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Like the other great movies of all time, animated films are known to encompass a wide range of emotions. They have tackled severe political and global issues in various ways and often tackle mundane subjects in a light-hearted manner. The medium of animation has allowed it to present a wide range of emotions and is regarded as one of the most popular forms of storytelling. Recent box office hits and sleeper favorites make it clear that it’s time to start appreciating it.

For many years now, Pixar has been supplying us with some of the most popular animated movies in the world, such as Toy Story and Coco. Hayao Miyazaki has also been producing some of the most successful films in the world, including Howl’s Moving Castle and Spirited Away.

  1. Soul

Although Soul was the first Pixar film not to get a theatrical release, it still managed to deliver a solid and uplifting message. It was built around jazz music, and it featured an outstanding lead performance by Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx. Other notable actors such as Tina Fey, Questlove, Donnell Rawlings, and Angela Bassett helped flesh out the story.

Even though its themes are currently focused on the darker side of the spectrum, Soul is still a children’s film that deserves a lot of awards season buzz. It is a beautiful story that shows what it means to live an entire life.

  1. Encanto

In late 2021, Encanto was an absolute must-see for kids and adults. It was full of infectious Latin music and stories that were uplifting and relatable, which made it one of the most adored films of the year. The film’s success was also helped by the success of its song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” This was the first time a Disney film had successfully stayed on the top charts for five weeks.

The film revolves around Mirabel Madrigal, the only member of the Madrigal family who doesn’t have a magical gift to help them better serve their community and their people. The film’s core theme is generational trauma, which has been underrepresented in various Disney movies and Hollywood. It was also beautifully explored through the lens of a Latin family.

  1. Spirited Away

In Japan, Spirited Away is regarded as one of the most successful films in the country’s history. Hayao’s eighth feature-length film is a pure expression of cinema, and it takes the viewer on a journey they can’t get to by other means. The story of Spirited Away revolves around the family of Chihiro, who is moving to a new home. 

On the way there, her parents take a road trip that leads them to an abandoned amusement park. There, Chihiro discovers a bathhouse that is filled with spirits. The themes of childhood and loneliness are also prominent, but this film is magical. Most of the film’s animation is hand-drawn, and it feels alive in a way that doesn’t rely on computers. It is a representation of the human body’s limitless imagination.

  1. Coco

The first Pixar film to feature an entirely non-white cast, and it was also centered on a significant cultural tradition, Coco succeeded wildly. The story revolves around Miguel, a young boy from a Mexican village who wants to play music despite his family’s protests. He finds himself in the afterlife during the Day Of The Dead and must find a way to escape. The film is essentially Pixar’s take on Spirited Away, with a vibrant and mysterious world done with grace and humor.

Extensive research was conducted into Mexican traditions and culture, and the film pays tribute to various practices associated with the Day Of The Dead. The voice cast, which included Gael Garcia Bernal and Anthony Mendez, was also incredibly talented. The film is a beautiful example of how important family and culture are in the face of adversity.