Best Animated Films of 2016
5. Sausage Party ★★★1/2
Nope, you didn’t read that wrong. And, no, you didn’t suddenly stumble onto a list of weirdest films of 2016. Sausage Party is a decent animated film, one that you will not forget. (Even though you will forever try to erase that food orgy from your brain.) Seth Rogen and gang managed to create a raunchy animated film featuring food, which I believe was no easy task. Even though they didn’t stray too far from predictable dirty food jokes, the jokes still landed and were quite funny. There are many improvements Sausage Party could make, like some of the weird song choices and possibly racist humor, but, overall, it’s a movie that will force you to blush and look away from the hot dog buns at the store. And that’s worth something, right?
4. Storks ★★★1/2
Storks is an animated movie more for the parents than the kids. The creators were probably parents themselves because they definitely had insight on what dealing with an infant is truly like. As a new parent myself, I found myself nodding and laughing during the moments like when Tulip and Junior try to get the baby to fall asleep while they are exhausted. Non-parents probably won’t like this movie; they may not connect with it like I did. But for you parents out there, seek this movie out. Love it. Laugh with it. Watch it with your kids and never have to have the sex talk. Storks bring babies. The end.
3. Zootopia ★★★★
Tiny humans, grandmas, parents, and the family dog all went crazy for Zootopia. I fell on the Zootopia bandwagon. It’s a great animated film. Yeah, the race analogy didn’t quite transfer perfectly to animals, but, hey, it’s a kids movie. Things don’t have to be perfect, right. They’ll get the gist of it. Be nice to everyone and don’t judge a book by it’s cover (or, I guess, an animal by it’s species).
Much like Storks, Zootopia includes a little bit of something for the adults, like referencing Breaking Bad, The Godfather, and the Lemming (Lehman) Brothers Bank. Regardless of age, everyone is going to love the spunky mismatched duo of Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) and the zany cast of background characters. (If you don’t love Clawhauser we can’t be friends.)
Zootopia’s message is timely, the humor is gold, and it has heart. What more could you want?
2. Moana ★★★★1/2
I just recently watched Moana for the first time a week ago, and I am obsessed. Since then I put it on whenever I have the chance. I can’t remember the last time I responded to an animated film like this. Unlike the rest of Earth’s population I haven’t seen Hamilton, so I’m not a super fan of Lin Manuel Miranda. However, the songs in Moana are catchy and so well written. (“How Far I’ll Go” is currently my go-to motivational tune.) Not only are the songs fantastic, but also the story breaks many of Disney’s princess stereotypes. Moana (Auli’I Cravalho) is a strong, independent character that seeks to save the people of her home island. When Maui (Dwayne Johnson) fails to save the day, even though he is a demigod, Moana steps up. Yes, the story may be predictable, but all bildungsroman stories are.
1. Kubo and the Two Strings ★★★★★
If you haven’t watched this movie yet, immediately stop what you are doing and GO WATCH IT! There’s no excuse for missing the best animated film of your life.
If you’re like me you probably saw the trailer for this movie and didn’t think much of it. The trailers did not do this movie justice. I watched it on a whim one afternoon believing it would be just another “eh” film. I was so, so wrong. Not only is Kubo one of the most visually stunning films, it also takes its viewers on an incredible journey from the very first line: “If you must blink, do it now.” From that moment you are hooked; you can’t look away. Kubo doesn’t shy away from danger. Nor does it present the danger in a cutesy way for children. There’s no condescension in this film; adults and children are taken on the same journey. A journey, by the way, that is exciting, original, and fierce. It’s not very often that a film contains such powerful storytelling.
Seriously, just go watch it. I beg of you.
Bonus: Comments on the Worst of the Worst
• If I wanted to spend more time with the Angry Birds I would have downloaded the app on my phone.
• Trolls is incredibly creepy and the songs are obnoxious.
• No kids movie should include a song by Gorillaz.
• Finding Dory…more like Forgetting Dory. Am I right?
Did I miss an animated film that you love? Do I need to give Angry Birds another chance? Let me know. Twitter and Letterboxd: @BinghamKari