Movie Geeks: 20 Lesser-Known Animation Films You Should Watch


Hi guys, I have been watching a lot of animation film since I was young, and still watching now. This list is dedicated to those lesser-known animation film that really deserve your views. Since I live in Malaysia, these films I listed out here are those that doesn't garner much attention or fame, but it might be popular at your country. Of course there are still a lot of good underdog animation films out there, so don't fret if your favourite ones are not here on the list, there is bound to be a part 2 (I guess so) from me. So in this list, we are looking at those less popular animation films and my picks are based on ratings, critics reviews and personal preferences. We are excluding those of Japanese Anime, Popular Movie Franchise (such as Shrek, thou not all of the movie from that franchise are popular), and also Human-Animation-Mix type of film (like Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Looney Tunes and Casper). This list is not in order, because I like all of them!!

#1. The House of Magic (2013)

6.3/10 IMDb
71% Rotten Tomatoes

Plot Summary: An abandoned cat becomes part of a retired illusionist's household. When the conjurer lands in the hospital, the cat and his new friends join forces to stop the man's nephew from selling their magical home.

Verdict: The graphics are beautifully made, the characters are all very very endearing. This is one animation suitable for all ages, especially for children. The plot line maybe simple but I do indulged myself in this wonderful film.

#2. Frankenweenie

7/10 IMDb
87% Rotten Tomatoes
74% Metacritic

Plot Summary: Young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) is a science nerd and outsider at school, but he does have one good friend: his dog, Sparky. But then, tragedy strikes, and Sparky shuffles off this mortal coil. Victor is heartbroken, but his science teacher (Martin Landau) gives him an idea of how to jolt old Sparky back to life. The experiment is successful, and all goes well, until Victor's fellow students steal his secret and use it to resurrect other dead animals -- with monstrous consequences.

Verdict: Looks pretty familiar? Yes, it is another film by Tim Burton. Those this movie may not be as popular as Corpse Bride or Nightmare Before Christmas, it does have a decent storyline and the distinctive Tim Burton animation style, gothic black white and grey and you will love this movie, especially if you are a dog lover. 

#3. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

7.8/10 IMDb
92% Rotten Tomatoes
83% Metacritic

Plot Summary: After 12 years of bucolic bliss, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) breaks a promise to his wife (Meryl Streep) and raids the farms of their human neighbors, Boggis, Bunce and Bean. Giving in to his animal instincts endangers not only his marriage but also the lives of his family and their animal friends. When the farmers force Mr. Fox and company deep underground, he has to resort to his natural craftiness to rise above the opposition.

Verdict: This movie is a lot of fun to watch. Its hilarious, have a outstanding graphic style and also superb plot to offer. Watch the sly Mr Fox in action as the story moves on and venture in the theme of family. Great movie for all ages!!

#4. Coraline (2009)

7.7/10 IMDb
90% Rotten Tomatoes
80% Metacritic

Plot Summary: While exploring her new home, a girl named Coraline (Dakota Fanning) discovers a secret door, behind which lies an alternate world that closely mirrors her own but, in many ways, is better. She rejoices in her discovery, until Other Mother (Teri Hatcher) and the rest of her parallel family try to keep her there forever. Coraline must use all her resources and bravery to make it back to her own family and life.

Verdict: This is a scary kids film to watch, I must admit. Its explore the desires of a child and also the lessons that comes with it. Don't judge a book by its cover, or else, the price is high to pay. I like the idea of alternate world through a small door, magnificent graphics, remarkable storyline. Suitable for all ages!! and also for scaring your kids about running around and meeting strangers. 

#5. Mary and Max (2009)

8.2/10 IMDb
95% Rotten Tomatoes

Plot Summary: A lonely Australian girl (Toni Collette) and an elderly Jewish man (Philip Seymour Hoffman) in New York develop an unlikely friendship through letters.

Verdict: I wouldn't said this movie is for all ages, because it  deeper in meaning and its more meant for adult viewers. This movie explore the realistic expectations of friendship, especially a long distance one and also how two persons from very very different background can have such strange bond to one another. Quirky clay graphic style, not much talking but its a truly meaningful animation. 

#6. Paranorman (2012)

7/10 IMDb
87% Rotten Tomatoes
72% Metacritic

Plot Summary: Young Norman Babcock (Kodi Smit-McPhee) has the ability to speak with the dead -- and he often prefers their company to that of the living. Norman receives word from his strange Uncle Prenderghast (John Goodman) that a centuries-old witch's curse on their town is real and about to come true -- and that only Norman can stop it. When zombies rise from their graves, Norman must summon all his courage and compassion and push his paranormal abilities to the limit to save his fellow townspeople.

Verdict: If you like zombies and ghosts, this animation might just be for you. Its the more serious kinda film that lack in comedy element, but is still fun and scary to watch. Graphics are good with a decent storyline, great pick for Halloween. 

