Animatedkid’s Best and Worst Animated Film list of 2016

This is the fourth edition of my “Best and Worst films of Year” blog series, and the same rules apply. I create a list, and summarize each film (since I already reviewed each film in detail), going from the middle of the list, and then alternate to the point where I will then discuss the worst and the best film of the year. The 15 theatrical films on the list are:

  • Norm of the North (released on January 15th, by Assemblage/Splash Entertainment; distributed by Lionsgate)
  • Kung Fu Panda 3 (released on January 29th, by DreamWorks Animation)
  • Zootopia (released on March 4th, by Walt Disney Animation Studios)
  • Ratchet and Clank (released on April 29th, by Rainmaker Entertainment)
  • The Angry Birds Movie (released on May 30th, by Sony Pictures)
  • Finding Dory (released on June 17th, 2016, by Pixar Animation Studios)
  • The Secret Life of Pets (released on July 8th, by Illumination Entertainment)
  • Ice Age: Collision Course (released on July 22, bu Blue Sky Studios)
  • Sausage Party (released on August 12th, by Annapurna Pictures/Point Grey Pictures; distributed by Columbia Pictures)
  • Kubo and the Two Strings (released on August 19th, by Laika)
  • The Wild Life (released on September 9th, by  Illuminata/Wave Pictures, distributed by StudioCanal)
  • Storks (released on September 23rd, by Warner Animation Group)
  • Trolls (released on November 4th, by DreamWorks Animation)
  • Moana  (released on November 23rd, by Walt Disney Animation Studios)
  • Sing (released on December 21st, by Illumination Entertainment)

I hope you all are having a fun and safe New Years. 2017 should be better than this last year in all regards of our lives.

TIED for 8th best/worst: The Secret Life of Pets (68%)

the_secret_life_of_pets_poster

My opinion right after watching film

My opinion right after watching the film is that it is nice to see Illumination finally have a success without Despicable Me being attached to it (which is what they desperately need). This film is not amazing in the least, but it is not horrible in the least either. To be honest, I had mixed emotions throughout a lot of the film that ranged from “great” to “irritating”. This film does show that the studio does have potential, but whether they use it or not is going to be their choice.

Story

Max is a dog who is used to having his owner give him all of the attention, but grows resentful when his owner brings another dog named Duke to the house, and they fight for her attention. After they all go through a dog walk, the two fight, and end up stranded, so they have to make it home, while Max’s pet friends try to find them. The two obviously become friends, and grow to appreciate one another on their journey back home.

As I have already mentioned, the biggest fault of this story is that it is extremely predictable from beginning to end, and most of the cliches in cinema that are known, you would find here. What makes up for it is that there is heart to this film, and a lot of charm. The execution is pretty good, and a great atmosphere almost always makes or breaks a film for me, and this film has a brilliant atmosphere. It was fine enough for me to watch, but I would not go back to this film over and over again.

Characters

The characters in the film are…… alright. Most of them are not complex or have much to them, but they work for what their roles are….. I guess. None of them are too memorable, but there is enough there that has me looking forward for the sequel to see these characters get more development. Our two main characters kind of play their roles fine enough, and the neighboring animals are pretty fun. What I hated in the film was the pirate animals, and found their humor extremely irritating. So overall, I feel mixed on these characters.

Animation

The animation is very cartoony, which is the usual for Illumination Studios. They do it well enough, and the colours stand out a lot. The designs and the bright colours are expected, but I have to say it is amazing what they did with New York City, and seeing them run through the city throughout the many avenues. Seeing the atmosphere come to full fruition was brilliant to say the least.

Music

The music in my opinion did not stand out to me at all. It was kind of generic, but sometimes, you do not need overdramatic music. No scores really got stuck in my head, or did anything memorable for me. I feel like I would have remembered if the score was unmatched for the actions in the film, so I cannot use that for an argument. There were some covers that I of course did not like or care for, like one of the songs from Grease.

 

TIED for 8th best/worst: Storks (68%)

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My opinion right after watching film

My opinion right after watching the film is that there’s a pleasant feeling to the film, which I somewhat expected, but not to the level that I received. Despite this, the film does not offer much else, since all of the potential is ruined by how obnoxious the film is in general. You will just remember the overall pleasant-ness about the film.

