I suppose it makes sense that this movie was underrated, as the themes are fairly adult, and the humor is about 50 shades drier than kid’s movies normally aim for. Woody Allen essentially plays himself in ant form, and spends a decent amount of the film either in therapy or attempting to explain his profound emotional handicaps to uninterested acquaintances. (Speaking of which, who the hell managed to enlist this cast? Go take a look at the credits — I would list them all here, but there is truly not a single gem among them who sparkles less brightly than the others.) I have heard people brush this movie off occasionally with a ‘Oh, but A Bug’s Life was better,” which is an absurd point to make. Just because they both center around insects (and are computer-animated, I suppose) does not mean they are at all the same kind of movie. Everyone deserves to give this thing a re-watch, if only for that trippy dancing sequence in the Ant Bar.
2. The Prince of Egypt
This is one of those rare movies for which I will get legitimately angry at people who say they don’t like it, and will force people to sit down and watch it on the spot if they claim they haven’t. There is nothing not amazing about this film: from the art to the incredible music, to the superb voice acting (including the smooth, velvety stylings of one Jeff Goldblum) — it’s all a recipe for animated perfection. And for some reason, people tend to forget about this one when listing their favorite animated films. I blame this on the fact that it doesn’t come from that gilded monopoly of all things childhood dreams, Disney. Attention: Things not made by Disney can also inspire childlike wonder. Just a heads up.
3. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
While it’s clear that Disney gets almost all the fame when it comes to animated features, there are certain oeuvres which tend to fall through the cracks. Hunchback is just one of those films which may be a notch or two too highbrow to be fully appreciated by kids. I mean, be honest, you go back and watch that thing and you’re like “Holy shit, this tackled some real-ass issues.” Aside from the fact that Esmeralda has always been criminally underrated (I suppose because she wasn’t technically the star of this show, and also she was a medieval stripper?), there are just a million layers of this movie that no one seems to appreciate. Frollo (the original YOLO) is terrifying. The songs are great and/or inspirational. The comic relief is genuinely hilarious. This film needs more love, and we are the ones who should give it.
4. Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs
Barely anyone appreciates how hilarious this movie is. Or the fact that Bill Hader and Anna Faris (!!!) both lend their incredible vocal talents to it. Or the fact that the geniuses behind Clone High made it. People seem to content to forget about this one because, I suppose, it strayed too far from the source material and had humor that was perhaps a bit too absurd for most child audiences. But it seriously deserves a second viewing — if not for its incredible, beautiful art direction, then for its million-a-minute jokes that are easily missed the first time if you’re not looking closely enough.
5. The Road To El Dorado
I’m just gonna put this out there: If you did not immediately develop what can only be referred to as a crippling crush on Tulio and Miguel when you first saw this movie, I’m not sure we can ever be friends. They need their own Museum of Animated Hotness, and the DVD of this movie needs to be its shining centerpiece.
BONUS: I would have included The Emperor’s New Groove, but I’ve been on Tumblr long enough to know that, in most even mildly intelligent circles, this movie is praised as the genius little slice of comedic perfection that it is. If you think it’s underrated, you’ve been hanging out with the wrong people.