10 Best Computer Animated Movies

Saturday, July 23 by Richard Keller

The 10 best computer animated movies are those that concentrate on story and acting while successfully fusing with the animation. Without this, computer animated movies are just a bunch of brightly colored pixels flowing across the screen. Here's a list of recommended films that delight with both story and pixels.

  1. "Toy Story" Not only did this film stun moviegoers with its highly detailed, computer-generated world, it also featured a smart and funny story full of unique characters, particularly Woody and Buzz, voiced by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. Entertaining for kids, "Toy Story" was also a treat for older viewers who always knew their green military men were performing maneuvers while they were sleeping.
  2. "Avatar" Written, directed and produced by James Cameron, this film took CGI in a totally new direction. Incorporating live-action with computer animation, Cameron created an eye-poppingly beautiful world full of blue-skinned aliens, bioluminescent plants, and giant dragon-like creatures. While many enjoy ridiculing the Smurf-colored residents of Pandora, there's no doubting the visual beauty of this film.
  3. "Tron" The first film to fully incorporate computer animation, this 1982 Disney offering set the standard for others to follow. Adding live actors to a computer-generated world, the movie displayed a stark black and white universe sprinkled with bursts of brilliant primary colors. Though somewhat crude in relation to current computer animation techniques, "Tron" is still fondly remembered to the point that a sequel to the film, "Tron: Legacy" premiered 28 years later.
  4. "Shrek" DreamWorks Animation's first CGI-based film provided a modern twist to fairy tales while poking fun at the mouse house that brought them to the movie screen. The tale about an ogre who changed his ways was helped by a talented voice cast that included Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow. While the other movies in the franchise were entertaining, the original "Shrek" provided just enough biting satire to make it just as enjoyable for adults as well as kids.
  5. "The Incredibles" Fans expected nothing but greatness from Pixar's first superhero movie. They got what they wished for thanks to writer and director Brad Bird, who showed theatergoers the human side of being a superhero and what could happen when those champions of justice get a little soft. All that, plus some, pardon the pun, incredible action sequences.
  6. "The Polar Express" Motion capture animation at its best! Save for the waiters who served the guests on The Polar Express, all of the characters created for the movie were generated by motion-capture computer animation. The end result was the transformation of Chris Van Allsburg's book into a whimsical and fluid holiday adventure.
  7. "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" Not all CGI-animated features are epics; thus, why this movie is on the list. Based on the children's book by Judi Barrett, this film combined broad comedy with the danger of giant meatballs falling from the sky. In the end, while all the characters and voice actors performed at the top of their games, the star of the movie was the food.
  8. "Wall-E" Another first for Pixar: a science fiction epic. Though character-driven by the garbage collecting robot known at Wall-E and his girlfriend-to-be Eve, there were two points of focus for this movie: the spectacularly trash-ridden landscape of a future Earth and the immense space cruiser that was to eventually head back in its direction.
  9. "Kung Fu Panda" With his childlike demeanor, it wasn't much of a stretch to picture actor Jack Black as a giant panda who learns kung fu. Along with some fast-paced and intense fight scenes, "Kung Fu Panda" ranks with "Shrek" as one of computer animation's best.
  10. "Cars" Directors John Lasseter and John Ranft were able to do something interesting with "Cars": combine auto racing with a travelogue. Both a sport and human interest (well, anthropomorphic car interest) movie,  the Pixar film easily mixes the grandeur of  the Southwest's canyons and cliffs while providing heart-stopping racing action. In fact, some of the scenes on the track were more intense than those of a regular NASCAR race.

– Richard Keller