DreamWorks Animation

(Photo by DreamWorks Animation)

All 41 DreamWorks Animation Movies Ranked

DreamWorks Animation’s first movie was Antz, released two months before A Bug’s Life, and thus this studio was born into incessant comparison to Pixar’s output, molded by it, becoming the snarky and sarcastic foil to its competitor’s earnestness.

DreamWorks Animation would forge most of its identity and formula on the back of one giant, smelly, green ogre: Shrek, which has generated sequels, tie-ins, theme park rides, and billions of dollars, while ensuring Smash Mouth’s “All-Star” never leaving the pop culture’s ironic curriculum.

The studio’s other franchises include Kung Fu Panda, which introduced a whole new world of visual flair and surprising emotional depth to the DreamWorks movie canon, and Madagascar, which pulled off the mega-rare feat of each movie being higher-rated on the Tomatometer than the last. At least the mainline movies. (Penguins of Madagascar 73% is lower than the 79% Madagascar 3 has, but that’s a spin-off.)

Their latest releases were Spirit Untamed and Boss Baby: Family Business, with The Bad Guys and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish on the horizon. Now, we’re ranking all DreamWorks Animation movies by Tomatometer!

#41

Shark Tale (2004)
36%

#41
Adjusted Score: 41565%
Critics Consensus: Derivative and full of pop culture in-jokes.
Synopsis: Underachiever Oscar (Will Smith) is a pint-sized fish with grand aspirations. When mob-connected great white shark Frankie (Michael Imperioli) is... [More]

#40

Shrek the Third (2007)
42%

#40
Adjusted Score: 50245%
Critics Consensus: Shrek the Third has pop culture potshots galore, but at the expense of the heart, charm, and wit that made the first two Shreks classics.
Synopsis: When King Harold suddenly croaks, Shrek (Mike Myers) learns he will have to rule the land of Far, Far Away,... [More]
Directed By: Chris Miller

#39
Adjusted Score: 48026%
Critics Consensus: Competent, but not magical.
Synopsis: The adventurous sailor (Brad Pitt) and a beautiful stowaway (Catherine Zeta-Jones) have 10 days to save a prince from execution.... [More]

#38
Adjusted Score: 50917%
Critics Consensus: It's more C-level than C-suite, but as a painless diversion for the kids, this Boss Baby manages some decent Family Business.
Synopsis: Now adults, Tim Templeton is a stay-at-home dad for two adorable daughters, while his estranged brother, Ted, is a big-shot... [More]
Directed By: Tom McGrath

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 51697%
Critics Consensus: Predictable story and thin characters made the movie flat.
Synopsis: Two con-men (Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh) get hold of a map to the lost City of Gold, El Dorado. After... [More]

#36

Spirit Untamed (2021)
50%

#36
Adjusted Score: 54670%
Critics Consensus: While it might be a passable diversion for younger viewers, Spirit Untamed is a middling sequel that lacks the essential energy suggested by its title.
Synopsis: After moving to a sleepy little town, young Lucky Prescott befriends a wild mustang named Spirit, who shares her rebellious... [More]
Directed By: Elaine Bogan

#35

Bee Movie (2007)
49%

#35
Adjusted Score: 56326%
Critics Consensus: Bee Movie has humorous moments, but its awkward premise and tame delivery render it mostly forgettable.
Synopsis: Fresh out of college, Barry the Bee (Jerry Seinfeld) finds the prospect of working with honey uninspiring. He flies outside... [More]

#34

Home (2015)
52%

#34
Adjusted Score: 56229%
Critics Consensus: Colorful, silly, and utterly benign, Home is a passable diversion, but there's no shortage of superior animated alternatives.
Synopsis: After a hive-minded alien race called the Boov conquer the Earth, they relocate the planet's human population -- all except... [More]
Directed By: Tim Johnson

#33

The Boss Baby (2017)
53%

#33
Adjusted Score: 65133%
Critics Consensus: The Boss Baby's talented cast, glimmers of wit, and flashes of visual inventiveness can't make up for a thin premise and a disappointing willingness to settle for doody jokes.
Synopsis: A new baby's arrival impacts a family, told from the point of view of a delightfully unreliable narrator -- a... [More]
Directed By: Tom McGrath

#32

Madagascar (2005)
54%

#32
Adjusted Score: 61533%
Critics Consensus: Though its story is problematic in spots and its humor is hit-or-miss for the adult crowd, Madagascar boasts impressive visuals and enough spunky charm to keep children entertained.
Synopsis: Alex the lion is the king of the urban jungle, the main attraction at New York's Central Park Zoo. He... [More]
Directed By: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 64543%
Critics Consensus: While not without its moments, Shrek Forever After too often feels like a rote rehashing of the franchise's earlier entries.
Synopsis: Long-settled into married life and fully domesticated, Shrek (Mike Myers) begins to long for the days when he felt like... [More]
Directed By: Mike Mitchell

#30
Adjusted Score: 69039%
Critics Consensus: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is an improvement on the original, with more fleshed-out characters, crisper animation and more consistent humor.
Synopsis: Alex (Ben Stiller), Morty (Chris Rock) and other zoo animals find a way to escape from Madagascar when the penguins... [More]
Directed By: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath

#29

Turbo (2013)
67%

#29
Adjusted Score: 70149%
Critics Consensus: It's nowhere near as inventive as its off-the-wall premise might suggest, but Turbo boasts just enough colorful visual thrills and sharp voice acting to recommend as undemanding family-friendly fare.
Synopsis: Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) is a speed-obsessed snail with an unusual dream: to become the world's greatest racer. This odd snail... [More]
Directed By: David Soren

#28
Adjusted Score: 72815%
Critics Consensus: A visually stunning film that may be too predictable and politically correct for adults, but should serve children well.
Synopsis: Follows the adventures of a wild and rambunctious mustang stallion as he journeys through the untamed American frontier. Encountering man... [More]
Directed By: Kelly Asbury, Lorna Cook

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 81879%
Critics Consensus: A fun follow-up for fans of the original, Trolls World Tour offers a second helping of colorful animation, infectious energy, and sing-along songs.
Synopsis: Poppy and Branch discover that there are six different troll tribes scattered over six different lands. Each tribe is also... [More]
Directed By: Walt Dohrn

#26

The Croods (2013)
72%

#26
Adjusted Score: 76448%
Critics Consensus: While it may not be as (ahem) evolved as the best modern animated fare, The Croods will prove solidly entertaining for families seeking a fast-paced, funny cartoon adventure.
Synopsis: Prehistoric family the Croods live in a particularly dangerous moment in time. Patriarch Grug (Nicolas Cage), his mate, Ugga (Catherine... [More]

#25

Megamind (2010)
72%

#25
Adjusted Score: 78778%
Critics Consensus: It regurgitates plot points from earlier animated efforts, and isn't quite as funny as it should be, but a top-shelf voice cast and strong visuals help make Megamind a pleasant, if unspectacular, diversion.
Synopsis: Though he is the most-brilliant supervillain the world has known, Megamind (Will Ferrell) is the least-successful. Thwarted time and again... [More]
Directed By: Tom McGrath

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 77451%
Critics Consensus: Penguins of Madagascar is fast and brightly colored enough to entertain small children, but too frantically silly to offer real filmgoing fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: Plucky penguins Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (Conrad Vernon) and Private (Christopher Knights) -- the most elite spies... [More]

#23

Flushed Away (2006)
73%

#23
Adjusted Score: 78574%
Critics Consensus: Clever and appealing for both children and adults, Flushed Away marks a successful entry into digital animated features for Aardman Animations.
Synopsis: After an ignoble landing in Ratropolis, a pampered rodent (Hugh Jackman) enlists the help of a sewer scavenger (Kate Winslet)... [More]
Directed By: David Bowers, Sam Fell

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 81922%
Critics Consensus: Though it doesn't approach the depth of the best animated films, Monsters Vs. Aliens has enough humor and special effects to entertain moviegoers of all ages.
Synopsis: When a meteor full of space gunk transforms Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) into a giant, the government renames her Ginormica... [More]

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 80577%
Critics Consensus: A sort of Avengers for the elementary school set, Rise of the Guardians is wonderfully animated and briskly paced, but it's only so-so in the storytelling department.
Synopsis: Generation after generation, immortal Guardians like Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) and the Tooth Fairy (Isla... [More]
Directed By: Peter Ramsey

#20

Trolls (2016)
75%

#20
Adjusted Score: 84907%
Critics Consensus: Trolls brings its instantly recognizable characters to the big screen in a colorful adventure that, while geared toward the younger set, isn't without rewards for parents.
Synopsis: After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy (Anna Kendrick), the happiest Troll ever born, and the overly-cautious, curmudgeonly Branch (Justin... [More]
Directed By: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn

#19

Over the Hedge (2006)
75%

#19
Adjusted Score: 82241%
Critics Consensus: Even if it's not an animation classic, Over the Hedge is clever and fun, and the jokes cater to family members of all ages.
Synopsis: When Verne (Garry Shandling) and fellow woodland friends awake from winter's hibernation, they find they have some new neighbors: humans,... [More]

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 86137%
Critics Consensus: Another agreeable outing for the titular prehistoric clan, The Croods: A New Age may be the missing link for parents between more elevated family-friendly fare.
Synopsis: Searching for a safer habitat, the prehistoric Crood family discovers an idyllic, walled-in paradise that meets all of its needs.... [More]
Directed By: Joel Crawford

#17
Adjusted Score: 83304%
Critics Consensus: Dazzlingly colorful and frenetic, Madagascar 3 is silly enough for young kids, but boasts enough surprising smarts to engage parents along the way.
Synopsis: Animal pals Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Melman (David Schwimmer) and Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) are still trying to... [More]

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 83756%
Critics Consensus: The Prince of Egypt's stunning visuals and first-rate voice cast more than compensate for the fact that it's better crafted than it is emotionally involving.
Synopsis: In this animated retelling of the Book of Exodus, Egyptian Prince Moses (Val Kilmer), upon discovering his roots as a... [More]

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 86532%
Critics Consensus: Mr. Peabody & Sherman offers a surprisingly entertaining burst of colorful all-ages fun, despite its dated source material and rather convoluted plot.
Synopsis: Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell), the most accomplished canine in the world, and his boy, Sherman (Max Charles), use a time... [More]
Directed By: Rob Minkoff

#14

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
81%

#14
Adjusted Score: 86841%
Critics Consensus: The storyline arc may seem a tad familiar to fans of the original, but Kung Fu Panda 2 offers enough action, comedy, and visual sparkle to compensate.
Synopsis: Now known as the Dragon Warrior, Po (Jack Black) protects the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung... [More]
Directed By: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

#13

Abominable (2019)
82%

#13
Adjusted Score: 91096%
Critics Consensus: Working with admittedly familiar ingredients, Abominable offers audiences a beautifully animated and overall engaging adventure that the whole family can enjoy.
Synopsis: After discovering a Yeti on the roof of her apartment building, teenage Yi and her two friends embark on an... [More]
Directed By: Jill Culton

#12

Puss in Boots (2011)
86%

#12
Adjusted Score: 90677%
Critics Consensus: It isn't deep or groundbreaking, but what it lacks in profundity, Puss in Boots more than makes up for with an abundance of wit, visual sparkle, and effervescent charm.
Synopsis: Long before meeting Shrek, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) -- just named a hero for saving a woman from a... [More]
Directed By: Chris Miller

#11
Adjusted Score: 95757%
Critics Consensus: With a tidy plot, clean animation, and humor that fits its source material snugly, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is entertainment that won't drive a wedge between family members.
Synopsis: George Beard and Harold Hutchins are two overly imaginative pranksters who spend hours in a treehouse creating comic books. When... [More]
Directed By: David Soren

#10

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
87%

#10
Adjusted Score: 96905%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Panda 3 boasts the requisite visual splendor, but like its rotund protagonist, this sequel's narrative is also surprisingly nimble, adding up to animated fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: Living large and loving life, Po (Jack Black) realizes that he has a lot to learn if he's going to... [More]

#9

Kung Fu Panda (2008)
87%

#9
Adjusted Score: 94519%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Panda has a familiar message, but the pleasing mix of humor, swift martial arts action, and colorful animation makes for winning Summer entertainment.
Synopsis: Po the panda (Jack Black) works in his family's noodle shop and dreams of becoming a kung-fu master. His dream... [More]

