I believe i saw 27 Animated features in 2022, so this list reflects a decent chunk of that. It’s a little different from my usual, as the lowest film on this list received a grade of B, so that’s the range of my top 10. I am not upset about any film just missing the cut, so my honorable mention goes to the biggest animated feature I haven’t seen, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. I was a fan of the first film, so I’m sure the sequel is up my alley. But if i wait till that drops on a streaming service, who knows when this list would come out.
Fun fact. All ten titles have audio description.
10) Strange World (Disney Plus)
I’m not sure why Disney didn’t want anyone to see this, but bothered to release it theatrically. Of their three big releases, Strange World ended up being the one on the list, not Pixar’s entries Lightyear or Turning Red. I’m really hoping 2023 is a better year for Pixar.
9) Luck (Apple Plus)
This film has haters. One of my favorite critics that I follow put this in his worst of 2022 list. But how can you hate a story about a girl who never got adopted, aged out of the system, and her one ducking dream in life is to help the little girl she bonded with at her last foster home find a forever family? Granted, John Lasseter and his new team at Apple didn’t 100% land every element of this story, but Sam is the hero we all needed in 2022.
8) Enter Galactic (Netflix)
An adult animated romcom. And it’s also, thanks to Kid Cudi, brimming with hip hop beats and a very different vibe than we traditionally get. It feels like when we get adult animation, especially in feature length format, telling real life tales, they are always aimed at a white audience, so it was nice to see this unapologetically black but incredibly universal story about artists falling in and out of love. I didn’t see this movie coming, but then again, I wasn’t expecting a cameo from Macaulay Culkin either.
7) Wendell and Wild (Netflix)
Netflix threw a lot of animation at the wall this year, and a surprising amount of it stuck. This Henry Selick directed, Jordan Peele produced story was another one led by a girl with no parents, and started off with a tragic beginning and just kept going. Selick is a master in this form, and instead of mixing his brand with Tim burton, he did it with jordan Peele, and I think it worked. Though, I don’t need every duo to be voiced by Key and Peele. That’s already been done.
6) DC League Of Superpets (HBo MAX)
This made the list almost entirely because Keanu Reeves as Batman was one of the funniest and best decisions of the year. Had someone told me that a year ago, i would have thought you were nuts. But now I want like a whole animated universe with this Batman voiced by Reeves. What a lark.
5) The Sea Beast (Netflix)
Netflix really knocked it out of the park with this animated feature that has some tones of How To Train your Dragon, but is also different enough for it’s own story to develop. Keeping with the theme of the year, other than having tiny rodents as villains, we have yet another orphan girl in the lead role. Orphans really did take a huge center focus in a lot of movies this year.
4) Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers (Disney Plus)
I grew up on this, so seeing the gang back together in such a unique form, with hundreds of cameos was brilliant. It’s not the film I expected, but it’s so the film we deserved. Speaking of deserved, since the audio description that Disney actually asked for ignores all the cameos, this would also be a pick of mine for one of the worst audio descriptions of the year. And, this comes to no fault of those who made the description, but rather a decision from Disney to not include all the cameos throughout the film. I guess they figured they could get all of them, so they went with none of them. And put that in the contract. I’ve had a middle finger raised at disney since May.
3) Beavis and butthead Do The universe (Paramount Plus)
The original film from 1997 is still hilarious, and there wasn’t a film in 2022 where I laughed harder, longer, more times, until actual tears came from my eyes. Introducing these two to cell phones alone made for a ton of laughs, as Beavis developed a relationship with Siri. Just, some really great stuff.
2) Marcel The Shell With Shoes on (iTunes)
Had to rent this, but this charming movie, which also kind of features an orphan as well, is like Babe. It’s a film you write off as being some little kid thing until you actually see it, and fall in love with Marcel, and realize all the themes running through the film. What Jenny Slate did here was magical. It’s so weird that this is A24. And for those parents who keep saying there aren’t enough family friendly movies out there, you have not met Marcel.
1) Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix)
I’ll admit that my love of Marcel and Pinocchio are really close, and I’ve imagined a multiverse where Robert Zemeckis didn’t make that other Pinocchio, and wondered if Marcel wouldn’t be on top in that world. But what Del Toro did here, is what Zemeckis failed to do, and that was reimagine the story. We actually met Carlo, the boy who came before Pinocchio, and who Pinocchio is compared to the entire film. I think that was a game changing choice, because we knew what his fate would be, and watching him carefree and happy was just setting us up for this heartbreak. Del Toro really went for it with his own version, linking this story to real life wars, and Mussolini, and making this little wooden boy more human than he’s ever been, while using stop motion, which made him quite literally a puppet.