Story

The story is about how storks stopped delivering humans, after one stork screwed up the delivery of the baby that grows up to be Tulip. A stork named Junior is about to be promoted, but has to fire Tulip beforehand, since she is now 18. Instead, he hides her into an area, and a little kid wrote a letter for another baby to be made, which Tulip decides to create, despite the fact that storks have not created babies in 18 years. Junior finds out about the baby, and he and Tulip has to secretly deliver the baby to the family.

Now, my issue with the story is that everything is just way too obnoxious, that it kind of ruins certain moments in the film. Sure, the plot is not really deep anyways, and while it could be pleasant, the obnoxiousness often taints it. With the weird premise of the film, usually it is best to have some sort of explanation for it, but we never really get there. For the 18 years, humans must have had to partake in reproduction, but before then, why did they only rely on Storks? Things were a bit too predictable and simple as well.

Characters

While the story is pretty decent, the characters annoyed me at various points in the film. They aren’t extremely unlikable, but the obnoxiousness factor irritated me, though I will say that the voice acting saved them for me, since there’s so much passion in it. Junior was the typical pessimist who wants the promotion, but his development was pretty rushed. Tulip is very optimistic, and has a lot of charm to her, but the extra depth would have been great, and kind of leaves her at a sense of wasted potential. A lot of the minor characters were pretty unlikable though.

Animation

Warner Brothers tends to focus on a lot of boxy designs, and it works for this film. It is a very colorful animation, the designs are pretty pleasing, and while the backgrounds are not the most detailed, it is still nice to look at. Even though I got a crappy copy of the film, it is clear that the animation was very fluid, and well-done.

Music

There really is not much to say about the music in the film. It’s fine…… you will not remember much about it, but it does the job well, and it was not misplaced. The music will be the aspect you remember the least about the film.

7th Place: Trolls (70%)

trolls_film_logo

My opinion right after watching film

My opinion right after watching the film is that……… its fine. It’s nothing special whatsoever, but it was not as irritating, corny, and grating as I was expecting it to be. Certainly better than most of the stuff DreamWorks released in the last few years, but that is not saying much. I would not be shocked if this is somewhere in the middle of the list for 2016 animated films.

Story

The story of Trolls involves a group of creatures called the Bergens believing that they need to eat trolls in order to be happy. The trolls have hid for 18 years, but they end up caught, and Poppy (who is like a princess in a way) has to beg for Branch to help her out, and they go to Bergentown to save the trolls that were captured. Through the course of this film, they end up having to teach the bergens how to be happy on their own merits.

I was expecting to be bored and dislike this film more than I ended up feeling. The main issue I have with the film is that while they slightly hint that there needs to be a mix between optimism and pessimism, they completely miss the opportunity, and they end up going in the predictable route. Some people claim that the message of the film is kind of screwed up, and I cannot really disagree with it. It’s fine….. but it’s not revolutionary, and did not really connect to any of my emotions.

Characters

The two main characters are likable and pretty strong characters, but all of the other characters are hard to care for in any capacity. Poppy is pretty much overtly optimistic and happy, but she doesn’t really learn anything. Branch is the complete opposite, as he is overly paranoid and miserable, so of course he is the one who learns something. They are all fine, but they won’t be the most memorable characters.

Animation

What I will say first off is that I like that they changed and re-tweaked the designs of the trolls, in comparisons to the dolls. It gives the film its own identity that is not instantly connected to the dolls. Anyways, I like the background designs, and all of the bold colors. There is a huge emphasis in darkness (used to signify depression), and boldness (to signify happiness). A lot of motion regarding the Trolls hair and the textures are pretty nice.

Music

The songs………… There is only one original song at the end, and the rest are cover songs, which are sung and given a more modern instrumentation. I get it that all of them are used to emphasize the message of happiness, but it still comes off as slightly lazy to me. Regarding the score, there isn’t much that is memorable.

 

6th worst (10th place): The Angry Birds (64%)

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My opinion right after watching film

My opinion right after watching the film is that I have absolutely no care for it whatsoever. I was very bored throughout the entire film, and it was just delaying the inevitable. I am getting sick of the trend in animated films, where production wants to follow trendy games, and make a film about it. When the film came out, the trend regarding the game was already obsolete.

Story

Some green figures enter the land that the birds are residing in, and our main character is the only angry bird, though all of the other characters are jerks as well. He is the only one who questions what these green figures are doing, and why they are there, but no one believes him. Of course everyone believes him and their friends once the green figures expose themselves, and all of the birds have to fight and defeat them.