#8

Shrek (2001)
88%

#8
Adjusted Score: 96421%
Critics Consensus: While simultaneously embracing and subverting fairy tales, the irreverent Shrek also manages to tweak Disney's nose, provide a moral message to children, and offer viewers a funny, fast-paced ride.
Synopsis: Once upon a time, in a far away swamp, there lived an ogre named Shrek (Mike Myers) whose precious solitude... [More]

#7

Shrek 2 (2004)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 96790%
Critics Consensus: It may not be as fresh as the original, but topical humor and colorful secondary characters make Shrek 2 a winner in its own right.
Synopsis: After returning from their honeymoon and showing home movies to their friends, Shrek and Fiona learn that her parents have... [More]

#6
Adjusted Score: 105859%
Critics Consensus: The rare trilogy capper that really works, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World brings its saga to a visually dazzling and emotionally affecting conclusion.
Synopsis: When the sudden appearance of a female Light Fury coincides with the darkest threat their village has ever faced, Hiccup... [More]
Directed By: Dean DeBlois

#5
Adjusted Score: 98834%
Critics Consensus: Exciting, emotionally resonant, and beautifully animated, How to Train Your Dragon 2 builds on its predecessor's successes just the way a sequel should.
Synopsis: Five years have passed since Hiccup and Toothless united the dragons and Vikings of Berk. Now, they spend their time... [More]
Directed By: Dean DeBlois, Tom Owens

#4

Antz (1998)
92%

#4
Adjusted Score: 97015%
Critics Consensus: Featuring a stellar voice cast, technically dazzling animation, and loads of good humor, Antz should delight both children and adults.
Synopsis: Z the worker ant (Woody Allen) strives to reconcile his own individuality with the communal work-ethic of the ant colony.... [More]
Directed By: Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson

#3
Adjusted Score: 102223%
Critics Consensus: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a subtly touching and wonderfully eccentric adventure featuring Wallace and Gromit.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Steve Box

#2

Chicken Run (2000)
97%

#2
Adjusted Score: 103668%
Critics Consensus: Chicken Run has all the charm of Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit, and something for everybody. The voice acting is fabulous, the slapstick is brilliant, and the action sequences are spectacular.
Synopsis: This engaging stop-motion, claymation adventure tells the story of an American rooster who falls in love with a gorgeous hen... [More]
Directed By: Peter Lord, Nick Park

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 105999%
Critics Consensus: Boasting dazzling animation, a script with surprising dramatic depth, and thrilling 3-D sequences, How to Train Your Dragon soars.
Synopsis: Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is a Norse teenager from the island of Berk, where fighting dragons is a way of life.... [More]

(Photo by Sony Pictures Releasing)

All Salma Hayek Movies Ranked By Tomatometer

A string of ’90s hits launched Salma Hayek’s career: She and Antonio Banderas sizzled in Desperado, she stuck her foot in Quentin Tarantino’s mouth in From Dusk Till Dawn, and starred opposite peak-Friends Matthew Perry in fan favorite rom-com Fools Rush In. Wild Wild West with Will Smith was decidedly not a hit, but one of those bizarre epic Hollywood misfires whose stature only grows with time.

Hayek got her only Oscar and Golden Globe nomination for 2002’s Frida, her Certified Fresh biopic about the Mexican art icon. Soon after, she and Banderas and Robert Rodriguez wrapped up their Mexico trilogy with Once Upon a Time in Mexico, which was preceded by Desperado and El Mariachi. She again reunited with Banderas for Puss in Boots, whipped out the guns for Everly, and gave a layered, dramatic performance recently in Beatriz at Dinner.

Next up, she’s got her spot at the table in House of Gucci, directed by Ridley Scott. Now, we’re ranking all Salma Hayek movies by Tomatometer!

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 5522%
Critics Consensus: Stranding Pierce Brosnan as a charmless cad, this tone-deaf romantic comedy is Some Kind Of something, but it definitely isn't beautiful.
Synopsis: A woman (Salma Hayek) starts to fall in love with a successful college professor (Pierce Brosnan) who had a baby... [More]
Directed By: Tom Vaughan

#40

Grown Ups 2 (2013)
8%

#40
Adjusted Score: 11149%
Critics Consensus: While it's almost certainly the movie event of the year for filmgoers passionate about deer urine humor, Grown Ups 2 will bore, annoy, and disgust audiences of nearly every other persuasion.
Synopsis: Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler) moves his family back to his hometown to be with his friends, but he finds --... [More]
Directed By: Dennis Dugan

#39

Grown Ups (2010)
11%

#39
Adjusted Score: 16226%
Critics Consensus: Grown Ups' cast of comedy vets is amiable, but they're let down by flat direction and the scattershot, lowbrow humor of a stunted script.
Synopsis: The death of their childhood basketball coach leads to a reunion for some old friends (Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris... [More]
Directed By: Dennis Dugan

#38

54 (1998)
15%

#38
Adjusted Score: 17331%
Critics Consensus: Robbed of its integral LGBTQ themes, 54 is a compromised and disjointed glance at the glory days of disco.
Synopsis: In 1970s New York City, Studio 54 is the epicenter of sex, drugs and disco music. It's there that up-and-comer... [More]
Directed By: Mark Christopher

#37

Wild Wild West (1999)
17%

#37
Adjusted Score: 21787%
Critics Consensus: Bombastic, manic, and largely laugh-free, Wild Wild West is a bizarre misfire in which greater care was lavished upon the special effects than on the script.
Synopsis: When President Ulysses S. Grant (Kevin Kline) learns that diabolical inventor Dr. Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh) is planning to assassinate... [More]
Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld

#36

Fled (1996)
18%

#36
Adjusted Score: 19363%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During a routine prison work detail, convict Piper (Laurence Fishburne) is chained to Dodge (Stephen Baldwin), a cyberhacker, when gunfire... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Hooks

#35

After the Sunset (2004)
18%

#35
Adjusted Score: 32878%
Critics Consensus: A slick but bland thriller.
Synopsis: Having already stolen two from the set of three priceless Napoleon Diamonds, expert jewel thief Max Burdett (Pierce Brosnan) decides... [More]
Directed By: Brett Ratner

#34

Like a Boss (2020)
21%

#34
Adjusted Score: 31508%
Critics Consensus: Like a Boss oversees a merger of powerful comedic talents, but the end results are likely to leave audience members feeling swindled out of their investments.
Synopsis: Best friends Mia and Mel run their own cosmetics company -- a business they built from the ground up. But... [More]
Directed By: Miguel Arteta

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 20362%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When bisexual porn star Valentino (Vincent D'Onofrio) meets new-in-town hustler Gary (Thomas Jane), there is an immediate attraction between the... [More]
Directed By: Dan Ireland

#32
Adjusted Score: 36097%
Critics Consensus: Despite the charms of its ensemble, The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard fails to protect the audience from repetitive and tired genre tropes.
Synopsis: The world's most lethal odd couple -- bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) and hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) --... [More]
Directed By: Patrick Hughes

#31

Bliss (2021)
28%

#31
Adjusted Score: 31961%
Critics Consensus: When it comes to building an entertaining sci-fi drama around some cool ideas, this Bliss is largely ignorant.
Synopsis: Bliss is a mind-bending love story following Greg (Owen Wilson) who, after recently being divorced and then fired, meets the... [More]
Directed By: Mike Cahill

#30

Everly (2014)
29%

#30
Adjusted Score: 30599%
Critics Consensus: Everly benefits from Joe Lynch's stylish direction and Salma Hayek's starring work, but it's too thinly written and sleazily violent to fully recommend.
Synopsis: Fighting back after four years as a yakuza sex-slave, a woman (Salma Hayek) matches wits and weaponry with a legion... [More]
Directed By: Joe Lynch

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 25936%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After creating a prosperous life in Iran, a Jewish family may be forced to abandon everything as a revolution looms... [More]
Directed By: Wayne Blair

#28

Fools Rush In (1997)
34%

#28
Adjusted Score: 35169%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three months after a one-night stand with Isabel Fuentes (Salma Hayek) in Las Vegas, New York City real estate developer... [More]
Directed By: Andy Tennant

#27

Ask the Dust (2006)
35%

#27
Adjusted Score: 37907%
Critics Consensus: Though Hayek is luminous, Farrell seems miscast, and the film fails to capture the gritty, lively edginess of the book upon which it's based.
Synopsis: Arturo Bandini (Colin Farrell) is a writer who moves from Colorado to Los Angeles with aspirations of completing a great... [More]
Directed By: Robert Towne

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: 13254%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After suffering a freak accident, an unemployed ad man (José Mota) hires an agent to help him turn his newfound... [More]
Directed By: Alex de la Iglesia

#25
Adjusted Score: 43417%
Critics Consensus: This overstuffed, scattershot vampire flick suffers from poor characterization and an unwieldy mix of scares and chuckles.
Synopsis: Darren (Chris Massoglia) is just like any other teenager, until the day he encounters the Cirque du Freak and a... [More]
Directed By: Paul Weitz

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 39434%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Maximo gets the surprise of his life when his wealthy, 80-year-old wife dumps him for a younger car salesman. Forced... [More]
Directed By: Ken Marino

#23

Hotel (2001)
41%

#23
Adjusted Score: 40060%
Critics Consensus: Hotel earns a handful of points for sheer ambition, but they aren't enough to carry the movie over its steep pretensions.
Synopsis: In Venice, Italy, a collection of strangers at a hotel vary from strange to corrupt to disturbed. A film crew... [More]
Directed By: Mike Figgis

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 44564%
Critics Consensus: Here Comes the Boom benefits from Kevin James's genial presence but the film doesn't deliver enough laughs to live up to its title -- or enough satisfying plot to make up the difference.
Synopsis: Once a collegiate wrestler, Scott Voss (Kevin James) is now a 42-year-old, apathetic biology teacher in a failing high school.... [More]
Directed By: Frank Coraci

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 44488%
Critics Consensus: The Roads Not Taken is the well-acted result of an undeniably singular vision -- one which is ultimately frustratingly, fatally inert.
Synopsis: A day in the life of Leo and his daughter, Molly, as she grapples with the challenges of her father's... [More]
Directed By: Sally Potter

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 59825%
Critics Consensus: The Hitman's Bodyguard coasts on Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds' banter -- but doesn't get enough mileage to power past an overabundance of action-comedy clichés.
Synopsis: The world's top protection agent is called upon to guard the life of his mortal enemy, one of the world's... [More]
Directed By: Patrick Hughes

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 48616%
Critics Consensus: The movie will be found wanting if one is not taken in by the 3-D visuals.
Synopsis: Pint-sized kid spy Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara) faces his biggest challenge yet when he confronts the Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone), a... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#18

Lonely Hearts (2006)
47%

#18
Adjusted Score: 47058%
Critics Consensus: Several genres and plotlines intertwine in Lonely Hearts but don't connect, creating an uneven and unsatisfying film.
Synopsis: Det. Elmer Robinson (John Travolta), still grieving the loss of his suicidal wife, pursues two notorious murderers in 1940s New... [More]
Directed By: Todd Robinson

#17

Americano (2011)
50%

#17
Adjusted Score: 35821%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A real estate agent (Mathieu Demy) from Paris arrives in Los Angeles to settle his late mother's estate, but a... [More]
Directed By: Mathieu Demy

#16

Savages (2012)
50%

#16
Adjusted Score: 58188%
Critics Consensus: It's undeniably messy, but Savages finds Oliver Stone returning to dark, fearlessly lurid form.
Synopsis: California entrepreneurs Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch) run a lucrative business raising marijuana and share a one-of-a-kind love... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Stone

#15

The Faculty (1998)
55%

#15
Adjusted Score: 56557%
Critics Consensus: Rip-off of other sci-fi thrillers.
Synopsis: To the students at Harrington High, the principal and her posse of teachers have always been a little odd, but... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#14

Bandidas (2006)
56%

#14
Adjusted Score: 42897%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In 19th-century Mexico two women (Penélope Cruz, Salma Hayek) from vastly different backgrounds join forces against a ruthless U.S. bank... [More]

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 64079%
Critics Consensus: Smart and well-acted, The Hummingbird Project marks a flawed yet undeniably intriguing addition to writer-director Kim Nguyen's filmography.
Synopsis: Cousins Vincent and Anton are players in the high-stakes game of high-frequency trading, where winning is measured in milliseconds. Their... [More]
Directed By: Kim Nguyen

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 64581%
Critics Consensus: A pulpy crime drama/vampire film hybrid, From Dusk Till Dawn is an uneven but often deliriously enjoyable B-movie.
Synopsis: On the run from a bank robbery that left several police officers dead, Seth Gecko (George Clooney) and his paranoid,... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#11
Adjusted Score: 68852%
Critics Consensus: Kahlil Gibran's the Prophet is a thrillingly lovely adaptation of the classic text, albeit one that doesn't quite capture the magic of its source material.
Synopsis: A dissident being kept under house arrest recounts valuable lessons in a series of vignettes while a mischievous young woman... [More]
Directed By: Roger Allers

#10

Desperado (1995)
67%

#10
Adjusted Score: 68728%
Critics Consensus: Desperado contains almost too much action and too little story to sustain interest, but Antonio Banderas proves a charismatic lead in Robert Rodriguez's inventive extravaganza.
Synopsis: Mariachi (Antonio Banderas) plunges headfirst into the dark border underworld when he follows a trail of blood to the last... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#9
Adjusted Score: 71636%
Critics Consensus: Violent, pulpy, loopy fun, with Depp stealing the show.
Synopsis: Return of the mythic guitar-slinging hero, El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas), in the final installment of the Mariachi/Desperado trilogy. The saga... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#8

Dogma (1999)
67%

#8
Adjusted Score: 72586%
Critics Consensus: Provocative and audacious, Dogma is an uneven but thoughtful religious satire that's both respectful and irreverent.
Synopsis: Two fallen angels who were ejected from paradise find themselves banned in Wisconsin. They are now headed for New Jersey... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith

#7

Timecode (2000)
68%

#7
Adjusted Score: 69589%
Critics Consensus: Not much of a story, but the execution is interesting.
Synopsis: A production company begins casting for its next feature, and an up-and-coming actress named Rose (Salma Hayek) tries to manipulate... [More]
Directed By: Mike Figgis

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 84442%
Critics Consensus: Beatriz at Dinner offers timely social commentary enlivened by powerful, layered performances from Salma Hayek and John Lithgow.
Synopsis: Beatriz is a Los Angeles massage therapist and holistic healer who drives to the seaside mansion of her client Cathy.... [More]
Directed By: Miguel Arteta

#5

Frida (2002)
75%

#5
Adjusted Score: 79991%
Critics Consensus: Frida is a passionate, visually striking biopic about the larger-than-life artist.
Synopsis: This is the true story of Frida Kahlo (Salma Hayek) and her husband Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina), the larger-than-life painters... [More]
Directed By: Julie Taymor

#4

Sausage Party (2016)
82%

#4
Adjusted Score: 95762%
Critics Consensus: Sausage Party is definitely offensive, but backs up its enthusiastic profanity with an impressively high laugh-to-gag ratio -- and a surprisingly thought-provoking storyline.
Synopsis: Life is good for all the food items that occupy the shelves at the local supermarket. Frank (Seth Rogen) the... [More]

#3

Tale of Tales (2015)
83%

#3
Adjusted Score: 87983%
Critics Consensus: Visually splendid and narratively satisfying, Tale of Tales packs an off-kilter wallop for mature viewers in search of something different.
Synopsis: Three fairy tales revolve around a king (John C. Reilly) who must slay a sea monster, a giant flea and... [More]
Directed By: Matteo Garrone

#2
Adjusted Score: 92198%
Critics Consensus: It may not quite scale Aardman's customary delirious heights, but The Pirates! still represents some of the smartest, most skillfully animated fare that modern cinema has to offer.
Synopsis: Accompanied by his ragtag crew, an enthusiastic pirate captain (Hugh Grant) sails the high seas and dreams of besting his... [More]
Directed By: Peter Lord

#1

Puss in Boots (2011)
86%

#1
Adjusted Score: 90677%
Critics Consensus: It isn't deep or groundbreaking, but what it lacks in profundity, Puss in Boots more than makes up for with an abundance of wit, visual sparkle, and effervescent charm.
Synopsis: Long before meeting Shrek, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) -- just named a hero for saving a woman from a... [More]
Directed By: Chris Miller


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90 Best Computer-Animated Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

Ever since the 1995 release of Toy Story, when feature animation bounded from paper reams and into the domain of the digital, it’s been to infinity and beyond in creative storytelling. We’ve traveled the sky by house and balloon (Up), crossed dimensions with Spider-Man (Into the Spider-Verse), swam the deepest oceans (Finding Nemo) while learning the value of family along with super glue (The Lego Movie).

In these feats of imagination, Cars rule the world, superheroes and villains can turn their lives around (The Incredibles, Despicable Me), and a squirrel chasing an acorn becomes a Sisyphean myth. It’s where we can believe in fairy tales again (Frozen, Brave)…while having a good laugh at their expense (Shrek). We’ve also witnessed processed meats do some things in Sausage Party we’d rather not speak of again.

A whole industry of is supported by this medium, including the previously mentioned Pixar, Blue Sky Studios (Ice Age), Illumination (The Secret Life of Pets), and Sony Pictures Animation (Hotel Transylvania). And let’s not forget DreamWorks Animation (How to Train Your Dragon), whose latest film Trolls World Tour, which broke streaming records when it went straight to on-demand, skipping theatrical.

Wherever the story takes us from , we’ve ranked the most critically approved films  of the genre in our list of the best-reviewed computer-animated movies. Each entry had to reach at least 20 reviews before we put them up for consideration, where we then ranked them by Tomatometer. So, enjoy our guide to the 90 best computer-animated movies ever made.

#90
Adjusted Score: 68646%
Critics Consensus: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation delivers exactly what fans will expect - which means another 97 agreeably lightweight minutes of fast-paced gags and colorful animation.
Synopsis: Your favorite monster family boards a luxury cruise ship so Dracula can take a summer vacation from the hotel. It's... [More]
Directed By: Genndy Tartakovsky

#89

Dinosaur (2000)
64%

#89
Adjusted Score: 68450%
Critics Consensus: While Dinosaur's plot is generic and dull, its stunning computer animation and detailed backgrounds are enough to make it worth a look.
Synopsis: This is the story of Aladar (D.B. Sweeney), an iguanodon dinosaur raised by a family of lemurs. Their world is... [More]

#88
Adjusted Score: 69039%
Critics Consensus: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is an improvement on the original, with more fleshed-out characters, crisper animation and more consistent humor.
Synopsis: Alex (Ben Stiller), Morty (Chris Rock) and other zoo animals find a way to escape from Madagascar when the penguins... [More]
Directed By: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath

#87

Robots (2005)
64%

#87
Adjusted Score: 70176%
Critics Consensus: Robots delights on a visual level, but the story feels like it came off an assembly line.
Synopsis: In a world of sentient robots, striving young inventor Rodney Copperbottom (Ewan McGregor) wants to work for the avuncular Bigweld... [More]

#86

Epic (2013)
65%

#86
Adjusted Score: 68687%
Critics Consensus: Though its narrative themes are all too familiar, Epic is beautifully animated and crafted with just enough flair to make for solid family entertainment.
Synopsis: Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfried), or M.K., is a headstrong, spirited teenager who has a strained relationship with her father (Jason... [More]
Directed By: Chris Wedge

#85

Storks (2016)
65%

#85
Adjusted Score: 73244%
Critics Consensus: Colorful animation and a charming cast help Storks achieve a limited liftoff, but scattershot gags and a confused, hyperactively unspooled plot keep it from truly soaring.
Synopsis: Storks deliver babies -- or at least they used to. Now, they deliver packages for a global internet retail giant.... [More]

#84

Turbo (2013)
67%

#84
Adjusted Score: 70149%
Critics Consensus: It's nowhere near as inventive as its off-the-wall premise might suggest, but Turbo boasts just enough colorful visual thrills and sharp voice acting to recommend as undemanding family-friendly fare.
Synopsis: Turbo (Ryan Reynolds) is a speed-obsessed snail with an unusual dream: to become the world's greatest racer. This odd snail... [More]
Directed By: David Soren

#83
#83
Adjusted Score: 72846%
Critics Consensus: Meet the Robinsons is a visually impressive children's animated film marked by a story of considerable depth.
Synopsis: Boy genius Lewis gives up hope of retrieving his latest invention, which was stolen by Bowler Hat Guy, then a... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Anderson

#82

Cars 3 (2017)
69%

#82
Adjusted Score: 85154%
Critics Consensus: Cars 3 has an unexpectedly poignant story to go with its dazzling animation, suggesting Pixar's most middle-of-the-road franchise may have a surprising amount of tread left.
Synopsis: Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast cars, the legendary Lighting McQueen finds himself pushed out of the sport that... [More]
Directed By: Brian Fee

#81
Adjusted Score: 74552%
Critics Consensus: While not as clever or inventive as its predecessor, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 compensates with enough dazzling visuals to keep younger viewers entertained.
Synopsis: His genius finally recognized by his idol Chester V, inventor Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) gets to join Chester's company, where... [More]
Directed By: Cody Cameron, Kris Pearn

#80
#80
Adjusted Score: 81879%
Critics Consensus: A fun follow-up for fans of the original, Trolls World Tour offers a second helping of colorful animation, infectious energy, and sing-along songs.
Synopsis: Poppy and Branch discover that there are six different troll tribes scattered over six different lands. Each tribe is also... [More]
Directed By: Walt Dohrn

#79

The Croods (2013)
72%

#79
Adjusted Score: 76448%
Critics Consensus: While it may not be as (ahem) evolved as the best modern animated fare, The Croods will prove solidly entertaining for families seeking a fast-paced, funny cartoon adventure.
Synopsis: Prehistoric family the Croods live in a particularly dangerous moment in time. Patriarch Grug (Nicolas Cage), his mate, Ugga (Catherine... [More]

#78

Rio (2011)
72%

#78
Adjusted Score: 77462%
Critics Consensus: This straightforward movie reaches great heights thanks to its colorful visual palette, catchy music, and funny vocal performances.
Synopsis: Captured by smugglers when he was just a hatchling, a macaw named Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) never learned to fly and... [More]
Directed By: Carlos Saldanha

#77

Sing (2016)
71%

#77
Adjusted Score: 82503%
Critics Consensus: Sing delivers colorfully animated, cheerfully undemanding entertainment with a solid voice cast and a warm-hearted -- albeit familiar -- storyline that lives up to its title.
Synopsis: Dapper Koala Buster Moon presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. An eternal optimist, and a... [More]
Directed By: Garth Jennings

#76
#76
Adjusted Score: 86698%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, funny, and blessed with a talented voice cast, The Secret Life of Pets offers a beautifully animated, cheerfully undemanding family-friendly diversion.
Synopsis: Max (Louis C.K.) is a spoiled terrier who enjoys a comfortable life in a New York building until his owner... [More]
Directed By: Chris Renaud

#75
#75
Adjusted Score: 78223%
Critics Consensus: Like its non-aerodynamic title characters, The Angry Birds Movie 2 takes improbable yet delightfully entertaining flight, landing humorous hits along the way.
Synopsis: Red, Chuck, Bomb and the rest of their feathered friends are surprised when a green pig suggests that they put... [More]
Directed By: Thurop Van Orman

#74
#74
Adjusted Score: 77451%
Critics Consensus: Penguins of Madagascar is fast and brightly colored enough to entertain small children, but too frantically silly to offer real filmgoing fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: Plucky penguins Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (Conrad Vernon) and Private (Christopher Knights) -- the most elite spies... [More]

#73

Flushed Away (2006)
73%

#73
Adjusted Score: 78574%
Critics Consensus: Clever and appealing for both children and adults, Flushed Away marks a successful entry into digital animated features for Aardman Animations.
Synopsis: After an ignoble landing in Ratropolis, a pampered rodent (Hugh Jackman) enlists the help of a sewer scavenger (Kate Winslet)... [More]
Directed By: David Bowers, Sam Fell

#72
#72
Adjusted Score: 81922%
Critics Consensus: Though it doesn't approach the depth of the best animated films, Monsters Vs. Aliens has enough humor and special effects to entertain moviegoers of all ages.
Synopsis: When a meteor full of space gunk transforms Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) into a giant, the government renames her Ginormica... [More]

#71

Megamind (2010)
72%

#71
Adjusted Score: 78778%
Critics Consensus: It regurgitates plot points from earlier animated efforts, and isn't quite as funny as it should be, but a top-shelf voice cast and strong visuals help make Megamind a pleasant, if unspectacular, diversion.
Synopsis: Though he is the most-brilliant supervillain the world has known, Megamind (Will Ferrell) is the least-successful. Thwarted time and again... [More]
Directed By: Tom McGrath

#70

Cars (2006)
74%

#70
Adjusted Score: 82670%
Critics Consensus: Cars offers visual treats that more than compensate for its somewhat thinly written story, adding up to a satisfying diversion for younger viewers.
Synopsis: While traveling to California to race against The King (Richard Petty) and Chick Hicks (Michael Keaton) for the Piston Cup... [More]
Directed By: John Lasseter

#69
#69
Adjusted Score: 82069%
Critics Consensus: Drawing deep from the classic Raiders of the Lost Ark playbook, Steven Spielberg has crafted another spirited, thrilling adventure in the form of Tintin.
Synopsis: While shopping at an outdoor market, young reporter Tintin (Jamie Bell), accompanied by his faithful dog, Snowy, buys a model... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#68

Monster House (2006)
75%

#68
Adjusted Score: 81812%
Critics Consensus: Monster House welcoms kids and adults alike into a household full of smart, monstrous fun.
Synopsis: No adults believe three youths' (Mitchel Musso, Spencer Locke, Sam Lerner) assertion that a neighboring residence is a living creature... [More]
Directed By: Gil Kenan

#67

Over the Hedge (2006)
75%

#67
Adjusted Score: 82241%
Critics Consensus: Even if it's not an animation classic, Over the Hedge is clever and fun, and the jokes cater to family members of all ages.
Synopsis: When Verne (Garry Shandling) and fellow woodland friends awake from winter's hibernation, they find they have some new neighbors: humans,... [More]

#66
#66
Adjusted Score: 80577%
Critics Consensus: A sort of Avengers for the elementary school set, Rise of the Guardians is wonderfully animated and briskly paced, but it's only so-so in the storytelling department.
Synopsis: Generation after generation, immortal Guardians like Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) and the Tooth Fairy (Isla... [More]
Directed By: Peter Ramsey

#65

Trolls (2016)
75%

#65
Adjusted Score: 84907%
Critics Consensus: Trolls brings its instantly recognizable characters to the big screen in a colorful adventure that, while geared toward the younger set, isn't without rewards for parents.
Synopsis: After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy (Anna Kendrick), the happiest Troll ever born, and the overly-cautious, curmudgeonly Branch (Justin... [More]
Directed By: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn

#64

Despicable Me 2 (2013)
75%

#64
Adjusted Score: 82328%
Critics Consensus: Despicable Me 2 offers plenty of eye-popping visual inventiveness and a number of big laughs.
Synopsis: Now that Gru (Steve Carell) has forsaken a life of crime to raise Margo, Agnes and Edith, he's trying to... [More]

#63

Smallfoot (2018)
76%

#63
Adjusted Score: 82224%
Critics Consensus: Smallfoot offers a colorful distraction that should keep younger viewers entertained - and a story whose message might even resonate with older audiences.
Synopsis: Migo is a friendly Yeti whose world gets turned upside down when he discovers something that he didn't know existed... [More]
Directed By: Karey Kirkpatrick

#62

Happy Feet (2006)
76%

#62
Adjusted Score: 82050%
Critics Consensus: Visually dazzling, with a thoughtful storyline and catchy musical numbers, Happy Feet marks a successful animated debut from the makers of Babe.
Synopsis: Mumble (Elijah Wood), a young emperor penguin, lives in Antarctica. Like others of his kind, he needs to be able... [More]
Directed By: George Miller

#61
#61
Adjusted Score: 83815%
Critics Consensus: The Good Dinosaur delivers thrillingly beautiful animation in service of a worthy story that, even if it doesn't quite live up to the lofty standards set by Pixar, still adds up to charming, family-friendly entertainment.
Synopsis: Luckily for young Arlo, his parents (Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand) and his two siblings, the mighty dinosaurs were not wiped... [More]
Directed By: Peter Sohn

#60
#60
Adjusted Score: 86137%
Critics Consensus: Another agreeable outing for the titular prehistoric clan, The Croods: A New Age may be the missing link for parents between more elevated family-friendly fare.
Synopsis: Searching for a safer habitat, the prehistoric Crood family discovers an idyllic, walled-in paradise that meets all of its needs.... [More]
Directed By: Joel Crawford

#59

Ice Age (2002)
77%

#59
Adjusted Score: 82370%
Critics Consensus: Even though Ice Age is treading over the same grounds as Monsters, Inc. and Shrek, it has enough wit and laughs to stand on its own.
Synopsis: Twenty-thousand years ago, Earth is a wondrous, prehistoric world filled with great danger, not the least of which is the... [More]
Directed By: Chris Wedge

#58
Adjusted Score: 83304%
Critics Consensus: Dazzlingly colorful and frenetic, Madagascar 3 is silly enough for young kids, but boasts enough surprising smarts to engage parents along the way.
Synopsis: Animal pals Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Melman (David Schwimmer) and Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) are still trying to... [More]

#57

Brave (2012)
78%

#57
Adjusted Score: 87899%
Critics Consensus: Brave offers young audiences and fairy tale fans a rousing, funny fantasy adventure with a distaff twist and surprising depth.
Synopsis: Merida (Kelly Macdonald), the impetuous but courageous daughter of Scottish King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), is... [More]

#56

Surf's Up (2007)
79%

#56
Adjusted Score: 84038%
Critics Consensus: Surf's Up is a laid back, visually stunning animated movie that brings a fresh twist to some familiar conventions. Its witty mockumentary format is fun and inventive, and the CGI is breathtakingly realistic.
Synopsis: Surfing means everything to teenage penguin Cody Maverick (Shia LaBeouf). Followed by a documentary film crew, he leaves his home... [More]
Directed By: Ash Brannon, Chris Buck

#55
Adjusted Score: 84142%
Critics Consensus: Horton Hears A Who! is both whimsical and heartwarming, and is the rare Dr. Seuss adaptation that stays true to the spirit of the source material.
Synopsis: Animated elephant Horton (Jim Carrey) finds a speck of dust floating in the Jungle of Nool. Upon investigation of the... [More]

#54
#54
Adjusted Score: 87090%
Critics Consensus: Offering Monsters, Inc. fans a return visit with beloved characters, Monsters University delivers funny and thoughtful family entertainment for viewers of any age.
Synopsis: Ever since he was a kid monster, Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) has dreamed of becoming a Scarer. To make his... [More]
Directed By: Dan Scanlon

#53
#53
Adjusted Score: 86532%
Critics Consensus: Mr. Peabody & Sherman offers a surprisingly entertaining burst of colorful all-ages fun, despite its dated source material and rather convoluted plot.
Synopsis: Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell), the most accomplished canine in the world, and his boy, Sherman (Max Charles), use a time... [More]
Directed By: Rob Minkoff

#52

Abominable (2019)
82%

#52
Adjusted Score: 91096%
Critics Consensus: Working with admittedly familiar ingredients, Abominable offers audiences a beautifully animated and overall engaging adventure that the whole family can enjoy.
Synopsis: After discovering a Yeti on the roof of her apartment building, teenage Yi and her two friends embark on an... [More]
Directed By: Jill Culton

#51

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
81%

#51
Adjusted Score: 86841%
Critics Consensus: The storyline arc may seem a tad familiar to fans of the original, but Kung Fu Panda 2 offers enough action, comedy, and visual sparkle to compensate.
Synopsis: Now known as the Dragon Warrior, Po (Jack Black) protects the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung... [More]
Directed By: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

#50

Despicable Me (2010)
81%

#50
Adjusted Score: 87575%
Critics Consensus: Borrowing heavily (and intelligently) from Pixar and Looney Tunes, Despicable Me is a surprisingly thoughtful, family-friendly treat with a few surprises of its own.
Synopsis: A man who delights in all things wicked, supervillain Gru (Steve Carell) hatches a plan to steal the moon. Surrounded... [More]

#49

Sausage Party (2016)
82%

#49
Adjusted Score: 95762%
Critics Consensus: Sausage Party is definitely offensive, but backs up its enthusiastic profanity with an impressively high laugh-to-gag ratio -- and a surprisingly thought-provoking storyline.
Synopsis: Life is good for all the food items that occupy the shelves at the local supermarket. Frank (Seth Rogen) the... [More]

#48

The Book of Life (2014)
83%

#48
Adjusted Score: 86921%
Critics Consensus: The Book of Life's gorgeous animation is a treat, but it's a pity that its story lacks the same level of craft and detail that its thrilling visuals provide.
Synopsis: In the Mexican town of San Angel, Manolo (Diego Luna), Maria (Zoë Saldana) and Joaquin (Channing Tatum) have been friends... [More]
Directed By: Jorge R. Gutierrez

#47
Adjusted Score: 102697%
Critics Consensus: While it isn't quite as much fun as its predecessor, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part fits neatly into an animated all-ages franchise with heart and humor to spare.
Synopsis: The citizens of Bricksburg face a dangerous new threat when LEGO DUPLO invaders from outer space start to wreck everything... [More]
Directed By: Mike Mitchell

#46
Adjusted Score: 91543%
Critics Consensus: Quirky humor, plucky characters and solid slapstick make this family comedy a frenetically tasty time at the movies.
Synopsis: When hard times hit Swallow Falls, its townspeople can only afford to eat sardines. Flint Lockwood, a failed inventor, thinks... [More]

#45

Puss in Boots (2011)
86%

#45
Adjusted Score: 90677%
Critics Consensus: It isn't deep or groundbreaking, but what it lacks in profundity, Puss in Boots more than makes up for with an abundance of wit, visual sparkle, and effervescent charm.
Synopsis: Long before meeting Shrek, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) -- just named a hero for saving a woman from a... [More]
Directed By: Chris Miller

#44
#44
Adjusted Score: 86084%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Raoul and Emile accidentally release a monster from an eccentric scientist's greenhouse and vow to track it down. They soon... [More]
Directed By: Bibo Bergeron

#43
Adjusted Score: 95757%
Critics Consensus: With a tidy plot, clean animation, and humor that fits its source material snugly, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is entertainment that won't drive a wedge between family members.
Synopsis: George Beard and Harold Hutchins are two overly imaginative pranksters who spend hours in a treehouse creating comic books. When... [More]
Directed By: David Soren

#42

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
87%

#42
Adjusted Score: 96905%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Panda 3 boasts the requisite visual splendor, but like its rotund protagonist, this sequel's narrative is also surprisingly nimble, adding up to animated fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: Living large and loving life, Po (Jack Black) realizes that he has a lot to learn if he's going to... [More]

#41

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
87%

#41
Adjusted Score: 93892%
Critics Consensus: Equally entertaining for both kids and parents old enough to catch the references, Wreck-It Ralph is a clever, colorful adventure built on familiar themes and joyful nostalgia.
Synopsis: Arcade-game character Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) is tired of always being the "bad guy" and losing to his "good... [More]
Directed By: Rich Moore

#40

Kung Fu Panda (2008)
87%

#40
Adjusted Score: 94519%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Panda has a familiar message, but the pleasing mix of humor, swift martial arts action, and colorful animation makes for winning Summer entertainment.
Synopsis: Po the panda (Jack Black) works in his family's noodle shop and dreams of becoming a kung-fu master. His dream... [More]

#39
#39
Adjusted Score: 94829%
Critics Consensus: The Peanuts Movie offers a colorful gateway into the world of its classic characters and a sweetly nostalgic -- if relatively unambitious -- treat for the adults who grew up with them.
Synopsis: Life always seems complicated for good ol' Charlie Brown (Noah Schnapp), the boy who always tries his best against seemingly... [More]
Directed By: Steve Martino

#38

Shrek (2001)
88%

#38
Adjusted Score: 96421%
Critics Consensus: While simultaneously embracing and subverting fairy tales, the irreverent Shrek also manages to tweak Disney's nose, provide a moral message to children, and offer viewers a funny, fast-paced ride.
Synopsis: Once upon a time, in a far away swamp, there lived an ogre named Shrek (Mike Myers) whose precious solitude... [More]

#37

Rango (2011)
88%

#37
Adjusted Score: 95564%
Critics Consensus: Rango is a smart, giddily creative burst of beautifully animated entertainment, and Johnny Depp gives a colorful vocal performance as a household pet in an unfamiliar world.
Synopsis: A chameleon (Johnny Depp) who has lived as a sheltered family pet finds himself in the grip of an identity... [More]
Directed By: Gore Verbinski

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 103607%
Critics Consensus: Ralph Breaks the Internet levels up on its predecessor with a funny, heartwarming sequel that expands its colorful universe while focusing on core characters and relationships.
Synopsis: Video game bad guy Ralph and fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz must risk it all by traveling to the World... [More]
Directed By: Phil Johnston, Rich Moore

