94 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. Lately, we’ve welcomed Minions: The Rise of Gru and The Sea Beast! Alex Vo

#1

Toy Story 2 (1999)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 107570%
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]

#2

Toy Story (1995)
100%

#2
Adjusted Score: 106383%
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

#3

Finding Nemo (2003)
99%

#3
Adjusted Score: 109306%
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

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 106592%
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]

#5

Inside Out (2015)
98%

#5
Adjusted Score: 114462%
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

#6

Toy Story 3 (2010)
98%

#6
Adjusted Score: 110927%
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

#7

Zootopia (2016)
98%

#7
Adjusted Score: 116348%
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

#8

Up (2009)
98%

#8
Adjusted Score: 110085%
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

#9

Toy Story 4 (2019)
97%

#9
Adjusted Score: 125270%
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

#10
Adjusted Score: 121557%
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]

#11

Coco (2017)
97%

#11
Adjusted Score: 124613%
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

#12

The Incredibles (2004)
97%

#12
Adjusted Score: 107367%
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

#13
Adjusted Score: 106705%
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

#14

The LEGO Movie (2014)
96%

#14
Adjusted Score: 106239%
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]

#15

Ratatouille (2007)
96%

#15
Adjusted Score: 106589%
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

#16

Monsters, Inc. (2001)
96%

#16
Adjusted Score: 103136%
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

#17

Soul (2020)
95%

#17
Adjusted Score: 120422%
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

#18

Moana (2016)
95%

#18
Adjusted Score: 113469%
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

#19

WALL-E (2008)
95%

#19
Adjusted Score: 106241%
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

#20

Finding Dory (2016)
94%

#20
Adjusted Score: 116218%
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

#21

The Sea Beast (2022)
94%

#21
Adjusted Score: 98786%
Critics Consensus: An original animated tale that's often as daring as its characters, The Sea Beast sends audiences on a voyage well worth taking.
Synopsis: In an era when terrifying beasts roamed the seas, monster hunters were celebrated heroes -- and none were more beloved... [More]
Directed By: Chris Williams

#22

Incredibles 2 (2018)
93%

#22
Adjusted Score: 117300%
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

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 108887%
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]

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 97692%
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

#25

Arthur Christmas (2011)
92%

#25
Adjusted Score: 98684%
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

#26

Antz (1998)
92%

#26
Adjusted Score: 96605%
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

#27

A Bug's Life (1998)
92%

#27
Adjusted Score: 96483%
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]

#28
Adjusted Score: 99074%
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

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 113317%
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

#30
Adjusted Score: 106215%
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

#31

Frozen (2013)
90%

#31
Adjusted Score: 100604%
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

#32

Big Hero 6 (2014)
90%

#32
Adjusted Score: 98995%
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

#33

Shrek 2 (2004)
89%

#33
Adjusted Score: 97799%
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]

#34

Tangled (2010)
89%

#34
Adjusted Score: 98165%
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

#35

Bolt (2008)
89%

#35
Adjusted Score: 96895%
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]

#36

Onward (2020)
88%

#36
Adjusted Score: 113043%
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

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 103820%
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

#38

Rango (2011)
88%

#38
Adjusted Score: 97231%
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

#39

Shrek (2001)
88%

#39
Adjusted Score: 96645%
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]

#40
#40
Adjusted Score: 95009%
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

#41

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
87%

#41
Adjusted Score: 94382%
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

#42

Kung Fu Panda (2008)
87%

#42
Adjusted Score: 94942%
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]

#43
Adjusted Score: 96010%
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

#44

The Bad Guys (2022)
88%

#44
Adjusted Score: 95599%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, funny, and full of colorful visual appeal, The Bad Guys is good news for audiences seeking options the whole family can enjoy.
Synopsis: In the new action comedy from DreamWorks Animation, based on the New York Times best-selling book series, a crackerjack criminal... [More]
Directed By: Pierre Perifel

#45
#45
Adjusted Score: 86124%
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

#46

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
86%

#46
Adjusted Score: 97223%
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]

#47

Puss in Boots (2011)
86%

#47
Adjusted Score: 91044%
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

#48
Adjusted Score: 90737%
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]

#49
Adjusted Score: 102928%
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

#50

The Book of Life (2014)
83%

#50
Adjusted Score: 87096%
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

#51

Sausage Party (2016)
82%

#51
Adjusted Score: 97325%
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]

#52

Abominable (2019)
82%

#52
Adjusted Score: 91330%
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

#53

Despicable Me (2010)
81%

#53
Adjusted Score: 88001%
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: Supervillain Gru, a man who delights in all things wicked, hatches a plan to steal the moon. Surrounded by an... [More]

#54
#54
Adjusted Score: 86673%
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

#55
#55
Adjusted Score: 87425%
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

#56

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
80%

#56
Adjusted Score: 87367%
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

#57
Adjusted Score: 84449%
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]

#58

Surf's Up (2007)
79%

#58
Adjusted Score: 84314%
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

#59

Brave (2012)
78%

#59
Adjusted Score: 88596%
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]

#60
Adjusted Score: 83548%
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]

#61

Ice Age (2002)
77%

#61
Adjusted Score: 82616%
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

#62
#62
Adjusted Score: 87617%
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

#63
#63
Adjusted Score: 84061%
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

