We love a Pixar classic as much as the next person, Jungle Book is unconquerable, and we are suckers for a perfectly crafted Anime. There are, however, a whole host of underrated animations that do not get the credit they deserve.
For those that want to watch more films this January (resolution or not), or simply those who want something great to watch on a Sunday afternoon, these are eight underrated animations will take you on magical journeys around the world, and might just give you a giggle too.
Belleville Rendezvous / Les Triplettes de Belleville
After becoming orphaned, young boy Champion is raised by his loving Grandma Madame Souza who helps him follow in his parents’ love for cycling. Years down the line, he is a Tour de France competitor, but Madame Souza, Champion’s dog Bruno, and an unlikely gang of musical triplets must come to his aid when he is kidnapped by the French Mafia.
Watch because: The film has more or less no dialogue, but don’t let this put you off as the constant visual humor and gorgeous artwork bring the story to life, and the characters are instantly loveable and delightful.
Anomalisa follows lonely, disheartened customer service worker, who lives a mundane life until a chance meeting on a business trip changes things forever.
Watch because: Described at the most human movie of the year, this film captures emotions and behavior as though it were made with living performers and not models. It’s funny, engaging and beautiful.
The Iron Giant
Set during the Cold War, The Iron Giant is about Hogarth, a teenage boy who finds a huge robot who has fallen from space. Hogarth and the giant become friends in secret, as the US military try to find and destroy him.
Watch because: Heart breaking and heart warming all in one, this film is perfectly crafted. My eyes are welling up just thinking about it.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
I knew I was going to enjoy this, and then enjoyed it 100 times more than I thought I would. A classic Aardman movie, though less well known than Wallace and Gromit and maybe even Shaun the Sheep. The Pirate Captain, desperate to win the Pirate of the Year Awards, works up a deal to enter a science competition with Charles Darwin when he finds out his parrot is in fact a Dodo.
Watch it because: Awash with recognisable voice talent, this is a laugh a minute stop motion feast is endlessly enjoyable.
Watch on Netflix
Waltz with Bashir
Waltz with Bashir is an animated war documentary, just let that soak in. The first feature-length animation to come out of Israel, this film tells the story of Ari Folman, a 19-year-old IDF infantry soldier who struggles with amnesia.
Watch because: This is a hard hitting, experimental and one of a kind exploration of filmmaking and animation, based on true events and memories.
The Road to El Dorado
Opening in 16th Century Spain, this film tells the story of Tulio and Miguel, two con artists who are forced to leave when they get found out. In the swindle however, they win a map which leads them to the golden city of El Dorado. When the pair are believed to be Gods by the city’s inhabitants, they plan to ride out their new lifestyle until they can sneak away, taking the gold with them – until love, inevitably gets in the way.
Watch because: This film is properly funny, and also features great music by Elton John and Tim Rice.
Watch on Netflix
James and the Giant Peach
UK / USA, 1996
An oldie but a goodie, though also featuring live action, it is during the stop motion scenes that this film really comes alive. Living with his awful aunts, Spiker and Sponge, orphaned James discovers a new world when a giant peach grows in the garden. Inside, he meets a crew of insects and together they sail the peach to New York City.
Watch because: This adaptation really captures the magic of Roald Dahl, with great visuals, music and performances.
The Princess and the frog
Ok, so I completely lied and this one is Disney; but as an old school, hand drawn animation it steers away from the typical current Hollywood style, and it’s massively underrated. Waitress Tiana dreams of owning her own restaurant, but when she kisses a prince who has been turned into a frog, she herself turns into a frog and must find a way to turn herself back into a human.
Watch because: It’s one of the few Disney princess films to feature not only a WOC, but a woman who wants a career, rather than simply Prince Charming. It also has great music, and the evil witch-doctor character is terrifying and amazing.