#35

Onward (2020)
88%

#35
Adjusted Score: 112034%
Critics Consensus: It may suffer in comparison to Pixar's classics, but Onward makes effective use of the studio's formula -- and stands on its own merits as a funny, heartwarming, dazzlingly animated adventure.
Synopsis: Teenage elf brothers Ian and Barley embark on a magical quest to spend one more day with their late father.... [More]
Directed By: Dan Scanlon

#34

Bolt (2008)
89%

#34
Adjusted Score: 96474%
Critics Consensus: Bolt is a pleasant animated comedy that overcomes the story's familiarity with strong visuals and likable characters.
Synopsis: The days of canine superstar Bolt (John Travolta) are filled with danger and intrigue ... until the cameras stop rolling.... [More]

#33

Tangled (2010)
89%

#33
Adjusted Score: 97636%
Critics Consensus: While far from Disney's greatest film, Tangled is a visually stunning, thoroughly entertaining addition to the studio's classic animated canon.
Synopsis: When the kingdom's most-wanted bandit, Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi), hides in a convenient tower, he immediately becomes a captive of... [More]
Directed By: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard

#32

Shrek 2 (2004)
89%

#32
Adjusted Score: 96790%
Critics Consensus: It may not be as fresh as the original, but topical humor and colorful secondary characters make Shrek 2 a winner in its own right.
Synopsis: After returning from their honeymoon and showing home movies to their friends, Shrek and Fiona learn that her parents have... [More]

#31

Big Hero 6 (2014)
90%

#31
Adjusted Score: 98667%
Critics Consensus: Agreeably entertaining and brilliantly animated, Big Hero 6 is briskly-paced, action-packed, and often touching.
Synopsis: Robotics prodigy Hiro (Ryan Potter) lives in the city of San Fransokyo. Next to his older brother, Tadashi, Hiro's closest... [More]
Directed By: Don Hall, Chris Williams

#30

Frozen (2013)
90%

#30
Adjusted Score: 100194%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully animated, smartly written, and stocked with singalong songs, Frozen adds another worthy entry to the Disney canon.
Synopsis: When their kingdom becomes trapped in perpetual winter, fearless Anna (Kristen Bell) joins forces with mountaineer Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and... [More]
Directed By: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

#29
Adjusted Score: 105859%
Critics Consensus: The rare trilogy capper that really works, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World brings its saga to a visually dazzling and emotionally affecting conclusion.
Synopsis: When the sudden appearance of a female Light Fury coincides with the darkest threat their village has ever faced, Hiccup... [More]
Directed By: Dean DeBlois

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 112598%
Critics Consensus: The Lego Batman Movie continues its block-buster franchise's winning streak with another round of dizzyingly funny -- and beautifully animated -- family-friendly mayhem.
Synopsis: There are big changes brewing in Gotham, but if Batman (Will Arnett) wants to save the city from the Joker's... [More]
Directed By: Chris McKay

#27
Adjusted Score: 98834%
Critics Consensus: Exciting, emotionally resonant, and beautifully animated, How to Train Your Dragon 2 builds on its predecessor's successes just the way a sequel should.
Synopsis: Five years have passed since Hiccup and Toothless united the dragons and Vikings of Berk. Now, they spend their time... [More]
Directed By: Dean DeBlois, Tom Owens

#26

A Bug's Life (1998)
92%

#26
Adjusted Score: 96756%
Critics Consensus: A Bug's Life is a rousing adventure that blends animated thrills with witty dialogue and memorable characters - and another smashing early success for Pixar.
Synopsis: Flik (Dave Foley) is an inventive ant who's always messing things up for his colony. His latest mishap was destroying... [More]

#25

Antz (1998)
92%

#25
Adjusted Score: 97015%
Critics Consensus: Featuring a stellar voice cast, technically dazzling animation, and loads of good humor, Antz should delight both children and adults.
Synopsis: Z the worker ant (Woody Allen) strives to reconcile his own individuality with the communal work-ethic of the ant colony.... [More]
Directed By: Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson

#24

Arthur Christmas (2011)
92%

#24
Adjusted Score: 98272%
Critics Consensus: Aardman Animations broadens their humor a bit for Arthur Christmas, a clever and earnest holiday film with surprising emotional strength.
Synopsis: Everyone knows that, each Christmas, Santa Claus delivers presents to every last child on Earth. What everyone doesn't know is... [More]
Directed By: Sarah Smith

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 97518%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully animated and faithful to the spirit of its classic source material, The Little Prince is a family-friendly treat that anchors thrilling visuals with a satisfying story.
Synopsis: The Aviator introduces a girl to a world where she rediscovers her childhood and learns that it's human connections that... [More]
Directed By: Mark Osborne

#22

Incredibles 2 (2018)
93%

#22
Adjusted Score: 116865%
Critics Consensus: Incredibles 2 reunites Pixar's family crimefighting team for a long-awaited follow-up that may not quite live up to the original, but comes close enough to earn its name.
Synopsis: Telecommunications guru Winston Deavor enlists Elastigirl to fight crime and make the public fall in love with superheroes once again.... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 108699%
Critics Consensus: Another gorgeously animated, skillfully voiced entry in the Disney canon, Raya and the Last Dragon continues the studio's increased representation while reaffirming that its classic formula is just as reliable as ever.
Synopsis: Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when sinister monsters known... [More]

#20

Finding Dory (2016)
94%

#20
Adjusted Score: 115466%
Critics Consensus: Funny, poignant, and thought-provoking, Finding Dory delivers a beautifully animated adventure that adds another entertaining chapter to its predecessor's classic story.
Synopsis: Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) is a wide-eyed, blue tang fish who suffers from memory loss every 10 seconds or so. The... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Stanton

#19

WALL-E (2008)
95%

#19
Adjusted Score: 105657%
Critics Consensus: Wall-E's stellar visuals testify once again to Pixar's ingenuity, while its charming star will captivate younger viewers -- and its timely story offers thought-provoking subtext.
Synopsis: WALL-E, short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, is the last robot left on Earth. He spends his days tidying... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Stanton

#18

Moana (2016)
95%

#18
Adjusted Score: 112810%
Critics Consensus: With a title character as three-dimensional as its lush animation and a story that adds fresh depth to Disney's time-tested formula, Moana is truly a family-friendly adventure for the ages.
Synopsis: An adventurous teenager sails out on a daring mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty... [More]
Directed By: John Musker, Ron Clements

#17

Soul (2020)
95%

#17
Adjusted Score: 119529%
Critics Consensus: A film as beautiful to contemplate as it is to behold, Soul proves Pixar's power to deliver outstanding all-ages entertainment remains undimmed.
Synopsis: Joe is a middle-school band teacher whose life hasn't quite gone the way he expected. His true passion is jazz... [More]
Directed By: Pete Docter

#16

Monsters, Inc. (2001)
96%

#16
Adjusted Score: 102923%
Critics Consensus: Clever, funny, and delightful to look at, Monsters, Inc. delivers another resounding example of how Pixar elevated the bar for modern all-ages animation.
Synopsis: Monsters Incorporated is the largest scare factory in the monster world, and James P. Sullivan (John Goodman) is one of... [More]
Directed By: Pete Docter

#15

The LEGO Movie (2014)
96%

#15
Adjusted Score: 105889%
Critics Consensus: Boasting beautiful animation, a charming voice cast, laugh-a-minute gags, and a surprisingly thoughtful story, The Lego Movie is colorful fun for all ages.
Synopsis: Emmet (Chris Pratt), an ordinary LEGO figurine who always follows the rules, is mistakenly identified as the Special -- an... [More]

#14

Ratatouille (2007)
96%

#14
Adjusted Score: 106011%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced and stunningly animated, Ratatouille adds another delightfully entertaining entry -- and a rather unlikely hero -- to the Pixar canon.
Synopsis: Remy (Patton Oswalt), a resident of Paris, appreciates good food and has quite a sophisticated palate. He would love to... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#13
Adjusted Score: 107366%
Critics Consensus: Eye-catching and energetic, The Mitchells vs. the Machines delivers a funny, feel-good story that the whole family can enjoy.
Synopsis: Young Katie Mitchell embarks on a road trip with her proud parents, younger brother and beloved dog to start her... [More]
Directed By: Mike Rianda

#12

The Incredibles (2004)
97%

#12
Adjusted Score: 106294%
Critics Consensus: Bringing loads of wit and tons of fun to the animated superhero genre, The Incredibles easily lives up to its name.
Synopsis: In this lauded Pixar animated film, married superheroes Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) are forced to... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#11

Coco (2017)
97%

#11
Adjusted Score: 123816%
Critics Consensus: Coco's rich visual pleasures are matched by a thoughtful narrative that takes a family-friendly -- and deeply affecting -- approach to questions of culture, family, life, and death.
Synopsis: Despite his family's generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de... [More]
Directed By: Lee Unkrich

#10
Adjusted Score: 121255%
Critics Consensus: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse matches bold storytelling with striking animation for a purely enjoyable adventure with heart, humor, and plenty of superhero action.
Synopsis: Bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into... [More]

#9

Toy Story 4 (2019)
97%

#9
Adjusted Score: 124742%
Critics Consensus: Heartwarming, funny, and beautifully animated, Toy Story 4 manages the unlikely feat of extending -- and perhaps concluding -- a practically perfect animated saga.
Synopsis: Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang embark on a road trip with Bonnie and a new toy... [More]
Directed By: Josh Cooley

#8

Zootopia (2016)
98%

#8
Adjusted Score: 115819%
Critics Consensus: The brilliantly well-rounded Zootopia offers a thoughtful, inclusive message that's as rich and timely as its sumptuously state-of-the-art animation -- all while remaining fast and funny enough to keep younger viewers entertained.
Synopsis: From the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, the city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live... [More]
Directed By: Byron Howard, Rich Moore

#7

Up (2009)
98%

#7
Adjusted Score: 109563%
Critics Consensus: An exciting, funny, and poignant adventure, Up offers an impeccably crafted story told with wit and arranged with depth, as well as yet another visual Pixar treat.
Synopsis: Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner), a 78-year-old balloon salesman, is about to fulfill a lifelong dream. Tying thousands of balloons to... [More]
Directed By: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson

#6

Toy Story 3 (2010)
98%

#6
Adjusted Score: 110116%
Critics Consensus: Deftly blending comedy, adventure, and honest emotion, Toy Story 3 is a rare second sequel that really works.
Synopsis: With their beloved Andy preparing to leave for college, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), and... [More]
Directed By: Lee Unkrich

#5

Inside Out (2015)
98%

#5
Adjusted Score: 113968%
Critics Consensus: Inventive, gorgeously animated, and powerfully moving, Inside Out is another outstanding addition to the Pixar library of modern animated classics.
Synopsis: Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) is a happy, hockey-loving 11-year-old Midwestern girl, but her world turns upside-down when she and her parents... [More]
Directed By: Pete Docter

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 105999%
Critics Consensus: Boasting dazzling animation, a script with surprising dramatic depth, and thrilling 3-D sequences, How to Train Your Dragon soars.
Synopsis: Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is a Norse teenager from the island of Berk, where fighting dragons is a way of life.... [More]

#3

Finding Nemo (2003)
99%

#3
Adjusted Score: 108563%
Critics Consensus: Breathtakingly lovely and grounded by the stellar efforts of a well-chosen cast, Finding Nemo adds another beautifully crafted gem to Pixar's crown.
Synopsis: Marlin (Albert Brooks), a clown fish, is overly cautious with his son, Nemo (Alexander Gould), who has a foreshortened fin.... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Stanton

#2

Toy Story (1995)
100%

#2
Adjusted Score: 106146%
Critics Consensus: Entertaining as it is innovative, Toy Story reinvigorated animation while heralding the arrival of Pixar as a family-friendly force to be reckoned with.
Synopsis: Woody (Tom Hanks), a good-hearted cowboy doll who belongs to a young boy named Andy (John Morris), sees his position... [More]
Directed By: John Lasseter

#1

Toy Story 2 (1999)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 107741%
Critics Consensus: The rare sequel that arguably improves on its predecessor, Toy Story 2 uses inventive storytelling, gorgeous animation, and a talented cast to deliver another rich moviegoing experience for all ages.
Synopsis: Woody (Tom Hanks) is stolen from his home by toy dealer Al McWhiggin (Wayne Knight), leaving Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen)... [More]

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)

In Wes Anderson movies, dogs usually get the short end of the whimsy stick. The rampage began in The Royal Tenenbaums, when the family beagle is crushed by a car driven by Owen Wilson on mescaline. Since then, dogs are routinely killed, poisoned, and abandoned. As if to repent, Anderson is releasing a new stop-motion adventure all about dogs…who are crushed, killed, poisoned, and abandoned. But, hey, it’s called Isle of Dogs, a pun when said aloud about how much Anderson loves man’s best friend. Sure, dude.