#64

Happy Feet (2006)
76%

#64
Adjusted Score: 82256%
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

#65

Smallfoot (2018)
76%

#65
Adjusted Score: 82324%
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

#66

Lightyear (2022)
75%

#66
Adjusted Score: 91562%
Critics Consensus: Lightyear settles for being a rather conventional origin story instead of reaching for the stars, but this gorgeously animated adventure ably accomplishes its mission of straightforward fun.
Synopsis: Legendary space ranger Buzz Lightyear embarks on an intergalactic adventure alongside ambitious recruits Izzy, Mo, Darby, and his robot companion,... [More]
Directed By: Angus MacLane

#67

Despicable Me 2 (2013)
75%

#67
Adjusted Score: 82680%
Critics Consensus: Despicable Me 2 offers plenty of eye-popping visual inventiveness and a number of big laughs.
Synopsis: Now that Gru has forsaken a life of crime to raise Margo, Agnes and Edith, he's trying to figure out... [More]

#68

Over the Hedge (2006)
75%

#68
Adjusted Score: 82394%
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]

#69

Trolls (2016)
75%

#69
Adjusted Score: 85267%
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

#70

Monster House (2006)
75%

#70
Adjusted Score: 80960%
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

#71
#71
Adjusted Score: 80818%
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

#72
#72
Adjusted Score: 83689%
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

#73

Cars (2006)
74%

#73
Adjusted Score: 82858%
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

#74

Flushed Away (2006)
73%

#74
Adjusted Score: 77788%
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

#75
#75
Adjusted Score: 86121%
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

#76
#76
Adjusted Score: 82291%
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]

#77
#77
Adjusted Score: 77616%
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]

#78
#78
Adjusted Score: 78988%
Critics Consensus: The Minions' antic shenanigans are beginning to grate despite this sequel's injection of retro chic, although this loony marathon of gags will still delight young children.
Synopsis: In the heart of the 1970s, amid a flurry of feathered hair and flared jeans, Gru (Oscar® nominee Steve Carell)... [More]
Directed By: Kyle Balda

#79
#79
Adjusted Score: 78287%
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

#80

Megamind (2010)
72%

#80
Adjusted Score: 78150%
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

#81

Rio (2011)
72%

#81
Adjusted Score: 77866%
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

#82

The Croods (2013)
72%

#82
Adjusted Score: 76685%
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]

#83

Sing (2016)
71%

#83
Adjusted Score: 82837%
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

#84
#84
Adjusted Score: 82148%
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

#85
Adjusted Score: 74753%
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

#86

Cars 3 (2017)
69%

#86
Adjusted Score: 85723%
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

#87
#87
Adjusted Score: 72067%
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

#88

Turbo (2013)
67%

#88
Adjusted Score: 70339%
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

#89

Storks (2016)
65%

#89
Adjusted Score: 73496%
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]

#90

Epic (2013)
65%

#90
Adjusted Score: 68892%
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

#91

Robots (2005)
64%

#91
Adjusted Score: 70854%
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]

#92
Adjusted Score: 69390%
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

#93

Dinosaur (2000)
64%

#93
Adjusted Score: 68269%
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]

#94
Adjusted Score: 68739%
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

#95

The Ant Bully (2006)
62%

#95
Adjusted Score: 65759%
Critics Consensus: Sometimes inventive and witty, this animated adventure into an ant-sized world is a pleasant diversion.
Synopsis: Tired of weathering constant attacks on their colony, ants shrink a destructive boy, named Lucas (Zach Tyler Eisen), to their... [More]
Directed By: John A. Davis

DreamWorks Animation

(Photo by DreamWorks Animation)

All 42 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 release was The Bad Guys, and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish on the horizon. Now, we’re ranking all DreamWorks Animation movies by Tomatometer! Alex Vo

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 106592%
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]

#2

Chicken Run (2000)
97%

#2
Adjusted Score: 103371%
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

#3
Adjusted Score: 102797%
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

#4

Antz (1998)
92%

#4
Adjusted Score: 96605%
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

#5
Adjusted Score: 99074%
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

#6
Adjusted Score: 106215%
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

#7

Shrek 2 (2004)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 97799%
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]

#8

Shrek (2001)
88%

#8
Adjusted Score: 96645%
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]

#9

Kung Fu Panda (2008)
87%

#9
Adjusted Score: 94942%
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]

#10
Adjusted Score: 96010%
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

#11

The Bad Guys (2022)
88%

#11
Adjusted Score: 95599%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, funny, and full of colorful visual appeal, The Bad Guys is good news for audiences seeking options the whole family can enjoy.
Synopsis: In the new action comedy from DreamWorks Animation, based on the New York Times best-selling book series, a crackerjack criminal... [More]
Directed By: Pierre Perifel

#12

Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
86%

#12
Adjusted Score: 97223%
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]

#13

Puss in Boots (2011)
86%

#13
Adjusted Score: 91044%
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

#14

Abominable (2019)
82%

#14
Adjusted Score: 91330%
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

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 86673%
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

#16

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
80%

#16
Adjusted Score: 87367%
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

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 84483%
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]

#18
Adjusted Score: 83548%
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]

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 87617%
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

#20

Over the Hedge (2006)
75%

#20
Adjusted Score: 82394%
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]

#21

Trolls (2016)
75%

#21
Adjusted Score: 85267%
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

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 80818%
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

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 82291%
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]

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 77616%
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]