There is a lot of effort that is put in the film, but the issue is that there is way too much mean spiritedness in the film to really invest in anyone, and leaves an overall dark cloud over it. Some has issues with the message of the film, claiming that angriness is the only way a being can not be stupid. There is a decent amount of charm in it, despite the thin plot and the weirdly developed characters.

Characters

The characters are…….. decent. They do have a personality, and are not overall irritating, but there is still not much to them at all. You cannot really invest into them much as characters, but they are not intolerable. I will say that I like the dynamic between the three main characters, but when all of the other characters are just unlikable, and everyone is overtly mean-spirited, it is kind of hard to really care.

Animation

What I will say about the animation is very nice. It is obviously very cartoonish, since the style of the game is very cartoonish. The style was carried through into this film pretty well, and I really like the backgrounds as well. I have little to no complaints about the film, other than being shocked with how the movement is not as exaggerated as I thought it would be.

Music

The music is not bad at all, I will say that…… It is just that there is nothing special or really memorable about it. I guess it carries over the specific scene well enough, and I do not remember it was the same in the game. I guess it is fine. To each their own. I was not expecting much to begin with.

6th place: Sing (74%)

sing_2016_film_poster

My opinion right after watching film

My opinion right after watching the film is that it is a very pleasant and charming movie. There is a lot of heart and class with the movie, and it holds well on its own. Regarding the flaws, it tries to handle so much that the resolution for some of the plots are a bit unsatisfying, there are a LOT of characters, and it gets a bit predictable and convenient at times. Overall, it was a satisfying way to end the year.

Story

The story involves a koala named Buster, who is trying to save his theater from going bankrupt, since most of his shows have under-performed. In order to prevent this from happening, he creates a singing competition, but the prize is written as $100,000 instead of $1,000. We get our cast, and see that all of them have their own issues to go through in their personal lives, that affect how they practice for the singing competition.

There are a lot of sub-plots (or main plots), and they are all told pretty well, but….. that is kind of an issue. With a more complex story, it makes people want to see more, as all of these stories are competing for camera time, and while they do their best fine enough to bounce back and forth, the focus is not the best. Not only this, but some of the resolutions for the plots are not executed the best either, as it of course has to tie into the theater, and how each character feels about singing.

Characters

Buster has a heavy attachment to theater, song, and the history behind it, also seeing it as an attachment to his deceased father, who invested most of his savings to purchase it for his son. Buster has to hustle through any merit to save his company, and unlike Mike (there are actually quite a bit of similarities), he is actually pretty likable. It could be debated that he does not really care about the people that much though. His assistant Ms. Crawley is hilarious, and Eddie has to learn not to be so spoiled, to actually have talent, and to become more of an independent man, which is somewhat debatable as well regarding to if he did that. Most of the other characters are fine though, and there are a lot of small conversations among-st the group that leads to a very supportive and interesting dynamic.

Animation

What I will say about the animation is that there is a lot of varied designs between all the types of animals in the film. Regarding the setting, it is nothing unique, but there are some decent effects and textures. It’s kind of just the general city, but it looks a lot better than the Despicable Me films.

Music

There is a lot of songs (snippets that are a lot smaller than a verse) in the film, and most of them take place in the audition stage, so it ewally is not as much as you would think. Almost all of the songs are cover songs, and while I usually hate this, the songs are used extremely well, and help define our characters better.

 

5th Worst (11th place): Sausage Party (63%)

sausage_party

My opinion right after watching film

My opinion after watching this is…….. WOW, I was not expecting this film to be so graphic and…… raunchy. Sure, I laughed a few times, and they do establish that it is in an alternate world, but the stuff in this film made me uncomfortable more than it made me comfortable. Not my type of film. It’s ironic how people will excuse anything solely because it has an R rating, but ratings are not used as a crutch and an excuse for their faults.

Story

We are in a world where grocery items are alive, and believe that they will go into heaven when a human purchases them. A hot dog and his bun girlfriend ends up lost in the store after they fell out of the cart. They have to make it back to a package before the two talk about consummating their love. Religious contexts are tied into the plot of the film, as everyone refuses to believe the truth about being purchased, and his est friends ends up barely escaping being eaten at the human’s house.

