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Animated films allow us to bring any story, any concept to life. Fairytales and fantasies, romances and revenges, animation enables them all! And while Disney will always be tops in my heart (and in my collection), there's more to animation than Disney, and they don't deserve to be forgotten just because they didn't all start with a mouse.

Far Longer Than Forever

The Swan Princess has phenomenal music and great characters, but what will always stick out to me most is the movie's magic. I want to buy each and every SFX animator from that film dinner, because every frame of magic is a beauty. The glow of the magic is brilliant without being blinding, the fluidity of the water and the magic flowing through it makes it so real you wonder if it could jump off the screen and wind around you. That this swirling magic is the very first thing we see — before our characters, before our story — is no accident.

Odette, the Swan Princess

Journey To The Past

"Hear this song and remember... Soon, you'll be home with me, once upon a December…"

Anastasia is different from most princess movies — and no, not just because it's not Disney. Most princess stories are about finding adventure, finding love. Anastasia certainly has its share of both, but at its heart it's the story of an orphan trying to find the family she lost, to find a place to belong, and find herself within the past she forgot.

Anastasia has been long-overdue for a comeback, and with the Broadway musical kicking off in just a few short months, we'll all be back in St. Petersburg, listening to rumors of Romanoffs and dreaming of a song someone sings once upon a December.


Whatever You Imagine

Pagemaster was a film that was easy to overlook, but the heart of the story is one that makes any nerd that grew up on books all fuzzy inside: a kid overcomes his fear of the world and his fear of the uncertain thanks to books and the fantastical worlds they take him to. In a world where Netflix and YouTube are made available to kids before they even learn to read, we need a reminder of the simple magic that comes from being sucked into a book. We need a reminder that when the internet fails and when the power goes out, each and every one of us can turn to books and follow their fairies into a world of fantasy and fun.

Whatever You Imagine by BaukjeSpirit

It's tough to be a god

Music by Elton John, ridiculously good chemistry between Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh, superb animation… it's easy to see why The Road to El Dorado found a place in so many hearts, even if it was considered Dreamworks' first flop. Tulio and Miguel's bromance is one for the ages, and one that lends itself quite well to a litany of fan art. This Road to El Thorado throws the Marvel universe into the mix, giving the manic and almost-always grinning Miguel Thor's hammer while the calm, cool, and conniving Tulio takes up Loki's antlers. Tuloki and Mithor! Mithor and Tuloki! MIGHTY AND POWERFUL GODS!

Now Chel just needs to walk in as Black Widow…

The Road to El Thorado by mutonfudge

Live Life

Some people say 3-D animation isn't as good as cel animation, and I'm here to jump up and down and scream til I'm in the Land of the Remembered that IT'S NOT TRUE! 3-D animation can be vibrant, it can be beautiful, and it can be magical! The Book of Life is a 3-D animation that used its digital medium with brilliance, giving otherworldly deities vibrance and mystical grace amongst the toy-like humans in our tale.

The museum guide tells us that La Muerte is made of sweet sugar candy, but she's wrong: La Muerte is made out of goodness and sass. The dangerous gleam in her red-gold eyes when she discovers her husband's treachery is raw, it is vivid, and it is real. She also delivers an undeniably strong message at the end of the film, one that we all need to be reminded of:

"Anyone can die. These kids, they will have the courage to live."

La Muerte ba MooreD3{.cta .large}

Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.