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Top animations list continues, this time with one 90’s Disney, one fairly new Irish, and last but not least, one 70’s film…

8. The Lion King (1994). The Lion King could have been my number one, now when I think about it. Showing difficult themes in a way that is respectful to the intelligence of children and yet not too frightening, is what to me separates a great children’s animation from the rest. Simba’s father’s death introduced an entire generation of children the idea of loss and death, much like Bambi did decades earlier. The difference, and the reason I rate The Lion King even higher than Bambi, is that in The Lion King also teaches children about consequence, and sacrifice. When Bambi’s mother was shot there was really nothing Bambi could have done, but Mufasa’s death really falls on the shoulders of Simba who blames himself. But at the same time, the film is really fun too, and has one of the best cinematic soundtracks.

9. Secret of Kells (2009). Secret of Kells is an Irish animation, and a more recent one. In fact, it is the only animation from the 2000’s that made it to my Top 10! The reason many people don’t know about this film is that it is not a Disney or Pixar film, but a relatively small Irish production. The film is a tale about a boy who lives in the Abbey of Kells, the home of the famous Irish illuminated manuscript Gospel called the Book of Kells. The film was nominated for the Best Animated Feature in 2009 but lost to Pixar’s Up. As much as I enjoy watching the current style of animation, there is nothing in my book that can compete with the hand-drawn simplicity of this film. It is gorgeous! If I ever get the chance to create an animated film, this would be the style I would like to use! Here in Canada Secret of Kells is on Netflix (wink wink nudge nudge) – if you haven’t seen this yet, I highly recommend it!

Here’s one of my favorite scenes, the song Pangur Ban, sang in English and Gaelic and inspired by a 9th century poem written by an Irish monk about his cat (sometimes I think if we ever get a white cat, we should call her Pangur Ban 🙂

You must go where I cannot,
Pangur Ban Pangur Ban,
Nil sa saol seo ach ceo,
Is ni bheimid beo,
ach seal beag gearr.
Pangur Ban Pangur Ban,
Nil sa saol seo ach ceo,
Is ni bheimid beo,
ach seal beag gearr.

(You must go where I cannot,
Pangur Ban Pangur Ban,
There is nothing in this life but mist,
And we are not alive,
but for a little short spell.
Pangur Ban Pangur Ban,
There is nothing in this life but mist,
And we are not alive,
but for a little short spell.)

10. Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings (1978). This film was my first contact to Lord of the Rings. After seeing this, I knew I wanted to save the money and go to the bookshop to buy the books. For those who are fans of Peter Jackson’s trilogy, you can really see the influence of Bakshi’s work in Jackson’s version. But unlike Jackson’s trilogy, Bakshi’s animation does suffer from lack of time. The attempt to squeeze a huge story with dozens of characters into one film simply means that there is a lot that is missing from the original story. This animation is a prime example of a film that some hate, some love. Though I admit it is not without flaws, for me this film was the very first time I saw Middle Earth. Before seeing it, I didn’t even know that there was such a genre as fantasy that was beyond fairy-tales and other children’s stories. Lord of the Rings opened an entirely new section in the library for me, which got me hooked for life and much of that I owe to this animation. 

That concludes my Top 10, but since I realized there were many films that deserve an honorable mention I’m going to do a bonus post of a few films that didn’t make it to this list but were very close. Hope you have enjoyed my picks so far!

Happy 4th Advent weekend!

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