Home > Animation, Movies > Animation’s Impact

Animation’s Impact

I sat down in the theater the other day to see Megamind. During the preview for Yogi Bear my friend leaned over to me and said: “There sure are a lot of cartoon movies coming out now.” This statement got me thinking. Despite stating the obvious, he had used the term ‘cartoon’ movie. Not animated, but cartoon. Harkening back to the days before the animated film was a widely accepted form of entertainment for all ages. Thankfully the stigma of animated films being for kids is dissipating, but this statement dis make me want to run down a few of the most influential animated films in my life.

Robin Hood (1973)

Robin Hood

Disney's Robin Hood (1973)

When I was 8 in the early 90’s, my parents decided to move the family to Japan for a year. They taught English and I tried to take advantage of that year by avoiding home schooling as much as possible. Two of the most formative programs of my youth came out of that year, namely due to a small lack of non-amine style children’s programming. One of those was the wonderful Fraggle Rock from the Jim Henson Company, and the other was Walt Disney’s Robin Hood. Someone had been kind enough to send us a copy on VHS and I wore the tape out by the end of the year.

Robin Hood is still one of my fondest animated memories, even though it is generally regarded as one of the films Disney did ‘on the cheap.’ It was the first Disney film featuring anthropomorphized animals, and maybe that was what helped me relate to it as a child.

The Lion King (1994)

Disney's The Lion King (1994)


The seminal animated film of my youth and, many would argue, the climax of Disney animation. Many would also argue that it was a complete rip-off of a Japanese animated television series. I’m not here to split those hairs. Lion King was fun for the whole family, a touching film with a killer soundtrack. As a kid, I remember being completely shocked that it hadn’t won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. But this film did mark another milestone: the end of animated films targeting only children and families. Yes, Disney came out with several animated films after that (Pocahontas, Mulan, etc.) but none ever came close to recapturing the Disney magic that Lion King had found. The audience was growing up, and it was time the genre grew up with them.


Shrek (2001)

A lot of animation purists aren’t fans of Shrek. They believe that Shrek deviates from the the true spirit of animation by bringing in crude humor and poop jokes. I can firmly believe that this is why Shrek was such a success.

A product of the growing up Simpsons generation, and thanks to over saturation of the Shrek market, it’s easy to forget how clever the original Shrek film was. For the first time families were attending animated films not just for the kids. When the kids laughed, the parents laughed, and the teens in the audience laughed, and each had their own reason for laughing at the film.

This can also be looked at as the first major blow to Disney’s animation department from an outside animation company. That is, of course, as long as you count Pixar as an internal Disney company.

Ratatouille (2007)

There’s so many Pixar films to choose from, and I’m going to limit myself to just one for this article. Ratatouille is, without question, my favorite Pixar film. I find it to be the most heart-warming, funny and endearing tale to come from the Pixar studios. A lot of people will trumpet Toy Story 3, but I maintain that Toy Story 3 had three movies to get to it’s climax. Ratatouille, at time of writing, has one.

In that one movie you learn to love rats, gain an appetite for cooking, and believe that a human can really be completely controlled by a small rodent tugging at his hair.

Since then the field of animation has continued to grow more and more into the mainstream. We’ve had notable films such as Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Up and a beautifully done 2D film: The Princess and the Frog. Hopefully Princess leads us to more traditionally animated films, a style that has been largely forgotten recently.

This isn’t an in depth look into story, structure or style; that’s for another blog. This is more a stroll down memory lane for me, and hopefully for you as well.

So, what’s your favorite animated film?

Categories: Animation, Movies
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: