Top 10 Best 3D Animated Films of all Time

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Who doesn't like a good animated movie? The past few years have seen a boom in 3D animated movies, and I will try to sum up the best of the best of the least worst and leave out the worst of the most bad. On top of the latest and greatest, it includes a couple of the classics. The art and the industry have already begun to change and expand when it comes to subject matter and demographics, but pretty much all of them try to stay true to a central theme or moral. So, with out further ado, here is my list of the 10 best 3D-animated movies of all time:

 

Epic - 2013 3d animated movie

10. Epic (2013) - If you like stories of magic, high adventure, and tiny little people, this is a good movie. Plus, there are some pretty good celebrity appearances that you may not expect. A young Mary Katherine, or M.K., travels to her father's house to visit. He is so preoccupied with finding scientific proof that a race of tiny people exists in the forests around his house that he doesn't pay her much attention. She finds the queen of the tiny peoples under attack on the day she was to choose a seedling to whom she would pass on her legacy. M.K. is magically shrunk to their size and thrown into the mad quest to save the pod before the dreadful Boggans perform the unthinkable.

 

9. How to Train Your Dragon (2010) - A great movie telling the tale of Hiccup, a viking kid who approaches problems by using his smarts rather than brute force. Vikings are bred to hate and kill dragons, but when Hiccup finds the fabled Night Fury in the woods, he finds out that dragons are not all vicious beasts, and can even be domesticated.

 

The Smurfs 2001 3d animated film

8. The Smurfs (2011) - The Smurfs is not a fully animated movie, but I had to include it, if not simply because of the awesome performance by Hank Azaria. The movie appears to be a novelty for small children, but anyone who has the slightest interest in the Smurfs should check it out. I'll admit that when a friend of mine told me to watch it, I was hesitant, but some of the writing is completely hilarious, the animation is great, and the acting is top notch. Gargamel has so many great scenes that he completely makes the movie. You must check this one out.

 

7. Monsters Vs. Aliens (2009) - Susan is about to get married when she comes in contact with a radioactive meteorite which changes her into a huge, towering giant. She is taken into custody, meets some other monsters and gets to fight a self-replicating horde of aliens!

6. Despicable Me (2010) - Steve Carell plays the voice of Gru, a cynical madman who is intent on STEALING the MOON, which may seem like a fairly complicated task, but Gru is up to the challenge as he hatches his latest plan. This villainous villain is in competition with Vector, who has the latest toys in super villainy. To steal a freeze ray which will assist him in stealing the moon, Gru adopts 3 little girls, who end up punching a soft spot in his heart.

5. Brave (2012) - Scottish princess Merida is told by her parents that she is to marry a man from another clan to form an alliance, but she isn't having any part of it. She defeats all of her suitors in an archery contest in order to free herself from the obligation. She ends up meeting a witch and changing her mother into a bear. This movie had great voice acting, animation, and a heartfelt story.

 

4. Wreck-It Ralph (2012) - Wreck-It Ralph is a video game villain. But he gets tired of putting on the villain persona every day and when he sees all of the attention that his rival, Fix-It Felix, Jr., gets, he decides to try and fit in with all the other characters that inhabit the local arcade. He enters a first person shooter arcade game, and wins a medal. When Ralph crash-lands in the game Sugar Rush, where his medal gets stolen by a would-be main character in the game. He sets out to find the only proof that he is a video game hero, when the story gets a little more complicated...

 

3. Kung Fu Panda (2008) - Another one of the greats, Kung Fu Panda is played by Jack Black, and has a story and animation to match (almost) to rival Jack Black's storytelling prowess. Po is a panda who was raised by his father, a goose, to take over his profitable noodle restaurant. Po idolizes the furious five, a group of kung fu masters who protect the land from evil. He is chosen to be the Dragon Warrior when he uses fireworks to break into the ceremony, landing in the middle of the arena. Now the noodle chef has to live up to the title of Dragon Warrior.

