Who Are Your Influences?
We decided to compile lists of our top 10 most personally influential animated films. These are not necessarily the best animated films, nor are they necessarily our favorites. They are films that inspired us to become animators and influenced our work.
Dr. Angus' Top Ten Most Influential Animated Films
10. Bambi- Many people have been scarred by Bambi's mothers death. I'm no different. Bambi is a film that is equal comedy and tragedy. Recently, I watched it again and found it to be refreshingly simple and honest. It's a good antidote to noisy modern film making. I wish people would make movies like this again.
9. The Adventures Of Mark Twain- Good luck finding this one. I grew up in Portland and followed everything that Will Vinton Studios produced. I worshiped The California Raisins so when a feature was released, I was first in line. The film has it's problems, but it's worth seeing for Barry Bruce's character designs alone. The humans in the film are caricatured brilliantly. I wish more films were able to create a world this consistent. Claymation has a warmth that CG cannot match.
8. Watership Down- For some reason 1970's animated films were largely dark and depressing. The rabbit carcasses in this film still haunt me. Bloody Bunnies are not the best thing for a child. I'm sure if I saw it again it wouldn't seem so gruesome, but I'd prefer to keep the memory of my enjoying this film. Just like Goonies.
7. Toy Story- What can you say? Still holds up. What I hope isn't lost with the passage of time is how revolutionary this film was story-wise. Yeah, it was the first all CGI film, but it was the story that set it apart. At the time, the powers that be were convinced that the only animated films that people wanted to see were broadway-style musicals with animal sidekicks. Of course they were wrong.
6. Aladdin- The Arsenio jokes were old when it came out, but the Eric Goldberg Genie stuff is amazing. I think Robin Williams gets a lot of credit for Mr. Goldberg's work, but whadaya gonna do? If you want to be famous- get out of the cartoon business. *
5. Iron Giant- Like everybody else reading this I saw it opening day and think it's the best thing ever and the most overlooked gem of our time and you can't believe how bad the marketing was and so on. Doesn't mean it isn't true. Everything is great about this film. At the time I heard some complain that the animation was sub-par because it wasn't constantly moving. Well those people are wrong. Animated films would be a lot better off if they weren't always moving. See it again.
4. Alice in Wonderland- Walt was reportedly disappointed with this film and seeing it recently, I can understand why. The limitations of the budget and running time don't allow for a faithful adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic tome. That said, the design is incredible and the animation is stunning. Some of my favorite scenes are the Doorknob bit and the Tea party.
3. Sleeping Beauty- As a kid, this was the best Disney film- largely because of the ending. You had 3 fairies equip the hero with a sword and shield and a cool villain that turned into a Dragon. What more could you ask for? Seeing it again, it kinda drags. The hero is dull and Briar Rose- while beautiful, is not that interesting either. The 3 Fairies are both the focus of the film in both story and animation. It's as if they built the film around these characters so that the animators could explore a variety of acting ideas that they were interested in exploring. That in itself is pretty cool. The design is well stylized, and Eyvind Earle's square trees are neat.
2. Wind in the Willows/The Legend of Sleepy Hollow- A toad that drives a car and A lanky dude that rides a horse. Pure gold. Creepy and engaging. The Bing Crosby numbers are a good match for Sleepy Hollow. They give the film a timeless innocence that contrasts nicely with its chilling ending. The Ichabod animation is ridiculously cool.
1.Who Framed Roger Rabbit- This film is kinda all over the map, but it hit me at the right time. I was 13 when it came out, and after I saw this film I knew what I wanted to do with my life. The film makers went to so much trouble to do things with props and sets that the computer can do easily (but not as well somehow). I think that counts for something. Plus you'll never see Donald Duck in the same frame as Daffy Duck ever again (unless Wal-Mart buys both AOL Time Warner and Disney).
G.I. Joe: The M.A.S.S Device- Can the Joes defeat Cobra to recover the missing elements?
The Hobbit- Good story weak execution. But Smaug's Eye beams were cool.
Fantastic Planet- French, Freaky, and Amazing.
