Directed by Pete Docter
A new Pixar release is a true cinematic event. Audiences everywhere sweat in anticipation to feel as much as they did when watching Up, Finding Nemo or Toy Story. Inside Out is a formidable entry to the Pixar canon, and lends itself to being probably the most fun way to educate children on their own emotions. Despite breaking new ground in storytelling, with brilliant performances and clever set-pieces, I couldn’t help but feel as though the film could’ve reached even higher with it’s narrative, instead of feeling like a massively-budgeted episode of The Magic School Bus. Ultimately, I thoroughly enjoyed the film, but left thinking it had much greater potential to explore.
Directed by Don Hall & Chris Williams
Big Hero 6 was an utter delight to behold. The hi-tech world of San Fransokyo is visually stunning, and beautifully anchored by the relationships that form the story. I’m 21 years old now, but something about seeing an young asian protagonist (that isn’t Mulan) in a Disney film made me giddy inside. Disney’s on a hot-streak at the moment.
Directed by Isao Takahata
Sometimes, you watch a film and you’ll continue through your day like it never happened. Sometimes, you’ll watch a film and it’ll completely cleanse you of all the pain and hurt you’ve ever felt in your life, just for a moment. Princess Kaguya is one of those films. Like a moving watercolour, the film is beguiling in the way it moves, sounds and feels. It’s a film that sings to the heart and the soul. I hope every person, young and old, has time in their lives to watch it. It’s a film that makes you appreciate the world and all of it’s beautiful imperfections. Apparently, it took Isao Takahata and his team about eight years to finish Princess Kaguya. Was it worth it? Holy shit yes.
Directed by Graham Annable & Anthony Stacchi
I love the worlds that Laika creates. There’s so much life in every frame and every movement. They never treat their audiences like children, even though it’s their main audience demographic. Whilst Boxtrolls doesn’t have quite the same heart that Paranorman (one of my favourite animated films) had, the film still succeeds in creating memorable sequences and characters that make you wonder why we even bother with live-action films anymore.
Directed by Dean DeBlois
Watching this film meant the world to me. I’ve grown up parallel to Hiccup and Toothless, and I distinctly remember thinking four years ago how I’d be 20 when the sequel came out. Well, the time has passed, and my heart is still attached to the wonderful world and characters Dreamworks has crafted. As a sequel, the film feels like it can stand on it’s own two feet – Empire Strikes Back comes to mind – with many gorgeous moments and absolutely breathtaking animation. In expanding the world, a few minor characters had to take a backseat this time around, but I really can’t complain about a film this beautiful. Toothless 4eva.
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
It feels like such an honour to get to finally watch a film by the great Hayao Miyazaki in cinemas. All his films are injected with pure imagination and love for the art-form, and The Wind Rises is no exception. It’s a beautiful, tender film about love and dreams in times of war and sickness. Miyazaki makes films which illicit that rare, magnificent effect in an audience: he makes you feel truly alive.