I really like the religious context, since it is not portrayed often enough this heavily in animated film in general. It was very intricately infiltrated in the film, and while it got a bit too anti-religious for my liking, that was not my issue with the film. First, I have to say that I am not a prude, or someone who groans in disgust over sexuality. It seems like they felt like adding it in at every moment, where it was not needed in every moment of the film, and all the overly raunchy and graphic scenes that implied rape, and the ridiculous orgy was ridiculous.

Characters

Not much to say about the characters, as there is almost none of that in the characters. Most of them are racial stereotypes, and are one-dimensional. While the main characters are not racial archetypes, they were not deep characters at all.

Animation

The animation is actually kind of good. The textures are well-realized, and they do a lot with the setting of a grocery store. I HATE how humanized and anthropomorphic some of the designs were to establish the body of a human, and the animation is also used to capture a lot of racial and sexist stereotypes.

Music

I barely noticed the music to be honest. When there was something sexual, they played music to get to the groove, and when a conflict or an adventure arises, the generic adventure or conflict music was played. Nothing to mention here.

 

5th place: Kung Fu Panda 3 (78%)

Kung_Fu_Panda_3_poster

My opinion right after watching film

My opinion right after watching the film is that it is very predictable, which tends to happen a lot with consecutive sequels. I saw every single twist and turn coming from a mile away, and I do not know how much longer they can continue this franchise without it getting blatantly stale. There is still a lot that is good in the film, and there is a good amount of detail put in the characters and how the story took place.

Story

The story of this films tarts with Shifu announcing that as of tomorrow, the Dragon Warrior Po will be teaching classes from then onwards, and Po has to accomplish and master Chi. While this is happening, a panda named Li Shan shows up to reunite with his song, and the two instantly hit it off. Po goes to his family’s secret Panda village, while the villain Kai is making it closer and closer to their land, who wants to take Chi from everyone else, so he can be the most powerful being. The other members of the Sensational Six (but Tigris) are told to watch over the gems, but Kai ends up turning them into crystals.

What I really like about this film is the strong world-building that is given. The panda village blows me away, and I love the continued details to all of the legend and stories in the film, which easily puts it higher than most of the films released this year. Negative commentary of the film involves a very blatant formula, and a plot that was pretty weak and predictable. The story is overall fine, but there was a lot more creativity in telling the story in its predecessors.

Characters

Nothing of note really changed among-st any of the characters in the film at all, and the newer characters were decent at best. I guess Po has to teach the others, but there is no growth or anything regarding him, Ping ends up having to get over the bitterness of his son reuniting with his father, while realizing that he still has a role in Po’s life. The others from the Sensational Six once again are reduced to almost nothing, and the new characters are fine. Literally.

Animation

One thing that the company gets right is the animation. I love how they always explore new aspects into China, and the forestry was very exquisite. The movement in animation has gotten better and better, and the special effects are more beautiful and complex within each film. It is brilliant.

Music

When focusing on the music, there is nothing really to say about it. It is good, but there are no songs, and the score is the typical epic Chinese score we have received throughout this entire franchise. Once again, it is fine, but it is the usual great quality we are expecting of a Kung Fu Panda film.

 

TIED for 4th worst (12th place): Ice Age: Collision Course (51%)

ice_age_collision_course

My opinion right after watching film

My opinion right after watching the film is that there is almost nothing that makes sense in the film whatsoever. They try everything to be funny, but nothing worked, and the film often lead me bored. It is tied with another film this year because while both are utterly boring, this film is a bit more irritating, and its faults are pinned harsher, since it is a sequel.

Story

Manny is having a hard time dealing with her daughter Peaches is getting married to Julian, and the two want to move out and leave the herd. Asteroids start to fly towards Earth, and they all run to find a solution. We all know where this is going. I will give this film credit for at least trying to create subplots for the other characters, unlike the films worse than it in this film, but a lot of them have little to no payoff, or are introduced ridiculously late in the film.

They need to can this franchise. I get it that it is the main reason why Blue Sky Studios has an identity, but there comes a time where a person has to outgrow it, and Blue Sky needs to outgrow this franchise.

Characters

This was another film that I refused to analyze the characters in their own pictures. Pretty much all of the films focus on love. Ellie and Manny have some drama with their anniversary, Peaches is getting married to Julian, Diego and Shira want to have kids, but nothing comes of it, Granny even gets a lover/fling, and Sid gets a girlfriend. There was nothing pleasing about the characters in any sense, and there are way too many, with none of them being utilized in a unique or even a good way.