Seriously, though, Isle of Dogs is a terrific tribute to the purity and loyal spirit of dogs, one that also can’t help take a few potshots at cats . The cats versus dogs debate has been raging since time immemorial, but today we’re going to solve it like true 21st century people: by throwing up a bunch of numbers on your screen! We’ve taken the 20 highest-rated dog movies, and the 20 highest-rated cat movies, and averaged out a Tomatometer for each list. The animal has to be the main crux of the plot, and movies where the dogs and cats share top billing are not included — so no Incredible Journeys or Milos & Otiseses.

20 Best Dog Movies
Old Yeller: 100%
101 Dalmatians: 98%
Heart of a Dog: 96%
Lassie Come Home: 94%
Best in Show: 94%
Lassie (2006): 93%
Snoopy, Come Home:92%
White Dog: 92%
Lady and the Tramp: 90%
My Dog Tulip: 90%
Bolt: 89%
White God: 89%
Lassie (1994): 88%
Frankenweenie: 87%
Benji: 86%
Wendy and Lucy: 85%
A Boy and His Dog: 75%
My Dog Skip: 73%
Eight Below: 72%
White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf: 71%
AVERAGE: 88%

20 Best Cat Movies
Kedi: 98%
Born Free: 94%
The Rabbi’s Cat: 94%
That Darn Cat!: 93%
Duma: 93%
The Lion King: 92%
The Cat Returns: 90%
Harry and Tonto: 88%
The Black Cat: 87%
Puss in Boots: 84%
A Cat in Paris: 82%
Two Brothers: 78%
Keanu: 78%
A Street Cat Named Bob: 76%
The Lion King 1 1/2: 76%
The Cat from Outer Space: 75%
Disneynature African Cats: 71%
Roar: 70%
The Aristocats: 67%
Cat’s Eye: 67%
AVERAGE: 82%

The Tomatometer speaks (or barks, in this case): Dog movies get the edge over cats! But why stop there? Continue on as we break down the stats even further.


RUFF SKETCHES & FE-LINE DRAWING

Buena Vista Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Animated dog movies: 101 Dalmatians, Snoopy, Come Home, Lady and the Tramp, My Dog Tulip, Bolt, Frankenweenie
Average Tomatometer: 91%

Animated cat movies: The Rabbi’s Cat, The Lion King, The Cat Returns, Puss in Boots, A Cat in Paris, The Lion King 1 1/2, The Aristocats
Average Tomatometer: 84%

With a little imagination, you can draw a line from the earliest cave drawings to Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back. Since the beginning, we’ve observed and studied animals around us, for re-creation on whatever canvas available. So it’s no surprise that cartoons, our updated cave art, are synonymous with talking animals, and that a significant portion of the top 20 cats and dog movies are animated. For our canine pals, the average Tomatometer for the seven animated movies is 91%. For our kitty compatriots, the T-meter for the six animated movies equals 84%, thanks to Walt Disney (The Lion King), Studio Ghibli (The Cat Returns), and Dreamworks (Puss in Boots). Why has Pixar not made the effort? Are they secretly running some anti-cat ring from their basement dungeon in Emeryville? Look into it, people.


DOGS & CATS LIVING TOGETHER, MASS HYSTERIA

Oscilloscope/courtesy Everett Collection

Dog documentaries: Heart of a Dog
Tomatometer: 96%

Cat documentaries: Kedi, African Cats
Tomatometer: 88%

Two documentaries pop up on the cat list: Kedi, an endearing look at strays in Instanbul, and African Cats, featuring cheetahs and lions in Kenya. From the streets to the tundra to your apartment, cats remain in our eyes independent, mysterious, and almost otherwordly. Probably why we make more documentaries about them than dogs. Dog movies revolve around their connection with humans, good fodder for tugging at the heart strings in narrative films. And the only dog documentary here, Heart of a Dog, is indeed about a dog’s bond with its master, artist Laurie Anderson. It’s 96% on the Tomatometer, while the two cat documentaries average 88%.


KILL YOUR (ANIMAL) DARLINGS


Movies where the dog dies:
Old Yeller, White Dog, My Dog Tulip, My Dog Skip, Eight Below
Average Tomatometer: 86%

Movies where the cat dies: The Lion King, Harry & Tonto, The Black Cat
Average Tomatometer: 88%

Some people refuse to watch movies knowing the dog is going to die. But how does canine death affect the Tomatometer? Movies where a dog is killed (on-screen or off) average 86%, two percentage points down from the top 20’s 88%. But when the cat dies, the average Tomatometer actually goes up, also to a healthy 88%. What happened to the stereotype of film critics being cat people? Or is this all some twisted projection of resentment upon their own pets? You be the judge.


BITING THE HAND

Criterion Collection

Movies where the dog bites someone: White God, 101 Dalmatians, White Dog, A Boy and His Dog, White Fang 2
Average Tomatometer: 85%

Movies where the cat scratches someone: Two Brothers, Puss in Boots, Roar, Cat’s Eye
Average Tomatometer: 75%

Enough about killing your pets. What happens when feral instinct rears its furry head and cats and dogs attack people? With dogs, critics seem pretty okay with it: the average Tomatometer only drops to 85%, and frankly, some of the people deserve it, like the burglars in 101 Dalmatians. And we’re including Blood from A Boy and His Dog; he doesn’t bite anybody, but he does help himself to some human delicacies, if you catch our post-apocalyptic drift. Meanwhile, critics are no fans of cat scratch fever: the average rating drops to 75% in movies where cats go on the offense. Keep those claws in your paws, kittens.

Ever since 1998 and into this Friday’s release of Kung Fu Panda 3, DreamWorks Animation has emerged as one of the dominant forces in animated storytelling worldwide, whose blend of state-of-the-art tech and raucous contemporary humor has carved their own identity in our current cartoon renaissance. Kung Fu Panda 3 inspires this week’s 24 Frames gallery, in which we explore the nearly two-decade history of DreamWorks Animation.

This week on home video, we’ve got a number of new releases that will probably be of interest to the discriminating movie watcher. Among those we won’t be mentioning in the article are the Certified Fresh doc about pioneering band Fishbone called Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone, the poorly reviewed Channing Tatum/Al Pacino crime thriller The Son of No One, and the inspirational (but formulaic) sports drama The Mighty Macs. Aside from those, however, we still have a solid selection, ranging from an entertaining animated film to a Clint Eastwood-directed biopic, from an acclaimed drama with a powerhouse performance to a heist comedy starring Eddie Murphy in prime form. See below for the full list!



Puss in Boots

86%

Based on the downward trajectory of the Shrek franchise, particularly over its final two installments, one wouldn’t have expected much from a spinoff film starring one of the peripheral characters. Puss in Boots, therefore, was a pleasant surprise for a lot of people. Starring Antonio Banderas as the voice of the titular feline, Puss is sort of a prequel to the Shrek films, following the adventures of its swashbuckling star as he teams up with Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) and Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) to take on Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris) for their magical beans. Bubbling with wry wit, visual sparkle, and effervescent charm, Puss in Boots helped restore some luster to the Shrek universe by earning a Certified Fresh 83%. You won’t see anything especially new or thought-provoking here, but you’ll probably have a pretty good time nonetheless.



Tower Heist

68%

Eddie Murphy’s made a lot of Rotten films in the past couple of decades, and it’s officially old hat to wax nostalgic about the glory days of Beverly Hills Cop and Coming to America. And while it would have been easy to dismiss Tower Heist as a probable bomb due to its outlandish premise, seemingly mismatched cast, and critically unimpressive director (Brett Ratner), well, it turned out to be another of 2011’s pleasant surprises, thanks in large part to Murphy himself. The story centers on a group of luxury apartment employees who lose their pensions in a Ponzi scheme to a businessman (played by Alan Alda) and decide to take back what’s theirs by ripping him off in an elaborate, well, tower heist. Aided by a star-studded cast that included Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, Tea Leoni, Casey Affleck, and Gabourey Sidibe, Tower Heist represented a return to form for Eddie Murphy, who was frequently singled out by critics. At 68% on the Tomatometer, it’s a fun little popcorn movie that’ll probably do a decent job of keeping you entertained on a Saturday night.



J. Edgar

43%

Here’s a film that had all the makings of an award-winner, if not a modern classic: an acclaimed director (Clint Eastwood), an award-winning screenwriter (Dustin Lance Black), an all-star cast (Leonardo DiCaprio, Judi Dench, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts) and a compelling subject (the life of controversial FBI head J. Edgar Hoover). Somehow, though, the final product managed to be less than the sum of its parts, and J. Edgar earned a mere 44% on the Tomatometer. So what was the problem? According to the critics, there were a few. While the actors all offered up top notch performances (especially DiCaprio, as the titular icon himself), most agreed that poor lighting and subpar makeup took away from the aesthetics of the film, while a confusing narrative and humdrum storytelling diminished any impact it might have otherwise had. As far as biopics go, you’ll certainly learn a little bit about Mr. Hoover from J. Edgar, but because the story fails to explore some of the more interesting aspects of his character from any significant angle, you may find it all a little mundane and uninspiring.



Martha Marcy May Marlene

90%

Guess what, everyone? The younger sister of the Olsen twins can act, and she’s really good! That seemed to be one of the big takeaways from last year’s Martha Marcy May Marlene, which has already won several awards from critics societies and is currently nominated for four Indie Spirit awards. But Elizabeth Olsen wasn’t the only one making an impressive first impression; the haunting psychodrama about a young woman who escapes a cult and attempts to piece her life back together in the aftermath is also the debut of writer-director Sean Durkin. Cutting seamlessly between the past and present, Durkin brings the viewer into his heroine’s crippling paranoia, which grows increasingly worse until it becomes unclear what reality is and what her mind has fabricated. Certified Fresh at 90%, Martha Marcy May Marlene is an effective thriller that creeps up on you and stays with you for days.



London Boulevard

38%

William Monahan is best known as the screenwriter for a few big movies, including Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven and Body of Lies, and Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, for which Monahan won a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar. For London Boulevard, Monahan not only adapted the Ken Bruen novel of the same name, but also made his directorial debut, and unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly an auspicious one. The film stars Colin Farrell as Mitchell, an ex-con trying to go straight who is hired by a reclusive starlet (Keira Knightley) to be her bodyguard; when they cross paths with a notorious mob boss (Ray Winstone), Mitchell is sucked back into the London underworld against his will. Unfortunately, while critics felt the film was adequately stylish and chock full of meaty dialogue, most also felt that there were far too many subplots to follow (and follow up on) and that the emphasis on style detracted from the film’s overall quality. At 33%, you’ll probably only get a kick out of London Boulevard if you like the stars, or if you’re looking for tips on how to speak Cockney.



The Way

83%

The Way is sort of the epitome of a passion project. Named for the Camino de Santiago, or Way of St. James, a traditional Spanish pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the film was initially inspired by the travels of director Emilio Estevez’s father and son (Martin Sheen and Taylor Estevez, respectively) when they undertook the journey themselves. When Estevez decided he wanted to make a film about the Camino de Santiago, he wrote a part specifically for his father, then shot the entire thing on location with a small crew over 40 days and 200 miles. And what did he get for it? A Certified Fresh 80% on the Tomatometer. In the film, Martin Sheen plays a grieving father whose son lost his life while on the titular pilgrimage; he initially travels to Spain merely to retrieve the body, but decides to embark on the journey himself, meeting others on the trek who are all searching for some meaning themselves. While some critics felt the film meandered a bit and teetered on oversentimentality, most felt it was a noble effort by Estevez, beautifully shot and powerfully introspective at its best.



World on a Wire – Criterion Collection

The last word in modern cinematic prolificacy, Rainer Werner Fassbinder cranked out more than 40 features in his 15 year career, juggling genres with starling assurance. The newly-rediscovered sci-fi head trip World on a Wire, which originally aired as a miniseries on German television, may not be the best place to start if you’re new to Fassbinder’s oeuvre (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is probably your safest bet), but this spellbinding tale of a computer that simulates an artificial world covers some of the same mind/body territory explored in Avatar, Solaris, and Blade Runner. World on a Wire is a potent brew of melodrama, dark farce, and big ideas, all shot against a backdrop of industrial sleekness where it’s impossible to tell who is real and who is computer-generated. The Criterion disc features a new digital transfer of the movie, plus a making-of featurette.