#25

Flushed Away (2006)
73%

#25
Adjusted Score: 77788%
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

#26

Megamind (2010)
72%

#26
Adjusted Score: 78150%
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

#27

The Croods (2013)
72%

#27
Adjusted Score: 76685%
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]

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 82148%
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

#29
Adjusted Score: 73032%
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

#30

Turbo (2013)
67%

#30
Adjusted Score: 70339%
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

#31
Adjusted Score: 69390%
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

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 65010%
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

#33

Madagascar (2005)
54%

#33
Adjusted Score: 62144%
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

#34

The Boss Baby (2017)
53%

#34
Adjusted Score: 66386%
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

#35

Home (2015)
52%

#35
Adjusted Score: 56354%
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

#36

Bee Movie (2007)
49%

#36
Adjusted Score: 56653%
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 finds the prospect of working with honey uninspiring. He flies outside the hive... [More]

#37

Spirit Untamed (2021)
49%

#37
Adjusted Score: 53634%
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

#38
#38
Adjusted Score: 51541%
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]

#39
Adjusted Score: 50879%
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

#40
Adjusted Score: 48384%
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]

#41

Shrek the Third (2007)
41%

#41
Adjusted Score: 50592%
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

#42

Shark Tale (2004)
35%

#42
Adjusted Score: 42363%
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]

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 streaming video, we’ve got the first half of the final Hunger Games installment, Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, and some solid new choices available on Netflix. Read on for details:

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

69%

Jennifer Lawrence reprises her role as Katniss Everdeen in the penultimate chapter of the immensely popular Hunger Games franchise. After upending the Hunger Games, Katniss has become the reluctant face of rebellion; will she be able to save Peeta and lead the resistance to victory?

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Google Play

Inherent Vice

74%

P.T. Anderson’s ensemble shaggy dog story stars Joaquin Phoenix as a stoner P.I. on the trail of a missing real estate developer. As he discovers more clues, however, the plot he uncovers begins to spiral out of control.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Google Play

The Two Faces of January

79%

Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, and Oscar Isaac star in this Certified Fresh period thriller about a con man living in Greece who assists a wealthy couple in flight when the husband is suspected of murdering a man in their hotel.

Available now on: Netflix

Lilting

82%

Ben Whishaw stars in this Certified Fresh drama about a Cambodian-Chinese woman living in London who is mourning the death of her son when his lover appears and forms an unlikely bond with her.

Available now on: Netflix

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

81%

An adaptation based on characters from the 1960s’ The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Mr. Peabody & Sherman centers on the world’s most intelligent dog and his adopted human son. When Sherman takes their time-travelling WABAC machine for a joyride, Mr. Peabody must track him down and help set the past right again.

Available now on: Netflix

Honeymoon

76%

Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones) and Harry Treadaway (Penny Dreadful) star in this psychological thriller as a newlywed couple who venture into the wife’s country cabin for a honeymoon; when she disappears briefly one night and returns oddly changed, he begins to suspect something terrible happened to her in the woods.

Available now on: Netflix

In Theaters This Week:

The Book of Life

83%

Rating: PG, for mild action, rude humor, some thematic elements and brief scary images.

Based on Mexican folklore, this is a vibrant, richly colorful animated adventure that takes place across magical realms, including the underworld. The Land of the Remembered is populated with Day of the Dead-type skeleton figures, which might seem vaguely scary for the smallest children. There are also some slightly violent bullfighting and battle sequences. And the plot concerns a longtime love triangle between childhood friends Manolo (Diego Luna), Joaquin (Channing Tatum) and Maria (Zoe Saldana). There are a few minor insults thrown around and some chaste kissing. But for the most part, this is pretty wholesome and harmless.

New On DVD:

X-Men: Days of Future Past

90%

Rating: PG-13, for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language.

An extremely violence and intense PG-13 film, but also a beautiful, smart and thrillingly made one. Major X-Men characters and their younger selves must work together in director Bryan Singer’s time-travel drama. One of the first images you see is of corpses being dumped from the back of a truck into the darkness of a terrifying, post-apocalyptic wasteland. Massive set pieces lead to major destruction. Giant, flying robots known as Sentinels have been built to take out the mutants by shape shifting to adapt to their gifts. Magneto alone racks up serious damage and casualties with just the mere wave of his hand. This is probably suitable only for mature tweens and older.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

81%

Rating: PG, for some mild action and brief rude humor.

This animated, time-travel adventure (which was projected in 3-D theatrically) is totally suitable for kids of all ages. It’s based on the cartoon series that played during all those great, old Rocky & Bullwinkle episodes. This time, Mr. Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell), the world’s smartest dog, and his genius boy, Sherman (Max Charles), skip about through history. It’s lively, clever, smart and often quite funny, despite (or perhaps because of) Mr. Peabody’s trademark, terrible puns. Many of the historical and pop-culture references will go over kids’ heads, but the grown-ups watching will be amused. There’s nothing even remotely inappropriate here, and as for gross-out humor, there is exactly one fart joke — but the set-up for it actually makes it work. Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Ariel Winter, Stanley Tucci and Patrick Warburton are among the strong voice cast.

iTunes

Download

RSS

Ep. 065 – Movies, TV, and Yeah, Whassup Monolo?