#7. Megamind (2010)

7.3/10 IMDb
72% Rotten Tomatoes

Plot Summary: Though he is the most-brilliant supervillain the world has known, Megamind (Will Ferrell) is the least-successful. Thwarted time and again by heroic Metro Man (Brad Pitt), Megamind is more surprised than anyone when he actually manages to defeat his longtime enemy. But without Metro Man, Megamind has no purpose in life, so he creates a new opponent, who quickly decides that it's more fun to be a bad guy than a hero.

Verdict: Megamind is one mega-tastic animation film you definitely can't miss. While usual animation talks about superhero, this one focus on supervillian. It has a distinctive storyline, beautiful graphics and really fun characters. Its hilarious and witty and I guaranteed you will enjoy this one.

#8. The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)

6.7/10 IMDb
86% Rotten Tomatoes
73% Metacritic

Plot Summary: Accompanied by his ragtag crew, an enthusiastic pirate captain (Hugh Grant) sails the high seas and dreams of besting his bitter rivals, Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek), in a quest to win the coveted title of Pirate of the Year. The captain's quest takes him and his comrades from the exotic shores of Blood Island to Victorian London's foggy streets. Along the way, they battle a clever queen and join forces with a young scientist named Charles Darwin (David Tennant).

Verdict: This animation has notable graphic style, wonderful adventurous story and lovable characters. Its also one of those clay-animation that you will enjoy very much and its great for all ages. 

#9. Anastasia (1997)

7.1/10 IMDb
86% Rotten Tomatoes
59% Metacritic

Plot Summary: The evil wizard Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd) puts a hex on the royal Romanovs and young Anastasia (Meg Ryan) disappears when their palace is overrun. Years later, the Grand Duchess (Angela Lansbury) offers a reward for Anastasia's return. Two scheming Russians (John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer), planning to pawn off a phony, hold auditions and choose an orphan girl with a remarkable resemblance to the missing princess. They bring her to Paris for the reward, not knowing she's the real Anastasia.

Verdict: This is a fairly old animation film. I watched this when I was young and I still love it so much. Its so full of adventure and it kinda have the best romance story ever, I think its one of the greatest masterpiece ever made in that era. They have some really marvellous soundtracks and splendid graphic style, I really love this one and I hope you do too! 

#10. Mr Peabody and Sherman (2014) 

6.9/10 IMDb
79% Rotten Tomatoes
59% Metacritic

Plot Summary: Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell), the most accomplished canine in the world, and his boy, Sherman (Max Charles), use a time machine called the Wabac to embark on outrageous adventures. However, when Sherman takes the Wabac without permission to impress his friend Penny (Ariel Winter), he accidentally rips a hole in the universe and causes havoc with world history. It's up to Mr. Peabody to mount a rescue and prevent the past, present and future from being permanently altered.

Verdict: Its fun to have the idea of travelling the world and explore different ages of time. Its definitely an enjoyable movie with nice graphics, thou the plot is simple and predictable, its a delighful movie for all ages. 

#11. Titan AE (2000)

6.6/10 IMDb
52% Rotten Tomatoes
48% Metacritic

Plot Summary: A science-fiction film that combines traditional animation with computer generated images, "Titan A.E." takes place in the distant future, after Earth has been obliterated by a mysterious alien race known as the Drej. Cale is a human teenager who has been given a mysterious map by his father, leading him on an unforgettable journey.

Verdict: Titan AE is one of those sci-fi animation film that you should definitely watch. It has an magnificent storyline to offer, a lot of space actions, notable graphic style and fine sound effect. One of my favourite Sci-fi animation of all time. 

#12. Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were Rabbit (2005)

7.5/10 IMDb
95% Rotten Tomatoes

Plot Summary: The plucky characters from a series of animated shorts, Wallace (Peter Sallis) and his dog, Gromit, make their feature debut here. After starting a pest control business, the duo soon lands a job from the alluring Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter) to stop a giant rabbit from destroying the town's crops. Both Wallace and the stuffy Victor (Ralph Fiennes) vie for the lady's affections. If Wallace wants to please his pretty client, and best Victor, he needs to capture that pesky bunny.

Verdict: Another fantastic clay-animation to recommend. Charming characters, dynamic storyline, very-well made animation, visually pleasing and satisfying!!

#13. Chicken Run (2000)

7.1/10 IMDb
97% Rotten Tomatoes
88% Metacritic

Plot Summary: This engaging stop-motion, claymation adventure tells the story of an American rooster who falls in love with a gorgeous hen on a British farm. The couple decides to run away from the farm, but they must first contend with the evil farmer who is intent on keeping them under her control. The chickens decide to attempt an escape so they don't get turned into chicken pot pies.

Verdict: Tremendous animation with a theme of survival, this film does not lack of action or humour. Its so good that its satisfying!! A great pick for all ages. 

