Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi’s emotional coming of age tale set to the backdrop of the Islamic revolution is both poignant and powerful, with a compelling lead character and story both realistic and sad. The black and white animation is unique, giving the film a distinct look and often adds to the film’s more disturbing and dark elements. Persepolis tells a story set during an important period of Iranian history, and what makes it work are the interesting characters and engaging storytelling.
Covering a wide range of emotions from humor to shockingly dark emotional moments. This is an unforgettable and artful film that is affecting and rendered with care for the comic which it’s based on.
Akira is not only a beautifully animated and fully realized sci-fi/action extravaganza, but a standard for anime movies and a potent allegory. The hyper stylized action of Akira is thrilling to watch, and the animation is simply unparalleled as far as anime goes. The characters are interesting, the film’s political statements are fierce and the depiction of a corrupt and violent neo-Tokyo is a fascinating backdrop for the story.
To watch Akira is to go on a wild and colorful, yet often dark and brutal ride through various genres, and all set to a heart-pounding excitement. Akira is often quite bloody, and because of that and it’s complex story, it can better be enjoyed by young adults and adults. Katsuhiro Ohtomo pushed the envelope on what animated cinema was capable of, and the result is a truly breathtaking, shocking master class of ornate visuals and powerful, unique storytelling.
3. Waking Life
Richard Linklater has proven with Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly that he has an immense talent for animation and a very unique style and voice. Waking Life is an artistic and intellectual example of ontological filmmaking at its best. Linklater’s dialog is engaging and ceaselessly interesting to listen to, and the rotoscope animation gives it a hyper-sensitive, visually one-of-a-kind quality.
Like Linklater’s Slacker, Waking Life is made up of conversations. Lots of them, each featuring different characters. The story takes place in a lucid dream of the main character, and the philosophically-charged and intellectually stimulating monologues, dialogs and conversations are the heart of the film.
2. Mary and Max
Mary and Max is a film that traverses many emotions; it tells a story of a pen-pal friendship between a young Australian girl named Mary and an overweight New York man named Max who has Asperger’s. As Mary grows up, her relationship with Max becomes very complex. The characters both go through very emotional journeys and though they are on opposite sides of the world, through their writings they know each other and understand one another.
An animated film like no other, Mary and Max utilizes claymation to beautiful artistic effect, and all five years it took to animate the movie are seen through the extreme attention to detail and weird visual touches that give the film a lot of personality and identity. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collett bring genuine personality to their characters, and in the film’s more heartbreaking moments, not only the voice-acting but the imagery and music work together to create a beautiful canvas of emotions.
1. Grave of the Fireflies
Grave of the Fireflies is famous for the emotional impact it has had on people of all ages, and it truly does rank among the most emotionally affecting films out there. This Studio Ghibli masterpiece tells the story of two Japanese orphans during World War II as they try to survive the bombings and evade death by starvation and a number of other threats surrounding them.
This film has moved people all over the world since its release, and the quality of animation, storytelling and character development is incredible. With a fairly simple narrative, Grave of the Fireflies accomplishes profound things in all areas as a work of filmmaking.
Bio: Gavin Miller is a teenage cinephile, filmmaker and film critic. He keeps up his blog, cinefreakdude.tumblr.com, as well as a YouTube channel, both of which are dedicated to film criticism. He is a Blu-ray collector as well as a collector of all things Godzilla. Gavin models his lifestyle after The Dude from The Big Lebowski.