When the boss is away, the team will play…lots of clips of Channing Tatum spouting catch phrases. They cover the usual movies in theaters, including Fury, The Book of Life, The Best of Me, Birdman, and Dear White People. New DVDs include X-Men: Days of Future Past, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and Fargo. On television, Sarah discusses The Affair, The Walking Dead, Jane the Virgin, and Marry Me. Listen for Tim and Grae’s impromptu role play!

This week on streaming video, we’ve got Bryan Singer’s return to the X-Men franchise, an underseen animated film, an indie comedy, an acclaimed coming-of-age film from Sweden, and a retro space drama currently in theaters. Then we’ve got some new additions to Netflix, including a Star Trek film and a John Grisham thriller starring Tom Cruise. Read on for details:

X-Men: Days of Future Past

90%

This time out, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) goes back in time to prevent an assassination that, if it’s carried out, will lead to the creation of a new weapons system that threatens the existence of the X-Men — and potentially, all of humanity.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

81%

Canine genius Mr. Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell) and his adopted charge Sherman (Max Charles) use the WABAC machine to travel back in time and ensure that history’s greatest moments happen as they should. However, when Sherman takes the machine for a joyride to impress a classmate, it’s up to his doggie guardian to rescue him.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu

We Are the Best!

96%

This Certified Fresh dramedy is the tale of three Swedish teenagers who start a punk band.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu

Obvious Child

90%

Jenny Slate, Gaby Hoffman, and David Cross star in this Certified Fresh comedy about a stand-up comedian who discovers she’s pregnant just as she loses her job and her boyfriend.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu

Space Station 76

68%

Patrick Wilson and Liv Tyler star in this dramedy about romantic and professional entanglements among the crew of a retro spacecraft.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

82%

The crew of the Enterprise explores contemporary San Francisco and talks to whales in on of the lightest and most enjoyable of the Star Trek films.

Available now on: Netflix

The Firm

76%

Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn, and Gene Hackman star in this adaptation of John Grisham’s novel about an ambitious young attorney who discovers that his firm is involved in a bunch of shady dealings.

Available now on: Netflix

The Suspect

This politically-charged action thriller is the tale of a former North Korean spy who’s framed in the murder of a wealthy businessman.

Available now on: Netflix

The Music Never Stopped

67%

J.K. Simmons and Lou Taylor Pucci star in this drama about a father who attempts to treat his son’s brain ailment with music.

Available now on: Netflix

The top ten was littered with new faces as smaller films performed better than larger ones. The street racing actioner Need For Speed and Tyler Perry’s comedy The Single Moms Club both underperformed while indie pics The Grand Budapest Hotel and Veronica Mars jumped onto the list with the best averages. Overall, the domestic marketplace performed at normal levels for mid-March but it was a cartoon holdover that seized control of the number one spot.

DreamWorks Animation captured the box office crown with its latest film Mr. Peabody & Sherman which declined by only 34% to an estimated $21.2M in its second weekend to lead all films. The Fox release has collected $63.2M in ten days and could find its way to $135M or more in North America which would improve upon recent DreamWorks titles Turbo and Rise of the Guardians.

Peabody enjoyed a better second weekend hold than most previous animated films opening in March including The Croods, The Lorax, Horton Hears a Who, Monsters vs. Aliens, and the first two Ice Age flicks. The drop was equal to How To Train Your Dragon‘s from 2010 which was a durable hit that went on to gross five times its opening weekend take. The road ahead will not be easy for Sherman. Disney attacks this Friday with its heavily-hyped kidpic sequel Muppets Most Wanted followed three weeks later by Fox’s Rio 2.

Falling from the box office throne was 300: Rise of an Empire which dropped by a reasonable 58% to an estimated $19.1M for second place. For a male-skewing action sequel, the decline was not too bad. The original 300, a pop culture phenomenon, fell by 54% in its sophomore frame this same month in 2007. Warner Bros. has taken in $78.3M in ten days and could be headed for a domestic final of $110-120M. Overseas, Empire grossed an estimated $41.3M from 62 markets this weekend boosting the international cume to $158M and the worldwide take to $236.3M.

Selling over 140 million video games apparently means little at the multiplexes. The game-inspired action thriller Need For Speed disappointed in its debut weekend grossing only $17.8M, according to estimates, for a $5,717 average from 3,115 locations. Produced by DreamWorks Pictures and released by Disney, the PG-13 film played heavily to young men as expected. Studio research showed that guys made up 70% of the crowd while 56% were in the 18-34 age bracket. 3D accounted for 43% of the gross which was not bad by today’s standards on a film like this which is more driven by stunts than special effects.

Need For Speed opened with less than half of the strength of the original Fast & Furious film which relied on 2001 ticket prices and no 3D. That surprise street racing hit debuted to $40.1M and an average of more than $15,000 which would be north of $20,000 at today’s 2D prices. The CinemaScore on Need was a moderate B+.

Speed was banking on fans of the game to come out and buy tickets. But young males have become incredibly difficult to lure into multiplexes in recent years, especially outside of tentpole sequels and VFX-driven super hero flicks. Plus, Speed had no major names in the cast and awful reviews from critics. Outside of Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning Lincoln, it’s been tough times for DreamWorks Pictures with a string of duds like Delivery Man, The Fifth Estate, People Like Us, and A Thousand Words before Need For Speed came out.

