2015 Animated Films in Review

Earlier in the year I’d made it a personal goal to see all of the animated films of 2015. I’m to announced that I did see every animated film that made it to wide release in the US for 2015! While the year as a whole wasn’t particularly strong in my opinion there are a lot of great flicks to check out!

Also there are some stipulations that I applied for what made it to this list. This list only includes feature length films released in the US (specifically in San Francisco where I do 90% of my movie viewing) that I saw in theaters this year. So this means I didn’t include any straight to DVD/made for TV movies nor animated shorts that are typically screened before another feature film such as Frozen Fever, Cosmic Scrat-tastrophe, etc. Maybe next year!

One more note before we dive in! I didn’t set out to see all these animated films until mid-February which means I didn’t have a chance to see Strange Magic as it barely lasted 2-3 weeks in theaters. Although according to Rotten Tomatoes I may have dodged a bullet.. 16% yikes!

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water | Nickelodeon Movies | February 6th 2015
Directed by: Paul Tibbitt & Mike Mitchell | Box Office: $323.4 million
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79%
I actually enjoyed this Spongebob movie more than the first one that came out in 2004. I was hesitant about the characters being in 3D but the actually translated really well. The plot was simple but the bad guy was a cheesy kind of charming and kept me interested. I also appreciated the throwback jokes for the old fans of the franchise. You can see a more in depth review I did HERE.
3 out of 5 Stars

Home | DreamWorks Animation | March 27th 2015
Directed by: Tim Johnson | Box Office: $386 million
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 46%
This movie was a pleasant surprise and I feel it could’ve done better in the box office had the marketing not been so off putting. I have to admit I did not like Oh until later in the movie. He was more annoying than he was lovable and I wasn’t “rooting” for him like I was Tip until the movie was nearly over. However the visual effects and development of the Boov technology/culture were great.
3 out of 5 Stars

Inside Out | Pixar Animation Studios | June 19th 2015
Directed by: Pete Doctor | Box Office: $851.6 million
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98%
No surprise here, but this was probably my favorite animated film of the year and is one of my top favorite Pixar films overall. It’s colorful, imaginative and literally hits your right in the feels. However the personality island designs left a little to be desired design wise and I may be the only person that didn’t care for Bing Bong. My favorite thing other than the clever jabs at San Francisco is how this film has helped open up a dialogue for kids and people in general to talk about their feelings specifically sadness/depression.
5 out of 5 Stars

Minions | Illumination Entertainment | July 10th 2015
Directed by: Pierre Coffin & Kyle Balda | Box Office: $1.157 billion
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 55%
Minions continue to confused me. I don’t hate them nor do I particularly like them. I get the appeal for kids but I’m fascinated by adults that are enamored with them. While this film was bad it wasn’t anything groundbreaking. It was entertaining but most of the jokes fell flat and the story premise was stretched pretty thin. I accept that this movie was a cash cow for the studio. It was made to fund their future projects and I’m ok with that.
2 out of 5 Stars

Shaun the Sheep Movie | Aardman Animation | August 5th 2015
Directed by: Richard Starzak & Mark Burton | Box Office: $83.5 million
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 99%
Shaun the Sheep is based of a TV series by the same name and this movie is a great way to introduce you to that world and characters for those unfamiliar with it. The movie had little to no dialogue which is didn’t even realized until half way through because I was so captivated by it. It has simple tasteful humor and makes for an enjoyable family film. Side note: The movie and TV series of Shaun the Sheep are available for free to US Amazon Prime members!
5 out of 5 Stars

Hotel Transylvania 2 | Sony Pictures Animation | September 25th 2015
Directed by: Genndy Tartakovsky | Box Office: $449.4 million
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 53%
Holy smokes, this franchise took me by surprise. The character designs and exaggerated Looney Tunes style is definitely what sets it apart from other animated films coming out nowadays. One thing that did distract from the main plot was how jarring the use of technology was through the film. After a while smartphone jokes just kill the groove of everything. This is one of the few times I’d say that Adam Sandler steals the show as a heartwarming Grandfather Dracula.
4 out of 5 Stars

The Peanuts Movie | Blue Sky Studios | November 6th 2015
Directed by: Steve Martino | Box Office: $145.4 million (as of December 22nd 2015)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%
Myself along with many friends were nervous when this film was announced. Could it maintain the same magic and charm that the comic strips provided throughout the decades in a 3D format? I gotta say it was a pretty solid effort! They managed to capture the look a feel of the original designs which is an amazing feat for how stylized the Peanuts are. Poor Charlie Brown forever can’t catch a break but he keeps trying his darndest which makes this a wonderfully heartwarming film.
4 out of 5 Stars

The Good Dinosaur | Pixar Animation Studios | November 25th 2015
Directed by: Peter Sohn | Box Office: $190.9 million (as of December 22nd 2015)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 77%
I had fairly low expectations for this one. Mostly because the dinosaurs’ designs were SO simplistic compared to the surroundings and as I suspected it was kind of distracting. That being said it still was thoroughly entertaining. Also not sure why they chose to not market this movie a the Western flick it is. Even though this film choked me up a couple of times it still is was just a “good” movie.
3 out of 5 Stars

Did you see any of these films this year? What were your favorites? Let us know below or tweet me @teriarchibbles!

ARTing is my new column all about animation, graphic novels, and anything in between that is art related. Regular posts coming on Wednesdays.

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