The truth is I love all animated films, even the earliest Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons. I appreciate all the time and energy that goes into pulling off such an amazingly labor-intensive achievement. And I marvel at all the creativity and imagination used to bring the story and characters to life. So to answer a question about my top ten favorite cartoons of all time is not only unfair, but also downright sadistic. What if I pick the wrong ten? What if, while assembling my list, I completely forget about one of my all time favorites? Say, Snow White, for instance. Then later, Snow finds out about my oversight and decides not to be friends with me anymore. And even worse, she forbids me from ever playing leapfrog with the Dwarves again, which as you all know is a favorite pastime of mine. Or what if Monsters, Inc. goes bankrupt because I did not include them on my list, and therefore they don’t have the full emotional support they need to survive? I even hesitate to think what Bambi’s mother might say if I don’t include her son as one of my favorites. It would just kill her!
But wait. That is not even the extent of Matt’s tumultuous tag…no, my dear readers, it gets much worse. For not only did he command me to list my top ten favorite animated films, but he also forced me to choose a character in each film that most resembles me. Horrors! Can you imagine the inner turmoil I’d be suffering while trying to work all that out? Not to mention the angst I’d endure wondering if anyone was making value judgments about me based on what characters I happen to identify with.
Or what if I couldn’t find a character, so I chose one at random, and then was stuck with that moniker for the rest of my life? (“Oh, he chose Ratatouille, so he must be a real rat.” Or “Do you think he chose Pinocchio because he’s a liar, or because he has appendages that grow to unusual sizes?”) And what if I identified with various aspects of a certain character, but not the whole person? Like, I had the independence of Belle, the vanity of Gaston, and the misunderstood personality of the Beast? Would people consider me schizophrenic?
No, I’m afraid this tag is much too difficult for someone as devoted an animated connoisseur as myself. I simply cannot compare one film to another. How can you compare the brilliance of the Evil Queen’s transfiguration into the Old Hag in the original full-length animated feature “Snow White,” with the technical wizardry of something like “The Incredibles” or “Toy Story.” You can’t. They are completely different animals. And yet I love and appreciate them both. As well as everything that came in between.
Well, with maybe one exception. “The Black Cauldron” was a definite low point in Disney animation, and temporarily turned me off to the genre for a period of time. Plus, I was in high school and animation was just not cool any more. Except maybe Saturday morning cartoons, which somehow passed as quality entertainment amongst the cool crowd. But once “The Little Mermaid” came along in the 90s, I was not only hooked again, but an even bigger fan than I was as a child.
To this day, I make my annual sojourn to the “homeland” every year (Disney World) and have my office completely covered in animated statues, posters, and figurines. It allows me to work in an environment that is happy and colorful and just a little bit “off.” Would it work for everyone? No. But for me, someone who grew up constantly escaping into the world of his imagination, my office is a colorful little retreat from the often-grey colors of the real world.
Plus, I wouldn’t want to cause any animosity among the figurines if I should choose a movie that represents some but not others. (The Queen of Hearts and Captain Hook statues can be particularly nasty when they want to be.) All I’d need is for a few of them to get a little jealous, start a feud, and the next thing you know I’m cleaning up huge piles of porcelain and resin off the floor. So to avoid that, I’m going to remain neutral like Switzerland on the topic.
But that’s just me. What are your top ten favorite animated films of all time, and what character would you identify with in each? (Go ahead, you try it….!!!!)