International markets presented a brighter picture for Need For Speed. China opened strong this weekend with $21.2M (including $2.4M from 138 IMAX screens) beating out the domestic debut. $45.6M was grossed overseas this weekend making for a global start of $63.4M with key markets like Germany, France, Spain, Korea and Japan still to come. Produced for $66M and requiring a loud marketing push including a pricey Super Bowl commercial, Speed will need success from foreign markets to break even.

Liam Neeson enjoyed another good weekend for his action thriller Non-Stop which grossed an estimated $10.6M falling only 33% in its third round. The Universal hit has collected $68.8M thus far.

Tyler Perry’s star continued to fade this weekend as the media mogul suffered the worst opening of his directing career with The Single Moms Club which bowed to an estimated $8.3M. That was less than half of the usual $20M or so that he routinely delivers on the first weekend of most films. The PG-13 pic averaged a mild $4,378 from 1,896 locations – again, low by Perry standards.

Club did earn a good A- CinemaScore grade and the audience skewed heavily towards adult women. Studio research showed that 79% was female and 80% was over 25. After releasing all his other work, Lionsgate recently decided not to renew its deal with Perry. His last film A Madea Christmas opened to $16M which was by far a new low for that character’s films, however somewhat understandable for a pic opening during the holiday shopping season when debuts are generally lower. It did go on to break $50M like all past Madea flicks. Meet the Peeples, presented by Perry but not written or directed by him, was a clunker last summer with a $4.6M debut.

Toon hit The LEGO Movie followed with an estimated $7.7M, off 29%, for a robust $236.9M cume for Warner Bros. Worldwide tally is now $378.4M. Fox’s Biblical film Son of God fell 48% to an estimated $5.4M and has banked $50.9M to date.

Wes Anderson’s newest offering The Grand Budapest Hotel pulled off a perfect expansion jumping from four to 66 locations and grossing an estimated $3.6M for an eye-popping $55,152 average. Ranking eighth nationwide despite a limited release, Fox Searchlight’s indie smash became the first film playing in under 100 theaters to hit the national top ten since the director’s own Moonrise Kingdom from June 2012. With $4.8M to date, Hotel will expand into 40 new markets next weekend with roughly 300 total theaters. The film has posted numbers even bigger than Anderson’s past hits suggesting his newest has appeal beyond his loyal fan base.

The music-filled juggernaut that is Frozen ranked ninth with an estimated $2.1M, down only 28%, for a $396.4M domestic haul on its way past the $400M mark, possibly by month’s end. Disney’s Oscar-winning smash has now spent its first 16 weeks of wide release in the top ten matching Chicago for the most among all films released since 1997’s Titanic which spent 15 straight weeks at number one. Overseas, Frozen opened in its final market of Japan with a rare Friday release resulting in a big $9.4M debut weekend ahead of what should be a long run. The overseas tally soared to $630.2M for a global haul of $1.027 billion charging towards a $1.1 billion final. It releases domestically on Blu-ray this week while simultaneously being in the top ten theatrically.

Snow sister Anna also found herself in tenth place as Kristen Bell’s Veronica Mars debuted to an estimated $2M from 291 theaters for a good $6,945 average. Backed by fans of the television series through a Kickstarter campaign, the indie film was extremely front-loaded as half of the sales came on opening day with Saturday plunging 39%. Fans who donated also got a digital copy to download, although many had technical problems with that platform. Warner Bros. handled distribution and reviews were fairly positive. Tied for tenth place was George Clooney’s The Monuments Men, also with an estimated $2M weekend, putting Sony at $73.8M to date.

A year after conquering the box office with Identity Thief, Jason Bateman unleashed his directorial debut Bad Words in platform release and attracted commendable numbers from New York and Los Angeles. The raunchy spelling bee comedy bowed to an estimated $120,000 from six locations for a strong $20,000 average. Reviews were mixed for the R-rated pic which Focus expands Friday into the Top 20 markets before going nationwide the following week. Expanding at the same time as Budapest Hotel will be challenging, though, given the audience overlap.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $97.9M which was up 6% from last year when Oz the Great and Powerful stayed at number one with $41.3M; and up 5% from 2012 when 21 Jump Street took the top spot with $36.3M.

Follow Gitesh on Twitter!

In Theaters This Week:

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

81%

Rating: PG, for some mild action and brief rude humor.

Inspired by the cartoon series from those old Rocky & Bullwinkle episodes, this 3-D update finds Mr. Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell), the world’s smartest dog, and his genius boy, Sherman (Max Charles), enjoying various time-travel adventures. It is way better than that description makes it sound, though, or that the commercials might suggest. This animated action comedy is lively, clever, smart and frequently funny — even with Mr. Peabody’s trademark, groan-worthy puns. It’s totally suitable for kids of all ages, although a lot of the humor, historical details and pop-culture references clearly were intended for the adults in the audience. And there’s even a lesson or two to be learned here, albeit in a Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure kind of way. There is exactly one fart joke, but the set-up for it actually makes it work. Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Ariel Winter, Stanley Tucci and Patrick Warburton are among the strong voice cast.

New On DVD:

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

90%

Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language.

Totally unsurprisingly, given its source material, this second film in the Hunger Games trilogy is dark, suspenseful and very, very violent. Even more than its predecessor, 2012’s The Hunger Games, there’s an inescapable sense of totalitarian dread. This is a dystopian future in which young people must kill each other to save their home districts, with the unflappable Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) at the center as reigning co-champion. This time, she must fight again against other previous victors in a sort of sadistic all-stars round. It’s heady and disturbing as well as bloody and gruesome. If you’ve seen the first movie, you know what you’re getting into here. For older kids only.