Animation

What I will say about the animation is that it is very nice. They maintained the cartoonish style they have set in the earlier films of the franchise, and the textures of everything looks nice. Honestly, everything is more of the same, which is nice, but it is not innovative or mind blowing. I will say that I liked the crystals and the color scheme for everything. My expectations regarding the animation was met in this film.

Music

Why were there pop songs played in prehistoric times? I know they LONG left trying to hold some integrity to the setting of their film, and just in general, but POP SONGS? I cannot deal with that. The score is decent enough, but the pop songs really irritated me, though I really should not have expected anything else.

 

4th place: Moana (80%)

moana_teaser_poster

My opinion right after watching film

My opinion right after watching the film is that is a heartwarming, simple film. It did bother me how predictable the film was, and the rest of the film was kind of disappointing compared to the first act (which gave high momentum for the film). The musical format really strengthened the film, and the overall message and themes of the movie were ones that touched my heart. There is a good chance that all three of the Disney films.

Story

Moana has an instant calling to the ocean, and does not realize that the ocean is choosing her to reunite a special crystal to Te Fiti (Mother Earth). Her culture and loved ones prevent her from going into the sea since it is dangerous, but their food supply starts to go short, so she ends up going in the sea to find the demigod Maui to help her quest. She wants to find self-worth and to feel like she is special, while Maui just wants all of his powers back.

I feel like a broken record, but it is very easy to predict what happens, which would be decent, if there was anything else really going on. The biggest issue I have with the film is that it is way too slow paced (especially in the middle), so you can get easily bored throughout the film. Most of the Disney formulas are in here as well, which they are very blunt about. What makes this film shine though is the culture in the film, and all of the heart that is released throughout the film. Disney (and animation) usually does not fully grasp rite of passages in their films, and I feel like this film perfectly captures it.

Characters

I have to say that despite the story, and the likable enough characters, I did not think much of the characters at all throughout the film. They are not bad, but they aren’t the greatest either, and I really don’t know why that is the case. Moana is likable, but she was a bit formulaic to the point where it kind of distracted me, I could not connect with Maui whatsoever, since his arc was a bit mishandled, and all of the other characters are in the film for an extremely short amount of time in the film. Overall, I was a bit unsatisfied.

Animation

The animation is absolutely lovely. I went into it expecting more of the same, but I have never seen the ocean so vibrant, whether it is underwater, or the spirit of the ocean. You get to see all of the different types of nature, and what techniques they use to make each landscape different and stand out. A lot of effects were used, and I am obsessed with the animation. Easily some of the best that I have ever seen.

Music

I really, really like the music. There is this one song that sticks out like a sore thumb, but to hear South Pacific scores, instruments, and tunes really got me invested in the world. Whenever there is a cultural implication in the music (both songs and score), it is one of the easiest ways to capture my attention. It is refreshing to see a well-paced musical, which we have not had in over 5 years.

 

TIED for 4th worst (12th place): Ratchet and Clank (51%)

Ratchet_and_Clank_2015

My opinion right after watching film

This film is not as infuriatingly stupid as the films that are worse than it, but it IS utterly boring and childish, making it borderline intolerable. I have no care for it one way or another, and when trying to think back about it, nothing substantial comes to mind.

Story

The story involves a group of villains plotting to take the planets down, and a robot named Clank hears about it, which causes him to run away. Ratchet is a mechanic who “wants more from their life, and wants a chance”, with this chance involving joining a team of heroes. The two jump into one another, Ratchet joins the team, and one of the people on the team Qwark wants all of the attention on himself, so he ends up with the villain. You all get what’s going go happen.

What is the biggest issue with this film is that it’s so predictable, and the characters are so flat that you just don’t care. If there is some meat and heart to the film, the predictability can be easily forgiven. I am still not familiar with the game series, and from what I have heard, it’s a lot better than what the film managed to capture. It’s such a shame that this film will taint the impression of the game franchise to people who were unfamiliar with it. The failed humor also makes this film a lot worse than what it would have been without it.

