2010 Animated Films


It has been a spectacular year for animated films in 2009. Three challenging and varied animated films, Coraline, Up, and Fantastic Mr. Fox and Disney’s return to its 2D traditional roots with The Princess and The Frog finishing out the year (I’m pretending the awful looking Planet 51 does not exist), it is time to look forward to 2010 to see what interesting films are coming along.


One of Japan’s finest animation directors, Satoshi Kon has brought decidedly complex and adult tales and genres to the screen with Millenium Actress, Paprika, Perfect Blue and Tokyo Godfathers, with his upcoming feature, The Dreaming Machine, described as a ‘future folklore story’ and skewing a bit younger, there was no dumbing down of the production design, which will be instantly familiar to anyone who follows Kon’s work. Twitch offered up a variety of stills recently to whet the appetite.


Out of an Israeli studio comes the latest riff on movie homage and global warming (see also Wall-E). Will Sam Peckinpah roll in his grave (or at least the designer of the iconic one-sheet of that film), or will The Wild Bunch deliver smart, subtle entertainment. The plot follows has group of (evil) genetically engineered cornstalks choose to invade an idyllic meadow. The common wildflowers rally to defend their home. This doesn’t sound like much elements of the original western are going to be borrowed, but time will tell. The voice cast includes Abigail Breslin, Willem Dafoe and Willie Nelson.
Coming out of nowhere, three years ago, to open the eyes of the arthouse world (and get them tapping their toes) was Sylvain Chomet’s Belleville Rendezvous (The Triplets of Belleville). Other than contributing a cute short to the Paris Je T’aime anthology, Chomet has been hard at work on the follow-up, titled The Illusionist. Several stills popped up online via one of the production designers portfolio/blog and they are certainly reminiscent of Belleville. The story is even more curious because it is sprung from an unfinished project from the legendary Jacques Tati. Set in a small village in Scotland in the 1950s, a down-on-his-luck illusionist meets a young lady who is convinced that he is a real magician.

While the teaser trailer does not offer a great deal of plot or even build confidence that this will be high end CGI animation, it is curious to see Bollywood attempt an animated feature film. Sultan: The Warrior may be more Prince of Persia than the Hollywood live action version. Featuring India megastar Rajinikanth (not only on voice duty, but also the lead character is crafted in his image) and a soundtrack by Oscar winner A. R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire). This is no small upstart project. It gets its world debut in January 2010 on a record number of screens for any Indian release, ever.

I caught My Dog Tulip at this years Toronto International Film Festival and can attest to its high level of quality and entertainment (Row Three Review). Based on J.R. Ackerley’s novel/diary about his trails and tribulations with his female German Sheppard. Voiced handsomely by Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave and Isabella Rossillini, you will not find another animated film with a more lauded and awarded cast voice actors no matter how hard you try. Decidedly adult and featuring loads of doggie sex and scatology, yet tender and intimate. If mainstream audiences can get past the NFB/Bill Plympton-esque animation style, it will put dog lovers through the full gamut of emotion more than the cheap pablum like Marley & Me. Even more curious is that the entire film was animated by only two people (husband and wife pair Paul Fierlinger and Sandra Fierlinger) on digital drawing pads. There is a trailer for My Dog Tulip, here.


As is the norm in the early 21st century, with cheaper and more accessible tools for crafting animated features, there is a lot more beyond the highlighted five above (many of the big studio entries are presented in distracting 3D): Around the World in 50 Years, Alpha and Omega, How To Train Your Dragon, Toy Story 3, Shrek 4ever After, Despicable Me, Rapunzel, Oobermind, Holy Night! and Metropia and A Town Called Panic (both currently on the festival circuit may get some sort of North American bow in 2010) the latter squeaked into the 2009 Oscar race.

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Nice heads up on stuff to look out for. Indeed, 2009 was a good year for animated films. Ponyo and Coraline have been near the top amongst my favorite movies of the year so far, somewhat surprisingly.


There is a good number of animated films to look forward to looking at what you have here.

I'd say The Illusionist and The Dream Machine would be tops on my list of must sees but being a sucker for animated fare, I'll quite likely see them all.

Andrew James

Another fucking Shrek movie? Really?


Two More Shrek Movies. There is a Shrek 5 tentative for 2013.

Also, in fine Dreamworks form, there is Kung Fu Panda 2 and Madagascar 2 coming. I'm sure eventually there will be a Monster vs. Aliens Vs. Hellspawn or something as well.

(Although I shouldn't be too hasty, as there is a Toy Story 3 and Cars 2 from Pixar, who should know better…)


I would agree that Miyazaki definitely wins in the "fantastic underwater world" department. Interestingly, the Little Mermaid/Finding Nemo aspect had me not looking forward to seeing Ponyo (maybe being too geared for the kiddies), but I was blown away when I did. I marveled at how Miyazaki is still at the top of his game, just such a master of his craft, especially in his advanced age.

Jandy Hardesty

What cutsey/annoying name are they going to come up with for Shrek 5? Also, why of all the Pixar films would they make a sequel to Cars? They think they can maybe do better on that one, I guess?

I'm definitely looking forward to the Chomet film. The Triplets of Belleville was great. I hadn't heard of the others, but I'll probably try to check them all out.