Animation is a phenomenal type of cinema. From hand drawn to computer generated to stop motion, animation is an awe inspiring craft for real & it almost seems too broad a subject to pick one favourite from.
I also would have answered with yesterday’s film, Dinosaur, which I was writing about as my favourite childhood film because that animation still wows me to this day, & that was back in 2000.
Actually I’m excluding Disney from this entirely, because all Disney films are in a whole other realm of favourites from nostalgia & magic & songs & I don’t have the time or the patience to figure that out too.
But despite all that, it took me a second to think of my favourite animated film today:
This film deserved every golden inch of that Oscar it won in 2003 for Best Animated Feature. It’s from the famed masters at Studio Ghibli, a Japanese studio that makes traditional drawn animation films that are are GORGEOUS.
This one’s about ten year old Chihiro, who accidentally wanders into the spirit world & is stuck there with her parents transformed into pigs until she can escape. She meets all sort of wonderful & scary people while she’s there in this magical story with brilliant characters & beautiful scenery.
I wouldn’t call it a kids film. It’s even a little bit scary at times (at least it used to scare me) & it’s definitely not all hugs & giggles & fun adventure. This young girl is lost on her own without her parents in a world full of frankly fucked up spirits & it is creepy. But Chihiro is incredible, & so inspiring to children – she never gives up, is stubborn as hell (even if that’s a little annoying), & will fight for the people she loves. At age TEN.
It’s also made with a female lead, intended for young girls to be inspired by her – director/ creator/ illustrator Hayao Miyazaki states this often. It’s not designed for the male gaze, which is really rare because everyone knows sex sells. MIYAZAKI KNOWS WHERE IT’S AT.
Just when you think it couldn’t get cooler, there’s frog people, a massive baby that gets turned into a cute hamster, Susan Egan’s voice (!!!!) & a DRAGON.
I love it. It’s magical & real & captivating.