It’s Time To Stop Making Lists of Top Animated Films

Yoinked from Animated Review’s Top 100 Aniamted Movies post

Let’s be honest, animation is not a genre. It is, as Richard O’Connor calls it, a technique, and a marvelous one at that. It encompasses as wide a range of genres as live-action, so why do we keep seeing lists of top animated films and not much else?

OK, sure, we see lists of top films all the time, but lists of live-action genres seems to be much more prevalent than animated ones. Granted, there haven’t been as many animated films made over the years, but that in no way precludes people from making them.

For the record, I’m not against general top/favourite lists, it’s just that when it comes to animation, people can rattle off their favourites but when it comes to being a bit more specific, classifying films as Disney or non-Disney is about as specific as you’ll get from most folks.

A potential theory is that animated films tend to be classified as just that. You rarely see an animated film being described as a comedy or a horror, etc, etc. Yes, this is much to do with who makes them but there is no reason for an animated film to be confined to “animation” and not much more.

Let’s see more lists that get into specifics. Like a top 10 of action animated films, or a top 20 of romatic/love stories.

Animated films are squeezed into one category all to often, by both studios and the public alike. Let’s try and separate them out so that we can hopefully see them for what they really are.

The Problem With Lists and My Top 10 List of Animated Robots

I was kind of shocked when I checked the date it was first broadcast because I can’t believe it’s been nearly five whole years, but nonetheless it inspired today’s post. I’m talking about Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Cartoons list, which was broadcast over a pretty epic 3 hours in total.

As a list, its pretty comprehensive, although some will take issue with the fact that cartoons were defined as films, shorts and TV series so the likes of Betty Boop had to contend with the entire cast of Futurama who were up against Akira. Not entirely a fair fight in my opinion but I digress.

I mention all this because as a list, The 100 Greatest Cartoons is actually pretty good. It was voted on by members of the British public so naturally a few shows made it in that American folks would never recall. The main issue I have with lists is the propensity for the youngest items to rank really high. A noted example is (can’t believe I’m referencing this) the greatest albums of all time in Q magazine a few years back. The Red Hot Chili Peppers then-current album was way inside the top 10. I can’t even recall the name of it now.

Another aspect of lists (and it’s the main reason I tend to stay away from them on the blog) is that when some one person makes them up, they reflect the personality of that person. For example, if I were to make a list of the top 10 animated robots, it would look like this:

  1. XJ-9 (bonus points if you also know her name)
  2. Mr. Bender Bending Rodriguez
  3. The Iron Giant
  4. EVE
  5. EVA Units 01, 02 and 03
  6. Astroboy
  7. The Robot from Castle in the Sky
  8. Transformers
  9. Rosie the Robot
  10. The break-dancing robot that caught on fire

By the looks of things, it appears to be a fairly inconspicuous list. You may argue that Astroboy should be first or that I am adhering to the very thing I lament in the paragraph above (I don’t this just happens to be the way the list is). The point is that this is my list and what I consider to be the top 10 animated robots. You will probably have a completely different list, and that’s perfectly fine. I think the reason we are so obsessed with such lists is that we want to compare ours and argue about why that list is wrong and ours is right (it’s a human nature thing, right?).