The Best Animation

To avoid hijacking this wonderful thread, I’ll just ask straight up.

What do see as the best examples of animation?

Try to separate animation from story and humor, I know it’s hard.
Also, if you like, add your qualifications for judging.
I’m an animator, with a degree and everything (just no job yet).
I have a large collection of animated movies. The pieces that come to mind initially are:
The woods sequence in Sleeping Beauty
Any chase/action sequence in Tarzan
Playing with the Woody’s Roundup toy collection in Toy Story 2
Mike and Sully in Monsters, Inc., in particular, Mike’s line “Why don’t you put it to sleep… While I think of a plan!”
Most of Goofy, especially How to Ski.

I’m sure I’ll think of more as they come up.

Honestly, we’ll set pure-CGI aside (though I’d probably vote Gollum in the LotR movies).

For pure animation quality, I’d say Production I.G., for their animation work on both of the following;

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (both seasons)
Near-human (though idealised) proportions, realistic mechanical design, excellent fire, smoke, and other environmental effects. Great use of lighting and cell-shading to suggest realism (even cell-shaded CGI). Across the board this show does a great job of realism for a cartoon, especially for anime, known as it is for emphasising style over realism. But still images don’t do this show justice. The greatest thing about the animation is seeing it in motion, it all moves so smoothly and with such an authentic look it’s amazing.
The storyboard artists also have a great flair for the dramatic, using very striking visuals, in addition to slipping in a lot of subtle details and symbolism. The representation of the various “cloaking abilities” shown, as well as the virtual environments the characters use to browse the internet with are very striking and creative as well.

FLCL
This show mixed a lot of different looks. Setting aside the entertaining South Park parody, and the manga-style storyboard sequences, this show used a lot of high-end CG special effects and touch-up work to give their work a very visually impressive look, while still maintaining a very sketchy, simple anime looks to the characters. It fit the overall schizophrenic, disjointed feel of the show. The use of various animation techniques and effects to enhance drama, action sequences, and even to add impact to the jokes, parodies, and satirical scenes, is all very cleverly done. Over all the most interesting thing is how well the landscapes and backgrounds are drawn to create a very surreal, dreamlike feel.

Eesh, for some reason I was only thinking about recent stuff.

Yeah, if you’re going for all-time examples, Disney’s classics would probably eat up most of any top ten. Another Disney animation scene I always loved was the revolving shot of the girl playing the piano in Oliver and Company, especially when you consider that it’s entirely hand-drawn; no computer work at all. That’s pretty damn impressive.

Also, I should’ve thought to mention The Bruce Timm DC Super hero cartoons. In particular Batman: the Animated Series, both it’s original and second runs, Adventures of Superman, Justice League, and Justice League: Unlimited. Very crisp, steadily evolving style, with good motion work, and great use of lighting and backgrounds to set the mood.I could be wrong, but I believe the same people are also responsible for Batman Beyond and Teen Titans, and while the former is very much along the same lines as the others, the latter shows a lot of experimentation with anime-style cartooning, and a lot of other looks for various scenes. Possibly the best example of what I’m talking about would be the B:tAS episode “Legends of the Dark Knight.” In this episode, we three 3 different kids walking home, each telling a short story about Batman to prove their view of him is right, followed by them actually witnessing Batman take on a super-villain arsonist. two of the short stories pay homage to different iconic takes on Batman from the comics, the one has a very old-school silver-age feel, while another has the gritty, simplistic art-style of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns run.

Those are about all I can think of, at least, ATM

There are some scenes in Disney’s Pocahontas that are superb, most notably when her father tells her she will be marrying Cocoum. Her expressions are amazingly lifelike.

A lot of Mayazaki’s work is great, but my favorite is the scene with the big-eyed creatures in the woods in Princess Monomoke.

For stop motion animation, anything by Nick Park, but I’d give a slight edge to the train chase sequence in The Wrong Trousers.

Congratulations on your degree in animation – that’s actually really really cool. Good luck getting a job in the business. I’ve just been watching some of the Looney Tunes DVD releases, and it’s great stuff to rediscover. I just got Michael Berrier’s book on the history of Hollywood animation out of the library.

