This wasn’t exactly a perfect year for animated movies, but there were still some ones that impressed me with their ingenuity.
5.) “Captain Underpants”
Voices of Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Thomas Middleditch, Nick Kroll, Jordan Peele, and Kristen Schaal
I never read the comic books, but I admired the way Dreamworks Animation allowed it to add hand drawn animation and live-action sock puppets in its CGI world. It’s also funny and warmhearted.
4.) “Cars 3”
Voices of Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Armie Hammer, Nathan Fillion, Chris Cooper, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, and Kerry Washington
This was probably my favorite of the three Pixar films. It has nice voice work, a touching story, and ambitions in the different generation of racers. Many people would say “Cars” is not a grade-A Pixar film, but I consider this a guilty pleasure.
3.) “The Lego Batman Movie”
Voices of Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Jenny Slate, Hector Elizondo, Mariah Carey, Ellie Kemper, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Seth Green, Jason Mantzoukaus, Zoe Kravitz, and Ralph Fiennes
It’s almost up to the high standards of “The Lego Movie,” but this Lego spoof of the DC Universe was genius. It’s funny, visually stunning, and heartwarming. Will Arnett is perfect as Lego Batman, because of his dialogue and vulnerability.
Voices of John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Cannavale, David Tennant, Anthony Anderson, Peyton Manning, Gina Rodriguez, David Diggs, Gabriel Iglesias, Jerrod Carmichael, and Miguel Angel Silvestre
Not every animated feature has to look powerful, and “Ferdinand” is one of those to be both cute and flexible in its animation. It has a touching story, a talented voice cast, and adorable characters. I’m not made of stone.
Voices of Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renee Victor, Cheech Marin, Edward James Olmos, and Gabriel Iglesias.
There were two Disney-Pixar animated films this year, and while I consider “Cars 3” to be a guilty pleasure, I actually enjoyed “Coco” even more. It’s a smart, colorful, and imaginative vision of the Mexican cultures, and has a challenging story about family. And from what I’ve heard, the filmmakers almost didn’t give the skeletons eyeballs, but that Tim Burton vision could have frightened little kids, so they gave them some. They look really nice.
And The Lamest Animated Movie of the Year is……
“Smurfs: the Lost Village
Voices of Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello, Jack McBrayer, Danny Pudi, Michelle Rodriguez, Ellie Kemper, Ariel Winter, Jake Johnson, Meghan Trainor, Mandy Patinkin, and Julia Roberts
I was one of the lucky ones to not review “The Emoji Movie,” but Sony Pictures Animation’s 1st feature of the year, “Smurfs: The Lost Village,” had so many bright ideas, but they were just underwritten. I really think the new Smurfettes are cute and well voiced by Julia Roberts and Ellie Kemper, but they’re all one-liners and montages. I’m not sure The Smurfs are even cut out for the movie world.
You can call me Grouchy Smurf or Gargamel.