Characters

Like the other films, the characters are only their role in the film, without any depth given to them, or any interesting dynamic. I have heard that the characters are actually well-developed, interesting, engaging, and have great dynamics in the game, and I feel bad for the fans, because what they knew of was tarnished with this film, and makes them become defensive of people who associate everything regarding the franchise with this film. A bunch of missed opportunities with this film.

Animation

The animation is not horrendous, or really even bad; it really is not. It is not the best animation, and I save seen a lot better, but it is tolerable, and does not hurt the eyes. Some of the textures are a bit weird, and make everything look a bit blotchy, and the character designs are decent I guess. The animation is in the middle of the spectrum.

Music

Honestly, I have nothing to say about the music in the film. It is based off a generic video game, so it would make sense that it would have the same generic music in the games, right? I do not remember anything about it.

TIED for 3rd place: Finding Dory (81%)

finding_dory

My opinion right after watching film

My opinion right after watching the film is that I am shocked with how dark this film is. They touched on disabilities pretty well in this film, and people never really take things through that perspective, so it was nice to see. Unlike some other films, they continued the story from the original film, and I…… I really like this film.

Story

A year after the events of the first film, Dory is well-adjusted to living with Marlin and Nemo. While going to one of Nemo’s classes, which mentions parents and family, Dory starts to have slow flashbacks of her family, and she wants to go find them. This somehow leads to them realizing that her family is from an aquarium in California, and Dory is captured by humans, so the two clownfish have to go and save her. Throughout the journey, Dory reunites with a childhood friend, and makes some new friends. A bunch of wacky things happen throughout the film that is typical Pixar, and…… let’s get to the pros and cons of the film.

I like the pacing of the film, though it may be way too fast-paced for some people (which is a fault for both Finding movies), and the climax was a bit too much in my opinion. A lot happens in the film, and it was interesting to see how they discussed and executed disabilities, that was different from how it was portrayed in the first film. What I did not like was how they kept on mentioning “last time”, which causes us to think about how certain aspects are pretty similar. Overall, the story is pretty damn strong.

Characters

Like many Pixar films, there are a whole lot of characters in this film, and they also try to include most of the other characters from the last film, so things can be a bit cluttered if they are not used properly.  They are all self-realized, especially the older characters regarding to the franchise they are in. Some might have an issue with it, since they are a bit too similar, but I am not shocked with anything. I do enjoy the newer characters, and they all had their own sense of charm and humor to them, so they were definitely welcome additions. I’n not going to go over them much, but everyone in the film that has a role is very defined, and the older characters are even more defined.

Animation

I do not know if it is because its predecessor has animation that stood the test of time, or that this film’s animation has not evolved that much, but I do not have much to say about it. Pixar is one of the only companies to portray underwater in motion, and the animals have realistic designs. Kind of standard.

Music

The music was composed by Pixar regular Thomas Newman, and he did a pretty good job. Very melodic, with a lot of instruments from the orchestra to give a more oceanic feeling to it. It ranges from very comforting and light, to heavy and emotional whenever the plot requires it. Pretty similar music to its predecessor though, which isn’t really a bad thing.

 

2nd worst (14th place): Norm of the North (36%)

Norm_of_the_North_poster

My opinion right after watching film

Trash; utter, relentless, stinky trash. This is the second stupidest crap I have ever seen, and the most irritating thing I have even seen. This is an abomination and an insult to animation.

Story

The so called story involves a polar bear, who has some inexplicable gift of being able to comprehend and speak to humans, which is never really divulged into why. He somehow hears something about them wanting to build homes into the Arctic, so he decides to leave the Arctic to save it. He meets a few human people, and……. I do not care.

A lot of stupid conveniences are put into place in order to make it work, which only makes it more frustratingly stupid. If they wanted to do an environmental film, cut out all the pop culture bull-crap, make sure that we can care about the characters, more needed to happen in the plot, and there needed to be more focus.

Characters

The so called characters are basic at best, and infuriating at worst. Our main character is a long string of cheap pop culture gags, the villain seems like an Asian stereotype and an irritating corporate villain, and the rest of the humans are either extremely stupid, or extremely part to the point that it’s infuriating.

Animation

The animation is not the worst, but that does not mean that it is pleasing to look at. It is really the horrible textures that makes the film hard to look at from an animation standpoint.

Music

When they are not playing cheesy pop music, there was nothing memorable regarding the music.