This week at the movies, we’ve got a dog and his boy (Mr. Peabody & Sherman, with voice performances by Ty Burrell and Stephen Colbert) and some raging Spartans (300: Rise of an Empire, starring Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green). What do the critics have to say?

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

81%

It’s never easy to stretch a series of shorts to feature-film length, especially when the source material is largely unfamiliar to its intended audience. Fortunately, critics say Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a mostly successful big screen adaptation, with enough cleverness and goofy action to please kids and their parents. Canine genius Mr. Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell) and his adopted charge Sherman (Max Charles) use the WABAC machine to travel back in time and ensure that history’s greatest moments happen as they should. However, when Sherman takes the machine for a joyride to impress a classmate, it’s up to his doggie guardian to rescue him. The critics say Mr. Peabody & Sherman sometimes strains to maintain the inspired lunacy of the original cartoons, but most of the time, it’s bright, funny, exciting, and heartfelt. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we run down some memorable time travel movies, as well as our interviews with the cast.)

300: Rise of an Empire

45%

If you’re in the mood stylized bloodshed, you’re in luck: 300: Rise of an Empire is chock full of beheadings, hacked-off limbs, and gallons of blood. But critics say beyond its admittedly impressive visuals, the film is short on the heroic bombast of its predecessor. This time out, it’s a band of plucky seafaring Greeks, lead by Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) against the mighty Persian navy, headed by Artemisia (Eva Green); as we eventually learn through a series of flashbacks, this fight is partially driven by personal animosity. The pundits say Green is fantastic as a bellicose she-devil, but little resonates in 300: Rise of an Empire beyond the lovingly rendered killings and decapitations. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of big stars in togas.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Miele, a drama about a woman who secretly helps people with terminal illnesses to die on their own terms, is at 100 percent.

  • Particle Fever, a documentary about the physicists working to find the Higgs boson particle, is at 92 percent.

  • In Fear, a thriller about a couple that gets lost en route to a would-be romantic getaway, is at 90 percent.

  • Journey To The West, Stephen Chow‘s adaptation of the classic Chinese novel about a Buddhist monk’s epic excursion from China to India, is at 90 percent.

  • Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel, starring Ralph Fiennes and Saoirse Ronan in a period comedy about the adventures of a concierge and the oddball inhabitants of an ornate hotel, is Certified Fresh at 86 percent.

  • Grand Piano, starring Elijah Wood and John Cusack in a thriller about a concert pianist who must deliver a flawless performance to stave off a sniper, is at 82 percent.

  • Bethlehem, a drama about the tense relationship between an Israeli Secret Service officer and a Palestinian informant, is at 65 percent.

  • The Face of Love, starring Annette Bening and Ed Harris in a drama about a widow who meets a man who’s the spitting image of her dead husband, is at 53 percent.

  • Haunt, a horror film about a family that moves into an old house and stirs a malevolent curse, is at 20 percent.

Time TravelThis weekend, Rocky & Bullwinkle fans get a blast from the past with Mr. Peabody & Sherman, which sends the animated duo (voiced by Ty Burrell and Max Charles) on an epic adventure through time. To celebrate the return of the smartest talking dog in ‘toondom and his precocious ward, we decided to honor our stars by rounding up a list of some other noteworthy time-travel movies — and while none of them feature canine inventors, we think you’ll find more than a few favorites. It’s time for Total Recall!

Back to the Future

97%

Great Scott! On one hand, Back to the Future is quintessentially 1980s — you’ve got Huey Lewis on the soundtrack, Michael J. Fox in the lead, and a DeLorean for a time machine — but on the other, it’s a charmingly old-fashioned comedy that sends its hero back in time as much to save his own father from growing up to be a schmuck as it does to laugh along with the audience at the many ways in which American pop culture changed between 1955 and 1985. The sequels had their moments, but it’s the original that still really hits the spot; as Adam Smith wrote for Empire Magazine, “To put it bluntly: if you don’t like Back to the Future, it’s difficult to believe that you like films at all.”

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

81%

Two teenage idiots, George Carlin, and a magic phone booth. They don’t sound like the most likely ingredients for cinematic glory, but then there’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, starring Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves as our two non-intrepid heroes, a pair of high school buddies destined for greatness — but only if they can pass an upcoming history test. They get a little extra help courtesy of Rufus (Carlin), a citizen of the future utopian society inspired by the music Bill & Ted go on to record, who travels back in time to help them study by giving them some most excellent face time with historical figures like Napoleon, Socrates, Billy the Kid, and Abraham Lincoln. Not the most serious fare ever spun from the time-travel premise, but it works; as Larry Carroll wrote for Counting Down, “This is the rare kind of movie that you could watch along with your kids and actually feel like you’re teaching them something.”