Anatomy of a Murder – Criterion Collection

100%

It might seem tame by today’s standards, but Anatomy of a Murder caused quite the stir upon its release in 1958. With its coarse, sexually-explicit language, Otto Preminger’s searing drama kicked dirt in the face of Hollywood’s production code. Viewed today, Anatomy of a Murder may seem about as racy as a typical episode of CSI, but it still has the power to unsettle, and it remains one of the most influential of all courtroom procedurals. James Stewart stars as a small-town Michigan lawyer who must defend Frederick Manion, an unlikeable army lieutenant (Ben Gazzara, in his breakout role) accused of murdering a bartender. In his defense, Manion claims the bartender raped his wife Laura (Lee Remick). What follows is a twisty, stylistically bold thriller in which the truth is constantly in question. Plus, it’s got a smoking hot score by Duke Ellington and a terrific title sequence and iconic poster from the innovative graphic designer Saul Bass. The Criterion disc features a sparkling new transfer of the film, plus behind-the-scenes footage and stills, and featurettes on Ellington and Bass.

In a surprise upset, the animated comedy Puss in Boots held onto the box office crown thanks to an astonishingly strong hold in the second frame while the competing new comedies Tower Heist and A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas debuted in the silver and bronze positions, both performing on the lower end of expectations. The overall marketplace remained slow resulting in the worst gross for the first weekend of November in at least nine years.



Barely shedding any business from its softer-than-anticipated opening last week, the Shrek spinoff Puss in Boots grossed a stunning $33M this weekend according to studio estimates making for a scant 3% decline. The low drop was caused by many factors including the opening frame being hurt by snowstorms and Halloween activities, plus strong word-of-mouth that helped the DreamWorks Animation hit pick up lost business now that the pumpkin holiday has passed. Many, including numerous Wall Street analysts, wrote off the $34.1M debut last week since it was one of the lowest bows ever for the animation giant. But DreamWorks and distribution partner Paramount are all smiles as the audience is coming now that it is more available. Puss averaged a remarkable $8,336 from 3,963 locations and saw its ten-day cume climb to a stellar $75.5M.



The Antonio Banderas-voiced film is now on course to reach at least $160M and could even approach the $200M mark if it can continue to show good legs this month. Declines are likely to get bigger next week, though. But still there is Veterans Day on Friday which is always a potent school holiday plus Thanksgiving coming up to help keep the cat going into December. Also the next major direct competitor doesn’t debut until November 18 when Warner Bros rolls out its own 3D animal franchise toon Happy Feet Two. 3D screens contributed 48% of the weekend gross for Puss and IMAX helped too. Overseas, it grossed an additional $15M from just four markets upping the early total to $39M with most major territories yet to open. International appeal is sizable and the overseas appetite for 3D toons is huge so a robust global tally is likely by year’s end.



Widely expected to debut on top, Universal’s final release of the year Tower Heist instead opened in second place with an estimated $25.1M finishing the frame on the low end of industry expectations. The PG-13 pic starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy as leaders of a group trying to rob a wealthy criminal’s penthouse averaged a good $7,450 from 3,367 locations. But the first weekend of November kicks off the busy holiday moviegoing season and big star-driven comedies with broad appeal often show more muscle. Produced for $85M, Heist also starred Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Téa Leoni, Michael Peña, Judd Hirsch, and Gabourey Sidibe with top-dollar filmmakers Brett Ratner and Brian Grazer directing and producing, respectively.



Reviews were mixed but generally upbeat on Tower Heist, but paying customers gave only a CinemaScore grade of B. Females made up 56% of the audience while 62% were 30 and older. Stiller and Murphy have both seen larger debuts with their past comedies and combining the two into one film opened the door to growing the upfront fan base for the film. Heist will now have to hope it can have legs although a mediocre audience grade and a competing mainstream comedy from the always reliable Adam Sandler this Friday (Jack and Jill) will make it tough.



Opening in third place was the second new comedy of the frame – A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas – which collected an estimated $13.1M which fell a bit below expectations. The bow was 12% lower than the $14.9M debut of its predecessor Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay from April 2008. Warner Bros. averaged a mild $4,544 from 2,875 theaters and with most screens offering the extra dimension, the 3D share of the gross was a very high 95%. Reviews were good for Christmas but moviegoers were not as impressed as the R-rated film earned a B grade from opening day patrons, according to CinemaScore. Saturday sales slumped 13% while all other films in the top ten went up by at least 20%. As expected, young men made up the prime audience with 62% being male and 73% being under 35. Young males have become extremely difficult to attract this year and high 3D ticket prices have scared away many potential audiences from films that are not part of a top-level brand like Harry Potter or Transformers. Both of these factors became challenges for Harold & Kumar which was fairly inexpensive to produce with a $20M budget.



The horror threequel Paranormal Activity 3 fell another 53% to an estimated $8.5M putting Paramount at $95.3M after 17 days of play. The low budget chiller is now running 24% ahead of its predecessor from last fall. Fox’s sci-fi thriller In Time followed with an estimated $7.7M, down 36%, for a $24.2M ten-day total. The dance remake Footloose remained incredibly strong with its female audience easing a slim 17% to an estimated $4.6M. Paramount has collected $44.8M to date.



Rounding out the top ten were four winners of the oh-so-prestigious Sexiest Man Alive award from People magazine. Hugh Jackman’s leggy robot boxing hit Real Steel dipped a mere 29% in its fifth round for a $78.8M cume for Disney. The Johnny Depp flop The Rum Diary continued to be ignored by audiences taking in an estimated $3M, down 42%, giving FilmDistrict a puny $10.4M in ten days. A $15M final seems likely for the rookie distributor which is now going through a reorganization of its executive ranks.



Ocean’s Eleven pals George Clooney and Brad Pitt followed with estimates of $2M for The Ides of March and $1.9M for Moneyball. Both Sony titles held up very well with declines of 29% and 20% respectively and now stand at $36.8M and $70.3M.



There was no shortage of activity in the specialty marketplace as numerous films expanded into new cities hoping to become players in this winter’s awards race. Paramount’s romantic drama Like Crazy widened from four to 16 sites and grossed an estimated $270,000 for a terrific $16,875 in its second weekend of play. Fox Searchlight’s Martha Marcy May Marlene expanded from 32 to 98 theaters for an estimated $471,000 and $4,806 average. Totals stand at $448,000 and $1M, respectively with more markets to come.



The Wall Street thriller Margin Call went from 140 to 178 playdates in its third round and grossed an estimated $774,000 for a $4,348 average. Roadside Attractions has taken in $2.6M from the Kevin Spacey-Zachary Quinto pic even though it is also available to audiences at home on VOD and other digital platforms. With Antonio Banderas topping the charts two weeks in a row with his kid-friendly toon, the actor’s darker adult drama The Skin I Live In continued to invade more arthouses with an estimated $326,000 from 78 sites for a $4,179 average. The Pedro Almodovar pic from Sony Classics played in 31 locations last weekend and has now banked $1.3M. Big Sony doubled the run of its Shakespeare thriller Anonymous which has fared poorly in the U.S. with an estimated $1.3M from 513 theaters for a dull $2,485 average and $2.7M total.



The top ten films grossed an estimated $102.3M which was down a sharp 26% from last year when Megamind debuted in the top spot with $46M; and off 1% from 2009 when A Christmas Carol opened at number one with $30.1M.

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The animated comedy Puss in Boots debuted at number one over the pre-Halloween frame while other new releases failed to generate much excitement averaging under $4,000 a piece. The overall marketplace got hit hard by a double whammy of game seven of the World Series on Friday which attracted over 25 million viewers followed by a powerful winter storm hitting the highly populated northeast region of the country on Saturday affecting tens of millions of people with unusually early snowfalls. Studio estimates may change significantly on Monday depending on how much lost business gets picked up on Sunday. Films with better word-of-mouth may also grab some of that lost cash in the weeks ahead if good buzz can spread.

With its second top spot debut from a franchise film in as many weeks, Paramount hit number one with the launch of its Shrek spin-off toon Puss in Boots which debuted to an estimated $34M. The figure was one of the lowest debuts for a high-profile 3D toon in recent years and was a far cry from the openings of other DreamWorks titles like last year’s triumvirate of Megamind ($46M), the leggy How to Train Your Dragon ($43.7M), and Shrek Forever After ($70.8M) which was the last installment of this franchise. Even this year’s earlier non-sequel animated entries like Fox’s 3D Rio and Paramount’s 2D Rango debuted higher with $39.2M and $38.1M, respectively. The PG-rated cat pic averaged $8,603 from 3,952 theaters including 2,827 offering 3D.

However, all indicators point to Puss in Boots having good legs in the weeks ahead despite the slow start. Weather and also pre-Halloween activities for kids helped to softened the bow but audiences and critics alike are giving high marks to the product suggesting good buzz will keep it relevant. Reviews were quite good and an encouraging A- CinemaScore grade bodes well for the weeks ahead. Studios typically pick the first weekend of November as the time to launch the holiday season’s first high-profile animated entry or kidpic as it’s been for the last ten consecutive years. In fact, Puss was originally slated for November 4 but was moved earlier one week to have a longer run before competitors roll in. Led by the voice of Antonio Banderas, the toon has clear sailing until Happy Feet Two arrives on November 18.

If estimates hold, Puss in Boots will claim the record for best Halloween weekend opening of all-time. The milestone is not exactly one that comes with much bragging rights since the holiday falls on a different day each year and its activities often cause distractions that reduce box office activity. Horror films typically are the ones that excel with the previous top three best debuts for the holiday being recent installments of the Saw franchise. Studios rarely program big non-horror titles around Halloween.

Puss in Boots skewed more to moms with females making up 59% of the crowd and 55% being 25 and older. Banderas and co-star Salma Hayek helped to mobilize the Latino-American audience which accounted for 35% of business spending nearly $12M this weekend. 3D screens including 270 IMAX locations accounted for 51% of the gross giving the film a higher share than recent animated films like Cars 2, Kung Fu Panda 2, and The Smurfs.

Overseas, Puss in Boots launched to spectacular results in Russia which led the three-market debut of $17M this weekend. $15M came from the increasingly important Russian market making it the second biggest DreamWorks bow ever after the fourth Shrek as well as the third largest debut of 2011 after the latest 3D sequels for Pirates of the Caribbean and Transformers which were both monster hits there. With its international cast and setting, Puss in Boots should do robust business overseas where animated films typically perform incredibly well accounting for 70-75% of global box office.

After scoring the best opening ever during the September-October corridor, the horror threequel Paranormal Activity 3 fell sharply in its second frame dropping 65% to an estimated $18.5M. That gave the $5M production a stellar $81.3M after only ten days of release with Monday’s Halloween holiday likely to deliver another solid day of business since horror films historically draw big audiences during evening shows on the pumpkin holiday. The Paramount hit has already come close to the $84.8M of the last installment of the lucrative franchise and is headed for a finish in the neighborhood of the $107.9M of the first chapter in the series. Overseas, the third Paranormal grossed an estimated $17M boosting the international tally to $54.2M and the global haul to $135.5M with top-tier markets Japan and Germany still to open. The trilogy as a whole has now grossed a mammoth $507M worldwide plus tons more on DVD.

Justin Timberlake’s sci-fi thriller In Time opened in third place with a mediocre $12M, according to estimates, averaging a moderate $3,844 from 3,122 theaters. The PG-13 film about a world in the near future when only the wealthy can afford to buy time to extend their own lifespans played evenly across genders and skewed older with 58% being 25 and up. Reviews were more on the negative side and moviegoers were not that much more impressed as the Fox release got a B- CinemaScore. Timberlake has been growing his resume in the world of film with supporting turns in The Social Network and Bad Teacher followed by a lead role in the romantic comedy Friends With Benefits which had a nice late summer run grossing $55.8M.

The dance remake Footloose followed in fourth place with an estimated $5.4M, down 48%, giving Paramount $38.4M after 17 days. A final gross near $50M seems likely.

Johnny Depp stumbled into fifth place with his new offering The Rum Diary which bowed to a weak $5M, according to estimates. Playing in 2,272 locations, the R-rated drama about a New York journalist relocating to Puerto Rico averaged a poor $2,206 per theater. The older-skewing FilmDistrict release did not wow critics and even ticket buyers were disappointed as the troubling C CinemaScore and tiny 4% Saturday jump indicated large declines ahead. The opening for Rum was reminiscent of the debuts for many of Depp’s quirkier dramas prior to Pirates of the Caribbean vaulting him to the level of the top box office draws in the world. Those included $6.6M for The Ninth Gate, $4M for The Astronaut’s Wife, $3.3M for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and $4.6M for Don Juan de Marco.