 

TIED for 3rd place: Kubo and the Two Strings (81%)

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My opinion right after watching film

My opinion right after watching this film is that it is a shame that people will never give films like this a chance, especially compared to so many of these low-quality CGI films that are being put out, but are more commercialized. You get very involved and invested in the story, and there is a huge emphasis on storytelling as a part of the plot, since they always remind us that one story ends, and another one begins. It’s just the nature of human life, and I like how they embraced it.

Story

We learn that Kubo has had one of his eyes taken from him, and he has a special connection with music and storytelling. His grandfather and aunts (who are gods) want to steal his other eye, so he could be blind like them and to join them into the heavens. He stays out in the village for too long (since the gods can only come out in the night), so his mother has to come out for him, who ends up being killed by her sisters. He wakes up to see a Monkey and his origami figure who is named Beetle assist him in the quest to find some sort of sword, and whatever else needs to happen.

I have heard critiques of this film making blindness looking like a complete horror, and people can take that however they will. Positive qualities of the film involve great pacing, a large scope that only gets larger as the film goes on, and the strong emphasis on human stories, and adventure. My main issue with this film was the distracting voice acting and the cop-out ending of turning the grandfather into a human, and him being given amnesia, so he could live with Kubo. Overall, this film was a joy and an adventure to get through.

Characters

The characters are……. not the best, but it could have been a lot worse. More focus was put into the story and the message of heart and being a story instead of significant character development, definition, and growth. Kubo is a storyteller in the beginning, so it was interesting to see him actually have to narrate his own story, and to deal with his own insecurities. Monkey is his mother reincarnated, and she is tied to the stronger, emotional elements of the film. All of the other characters are pretty simplistic, but did nothing to bore or irritate me.

Animation

Honestly, it seems like it is not even a stop motion film; I have never seen such beautiful stop motion in my entire life. It was even more intruiging because they infiltrated a lot of japanese art in the animation, which makes the stop motion get its own look. I was very stunned with how quick the motion was, and how detailed things got, but it is not in the same way that many other stop motion films are detailed.

Music

The music has some japanese elements, and other traditional Hollywood themes, so there is a decent enough mix. There are no songs, and the score is not very memorable (which would be a small critique for me), but it does the job right enough I guess.

 

Worst (15th place): The Wild Life (29%)

robinson_crusoe_2016_poster

My opinion right after watching film

My opinion right after the film is that I never thought I would be seeing a film that is trash like the film that is the second worst this year. Nothing interesting, nothing  fun, nothing to care about, nothing to invest into, and nothing to even get your energy riled up about. This film is just utter trash, and they had to have TRIED to make this film worse than the film I mentioned to be complete trash.

Story

There really isn’t a story, but I’ll try to summarize one. So a man named Robinson Crusoe end up getting stuck on an island, where a crew of animals live. A macaw named Max wants to escape the island, and treats his friends like crap, just so he could go with this human, whining time and time again about how they are ruining his chance. Of course the animals hate the human at first, but then they BOND. The kitties are resentful of Robinson due to him causing them to not have a meal, and then they trick the animals to go against him, so on and so forth.  Some pirates enter the scene in the last few minutes for some reason, and then……

Number one, the plot is extremely thin, and you can tell that a lot of the scenes in the film are phoned in to reach feature length time. There is little to no execution to an already thin story, and a lot of corny jokes are made to fill up the screen-time. Very little to invest in and take from the story.

Characters

I remember refusing to give the characters their own section to discuss and analyze them, since there was nothing noteworthy to discuss. ALL of them are boring and irritating at the same time, and because there is no story, there is little to no purpose with almost all of the characters.

Animation

All I have to say about the animation is that it’s very cheap, which mostly has to do with the lack of texture and detail. I have seen worst, but it does not make the animation in this film good to look at either.

Music

What music? Barely any score is heard (or it’s very quiet), and there are no songs, so it makes the film seem like it has more padding, and is just going nowhere.

1st Place: Zootopia (86%)

Zootopia

My opinion right after watching film

My opinion right after watching the film is that I like how it is a symbol of racism, and how flawed the world is in positive and negative ways. I am sick of the formula that I am starting to notice in the more recent films that this film is plagued with, but it is a strong and enjoyable film nonetheless. It is a lot more complex than I was expecting, and the message was not hammered in your face, or overtly preachy, which is refreshing.