Donnie Darko

87%

Time travel, a falling jet engine, and a dude in a bunny suit: From these disparate ingredients, writer-director Richard Kelly wove the tale of Donnie Darko, a suburban teenager (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) charged with repairing a rift in the fabric of our dimension. Or something. To call Darko “open to interpretation” would be understating the case a bit — it’s been alternately confounding and delighting audiences since it was released in 2001 — but its dense, ambiguous plot found stronger purchase with critics, who cared less about what it all meant than about simply having the chance to see an American movie that took some substantial risks. Though a few reviewers were confused and/or unimpressed (Staci Lynne Wilson of Fantastica Daily called it “derivative,” and Joe Leydon dismissed it as “a discombobulating muddle” in his write-up for the San Francisco Examiner), overall critical opinion proved a harbinger of the cult status the film would eventually enjoy on the home video market; as Thomas Delapa wrote for the Boulder Weekly, “If the sum total of Donnie Darko is hard to figure, there’s no questioning that its separate scenes add up to breathtaking filmmaking.” Despite a paltry $4.1 million gross during its original limited run, Darko returned to theaters in 2004 with a director’s cut — one whose 91 percent Tomatometer actually improved upon the original’s.

Groundhog Day

97%

Under the right circumstances, time travel sounds like quite a bit of fun. Finding yourself trapped in a time loop in Punxsutawney, PA, on the other hand, is a living nightmare — at least for Phil Connors (Bill Murray), the obnoxious newscaster at the heart of director Harold Ramis’ classic 1993 comedy Groundhog Day. But for the audience, Connors’ torment is an invitation to cinematic bliss — first courtesy of Murray’s perfectly deadpan depiction of the callous Connors, then through his progressively more unhinged reaction to the discovery that he’s doomed to repeat the same 24 hours of his life seemingly forever, and then finally in his expected (but no less sweet) moments of self-discovery in the final act. “Groundhog Day may not be the funniest collaboration between Bill Murray and director Harold Ramis,” admitted the Los Angeles Times’ Kenneth Turan. “Yet this gentle, small-scale effort is easily the most endearing film of both men’s careers, a sweet and amusing surprise package.”

Hot Tub Time Machine

64%

The 1980s got kind of a bum rap at the time, but that hasn’t stopped those of us who grew up during the decade from giving in to nostalgia during the 21st century, or from fetishizing the era’s best films — which is why it was such a winkingly self-referential treat to see 1980s hero John Cusack lead an ensemble cast through Hot Tub Time Machine, director Steve Pink’s ribald comedy about a group of schlubby friends given a surprise chance (via magic hot tub, natch) to revisit the best years of their lives. It’s an unabashedly goofy premise, but screenwriter Josh Heald manages to leave the whimsy with a few dashes of surprising poignancy; as Laremy Legel wrote for Film.com, “Well played, Hot Tub Time Machine, well played. You defied expectations, in a good way, and managed to evolve from ‘potentially silly concept’ to ‘fairly funny film.'”

Looper

93%

Plenty of people would love to take the opportunity to travel back in time and see our younger selves, but Rian Johnson’s Looper takes this premise and adds a nasty twist. When a hit man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) realizes his latest quarry is his older self (Bruce Willis) — an event known among his peers as “closing the loop” — he muffs the job, allowing him(self) to escape and setting in motion a high-stakes pursuit that puts a widening circle of people in danger. Tense, funny, and surprisingly heartfelt, Looper may suffer from some of the same scientific story flaws as other time travel movies, but it also manages to turn its by-now-familiar basic ingredients into an uncommonly affecting and thought-provoking sci-fi drama. “Looper imagines a world just near enough to look familiar,” mused Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum, “and just futuristic enough to be chillingly askew.”

Primer

73%

Like any genre, science fiction has its share of clichés — and anything relating to time travel probably belongs on that list. But few films have ever dealt with time travel — or the many personal and ethical questions that could arise from ownership of the technology — with the level of intelligence that Shane Carruth’s ultra low-budget Primer brought to the table. The story of two garage scientists who accidentally build a time machine, Primer eschews whiz-bang special effects for a nuts-and-bolts look at the science behind the device, and a cold, hard look at how quickly and easily a friendship can be torn asunder by unchecked power and bottomless greed. It certainly isn’t for everyone — the reams of technical dialogue prompted critics such as the BBC’s Matthew Leyland to dismiss it as “one of the most willfully obscure sci-fi movies ever made” — but if you can absorb the material, it’s uncommonly gripping. Time Out’s Jessica Winter was appreciative, saying “this film imagines its viewers to be smart, possessed of a decent attention span and game for a challenge. It doesn’t happen all that often.”

Somewhere in Time

52%

Time travel has been used as a plot device to set up all kinds of stories, but rarely has it been employed with the sort of three-handkerchief weepie abandon brought to bear on 1980’s Somewhere in Time. Starring Christopher Reeve as a starry-eyed playwright accosted by a mysterious older woman who pleads with him to “come back to me” before pressing a locket into his hand and disappearing, Time slowly morphs into a fantastical tale about coming unmoored in time via self-hypnosis in order to be with the one you love — even if that love is inspired by a portrait of someone you don’t remember ever knowing. A divisive cult classic, Time has always been dismissed by less patient or romantically inclined viewers, but for others, it’s well worth watching. “Above all,” argued Apollo Guide’s Ryan Cracknell, “this film captures a romantic part of the imagination that is often left unexplored.”

Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home

82%

Having explored the outer limits of space, Star Trek spent much of its fourth cinematic installment in decidedly more familiar environs — namely, the America (specifically the San Francisco bay area) of 1986, thanks to a storyline, conceived by returning director Nimoy, that had the crew of the Enterprise traveling 600 years back in time to retrieve a humpback whale in order to… Well, it isn’t important, really; what mattered — at least to the folks who helped Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home to a $133 million worldwide gross — was that it lived up to Nimoy’s goal of showing audiences “a great time” with a feature that played up the lighter side of a franchise whose humor was often overshadowed by its big ideas. Weathering a number of pre-production storms — including William Shatner’s refusal to come back without a raise and the chance to direct the next sequel — Voyage triumphantly emerged as what Roger Ebert referred to as “easily the most absurd of the Star Trek stories — and yet, oddly enough… also the best, the funniest and the most enjoyable in simple human terms.”

