Five delightful cartoons Toon Town would welcome.
It was another terrific year at the movies for animation. There may have been some underwritten ones like “The Secret Life of Pets 2” or “Abominable,” but there were still some charmers worthy of this list.
5.) “Missing Link”
Voices of Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, Timothy Olyphant, Emma Thompson, and Zach Galiafiankis
This was a major animated bomb for the Lakia stop-motion company, but I still think their latest entry had its goofy heart in the right place. I admire how the craftsmanship and animation stretches out the characters, and makes them flexible and inventive. And the voice actors allow them to be people and not cartoons.
4.) “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part”
Voices of Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, and Stephanie Beatriz
If it wasn’t for its obvious third act, this would have been up there with the original 2014 animated hit. Still, there are dazzling CGI visuals, catchy pop music (which are now stuck in my head), and charming voice actors. Almost everything is awesome!
3.) “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
Voices of Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham, Craig Ferguson, and Gerard Butler
I loved this conclusion to the Dreamworks Animation trilogy for its powerful narrative in deliberating the relationship between Vikings and dragons. It’s about friendship, loyalty, and adventure; and I’m really gonna miss these characters deeply.
2.) “Frozen 2”
Voices of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, and Sterling K. Brown
This sequel took risks by explaining Anna (voiced by Bell) and Elsa’s (voiced by Menzel) orgins-how Elsa got her ice powers, and what secrets their kingdom Arendelle holds. Complete with Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez’s delightful and powerful songs (“Into the Unknown” being the sequel’s “Let it Go”), beautiful animation, and its iconic characters, I hope they make a third movie.
1.) “Toy Story 4”
Voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, and Christina Hendricks
Hands down, the best animated movie of the year. Many of us were skeptical about how this fourth outing would do, considering that “Toy Story 3” was a dazzler that earned itself a spot in the Oscar’s Best Picture category. But most of us were surprised at the directions Josh Cooley took in explaining Bo Peep’s (voiced by Potts) whereabouts and making her a new toy, while giving Woody (voiced by Hanks) the payoff he deserves. This is a wonderful, miraculous, and excellent movie.
The “Toy Story” franchise is the best animated movie franchise, because of how each sequel develops the toys’ personalities, and allows them to expand their horizons, while appeasing to one generation after another. If “Toy Story 4” is the last entry, then it closes the franchise tremendously.