Story

Judy is a bunny who wants to become a bunny, and despite the doubts from the people in her neighborhood and her own family, she moves to the metropolis of Zootopia, where she gets a job under the office. They give her the task of being the parking ticket officer, which she becomes unsatisfied with, but it’s how she ends up meeting the fox named Nick. After blowing her job to capture a thief, her boss gives her a hard task (as a way for her to quit), and she has a few days to complete it, and this leads to her asking Nick for assistance.

I liked how they handled that there are different types of prejudice and judgement, which also depends on where you live as well. People judge themselves and others based on appearance, and some people may shock you (in a good or bad way) regarding what they can do. There is more than just a simple adventure plot, and there are different twists and turns, which involve the big question of “What is a predator, and what is prey”? It is very crafty and clever in how the plot is delivered, and you never get bored with it.

Characters

There are many different characters in the film, but most are way too minor to mention. I like all of them in their own way though, so it says a lot about the characters in this film. Judy is a sweet and optimistic character, but the film does give her legitimate flaws and prejudices that she needs to work through as well, while going through her own personal journey. Nick is a lot more snarky compared to Judy (which I have complained about in recent Disney films), but he is a lot more relatable than those other men. He has a strong backstory, and turns into what people expected of him. The dynamic between the two of them is really strong. The minor characters are pretty fun as well, though I did not like the surprise villain (but it was not as emphasized in this film).

Animation 

I am shocked with how much they were able to create with the imagination. I am always one to go awe about new worlds, and how they create these worlds through animation to blow our minds. The textures were great, and they had to create so many animals and tools in such a variety of different sizes. I am impressed.

Music

The score from what I recall is decent enough. Nothing is really memorable about it, and there is no specific theme to it. I know Shakira sings the main song of the film, which carries the theme of the movie, and the journey of the film well enough. The music is the least memorable aspect about the film, but it is not a big deal or flaw.

Overall List

  • 15. The Wild Life
  • 14. Norm of the North
  • 12. Ratchet and Clank
  • 12. Ice Age: Collision Course
  • 11. Sausage Party
  • 10. The Angry Birds Movie
  • 8. Storks
  • 8. The Secret Life of Pets
  • 7. Trolls
  • 6. Sing
  • 5. Kung Fu Panda 3
  • 4. Moana
  • 2. Finding Dory
  • 2. Kubo and the Two Strings
  • 1. Zootopia

I might have to rank this year over 2014, as even the films that are on the lower half, I enjoyed quite a bit (except for the last 4). Illumination proved that they do not need a franchise to have a hit, DreamWorks is progressively getting better, Laika reminds us of their presence with a bang every few years once again, with Pixar and Disney reminding us why they are the most popular animation studios. You will get some joy out of every film but the last 4, and I for the most part enjoyed the year. It will be sad going from this to the disappointing output of 2017, from what I could tell thus far.

Now that 2017 is amongst us, I might as well discuss about the films that are going to be released this year, and my impressions on them. I am a little bit excited for the Batman movie, but you can tell where they are going to go with it. Not looking forward to Boss Baby, Spark, or the Smurfs movie. Still baffled as to why there is a Nut Job 2 (at least Arnett is getting paid well for animation again), holding some faith for Captain Underpants and Cars 3, just hope the third Despicable Me movie is not horrible, have some interest in the Ninjango movie, and neutral on all of the other films. Overall, I am not really excited for the films in this year, but hope that there is more than the looks of it.

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4 thoughts on “Animatedkid’s Best and Worst Animated Film list of 2016

    1. I was shocked myself after watching it. There was nothing I could really even make fun of, and I had to think that at least Norm has some sort of a score and a story structure. Both are horrible and no one should see it.

      Hopefully this year won’t be as bad as 2013 was.

  1. I really didnt think Wild Life or Ratchet and Clank were that bad. I certainly liked them way more than Norm of the North. Did you see Little Prince? That disappointed me greatly. My ranking is very different than yours but always fun to read different opinions. I’m waiting to see My Life as a Zucchini before my list. I recommend seeing anime films Your Name and Red Turtle if you get a chance

    1. I need to do better with trying to watch the more foreign films. This year was really packed, but I am hoping to add those films to the upcoming list. From what I heard, a lot of people were not very fond of Little Prince.

      I kind of feel bad with what happened to Ratchet and Clank. Despite thinking Wild Life is worse, I still hate Norm of the North the most.

      I will definitely try to watch them sooner or later.

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