Two-time chart-topper Real Steel got clobbered in its fourth round falling 57% to an estimated $4.7M boosting Disney’s cume to $73.9M making it the fourth biggest grosser of the fall after The Lion King 3D ($93.2M), Paranormal Activity 3, and Contagion ($74.1M) which it will surpass later this week. Audiences also fled from The Three Musketeers which tumbled 60% in its second frame to an estimated $3.5M for a dull ten-day tally of $14.8M for Summit. A $20M final may result.

Sony filled up the rest of the spots in the top ten with its fall slate. George Clooney’s Oscar hopeful The Ides of March grossed an estimated $2.7M, down 44%, for a $33.5M total. Brad Pitt’s Moneyball fell 40% to an estimated $2.4M while the faith-based hit Courageous dipped only 28% to an estimated $1.8M. Totals stand at $67.4M and $27.6M.

In limited release, Sony’s Shakespeare drama Anonymous generated a lukewarm response from American audiences with an estimated $1M debut from only 265 theaters for a lackluster $3,774 average. The PG-13 film was originally set for a nationwide bow but the studio shifted gears less than two weeks before opening day to a moderate release instead. Anonymous earned a good A- CinemaScore from those few that did come out and pay to see it, but overall interest domestically had never been high at all. The audience breakdown was 51% female while 65% was 30 and over. Reviews were mixed.

Doing well in platform release was the award-winning Sundance drama Like Crazy which debuted in just four theaters with an estimated $120,000 for a solid $30,000 average. Reviews were generally good for the PG-13 Paramount release which toured a number of film festivals generating buzz before heading into its commercial release.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $90M which was up 8% from last year when Saw 3D debuted in the top spot with $24.2M; and up 16% from 2009 when This Is It opened at number one with $23.2M.

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This week at the movies, we’ve got a swashbuckling feline (Puss in Boots, with voice work from Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek), a gonzo journalist (The Rum Diary, starring Johnny Depp and Aaron Eckhart), and monetary mortality (In Time, starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried). What do the critics have to say?



Puss in Boots

86%

The Shrek franchise keeps rolling along, this time ogre-free, with Puss in Boots, which critics find to be a witty, action-packed romp in its own right. In this prequel, ever-daring Puss (voiced by Antonio Banderas) teams up with the tough, alluring Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) to protect the world from a pair of villains named Jack and Jill. The pundits say Puss in Boots is smart and funny, a clever send-up of fairy tale conventions with vibrant animation and inspired vocal performances. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Banderas’ best-reviewed films.)



The Rum Diary

51%

Johnny Depp steps back into Hunter S. Thompson’s shoes for The Rum Diary, but critics say that, like its predecessor Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, its sporadic moments of colorful madness are undercut by an uneven script. The Run Diary chronicles one of the gonzo reporter’s memorable early assignments: a wild trek to Puerto Rico in which our hero uncovers a shady business plot and drinks a ton of booze. The pundits say the film is a mostly agreeable mix of picturesque settings and eccentric characters, but it lacks the focus needed to be a truly cohesive head trip. (Check out director Bruce Robinson’s Five Favorite Films.)



In Time

37%

It’s a high concept cross between Logan’s Run and Occupy Wall Street, but critics say gaping plot holes and excessive action sequences keep In Time from measuring up to its intriguing premise. Set in a world where everyone is genetically engineered to die shortly after they turn 25 (except for the rich folks, who can purchase more time), Justin Timberlake stars as a man of modest means on the run from the cops after he’s been gifted a life-extension. The pundits say In Time has a sleek look and some interesting ideas, but it runs out of steam pretty quickly.

Also opening this week in limited release:

I don’t know you, but I’d like to. This Friday, come meet me under the cover of darkness for a film with the greatest subject: ME…Puss in Boots. Stepping out of the green ogre’s very large shadow, I am showcasing my considerable talents in a movie that has it all: drama, action, comedy, a little swashbuckling and, yes, a lot of romance. Before I sweep you off your feet and into my new adventure, get to know me a little more: Presenting my Five Favorite Films…

Cat People (Paul Schrader, 1982; 64% Tomatometer)


I am fond of both cats and people… but mostly Natassja Kinski.

The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963; 95% Tomatometer)



My hat is off to Senor Hitchcock. Never has a movie both terrified me and made me hungry at the same time.

Booty Call (Jeff Pollack, 1997; 25% Tomatometer)



Great boots!

The Adventures of Milo and Otis (Masanori Hata, 1989; 80% Tomatometer)



Ignore the boring parts with the dog… It’s the seminal performance of the orange tabby that is nothing short of brilliant!

Dirty Harry (Don Siegel, 1971; 95% Tomatometer)



Anything Dirty Harry. He’s the only man I fear.


Puss in Boots is opening wide this Friday. It has also gone Certified Fresh, so my motion picture has officially joined the ranks of Citizen Kane.

(Major thanks to DreamWorks Animation!)

Antonio Banderas

To a lot of American filmgoers, Antonio Banderas is the suave Latin heartthrob who came out of nowhere in the 1990s to star in some hits (Desperado, Evita, The Mask of Zorro) and some big misses (Assassins, Never Talk to Strangers, Play It to the Bone). But as film buffs know, Banderas is more than just the guy who co-starred in the worst-reviewed movie of the aughts. He’s built up an admirably diverse filmography over the last 30 years, and with two movies — his reunion with Pedro Almodóvar, The Skin I Live In, and this weekend’s Shrek spinoff, Puss in Boots — now playing in theaters, we decided this would be the perfect time to revisit some of the many critical highlights from his career. ¡Es tiempo para la Retirada Total!


75%

10. Frida

Frida is absolutely Salma Hayek’s showcase, but for her Oscar-nominated turn in the central role of the Frida Kahlo biopic, director Julie Taymor surrounded Hayek with an impressive array of talented supporting players, including Alfred Molina, Edward Norton, Geoffrey Rush, Ashley Judd, and — as Kahlo’s fellow artist David Alfaro Siqueiros — Antonio Banderas. It all adds up to a film that is, in the words of Susan Stark of the Detroit News, “Passionate, provocative, hilarious, tragic and just dizzyingly beautiful to behold.”


81%

9. Philadelphia

A year after making his English-language debut in The Mambo Kings, Banderas took a supporting role in a much more high-profile film: Jonathan Demme’s Philadelphia, which used its gaudy pedigree and a marquee cast led by Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington to break box-office taboos surrounding homosexuality, HIV, and AIDS. Hanks earned an Academy Award for his performance, one of two Oscars won by the film, and audiences turned out to the tune of more than $205 million in worldwide grosses. “It’s less like a film by Demme than the best of Frank Capra,” observed Rita Kempley for the Washington Post. “It is not just canny, corny and blatantly patriotic, but compassionate, compelling and emotionally devastating.”


82%

8. The Mambo Kings

Warner Bros. wanted Ray Liotta for the role — and even after director Arne Glimcher successfully fought to cast Banderas in his English-language debut, he had to learn his lines phonetically. But 1992’s The Mambo Kings ultimately proved to be the international breakthrough Banderas had been working toward for a decade, and for good reason — his character’s tragic tale underscores the film’s story of musical passion and brotherly love, and his performance more than held its own with co-star Armand Assante’s. “In some ways this story is as old as the movies,” admitted Roger Ebert, “but The Mambo Kings is so filled with energy, passion and heedless vitality that it seems new, anyway.”


83%

7. The Mask of Zorro

By the 1990s, the masked bandit Zorro had appeared in countless books, serials, TV shows, and more than a dozen feature-length films — but it wasn’t until Antonio Banderas signed on for The Mask of Zorro that the character was actually portrayed by a Spanish actor. (And yes, even then, he took over for the original Zorro — played in the film by Anthony Hopkins.) Rebooting such a venerable (some would say “tired”) character might have seemed like a recipe for disaster, but Mask swashbuckled its way to a $250 million worldwide gross and reaped praise from critics like the BBC’s Almar Haflidason, who enthused, “There are no clever ground-breaking effects, just lashings of good clean fun with desperately devilish baddies, and good guys so fantastic, so clever and witty, that they make you want to weep with pleasure.”


90%

6. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Banderas and Pedro Almodóvar reunited for their fourth film in 1988, and the result proved an international breakthrough for both men. While it didn’t inspire quite as much critical adoration as their earlier outings, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown still offered plenty of vintage Almodóvar, starting with a plot that revolves around tainted gazpacho, Shiite terrorists, and the all-consuming love between an actress (Carmen Maura) and her on-again, off-again boyfriend (Fernando Guillén). “Women on the Verge is even wackier than [Almodovar’s] other films,” observed Chris Hicks of the Deseret News. “It also just happens to be more universal.”

89%

5. Shrek 2

The law of diminishing returns tends to apply to sequels whether or not they’re successful, but when you’re talking about a critical and commercial winner as powerful as Shrek, the odds of turning in a second installment that exceeds the original are pretty slim. Shrek 2 beat the odds, due in part to a thoroughly enjoyable storyline that retained the humorous dynamic and fairytale mythology of the original while introducing terrific supporting characters — like, say, Puss in Boots (Banderas). “This fractured, very showbizzy deconstruction of fairy tales is in many ways the Godfather: Part II of animations,” wrote Joe Baltake of the Sacramento Bee, arguing that “it tops its successful predecessor.”


93%

4. Spy Kids

By 2001, Banderas’ film career had cooled considerably from its mid-1990s peak, thanks to a series of duds such as Play It to the Bone and Two Much (although he met his eventual second wife, Melanie Griffith, on the set of the latter, so maybe we should call that one a draw). He started turning things around with his role in Robert Rodriguez’s family action-adventure hit Spy Kids, using his heroic flair as well as his comedic chops to support the antics of on-screen kids Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara. The end result earned Banderas nominations from the ALMA and Kids’ Choice Awards — and they were, in the words of the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Carrie Rickey, “A delight for 7-year-olds, their parents, and James Bond diehards everywhere.”


92%

3. Matador

Pedro Almodóvar dismissed Matador as one of his weakest films, but the critics strongly disagreed: both he and Banderas earned raves for their work in this typically lurid tale of a junior matador whose yearning to prove his manhood to a washed-up colleague (Nacho Martinez) leads him to try and rape the older man’s girlfriend — and then confess to a series of murders he didn’t commit. “Matador baits every bull imaginable — murder, mutilation, suicide and rape being just a few of “Matador’s” popcorn-incompatible themes,” observed Desson Howe of the Washington Post. “But the Spanish director swirls his cape over these chargers so imaginatively, shamelessly and inventively, his flamboyance wins the day.”


92%

2. Labyrinth of Passion

What do you get when you cross the death of 40-year dictator Francisco Franco, the Spanish sexual revolution, and the singular gifts of writer/director Pedro Almodóvar? The effervescent, utterly cuckoo Labyrinth of Passion, which follows the adventures of a sex-addicted singer (Cecilia Roth), a gay Middle Eastern prince (Imanol Arias), and the young terrorist who loves him (Banderas). It all sounds a little like a 12:45 AM Fred Armisen sketch on Saturday Night Live, but it works — and according to critics like Janet Maslin of the New York Times, it “shows off the bright, gaudy visual style, the breezy manner and the exuberant energy that are Mr. Almodóvar’s particular virtues.”


100%

1. Law of Desire

Half wrenching drama, half dizzying sexual whirlwind, Almodóvar’s Law of Desire rests on the love triangle sparked when a gay filmmaker (Eusebio Poncela) steps out on his long-term boyfriend with a young fan (Banderas) who becomes smitten after their one-night stand. Complicating matters further is Poncela’s relationship with his transsexual sister, who ultimately becomes an unwitting pawn in Banderas’ campaign to win him at any cost. As is Almodóvar’s wont, Desire hinges on larger-than-life characters and rather outlandish plot developments, but it also has a depth and empathy that led critics like Marjorie Baumgarten to hail it as a “spectacle of flamboyant melodrama, murder, and amnesia.”


In case you were wondering, here are Banderas’ top 10 movies according RT users’ scores:

1. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown — 88%
2. Philadelphia — 87%
3. Interview with the Vampire — 85%
4. Frida — 83%
5. Desperado — 79%
6. Law of Desire — 79%
7. Take the Lead — 78%
8. Matador — 75%
9. The House of the Spirits — 74%
10. The Mask of Zorro — 70%


Take a look through Banderas’ complete filmography, as well as the rest of our Total Recall archives. And don’t forget to check out the reviews for Puss in Boots.

 

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