The Sword In The Stone-Not the best story, but the best animation.
Dr. Stephen G's Top Ten Most Influential Animated Films
10. Sleeping Beauty
- So rich too look at with great color and design, and the mastery of Marc Davis' Maleficent.
9. 101 Dalmatians
- Again Bill Peet!!!! with animators at the top of their game.
8. Jungle Book
- Not as refined as Lady and the Tramp or Peter Pan production value wise, but the nine old men where at the top of there game animation wise. Plus the xerography process of putting the drawings to cel left more of the animators hand in the final images on screen. That process alone to me was like a magician just barely showing you his magic trick.
7. Iron Giant
- Simply Perfect. Refer to my Dumbo comment. Replace Baby Mine with the sequence where the giant finds out why he was built and replace Bill Peet with Brad Bird.
6. Toy Story
- During the dredge of musicals Toy Story was as innovative as they come not only to the computer graphics industry, But more so to animated story telling.
5. Knick Knack
- Short Film by John Lasseter When I saw this film back in 1991 or '92 I knew I was gonna work at Pixar someday. The ideal short film perfect in every way.
4. Peter Pan
- The color design, layout and animation is some of the best ever done. From Ward Kimball crazy Indian chief, to Frank Thomas powerful acting with Captain Hook, and Ollie's humor with Smee It's hard to say that Peter Pan isn't one of the best animated films ever.
- When I was younger I would just watch this over and over and over, it got me into animation, got me into drawing and still inspires me today. The Watercolor backgrounds, the crazy multi-plane camera move at the beginning, ripple glass for the underwater scenes...they were breaking new ground. Plus I'll never forget the power of Bill Tytla's Stromboli and Frank Thomas' animation of Pinocchio during the got no Strings song.
2. Lady and the Tramp
- Absolutely beautiful to watch from the production design to the animation, super inspiring to me.
- Simple and Heart Felt. The Baby Mine Sequence shows you how powerful animation can be. Plus it's all Bill Peet!
Dr. Gordon's Top Ten Most Influential Animated Films
I wasn't a huge Disney fan. More a fan of Warner Brothers Cartoons.
This is in no specific order.
1) Warner Brothers cartoons in general. Some of my favorite are feed the kitty, duck amuck and most anything Chuck Jones directed during the Golden age. These cartoons were amazingly timed and the drawings were funny. I think they influenced my sense of timing.
2) I remember being really blown away by Toy Story. I had seen the shorts and commercial done by Pixar and knew they were the best, but this film just blew me out of the water. I knew that Pixar was doing some of the best stories out there.
3) Fantasia - I really love the idea of music telling stories and doing it without dialogue. The night on Bald mountain sequence is amazingly done. Great mood.
4) The Secret of Nihm - As a kid I really loved this film. It was a bit over animated but the story was one that I read as a kid. I remember the performances of the OWL and Nikodemis. I know its not everyones favorite, but I did enjoy it.
5) My Neighbor Totoro... I love this film because of the time that Miyazaki takes with the moments in the film. It also takes me a world that is so wonderful.
6) Wallace and Gromit - My favorites are: The Wrong Trousers and Were Rabbit. Aardman's attention to detail is amazing and all the characters are fun to watch. It just goes to show again that the characters performances are just as important as the "poses" Gromit has more heart than most characters in Live Action Films.
7) Aladdin - I always had fun watching this film and thought the Genie was very well done. Some of the songs went well with the animation.
8) Akira - As far as Japanese Anime goes, this one is awesome. Its a classic. Great effects work too.
9) Monk and the Fish and Father and Daughter. Michael Dudok De Wits films just have a great feel to them. They make me want to do short films and explore characters. I love the simplicity of the characters and how fun they are to watch.
10) Jungle Book- It wouldn't be fair to not include work of the 9 old men. I appreciate what Disney's did now more than I did before I got into animation because I can see how amazing the performances of the characters are. I love Milt Kahl's work on Shere Kahn. Also, all the work done with Baloo and the snake character is amazing. Great choices. It wasn't so much the story that blew me away, but more the animation.