 

The Croods 2013 animated 3d movie with Nicholas Cage, Emma Stone, and Ryan Reynolds

2. The Croods (2013) - I hoped this movie lived up to its hype, boasting the voice of Nicolas Cage, along with Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds. The previews were hilarious, and after I saw the movie, I was glad I didn't pass it by. The plot centers on a stone age family who live in a cave, and have no concept of inventions such as fire, or the wheel. They meet the first modern human named Guy, and as the earth shifts, they head for the mountains for higher ground, and to ride the sun to "tomorrow," as Guy tells them. My family and I laughed out loud at this one. The daddy/daughter issues hit close to home as my oldest daughter and I laughed and almost cried throughout it. Definitely worth watching.

 

1. Shrek (2001) - Now becoming the wise old sage of 3D animation, Shrek is simply a classic. Mike Myers as Shrek and Eddie Murphy as Donkey play the perfect parts for a cynical ogre and a loving donkey. I'm pretty sure 99.999% of all people have seen Shrek, but if you haven't, you have completely missed out on one of the most important films of our time.

So, that's it for my top 10 3D animated films of all time. Choosing these were very hard because of the multitude of awesome computer animated movies that are springing up. If you haven't seen them, I would highly recommend any of the movies on this list. Until next time, go punch a porcupine!

Shrek movie poster

Top 10 Cartoon Rabbits

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Though we may know of at least one insanely popular cartoon rabbit, it turns out that bunnies are not the most common cartoon protagonists. However, the furry little guys do make some great cartoons, so I have decided to compile a list of the top 10 cartoon bunnies. So, here they are, folks:

Baby Bugs is the number 10 cartoon rabbit10. Baby Bugs (Baby Looney Tunes) - As a baby, Bugs had some of the same mannerisms, but apparently Granny forgot to give him a bottle because he tended to be a little bossy at times. This could sometimes cause some tension with Babs and Daffy, but just like he always has, Baby Bugs always knew the right thing to do in the end.

9. Buster Bunny (Tiny Toons) - The leader of the Tiny Toons, Buster is also shown as a talented drummer and electric guitarist. He has many characteristics of the famous Bugs Bunny. He has to deal with the many challenges of school life, which I think we can all relate to in some way.

8. Babs Bunny (Tiny Toons) - Babs is Buster Bunny's counterpart in the Tiny Toons series, and she has the uncanny ability to impersonate others. She sometimes displays a fiery personality, oftentimes when agitated by Plucky Duck. She often impersonates actors and celebrities, and she has been known to impersonate the next Rabbit on our list:

Jessica Rabbit - The #7 cartoon rabbit 7. Jessica Rabbit (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) - Okay, she wasn't technically born a rabbit, though she married into the family so that is qualification enough for her to make the list. The wife of Roger Rabbit, Jessica is the sultry singer who works at the Ink and Paint club, and a primary suspect in framing Roger for murder. She left her mark with the famous quote, "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way."

6. Rabbit (Winnie the Pooh) - Rabbit is the kind of guy who likes to take charge and build elaborate plans, which tend to fall apart because of an oversight on his part. Though he seems like the kind of rabbit that likes to nag and complain, Rabbit really does value his friendship with Pooh and Piglet. Deep down, he's a pretty cool guy.

5. Roger Rabbit (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) - Probably the only rabbit on the list shown to imbibe alcohol, Roger is quite the erratic rabbit, and it shows even in his voice. A true cartoon, Roger is a 1940's cartoon film star, alongside Baby Herman. Plus, he had his own brief comic book series, so Roger proves himself as one of the top cartoon rabbits.

4. White Rabbit (Alice in Wonderland) - We all remember the song he sang: "I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye! I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!" White Rabbit was probably the only character in Wonderland who made ANY kind of sense at all. But even so, nothing in Wonderland made any sense so he found himself caught in the middle of chaos almost all the time. His voice is one of the most memorable of the Disney movie, which helped him climb the list to #4.

3. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit - Oswald started out in his own Ub Iwerks/Walt Disney cartoon series in 1927.  He is a courageous and adventurous soul. Oswald has recently resurfaced and gained ground as one of the world's favorite video game characters, fighting alongside Mickey Mouse in the multi-platform hits, Epic Mickey and Epic Mickey 2. When he was first created, he was in direct competition with Felix the Cat and Koko the Clown, but we all know who the best of the bunch turned out to be!

Thumper is the number 2 cartoon rabbit 2. Thumper (Bambi) - Admit it, if Thumper wasn't your favorite character from the movie "Bambi," he was most certainly at the top of the list. Trying to make sense of the world, he follows and often states advice from his mother. When he gets excited, he thumps his left foot. The characterization of this little fellow is enough to really draw kids and even adults to him. If I had a pet bunny, I would definitely want him to be like Thumper.

1. Bugs Bunny - If you don't know who Bugs Bunny is by now, go and watch some Bugs Bunny cartoons before you even finish the rest of this sentence! Bugs got his name from his co-creator, Ben "Bugs" Hardaway, and made his debut in Porky's Hare Hunt. Bugs always keeps his cool, and outsmarts his antagonist. He has a plethora of memorable sayings, such as "Of course you realize, this means war!" Bugs has appeared in countless cartoons, video games, and movies and still remains the most famoust rabbit in the world after over 75 years!The Evolution of Bugs Bunny

The Story of Dave and Max

Cartoon History

When one reads about the beginnings of animation, the names Dave and Max Fleischer are sure to be mentioned at one time or another. Though this generation of cartoon lovers and fanatics have largely settled on Walt Disney being the father of animation, the Fleischers actually played a huge part in the beginnings of the art form.

Out of the Inkwell, created during silent era, was very innovative in that it fused live action with hand-drawn animation. This was something that hadn't been explored in the past, and the Fleischers used something called "Rotoscoping," a technique they invented which used drawing over live-action film stills. This brought a new realistic look to the characters' movements, but also saved time and money. They used this technique to mimic Cab Calloway's dance moves in some of their cartoons in the 1930's.

In October of 1929, Fleischer Studios released a new cartoon series called Talkartoons, Which first featured Bimbo as the main character and introduced the widely popular Betty Boop. Although the Fleischer bros' Screen Songs and Talkartoons were very popular with the public, the inexpensive methods used to create the cartoons, along with new censorship in the industry, eventually cost them their competitive edge against Walt Disney studios.

In 1934, Hollywood was forced to begin following the Hays code, which meant a high level of censorship in new films that were released. Much of Betty Boop's sex appeal was curbed, and the public began to lose interest. Between 1931 and 1936, Paramount, Which held Fleischer Studios' distribution contract, had gone through 3 reorganizations due to bankruptcy. Management at Paramount decided to make more films geared towards general audiences, And they urged the studio to emulate walt disney cartoons. Color Classics began as a parody of Disney's Silly Symphonies.

Popeye the Sailor became the most popular Fleischer studios cartoon they ever produced, rivaling even Walt Disney Studios' famed Mickey Mouse series. The shorts were released in 1936, 1937, and 1939 and became so popular that they were sometimes billed alongside or even above the main features at some theatres.

Paramount, who held the distribution contract for Fleischer Studios, wanted to compete with the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, so they loaned the Fleischers the money to build a studio in Miami, Florida, to produce Gulliver's Travels. The animated feature film was released Christmas 1939 and had a decent amount of success, but not at the same level as its competitor. Superman, the animated series following the comic book superhero, was produced on a budget of $50,000 per episode, the highest of any Fleischer cartoon short, and was nominated for an Academy Award.

Even with their late successes with Gulliver, Superman, and Popeye, the Fleischers were still riddled with financial woes. The larger Miami studio produced high overhead with a larger staff, and they were forced to produce more material, some more successful than others, but most of the material released was not up to par with their successors. The Fleischer brothers had personal and financial disputes, profits were dwindling, and they frequently asked for loans from Paramount to keep the studio going. Paramount finally had to call an end to the financial burden and forced Dave and Max Fleischer to resign by the end of 1941 in order for the studio to receive funding for the 1940-1941 film season. On May 24th, 1941, Paramount assumed full ownership of Fleischer Studios, and the Fleischers oversaw production until the end of 1941. Mr. Bug Goes to Town was released on December 5, 1941, two days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It never recouped the $500,000 in production costs.

