5. Klaus (2019)
Released at the very end of this decade, Netflix’s first full-length animated feature, Klaus, is a hugely entertaining Christmas tale. Directed by Sergio Pablos, Klaus tells a fictionalised origin story of Santa Claus. The film is original, funny, and poignant – and you can find out more about Klaus‘s strengths in my recent review – but it’s animation is its true gift.
Opting to use the traditional 2D animation style, Klaus is anything but traditional and looks unlike any other film this decade. Klaus brings such originality to its style – it’s quite literally a work of art and shouldn’t simply be written off as a Christmas film. Lighting isn’t something you often consider when watching animated film but Klaus‘ animators use lighting to really bring this film to life. You should definitely check out Klaus this Christmas season.
4. Coco (2017)
Coco marks Disney’s third entry on this list but it’s the first for Pixar. Whilst Toy Story 3 (2010) and Inside Out (2015) deserve honourable mentions, Coco is without a doubt Pixar’s best film produced this decade. Coco follows the story of Miguel – a young boy who finds himself trapped inside the Land of the Dead on Mexico’s famous holiday, Dia de los Muertos. Pixar has recently vowed to continue to focus on creating original content – as opposed to sequels – and Coco is the perfect example of why that is exactly what they should do.
Coco highlights a culture rarely represented in animated film and it does such a beautiful job. Pixar are masters of CGI animation so it’s no surprise Coco is a visual feast but regardless, it never fails to impress you with its vibrant landscapes. Pixar isn’t known for creating soundtracks the same way Disney is but Coco‘s soundtrack hits all the right notes. Everything in this film came together perfectly and it shows.
3. Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
Directed by Travis Knight, Kubo and the Two Strings performed well during the 2016 – 17 award season. Set in ancient Japan, the film tells the story of Kubo – a young boy who must confront those who are responsible for his missing eye. Kubo and the Two Strings grapples with some fairly adult themes including death and spirituality, but this is wrapped up into a fun action-adventure making the film accessible to all ages.
Created by renowned animation studio Laika, Kubo and the Two Strings is the best example of stop-motion animation in the past decade. Oftentimes, the stop-motion characters move with such fluidity that you could easily mistake them for being CGI. You can only imagine the amount of painstaking work and attention to detail that went into creating Kubo and the Two Strings. This dark adventure is not to be missed.
2. Tangled (2010)
Tangled walked so Frozen could run. The past decade has seen Disney add so many incredible animated films to its already impressive roster. Examples include Frozen, Moana (2016), and Zootopia (2016) to name just a few. What’s the one thing these films all have in common? They were all made using CGI animation – and it was Tangled that started the decade by bringing in this change.
Often overlooked, having preceded Frozen, Tangled brings together everything that is wonderful about the tried and tested Disney formula. Tangled‘s impact on animation continues to live on with the equally overlooked TV-show sequel, Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure (2017 – Present). Inspired by Rapunzel’s paintings, the TV-show in fact returns to using 2D animation allowing us to continue the Tangled story in a whole new visual style. Tangled set Disney’s tone for the decade and as such, deserves its high-ranking place on this list.
1. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)
Of course, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is rounding us out by topping this list. Never has a comic-book adaptation felt and looked so much like an actual comic-book. Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rotham, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse follows the story of Miles Morales. After recently gaining his spidey-senses, Miles encounters different versions of himself as he must help save the Multiverse.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse layers CGI animation with hand-drawn 2D animation to create its unique visual style. Everything about this film is refreshing from its different take on Spider-Man (Move over Peter Parker) to its attempts to actually make people look like people. If you haven’t seen this film yet, what are you doing? Fit it in before the decade is out.
What are your favourite animated films of the past decade? Let us know in the comments below or on social media @FlickeringMyth…