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Best Modern Animated Movies According to Rotten Tomatoes

Image: Best Modern Animated Movies According to Rotten Tomatoes
Toy Story 2, 1999. (imdb.com)

By    |   Friday, 01 May 2015 09:15 AM

Animation has come a long way since Gertie the Dinosaur stomped across a movie screen. Today’s movies can take the unreal to heights of realism – or at least believability – undreamed of a few years before. The movie review site Rotten Tomatoes totes up critical reviews to arrive at its 100 best animated movies.

Here are the site’s top 10 made since 1990, together with each modern movie’s place on the overall top 100 list and it’s “freshness” rating – the percentage of positive reviews out of all the movie’s reviews. Given the technical advances in animation in just the last two decades, it’s no surprise the top 10 overall are dominated by recent movies (and one studio):

1. "Toy Story 2" (1999) (No. 1 overall, 100 percent)

The first sequel to “Toy Story” has Woody (voice of Tom Hanks), Buzz (voice of Tim Allen) and the other toys looking for something to do while owner Andy is away at summer camp – and watch out for the toy collector. Ann Hornaday of the Baltimore Sun says the computer wizardry is good enough to not notice in favor of “all of the wit, intelligence and sharp characterization that made the first one such a hit.”

2. "Toy Story 3" (2010) (No. 3, 99 percent)

Andy’s off to college and the toys are headed to daycare. It’s about what to do when you’re judged no longer useful. “Toys Are Us” was the headline in the Village Voice, under which Eric Hynes wrote, “This latest film still manages to bull’s-eye the primal emotions that resonate with children of all ages.”

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3. "Up" (2009) (No. 4, 98 percent)

A jaded old man and a young scout, both cut off from what they love, team up for an adventure. If you can watch the prologue without crying, check your pulse; you might be dead. Reviewer Ali Gray on TheShiznit.co.uk writes: “You are swept along on a journey - emotional as well as physical - with some of the most well-crafted characters Pixar have ever lumped together.”

4. "Finding Nemo" (2003) (No. 5, 99 percent)

Son runs away and father finds meaning to life while looking for him -- and everyone’s a sea creature. The Pixar production crew, says Keith Phipps of the AVClub, “joins a silent comedian's sense of timing to a cartoonist's skill at emotional shorthand.”

5. "Toy Story" (1995) (No. 7, 100 percent)

Cowboy Woody is threatened by the arrival of slick space-age Buzz Lightyear in the story that started it all. “You ... are ... a ... toy!” Woody exclaims, utterly failing to convince Buzz. And when Buzz replies with, “You are a sad, strange little man.” Noting the bit of dialogue, Peter Canavese in Groucho Reviews writes, “We know we're in buddy-comedy heaven.”

6. "WALL-E (2008)" (No. 8, 96 percent)

An abandoned cleanup robot finds love, and a coddled humanity finds new hope, in a future Earth drowning in trash. “To see these sentiments delivered so profoundly, furthermore, speaks volumes to the power animation possesses in cleansing minds weathered by the cynicism of adulthood,” David Keyes wrotes for CinemaPhile.

7. "The LEGO Movie" (2014) (No. 9, 96 percent)

Here’s the first on this list to not be a Pixar movie. But everything is awesome when Emmett, a perfectly ordinary LEGO “minifig” becomes part of a team – including LEGO Batman – united against a creativity-quashing tyrant. “You can argue – and not sound completely crazy – that this is a better film than a few recent Academy Awards Best Picture nominees,” Peter Hartlaub writes at SFGate.

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8. "How to Train Your Dragon" (2010) (No. 9, 98 percent)

The son of a Viking king, Hiccup is a sensitive soul in a he-man’s world – and only he can ally with the fiercest of dragons to save that world. Derek Malcolm of the London Evening Standard says this movie – the only one besides LEGO that’s not from Pixar – “funny, well-drawn and imaginatively structured so that adults need have no fear about taking the kids to it.”

9. "The Incredibles" (2004) (No. 11, 97 percent)

The Parrs are just your average suburban family of superheroes who come out of hiding in plain sight to save the world. Anthony DelValle of the Las Vegas Mercury says the movie “goes beyond the pretty visuals and the slam-bam action to get us under the skin of a family trying hard to be something they're not.”

10. "Ratatouille" (2007) (No. 12, 96 percent)

There’s a rat in Linguini’s kitchen and it’s just what he needs. “You expect kitchen slapstick,” writes NPR’s Bob Mondello. “You get something that's closer to kitchen ballet, with food so lovingly digitized you can tell stale bread from fresh.”

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Animation has come a long way since Gertie the Dinosaur stomped across a movie screen. Today's movies can take the unreal to heights of realism - or at least believability - undreamed of a few years before. The movie review site Rotten Tomatoes totes up critical reviews.
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2015-15-01
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