Friday, 5 November 2010

Top 5 Computer-Animated Movies that aren't by PIXAR (Guest Post)

It's no secret that Pixar is the go-to studio when it comes to quality CGI films. Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Wall-E - these are considered by many to be some of the best films of all time, and that's only a small portion of the studio's work.

But while Pixar may be the best in town, it doesn't mean that the competition stinks. And with Dreamkworks's superhero romp Megamind in theaters now, it's a good time to look back on some great CGI films that Pixar had nothing to do with.


This was the first movie that came to mind. While the merit of the sequels can be debated, there's no arguing that the original Shrek was a monumental hit, and deservedly so. It was funny, exciting, and boasted an excellent voicecast. Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy have never been better (though fans of Austin Powers may disagree), John Lithgow made a deliciously evil villain, and while I'm far from a fan of Cameron Diaz - she did a wonderful job of bringing Fiona to life. There was - and still is - a lot to love about Shrek.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, like the food that rains from the movie's sky, was a welcome surprise. While I braced myself to watch Hollywood ruin a beloved book from my childhood, the movie ended up having a big heart and even bigger laughs. And while the voice acting wasn't as memorable as other movies, Bill Hader is a likable guy with a likable voice. And just to ensure that there was something for everyone, they even threw in a monkey!

Ice Age

While some CGI films take viewers to extraordinary new worlds, Ice Age kept it close to home, only some 2 million years in the past. Like Shrek, Ice Age gave way to numerous sequels of varying quality, but the first film, released in 2002, seemed to be a hit with audiences and critics. There was something about John Leguizamo as a sloth, Denis Leary as a sabre-toothed tiger, and Ray Romano as a woolly mammoth that just resonated with people. And like Eddie Murphy, John Leguizamo is much more tolerable when he's just a voice.

Kung Fu Panda

This list features a startling number of actors that should stick to voicework. The nearly-unbearable Jack Black is next in line. I know he's popular, but his style of humor wears thin with me very quickly. However, even I can't disagree that he was fantastic as Po, an adopted giant panda who spends his days working in his father's noodle restaurant and his nights dreaming of being a kung fu legend. Kung Fu Panda contained heart, soul, and all the stuff that makes a great family film. It also had an impressive cast featuring Angelina Jolie, David Cross, Dustin Hoffman, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, and appropriately, Jackie Chan.

How to Train Your Dragon is just out of the gate, but already it's an instant classic, with a whopping 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. It tells the story of Hiccup, a young viking desperate to impress his father, but lacking a certain heroic quality. Luckily for him, he makes a friend in a dragon, which is something I think we've all wanted at some time or another. Again, this is another one that boasted a fantastic cast, including late night host Craig Ferguson.

As you can see, Pixar doesn't have to be involved for a CGI film to turn out great, though it certainly doesn't hurt!

Our guest writer, Dylan Duarte, is a horror buff and writer who writes about Halloween costumes for

CaptainD - Movie Reviews Blog


Ham said...

Nice list. Just wondering how these DO stack agaisnt the Pixar library for you? I think Kung Fu panda and How to Train Your Dragon are the only two that would make it into my top 5 if Pixar stuff was included.

Dylan said...

That's a good question! It's one I would have to think about. I really, really love Shrek, and it's my favorite of this list. But I also love Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up, The Incredibles, and all of the Toy Story films, so it would be pretty competitive.