After Max and Dave left Paramount, Fleischer Studios was renamed Famous Studios in mid-1942. Dave moved to California and became the head of the Screen Gems animation studio at Columbia, and Max became Head of the Animation Division at the Jam Handy Organization.

The Fleischer brothers were a major force in early animation, bringing new technology and innovation to a growing art form, but were forgotten among the animation giants of the time. Though their names have been mostly forgotten by this generation, their work still remains an integral part of today's animation as we know it.

Where Did the Golden Ones Go?

Cartoon History

Animation as an art form and a form of entertainment had rough beginnings, but quickly became mainstream from the 1920’s into the 1950’s. In the race to become king of the mountain, studios such as Fleischer Studios, Van Beuren Studios, and Disney Studios had successfully brought dreams to life for people across the world to enjoy. But their success began to die out the late 50's, as the business changed and executives wanted a cheaper, more streamlined process. Eventually, the studios who once brought us groundbreaking animated short films to the theaters would be replaced with a new breed of cartoons that relied more on writing and voice acting than the animation itself.

Some creators such as animation great Chuck Jones used this Limited Animation as a way to stylize their work, but executives saw it as an opportunity to cut costs. This seemed to work well together, ushering in many classics such as The Flintstones, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, The Jetsons, Mr. Magoo, and a slew of other classics, but along with the nicely stylized classics of the era came more than a few duds that were created on exectutive advice solely to suck the money out of childrens' parents' pockets.

Limited Animation used shortcuts such as using a collar or a necklace to separate a character's body from their head. That way, the animation companies could still animate a character speaking cheaply, and even animate the character's head turning while using one or two animation cels for the body throughout the entire speaking sequence. They would also allow themselves the liberty to simplify the backgrounds so that they would consist of some linework and sometimes very loose coloring, sometimes using one or two colors and disregarding the confounds of the lines. Other techniques used were panning the camera to simulate movement, "blurring" the character to show extreme speed without having to animate the actions, cel reversal to use a mirror image of the character rather than animating him or her again, creating stock footage which were animation sequences during different scenes, long recaps of previous episodes, among others time- and money-saving techniques.

Chuck Jones' 1942 Merrie Melodies short, The Dover Boys was one of the earlier cartoons making full use of the techniques of Limited Animation, but Warner Bros. was not impressed, pushing for more traditional animation. UPA, or United Productions of America, used Limited Animation in full force when they released Gerald McBoing-Boing and winning an oscar and inspiring every major animation company to use the cheaper form of animation. Warner Bros., MGM, and other studios began to follow suit.

Hanna-Barbera was especially fond of these newfound time-savers, using them in almost every cartoon series they produced, including Jonny Quest, The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear, The Jetsons, Space Ghost, The Huckleberry Hound Show, Top Cat, Wacky Races, The Quick Draw McGraw Show, The Magilla Gorilla Show, and even later episodes of Tom and Jerry.

Filmation was another company who used Limited Animation as a routine. Along with a series called Rod Rocket, they got their start producing the first few Chuck Jones Tom and Jerry cartoons. They went on to produce some Superman cartoons along with other DC Comics cartoons, and the first Archie Show in 1968, Star Trek: The Animated Series, and many, many other cartoons that used the retro new-wave style.

Animation has moved on to bigger and better things for the most part, but some of the techniques of Limited Animation are still around in one form or another. Flash animation, used mostly for the web and presentations, makes use of smaller parts of a whole subject being moved separately to create the illusion of traditional animation. Motion comics also move different layers of complex drawings to create the illusion of movement, but not striving to animate every character's actions or speech.

In the end, directors and studios have to find a way to balance the traditional values of life-like animation of the Golden Age and the cost-cutting techniques of Limited Animation. One thing is for sure, though. It is a lot of fun as a viewer to see what they come up with!

