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Top 10 Animated Movies: 1990s

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Sean Harris. With the technological boom came the animation boom, and some bloomin’ good movies! Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 animated movies of the 1990s! For this list, we’ve looked at all animated films released within the decade, and have selected those that achieved the most success, were the most original, and advanced the animation industry furthest! Special thanks to our users mca690, Martin Ström, Mikey Webb, MrKlatez, Shawn Mark, Andrew A. Dennison and lenvallairdjr for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Sean Harris.

Top 10 Animated Movies of the 1990s


With the technological boom came the animation boom, and some bloomin’ good movies! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 animated movies of the 1990s!

For this list, we’ve looked at all animated films released within the decade, and have selected those that achieved the most success, were the most original, and advanced the animation industry furthest! We’re only looking at feature length films however, so no shorts! This is part of a series of videos spanning the decades of animated movies from the 1920s to the 2000s.

#10: “Ghost in the Shell” (1995)

To begin, we’re brought into the future with this anime classic! Written by Kazunori Ito and directed by Mamoru Oshii, “Ghost in the Shell” is an exploration of a world more technologically advanced than our own - but it’s more than simple science fiction! As was becoming typical with Japanese works, there’s a philosophical edge to this movie and a very definite emotional side. It didn’t achieve instant mainstream success, but it’s more than good value for a place in our top ten!

#9: “Mulan” (1998)

To continue with an East Asian theme, our focus switches from Japan to China for our next movie, and from the future to the past! “Mulan” is Disney’s adaptation of a Chinese legend, in which a woman impersonates a man to be given the chance to fight for her country. There’s no place for gender stereotypes in this story, as Mulan proves an unconventionally inspirational female figure! With Eddie Murphy voicing Mushu, there’s some comic relief too, as Disney delivers a typically awesome effort!

#8: “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)

Perhaps one of the most instantly recognizable animations of the era, this ‘Nightmare’ was way better than your average bad dream! We have Tim Burton’s notoriously original imagination to thank for this one, as Jack Skellington and co. were first created by the writer-come-director for a poem he wrote in 1982. It’s not what might be considered a ‘traditional holiday film’, but it’s earned a spot in Christmas pop culture, and deservedly so! A stop-motion standard-bearer and a signal of spooky things to come from Burton!

#7: “James and the Giant Peach” (1996)

More brilliance from Burton, as he acts as producer on another curious, kinda creepy, creation! An adaptation of Roald Dahl’s much-loved story, “James and the Giant Peach” offers way more than your recommended daily allowance of fun! While the film does feature some live action, it's the stop-motion animation that's really the star here; in fact, it's so technically stunning that it received piles of critical praise! In terms of the story, the title character sees his morbid existence transform into a magical one over the course of this movie, as he navigates the surreal and frankly psychedelic minds of Dahl, Burton and director Henry Selick combined! A giant peach with an animated inside? What will they think of next?!

#6: “The Iron Giant” (1999)

Unlike most of the components of this list, “The Iron Giant” did not fare too well at the box office... An adaptation of the 1968 Ted Hughes novel “The Iron Man”, it was poorly marketed by Warner Bros. and became a financial loss. However, it won widespread critical acclaim at the time and has been remembered with fondness since! The titular giant didn’t stand out as he should’ve done in ‘99, but has gained recognition with age. ‘It came from outta space’ people! What were we thinking?!

#5: “Beauty and the Beast” (1991)

During Disney’s renowned early ‘90s renaissance, this movie was one of its leading lights! The first animated movie ever to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, “Beauty and the Beast” was also selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 2002, as it was deemed ‘culturally, historically or aesthetically significant’ by the Library of Congress! The respect and admiration that it received was almost unparalleled for a film of its type. It was beauty. It was beast. It was brilliant!

#4: “Princess Mononoke” (1997)

A breakthrough movie for Hayao Miyazaki in terms of his gaining attention in North America, “Princess Mononoke” is a historical fantastical epic of an anime! Upon release in Japan it was an all-out record-breaking success! It proved a slow-burner in the rest of the world, but a very bright one as well! Tackling environmental issues with originality and genuine concern, it demanded attention from all corners of the globe, and got it! If he wasn’t already, Miyazaki was placed firmly on the animation map post-“Mononoke”!

#3: “Aladdin” (1992)

Another masterpiece of the Disney Renaissance, “Aladdin” is considered one of the company’s finest ever films! Bringing to life part of the “Arabian Nights” stories, the film follows the ambitious Aladdin, his pet monkey Abu and their quest to get noticed by the beautiful Princess Jasmine. A cave of animated wonders in itself, characters such as the Grand Vizier Jafar and the Genie voiced by Robin Williams complete an awesome Agrabah ensemble! It’s ‘a whole new world’ and ‘a dazzling’ third place!

#2: “The Lion King” (1994)

If there’s ever been a better animated adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, we have yet to see it! Not that Elizabethan monologues were especially on our minds when we watched “The Lion King” - it was less ‘To be, or not to be’ and more ‘hakuna matata’! Another glorious group of characters is this time headed by Simba, the reluctant but rightful heir to the thrown of the Pride Lands. The complete Disney package; there’s laughter, magic and memorable music! “The Lion King” very nearly took our throne!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- “Antz” (1998)
- “The Prince of Egypt” (1998)
- “Tarzan” (1999)
- “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1996)
- “Pocahontas” (1995)

#1: “Toy Story” (1995)

Disney’s Renaissance dominated the early ‘90s, but at the decade’s mid-point another school of thought emerged, and excited us even more! Pixar brought us “Toy Story”, the first feature-length movie to be entirely computer-animated! Quite apart from its technological prowess, however, this was also a very fine film! The eclectic characters, the A-list voice talent, the seriously snappy script... Pixar had pulled it off, big time! So endless did the possibilities seem, ‘To infinity... and beyond’ became a believable mantra! Woody and Buzz revolutionized the industry forever!

Do you agree with our list? Which ‘90s classic did we miss? For more animated Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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