#14. Batman: Mask of Phantasm (1993) 

7.9/10 IMDb
81% Rotten Tomatoes

Plot Summary: In this animated feature set in the 1940s, the troubled yet heroic Batman (Kevin Conroy) is pitted against a mysterious figure who is rubbing out Gotham City's most dangerous criminals, and who many believe is the caped crusader himself. Batman's alter ego, millionaire Bruce Wayne, is about to get married to the lovely Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany), who helps him recover from his need to avenge his parents' murder -- meaning that his crime-fighting days may be numbered.

Verdict: Here is one badass batman animation for you guys. Thou there are a lot of batman animation being made throughout the history, but you just shouldnt miss this one. The plot is relatively straight forward but it still awesome!!

#15. The Road to El Dorado (2000)

6.9/10 IMDb
48% Rotten Tomatoes
51% Metacritic

Plot Summary: Two con-men (Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh) get hold of a map to the lost City of Gold, El Dorado. After stowing away onto one of the ships of the Spanish explorer Cortez, the pair escapes and eventually do find the city. There, a priest (Armand Assante) proclaims them to be gods in a scheme to win control of the city for himself. Meanwhile, they meet a beautiful girl (Rosie Perez) who helps them in their ruse.

Verdict: This is a story about adventure for gold and glory. It has a very strong theme on friendship as well, great soundtracks, gorgeous graphic style and brillant plot to offer. great for all ages!!

#16. Flushed Away (2006)

6.7/10 IMDb
72% Rotten Tomatoes

Plot Summary: After an ignoble landing in Ratropolis, a pampered rodent (Hugh Jackman) enlists the help of a sewer scavenger (Kate Winslet) in finding his way back to his posh London flat. Getting home is not the only problem, however; a rodent-hating toad (Ian McKellen) wants his notorious cousin, Le Frog (Jean Reno), to exterminate the pair.

Verdict: This animation is just a lot of entertainment and action, double the fun in the sewage. 

#17. The Book of Life (2014)

7.3/10 IMDb
82% Rotten Tomatoes
61% Metacritic

Plot Summary: In the Mexican town of San Angel, Manolo (Diego Luna), Maria (Zoë Saldana) and Joaquin (Channing Tatum) have been friends ever since childhood. Although their lives have taken different paths -- Maria was sent to Europe, Joaquin joined the military, and Manolo studied to become a bullfighter -- one thing remains the same: Manolo and Joaquin both want to marry Maria. Little does the trio know that battling husband-and-wife deities have made a high-stakes wager on the love triangle's outcome.

Verdict: A very simple romantic story with superb graphic on Mexican culture and Day of Dead that is super pleasing to the eye. I enjoyed the soundtrack as well and the main characters are amiable. Watching this is so pleasurable. This is one of my favourite of 2014.

#18. Hotel Transylvania (2012)

7.1/10 IMDb
44% Rotten Tomatoes
47% Metacritic

Plot Summary: When monsters want to get away from it all, they go to Count Dracula's (Adam Sandler) Hotel Transylvania, a lavish resort where they can be themselves without humans around to bother them. On one special weekend, Dracula invites creatures like the Invisible Man, the Mummy and others to celebrate the 118th birthday of his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez). However, an unforeseen complication unfolds when an ordinary human unwittingly crashes the party and falls in love with Mavis.

Verdict: This catches my eye at first due to the monster theme, but its more than that. The plot is amusing and the characters are very funny. 

#19. Ants (1998)

6.6/10 IMDb
95% Rotten Tomatoes
72% Metacritic

Plot Summary: Z the worker ant (Woody Allen) strives to reconcile his own individuality with the communal work-ethic of the ant colony. He falls in love with ant-Princess Bala (Sharon Stone), Z strives to make social inroads, and then must save the ant colony from the treacherous scheming of the evil General Mandible (Gene Hackman) that threaten to wipe out the entire worker population.

Verdict: I am not sure whether this was popular at the time it was released, but its still one of those animation film i constantly have to watch from time to time, I think I have watched this about 4 times now and still love the story very much. This animation film have everything, engaging plotline, pleasant characters, and satisfying graphic. 

#20. Turbo (2013)

6.5/10 IMDb
67% Rotten Tomatoes
58% Metacritic

Plot Summary: Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) is a speed-obsessed snail with an unusual dream: to become the world's greatest racer. This odd snail gets a chance to leave his slow-paced life behind when a freak accident gives him the power of superspeed. Newly revved-up, Turbo embarks on an extraordinary quest to enter and win the Indianapolis 500. Accompanied by a dedicated pit crew of trash-talking adrenaline junkies, Turbo becomes the ultimate underdog by refusing to let his limitations get in the way of his dreams.

Verdict: Its like fast and furious in the form of snails. Graphics are beautiful and characters are very delightful, a lot of action adventures. Good for all ages. 

Thats all from me bros, signing off with love. 

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