The Jungle Book
It’s the king of the swingers, animation’s VIP. It reached the top but now I’ll have to stop and tell you why it’s the film to see (apologies, but films this good make me giddy). Although there’s scores of competition, Mowgli’s adventure is arguably Uncle Walt’s finest feature, bearing all the hallmarks that had earlier defined animation’s ‘golden age’. There’s an unwavering consistency to the stunningly hand-drawn and iconic characters, the mesmerising jungle backdrops and unforgettable songs. Echoes of the simplistic character-driven storytelling have since remained evident in Disney’s classics, most noticeably in the similarly superb Lion King.
By Joe Cunningham
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
The producers took the rulebook and smashed it up with a giant cartoon hammer, then blew it up with some ACME dynamite. Effortlessly cool yet ridiculously stupid, it incorporates a weird mix of animation and live action. The juxtapositions almost render this film impossible to make, but it came out of studio as a diamond. How they did they do this? Nobody knows. What I do know is that this is the best childhood film for our generation. There is one problem though: is it wrong to fancy Jessica Rabbit?
By Scott Perkins
Persepolis gives an enlightening insight into the veiled world of Iran, focusing on the aftermath of the Iranian revolution of the 1980s. Animation helps bring this film universality (it’s not just another ethnic film about their far-off problems). Themes of tyranny, exploitation from the west, and political oppression are contrasted with humourous adolescent rebellion. You may not know what it’s like to live through a war, but one can easily sympathise with the heroine’s failures with love. Above all, rare representations of a once freer (still Islamic) Iran makes Persepolis one of my favourite animated films.
By Jiayi Huang
WALL·E opens upon a fairly desolate scene of an empty planet, our planet, save for one lone robot – WALL·E. For those of you who are unfortunate enough to have not seen it, it tells the simple tale of boy robot meeting girl robot, falling in love and saving the world. In truth, no review, or synopsis can give an inkling of Pixar’s sheer achievement with this movie. There is nearly no dialogue, and yet you cannot help but be drawn into the world Pixar creates so beautifully with sublime colours and sweeping cinematography. It’s undoubtedly a modern cinematic classic.
By Albert Wallace
A Nightmare Before Christmas
It is easy to overlook talents produced over a decade ago when Tim Burton presented cinema with the groundbreaking magic of ‘A Nightmare before Christmas’. Burton’s plot of fairytale fantasy combined with the old-fashioned technique of stop-motion animation presents a family film with a ‘Burton-esque’ edge to it. With his extraordinarily innovative imagination he creates a visual feast that I personally just cannot resist; delivering audiences with an array of unforgettable characters, addictive songs and a Christmas so bizarre you wish you could be a part of it.
By Sophia Staton Young
Journey with Disney as he explores the possibilities and limits of animation. Travel through musical landscapes where everything can dance; crocodiles, elephants, flowers…even mushrooms! The winning scene has to be Disney’s interpretation of Goethe’s poem “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” starring Mickey Mouse. A combination of classical music masterpieces and Disney’s animated genius creates a perfectly synchronised tour de force. Fantasia not only shows that Disney’s work should be enjoyed by adults as well as children, but establishes his right to stand beside musical maestros in his creation of an ultimate fantasy world.
By Simone de Monerri
Beauty and the Beast
To my six year-old self, Beauty and the Beast was a kaleidoscope of colour that imprinted itself permanently on my mind. I was enthralled not just by the shimmering gold of Belle’s ball gown and royal blue of the Beast’s coat, but also the jewel-like hues of the stained-glass window opening sequence that spilled out into the rest of the film. Combine such rich visuals with Disney’s most human heroine, wicked humour and one of Menken and Ashman’s finest tunes, the simple joy and emotion of which allows it to transcend the fact that it’s sung by a teapot, and you’re left with pure gold.
By Isabelle Parkin
The Lion King
The Lion King is my favourite Disney film. I have such fond memories of going to see it at the cinema and waiting for it to come out on VHS. It’s amazing to think that when it was in production, Disney considered Pocahontas (which was in production at the same time) to be the more important film. The characters are rich and unforgettable but it’s Scar who was and remains my favourite. The whole story has so many layers, it appeals to kids and grownups alike and it has parallels with Hamlet, what’s not to like?
By Hannah Coleman