The Terminator

100%

It was made with a fraction of the mega-budget gloss that enveloped its sequels, but for many, 1984’s The Terminator remains the pinnacle of the franchise — not to mention one of the most purely enjoyable movies of the last 30 years. Subsequent entries would get a little hard to follow, but the original’s premise was simple enough: A scary-looking cyborg (Schwarzenegger) travels back in time to kill a woman (Linda Hamilton) before she can give birth to the child who will grow up to lead the human resistance against an evil network of sentient machines. Tech noir at its most accessible, Terminator earned universal praise from critics such as Sean Axmaker of Turner Classic Movies, who wrote, “Gritty, clever, breathlessly paced, and dynamic despite the dark shadow of doom cast over the story, this sci-fi thriller remains one of the defining American films of the 1980s.”

 

Time After Time

87%

What if H.G. Wells really built a time machine — and what if Jack the Ripper used it to flee into the future? That’s the intriguing premise behind Nicholas Meyer’s Time After Time, starring Malcolm McDowell as Wells and David Warner as the killer. After Jack travels to 1979, Wells pursues him, setting in motion a cat-and-mouse thriller, culture-clash comedy, and love story all in one, with a dash of sharp social commentary thrown in for good measure. “Time After Time is still a fun fish-out-of-water flick that deserves more attention than it has received in the thirty years following its release,” wrote Simon Miraudo for Quickflix. “But there’s still plenty of time for that.”

Time Bandits

90%

Terry Gilliam and time travel: A match made in cinematic heaven. Years before he proved it for a second time with the much darker 12 Monkeys, Gilliam directed a far sillier — and visually dazzling — venture into the genre with 1981’s Time Bandits, uniting a stellar cast (including Shelley Duvall, John Cleese, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, and Sean Connery) in service of a deceptively thought-provoking caper about an 11-year-old history buff (Craig Warnock) on a journey through time with a group of dwarves. A solid critical and commercial hit, Bandits proved a favorite for writers like Roger Ebert, who pronounced it “amazingly well-produced” and applauded, “The historic locations are jammed with character and detail. This is the only live-action movie I’ve seen that literally looks like pages out of Heavy Metal magazine.”

Timecop

42%

In a career dotted with cult classics, 1994’s Timecop manages to stand out as one of the cultiest. And okay, so it’s hard to call a movie that raked in more than $100 million worldwide a “cult” picture — but if you’ve seen the way Timecop takes a cool premise (time travel, natch) and renders it both impenetrably complicated and irrelevant to the action, you know it’s essentially the very definition of the term. (Also, it stars Ron Silver.) The plot is full of holes, but as the filmmakers knew, once you accept the notion of Jean-Claude Van Damme as an officer of the Time Enforcement Commission, you can buy into pretty much anything, and by the time you get to Timecop‘s final act — in which past and future versions of Van Damme battle past and future versions of Silver — you’ve reached that wonderful place where the laws of logic no longer exist. The highest-grossing movie of Van Damme’s career, Timecop spun off a sequel, a short-lived television show, and even a series of books. Not bad for a movie that Roger Ebert described as “the kind of movie that is best not thought about at all, for that way madness lies.”

 

The Time Machine

76%

This isn’t the only time Hollywood’s tried adapting H.G. Wells’ classic story, but it’s definitely the best. Starring Rod Taylor as the Victorian time-traveling scientist George and featuring Oscar-winning special effects from Gene Warren and Tim Baar, director George Pal’s version of The Time Machine might seem somewhat quaint by today’s standards; still, whatever it lacks in modern-day visual pizzazz, it more than makes up in the stuff that matters — right down to Wells’ vision of a distant post-human future populated by docile creatures and the monstrous Morlocks who use them for food. It’s “Somewhat dated, and not quite up to the source material,” admitted Luke Y. Thompson of New Times, “but still some good retro fun.”

12 Monkeys

88%

Any time director Terry Gilliam manages to wrangle one of his films through the studio system, it’s a cause for celebration — and that goes double for a picture like 12 Monkeys, which almost seamlessly weds Gilliam’s signature flights of fancy with good old-fashioned commercialism to produce a knotty time travel story starring a pair of matinee idols (Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt) in an apocalyptic thriller that never stops asking questions — or forcing the audience to answer their own as they hustle to keep up with the unfolding drama. “There’s always overripe method to his madness,” observed Janet Maslin for the New York Times, “but in the new 12 Monkeys Mr. Gilliam’s methods are uncommonly wrenching and strong.”

Take a look through the rest of our Total Recall archives. And don’t forget to check out Mr. Peabody & Sherman.

Finally, here’s what happened when Peabody and Sherman met Ludwig Van Beethoven:

Mr. Peabody & Sherman stars The Neighbors‘ Max Charles and Modern Family‘s Ariel Winter as two smart, history-loving children who will do anything to prove their worth, even if that means stealing Mr. Peabody’s precious Wayback machine. Grae Drake decides to put their real-life history knowledge to the test.