The Looney Tunes Show - The Great Return or Crash and Burn?

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Looney Tunes has always been by far my all-time favorite cartoon series, and having begun in 1934, they have withstood the test of time throughout several generations of cartoon fans. Considering how very few of the early animated series came out of the Golden Age alive and kicking, the fact that the Looney Tunes name is still around says a lot.

Warner Bros. are going to put on their Bunny ears and try their hand once again at the world-famous Looney Tunes series. In February 2011, Warner Bros. plans to release a 26-episode first season of The Looney Tunes Show, wherein Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, two much-loved Looney Tooners, live in a suburban home. And their neighbors happen to be none other than other classic characters Yosemite Sam, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Marvin the Martian, and Porky Pig.

The new premise might stand up to the new cartoon-loving generation who may not have grown up watching Foghorn Leghorn, Witch Hazel, and the massive cast of the vintage Looney Tunes made for the silver screen series. But, if WB wants to gain the trust of long-time fans of the series like myself, they've got a tough row to hoe.

Bugs and Daffy in their suburban home

The first thing I noticed about the new character designs by Jessica Borutski is that they actually reminded me of the art from the old, old Looney Tunes comic books released in the 1940's. When I heard they were doing a new series, the first thing I wondered is if the art would be close to comparable to the old cartoon shorts. So far, my opinion would be yes, the art looks great. Animation has come a long way in a sense, but when you tackle the task of remaking something as classic and unrivaled as Looney Tunes, you're going up against the styles of Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, and Bob Clampett. According to Jessica Borutski's blog, a lot of people are upset that she made Bugs Bunny mauve, and put purple outlines around Daffy. Yes, I would have liked to keep around the old colors, but I think that if done right, it should be barely noticeable. Not only will the new artists be competing with animators of old, but the writers will have something of a challenge ahead to create new situations with gags to bring the laughs that the old series did. The thing with the old series is that the crew were departing on a journey into an art form. Animation was (fairly) new at the time, and the sky was the limit.

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck character sketch

Now here it is 80 years later, and a whole new generation will have to draw on inspiration from a different society and make different stories work with characters who were created decades ago, pleasing die-hard fans and television-affixed kids alike.

And then there's the Wile E. Coyote/Roadrunner bit. It seems Warner Bros. has decided to convert them to 3-D animation for a 2 1/2 minute short in each episode, and a 3 minute short before some movie features in the theaters. I don't know about you, but they appear to me to be testing the waters with the 2-D loving crowd for possible 3-D series or movies in the future. Corporations are slick like that, you know. And, though 3-D animation can be a beautiful art form given the right talent, character design, director, etc., I would rather them leave the characters rendered at least similar to how they were originally created. I'm sure Ben "Bugs" Hardaway and Cal Dalton didn't envision Bugs in full massive  3-D with stubble, zits, and boogers. The LT characters should be remembered as what they were created as. Go changing that, and I can go changing the Mona Lisa, or Michelangelo's Sistene Chapel paintings. They're dead, they won't care if I put a fuchsia bra on Moses. Nyaa! No, they won't, but you can bet there will be a lot of people out there who will. Now, if they were to get new directors and designers to create a new set of characters in the spirit of Looney Tunes but not a rip off of the old characters (*ahem* Babs and Buster), I'd be interested in seeing how that turned out in 3-D. I admit, the stills I've seen of the Wile E. shorts are impressive, so perhaps they will capture the spirit of what the characters were all about, even though they will be rendered a little more realistically than we are used to. But, I guess we'll see in a few months, eh?

The name "Merrie Melodies" also comes into play in the new television series, as WB has decided to throw in another cartoon short with the same title as the old Looney Tunes counterpart series where "The Tasmanian Devil, Speedy Gonzales, Marvin the Martian and other classic characters" sing original songs in 2-minute music videos.

Hopefully the series will live up to the Looney Tunes name, and our generation will have its very own contribution to the legendary series. So, unless Warner Bros. makes a left toin at Albuquerque, The Looney Tunes Show may turn out to be promising indeed!

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