By Indiewire Staff | Indiewire December 25, 2013 at 9:03AM
Jerry Beck, Animation Scoop
Since my beat is animated films I'll stick to doing a top ten that are primarily or entirely animated, hand drawn or computer generated.
1. "Gravity" Director: Alfonse Curon - It won't be nominated in the Animated Film category, but who can deny this was the best "animated" film of the year. A spectacular state-of-the-art use of the medium to tell a human heartfelt story. Bravo.
2. "The Wind Rises" Director: Hayao Miyazaki - Miyazaki closes his career with a masterpiece of storytelling, using all he has learned as a filmmaker and sticking to his hand drawn style - which he has truly mastered.
3. "The Day Of The Crows" Director: Jean-Christophe Dessaint. This feature film hasn't been released (yet) in the U.S., but I saw it at the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International in June. It's about a boy raised in the wild who encounters civilization when he brings his unconscious father into town for aid. Hand drawn, from France, and one of the best animated stories I'd seen in years.
4. "Get A Horse" D: Lauren MacMullan This Disney short was certainly one of the best - and unforgettable - films I'd seen this year. A thrilling "theme park ride" cartoon that unites the beginnings of the Disney studio to its present day sensibilities with charm, humor and technical innovation. Walt Disney would have been proud.
5. "Frozen" Directors: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee. If the goal was to combine Disney traditional storytelling with modern computer graphics techniques, Frozen nailed it perfectly. With memorable characters, settings and songs, and a twist ending that satisfied, Frozen was fresh and funny - and finally, a modern classic.
6. "The Croods" Directors: Kirk De Micco, Chris Sanders. Funny cavemen cartoons preceded The Flintstones, but The Croods was a fresh take on the stone-age modern-family dynamic. A top-notch voice cast, a funny story (with a message) and the gorgeous prehistoric visuals make this one of the best of the year, without a doubt.
7. "Despicable Me 2" Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud. I wasn't crazy about the first film, but the second times the charm - and there's no denying the appeal of the Minions. Entertainment counts - and Despicable Me 2 had it from the first frame to last.
8. "Monsters University" Director: Dan Scanlon. I had a smile on my face the entire time. Fun, pure fun. Pixar maintains their standard here - didn't exceed it, which disappointed the critics - but a solid picture nonetheless.
9. "Ernest and Celestine" Directors: Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Benjamin Renner. The story of an unlikely friendship between a bear, Ernest, and a young mouse named Celestine. This cute hand drawn French film reminded us that animation can look and feel any way the mind imagines. Sweet, sentimental and gorgeous to watch. We need more films like this.
10. "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2" Directors: Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn. The first film was a surprise - fresh, funny and "cartoony". The sequel didn't drop the (meat)ball - it maintained the original film's look and silly point of view - with wonderfully "delicious" art direction and funny "food animals". I ate it up.
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