Every year the animation genre seems to get stronger and stronger as the studios find more and more techniques and ways in enhancing their work.
Not only have we seen some fantastic films in this genre in 2013, but it is also a genre that has performed incredibly well at the box office.
- Monsters University
I have to admit that I was a little nervous when it was announced that a sequel Monsters Inc was going to be made: Monster Inc remains my favourite Pixar film and I really didn’t want to see that original film ruined by an under par sequel.
Of course, all of that worry was for nothing, as Monsters University was an absolute joy from start to finish. The movie followed Mike and Sulley during their university days - a time when they are not the best friends that we know them to be.
Monsters University remains one of my favourite movies of the year as this ‘origins’ story has been so totally realised that it is wonderful.
It is great to see Mike and Sulley at each other's throats rather than best buds. It would have been so easy for Pixar to take this movie forward and give us more of what we got in the first movie.
It is incredibly brave to take the story back and give us characters that are really quite different to the ones that we were introduced to and fell in love with in the first film: this could have gone so easily wrong.
However, director Dan Scanlon has been incredibly clever and he regularly nods to Monsters Inc and you can clearly see that that is where they are heading - the link to the first film is alive and well from start to finish. Throw in two wonderful performances from John Goodman and Billy Crystal and you cannot go wrong.
Monsters University was a smash when it was released this summer and it looks set to be one of the most successful animation films of the year.
- From Up On Poppy Hill
I have always loved Studio Ghibli movies as they always create wonderful stories and strong and fascinating characters. They have also stuck with hand drawn animation and not turned to CGI like other studios, which really is a breath of fresh air.
From Up On Poppy Hill was the Studio Ghibli film of 2013, as Goro Miyazaki returns to the director’s chair for the first time since Tales From Earthsea.
Perhaps From up On Poppy Hill doesn’t push the boundaries that other movies from Studio Ghibli have, and yet it has that familiar magic that just carries you away.
Studio Ghibli films are movies that totally immerse you and you really do sink into them; I think this has a lot to do with the traditional hand-drawn animation.
This is a warm story about teen romance and dealing with death; this is a film that deals out optimism and sadness in equal measure.
From Up On Poppy Hill is grounded in reality more than any other of their movies, and while that does come as a bit of a surprise, it really does work incredibly well.
If you are coming to Studio Ghibli for the first time with From Up On Poppy Hill then this is a wonderful place to start, as it is warm, charming and bristling with life and hope.
It is unusual to see two Disney movies hit the big screen in the same year, but that is exactly what has happened in 2013 as Frozen follows on from the success of Wreck It Ralph.
Frozen sees the studio return to the musical movies that they are so famous for, and they really have delivered a gem of a film.
Frozen is a movie that just looks so beautiful, is smartly written and, as you may expect from s Disney film, is packed with colourful characters; we really have seen some fab and memorable characters over the years.
This is a movie that also makes a little bit of history, as Jennifer Lee becomes the first woman to direct a Disney film, as she teams up with Chris Buck.
Frozen has already proved to be a massive box office smash around the world and will compete for the Best Animation award at the Golden Globes. Don’t be surprised if we see this film not only in the mix for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, but winning.
Other great animation films of this year include The Croods, Wreck It Ralph, Despicable Me and short film Paperman.