The first thing that came to mind for me was “Pinocchio.” The opening shot craning over the little town was beautiful. My criterion for judging this is sheer “painterliness,” at least as far as my amateur understanding of art lets me understand it. The whole movie is great to look at – Pleasure Island and the boys turning into donkeys, the trip under the ocean, etc.

I’ve always been amazed by the animation of the tornado sequence in the 1935 Disney short “The Band Concert”.

Any of the earlier Road Runner cartoons.

Most of The Incredibles, especially the romantic confrontation between Mr Incredible and Elastigirl on top of the building.

The dance with the penguins in Mary Poppins.

Thenew short by Pixar, One Man Band.

Nobody has mentioned Akira. I don’t know much about the technical aspects, but it didn’t have any of the “flowing elbows” that you often get in animation and I hate (and also stunning design and whatnot).

In terms of technical hyper-detailed wizardry, I think Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is up there. Of course you won’t be seeing much more from the studio because they went broke making it.

One of my all-time favorites is **The Man Who Planted Trees ** from 1987. It’s done in a continuously flowing colored pencil/pastel/watercolor type style. It’s a beautiful film all around.

Although Bugs Bunny and company is nearer and dearer to my heart, Tom and Jerry and Droopy Dog and others out of MGM had the best visual gags.

I was always amazed at how Disney did water back in the old days.

That’s what I was thinking. Shame it’s such a terrible movie otherwise.

The opening number , Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, from Fantasia, the best pure-animation sequence (forms mostly, with some realistic parts) in any mainstream movie I’ve seen.
The Carpet in Aladdin. They evoke all sorts of emotion and feeling from that carpet itself without the use of props or sound effects. It’s the closest thing in a Disney flick to the classic “sack of flour”
The aforementioned Chuck Jones Roadrunner cartoons, and his One Froggy Evening, as examples of perfect and wordless action and timing.
Duck Amuck – Jones again, pushing the boundaries of cartoon style.
The climactic rescue sequence from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame – I think this is the reason they made this awkward film in the first place. This sequence, with its combination of traditional animation and computer-generated crowds, brought tears to my eyes. Worth sitting through the rest of the movie for.
The opening five minutes of Dinosaur. They released this as publicity for the movie, and it stands by itself as an utterly gorgeous piece of CGI with extraordinary sweep. The rest of the film doesn’t live up to it, doesn’t feel the same (having the dinosaurs talk alone changtes it quite a bit, although that’s not the only reason). But that first fibve minutes drags you in in a visceral way.

Any Fleischer Bros – but in particular their Superman shorts with the art deco designs. Fantastic!

Those guys were fantastic innovators, and the depth that they gave their work was unlike anything that had ever been seen.

Also, Jan Svankmeyer. Stuff like Dimensions in Dialogue. Amazing stop-motion work. Clay animation with realistic human figures – and meat. Must be seen to be believed.

Oh, and the character animation in King Kong (1933) is still among the best.

The detailing in all Aardman productions, from Morph to W&G. That warehouse fire was just a tragedy, all those years of props lost.

The feel of Myazaki’s movies, especially the setting of Spirited Away, the forest in Mononoke, and the gorgeously realised town in Kiki’s Delivery Service.

The visual style and ease of The Incredibles.

There’s a Mickey, Donald and Goofy short where they’re caravanning. I’ve always loved it.

All the Roger Rabbit shorts “Somethin’s Cookin”, “Tummy Trouble”,“Roller Coaster Rabbit”, and “Trail Mix-up”.

Pinocchio, by Disney, was beautifully done, richly detailed, & technically advanced for the era, or for today.

Enthusiastically seconded.

Final Fantasy Advent Children blew me away…as did the panning shots of cars driving in Cars. From what I saw in the preview, Ratatouille looks promising too.

Then there’s just classic animation like Fantasia, which is remarkable.

Oooh! I love the movie logo.

Although Aardman’s next movie is also CGI-rat film (with a very different plot). Why do movie themes come in cycles, I wonder?

I was in awe for pretty much all of The Triplets of Belleville. The way they render human movement is incredible.