's the point! The movie is about a villain who finally destroys the hero and doesn't know what to do anymore! It's like if the Joker killed the Batman! He wouldn't have anyone to fight anymore. The film is supposed to make fun of superhero cliches and it does it so well!!! But the movie also hits home with a few serious moments that really make you think are villains really born evil or are they made by how society treated them? The cast is great with actors such as Will Feral (The comedic legend) and the gift that is Jk Simmons. So while this movie may not be the best hero story that I've ever seen I'll still always get some good laughs out of it along with some important life lessons.
9. Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart-(2013)
Now this movie is based off the french novel La Mécanique du cœur by Mathias Malzieu. I first saw this movie on Netflix and was blown away by the very imaginative world and punk rock music. The movie is very unusual. It focus on a boy who's heart is literally a cuckoo-clock and can't love anyone otherwise his heart will break. But even so the film pulls you in with it's quirkiness and beautifully designed characters. I will truly always love this film for it's sheer creativity and imagination.
10. The Great Mouse Detective-(1986)
Now as much as I love Robert Downy Jr's Sherlock movies and the BCC series this is probably my favorite version. In Disney's version the main character is a mouse named Basil of Baker street who lives in the real Sherlock's apartment. He's brilliant, a master of disguise, and just entertaining. What really sells this movie for me is the villain. A rat named Professor Ratigan who is Basil's greatest any enemy. Ratigan is a mad man, egotistical, and just plain cruel! Another gem about this movie is that there's this stunning fight scene inside Big Ben that displays some of the first ever CGI. I think this movie is too often shoved under the rug when in reality I think it tops some of the live action Sherlock's of today.
11. The Road to El Dorado-(2000)
While a lot of people have probably never seen this film I can almost guarantee they've hear of it. In the past several years this film has notoriously reached internet famous status due to it's subtle adult content, crazy plot, and comedic gold. Two men named Tulio and Miguel end up discovering El Dorado (The city of gold) and have to pretend to be Gods in order to survive. Meanwhile they also have to make sure to keep away from the Spanish Inquisition which gets closer and closer to tracking them down. Now while this film isn't Dreamworks best it's still totally worth the watch. From Elton John's beautiful music, pretty backgrounds, and adventurous story this movie is sure to captivate audiences of all ages. Oh and a bonus is that in the original script of this movie the two main characters were supposed to be gay lovers. Now for homework go and watch the movie with that in mind and try to figure out if they aren't a couple or not cause I sure as heck could not come up with a straight answer;)!
12. The Quest for Camelot-(1998)
Last but not least is The Quest for Camelot. This was Warner's Brothers first fully animated feature film ever released. It has stars like Carey Elwes, Celine Dion, Jaleel White, and Pierce Brosnan. This film was a bomb both in critics and audiences eyes but like most people of today I still find it highly enjoyable. The main character Kayley is adventurous, heroic, and no damsel in distress. She goes on a quest to save King Arthur's sword with the blind hermit Garret. So while this film won't leave you speechless the movie will certainly make you laugh out loud and yean for a adventure of your own.