Karen Larionova’s top five animated films of all time

Number five: “The Smurfs 2”

The entire Smurfs franchise is a dazzling mystery. The Smurfs movies are definitely the lowest grossing films on this entire list, but the movies are fantastic nonetheless. In fact, the second movie felt like a hilarious fever dream when I first watched it — Smurfette literally dies. However, the plot itself is actually quite simple and classic, with Gargamel making evil Smurfs and the original Smurfs banding together to stop Gargamel. Children love the movie, but having “The Smurfs 2” playing during a Friday night party or a chill study break immediately livens the mood. Even if you think this movie is childish and poorly done, it’s at least hilariously bad. 

 

Number four: “Ratatouille”

“Ratatouille” is an absolute must on any “top five movies” list. Even if we ignore the humorous plotline of the movie, the art style and music of this movie is beyond perfection. “Le Festin” by Camille still holds an iconic spot in my head almost a decade and a half after the movie’s release. The real kicker, though, is the tender relationship between Remy the rat and Alfredo Linguini, the ginger-haired boy. This friendship is made for children to witness. The toxicity of both Remy and Linguini — one selfishly driving for culinary fame while the other keeps his talentlessness a secret — is a good lesson for kids. If we can expose more kids to the themes and morals of the movie, our society would be just as talented as Remy with the charm of Linguini. After all, the movie’s number one theme is teamwork.

 

Number three: “Despicable Me”

A lot of people hate Minions. I did too after the “Minions” movie. But “Despicable Me” is different — so much so that it is one of the best movies of all time. Gru is one of the most loveable main characters in movie history due to his evil facade but soft heart. He’s the Grinch but realistic, and not Christmas. Gru’s adopted daughters are also adorable, and the Minions in “Despicable Me” are funny, unique, and a good outlet for slapstick humor. I will admit that all the movies in the franchise after “Despicable Me” are hardly reaching three stars, but this first movie was breathtaking when I first saw it in theaters. It’s the type of movie that will make you laugh and feel warm and fuzzy when you leave the theater.

 

Number two: “Bee Movie”

I know that this might seem like a joke, but I genuinely believe that “Bee Movie” has more depth to it than people would like to believe. Jerry Seinfeld aside, “Bee Movie” is a holistically solid movie with dark humor, a good message about environmentalism, and a pleasant art style. However, the reason why I love this movie is because of its critique of capitalism and its subtle nod to “To Kill A Mockingbird.” The movie describes what capitalism does to lower class citizens — the bees in this case. The hive is exploited for its commodities, and the workers get no compensation for their labor. Then, as Karl Marx predicts, the proletariat of bees stand up for themselves and protest against the human bourgeoisie, and they get to live out their communist dreams in their hive. Of course, the movie is more about environmentalism, so the bees have to go back to work to save the earth from dying, but you catch my drift. Additionally, the trial in “Bee Movie” is reminiscent of the trial in “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Vanessa and Atticus are parallels helping the marginalized groups regain their voice. The trials have different outcomes, but they both discuss discrimination and injustice. 

 

Number one: “Flushed Away”

This movie is perfect in every way. I know that this movie is stop-motion and not animated, but “Flushed Away” dominates any animated movie from Disney or Dreamworks, and it deserves a spot at the front of this list. I can’t think of one bad quality in this movie. The stop-motion is phenomenal, the two main characters are somehow attractive despite being rats, the villain is comically embarrassing, and the movie is so self aware that it makes fun of itself multiple times — I mean, the whole premise of the movie is that Roddy needs to save the sewer rats before everyone pees at the halftime of a soccer game. It’s the funniest movie on all levels. And I want to get back to my point about the attractive main characters. Roddy and Rita are perhaps the most dynamic characters, and they are both so attractive that they convinced 10-year-old me that I was bisexual. That’s right, Rita the rat was my gay awakening. What more do I need for a movie to be number one on this list?

 

larion1@stolaf.edu

Karen Larionova is from

St Paul, Minn.

Her majors are Russian and English.

 

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