There are some nights, weekends or procrastination breaks where you want to watch a film and you want to watch it RIGHT NOW!
For times like this, Netflix has a diverse offering of animated films available On Demand, which is perfect for instant gratification. The list below will help guide you to a satisfying feature, no matter what your mood. I know there are some obvious choices here, but I hope there are a few that you might not know or that will surprise you.
Nominated for a Best Animated Feature Academy Award, The Croods is an entirely original story (not based on previously published material) which is rare for Hollywood these days. It has best been described as the first family road trip, as a Caveman and his family trek across an imaginative prehistoric landscape looking for their new home. This film is beautiful to watch and will make you feel warm and cozy by the end.
DreamWorks Animation, 2013
2) Treasure Planet
This underrated Disney film from 2002 features a fun steampunk style, mixing the futuristic element of intergalactic space flight with an 18th century sartorial sensibility. Inspired by the Robert Louis Stevenson novel Treasure Island, Treasure Planet is a family-friendly action-adventure film. It is not a musical in the classic Disney sense, though it does make use of a musical montage scene with an original song by John Rzeznik of the band The Goo Goo Dolls.
Walt Disney, 2002
Most fun for adults and teens, this Steven Spielberg directed film is an engaging option for those who love action and adventure. The animation style is heavily CG (computer generated) resulting in a movie that is both believable and unrealistic at the same time. This is a great film to enjoy without too much deep thinking, and if you watch it now, you will be prepared when the sequel Prisoners of the Sun hits theaters in 2016.
Paramount Pictures, 2011
I love films with strong female leads and Mulan is one of my favorite examples. This empowered heroine takes her father’s place in the Chinese Emperor’s army, goes to war against the invading Huns, discovering herself and new friends along the way. Another positive for this film is the voice talent of Eddie Murphy as the hilarious dragon Mushu. He goes on to voice Donkey in the DreamWorks blockbuster Shrek (2001).
Walt Disney, 1998
If classic Disney movies are more your preference, Dumbo will provide a nice sense of nostalgia. Viewer beware! If you have not seen this film before, it has a bit of a depressing storyline, and a scene which is sure to make even the most stonehearted viewer teary. Make sure you are prepared for this beautiful, emotional film.
Walt Disney, 1941
I highly recommend The Secret of Kells! This delightful film is easy to watch in any mood and will appeal to a wide age range. A younger audience will identify with the adolescent protagonist, and an adult audience will appreciate the plot themes and beautifully illustrated animation.
Cartoon Saloon, 2009
7) Idiots and Angels
Anyone who wants to win the argument that animated films are not just for children should point to the works of Bill Plympton. In Idiots and Angels , the plot is focused on a set of wings that one day grows one day, out of the shoulders of a vindictive, bitter man. It is clear to the audience that this character has issues. Within the first few minutes, the main character sets fire to the gas tank of a vehicle, with the driver still inside. Obviously, this film is not for a young audience.
Bill Plympton Studios, 2008
If you are more in the mood for an “Artsy” film, The Painting fits the bill. It is an intelligently animated foreign language film. It will require your full concentration, as you have to read the subtitles and absorb the stylized action. In this adult storyline, the cast of characters in The Painting invokes race tensions and violence. There is done through the contrast in the way they are brought to life. The “allduns” are the completed figures in the painting. The “sketchies” are least rendered, and the “halfies” are visually trapped between the two. Classism and bigotry are eventually overcome, but the film can be difficult to watch. I still recommend it.
This mainstream take on the religious story of Moses was one of the first productions from DreamWorks Animation Studio. It is a musical, and the animation style places it firmly in the late 1990’s, with a voice cast headlined by Val Kilmer and Ralph Fiennes. This is worth watching if you are interested in the religious storyline and to see the gorgeous backgrounds that bring Ancient Egypt to life on screen.
DreamWorks Animation, 1998
Fans of The Nightmare Before Christmas will enjoy the stop-motion style and spooky characters found in ParaNorman. The story revolves around witches, zombies, and a kid who can see dead people. It somehow feels both unique and familiar. If Halloween is your favorite holiday, then this may become a favorite film.
This is a fun documentary-style look inside the Pixar Animation Studio’s campus. The short running time of less than 30 minutes makes it easy to watch, either before, or after another film. It includes an interview with Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, and focuses on the studio environment. It gives you an exciting peak inside Pixar.
Have you discovered any animated films through Netflix On Demand? Leave your favorite finds in the comments section below!