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.
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
Fox’s got a new Ice Ageand it’s set on collision course for theaters this Friday. Animation at the studio has weaved a winding line through Saturday morning cartoons, adult fare, and studio closures before lifting Fox as one of Hollywood’s major animated players decades later, alongside Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks. In this week’s gallery, we look at 24 films and TV shows highlighting the history of Fox Animation.
Rating: PG-13, for some language and sexual content.
An M.I.T.-bound teenager and his friends stumble across the blueprints and parts to build a time machine. In the process, they do all the fun things you’d do if you could go back in time but they also, you know, wreak havoc. Director Dean Israelite’s film explores a lot of the same what-if scenarios you typically see from this genre, with a few twists. One of those is the use of hand-held, shaky-cam footage, so if that usually gives you a headache or makes you nauseous, beware. Also: There’s quite a bit of language (these are teenagers, after all), some sexual joking, chaste partying and a few intense, destructive moments as the time machine kicks into gear. This is probably OK for mature, older tweens and up.
Rating: PG-13, for strong language, thematic material involving drug use and drinking, and for a fight.
Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer star as grandparents fighting for custody of a mixed-race, 7-year-old girl (newcomer Jillian Estell). Costner’s character, a wealthy and high-powered lawyer, is also a functioning alcoholic, so there’s nearly constant drinking in the film. The girl’s biological father (Andre Holland), who’s been out of the picture most of her life, has been battling a crack habit. The two men end up tearing into each other in a vicious, bloody battle at night by a swimming pool. There’s some pretty mature material here as well as some strong language, including the repeated use of a racial slur. Still, despite some lapses into melodrama, the movie’s heart is in the right place and may even spark a dialogue about racial prejudices and relations afterward. Suitable for mature tweens and older.
The five members of the late-1990s/early-2000s boy band reunite for their 20th anniversary, complete with a tour and a new album, in this documentary. But Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell, Howie Dorough, A.J. McLean and Nick Carter aren’t boys anymore — and actually, they weren’t during the group’s heyday, either — so the film reveals them as men struggling to regain their former glory. In the process, they must revisit their individual pasts, some of which were quite troubled. There’s a lot of strong language as they reminisce and argue in the present day, as well as some frank discussions about the partying and womanizing they did at the height of their powers. Some of them — gasp! — even smoke, too. The documentary isn’t rated but is probably fine for viewers around age 10 and up — especially those One Direction fans in your house who think their boy band fandom is totally unique.
Rating: PG, for mild action, rude humor, some thematic elements and brief scary images.
Inspired by Mexican folklore, this is a vibrant, richly colorful animated adventure which takes place across magical realms, including the underworld. The Land of the Remembered is full of Day of the Dead-type skeleton figures, which might seem slightly scary for smaller 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). A few minor insults get tossed around and there’s some chaste kissing. For the most part, though, this is pretty wholesome and harmless.
Brad Pitt’s World War II tank film Fury topped the North American box office charts opening to an estimated $23.5M for Sony. The brutal R-rated drama averaged a sturdy $7,406 from 3,173 locations and opened in between the $22M of George Clooney’s The Monuments Men from February and the $25.7M of Tom Hanks’ Captain Phillips from this same month last year. All skewed to an older adult audience using an A-list actor as the anchor.
Fury< scored good reviews from critics and pleased paying audiences too as evidenced by its good A- CinemaScore grade. Studio research showed that the crowd was, not surprisingly, 60% male and 51% over 35. Connecting with older men at this time of year is often difficult due to sports competition from NFL and college football plus the baseball playoffs. While Fury< did not score one of top ten opening weekends of Pitt's career, its older skew, good buzz and light competition over the next two weeks should allow the $68M production to build nicely. And overseas potential is solid given the star's drawing power and the Germany-set story.
Despite competition from Brad and the other new releases, two-time champ Gone Girl held up quite well in its third round slipping only 33% to an estimated $17.8M and joining the century club in the process. This fall’s biggest hit has now banked $107.1M and could find its way to the vicinity of $150M from North America. Only five September/October releases have ever climbed to that level before. Girl cost $61M to produce and may reach a global gross five times that amount.
The new animated offering The Book of Life premiered in third place with an estimated $17M from 3,071 sites for a good $5,536 average. That was about even with the recent toon The Boxtrolls which bowed to $17.3M and a $4,987 average in late September. Both were non-sequels offering a unique visual style for family audiences. Fox’s PG-rated Book had Mexican influences from its director, producer and source material and 30% of the audience was Latino. Overall demos showed the crowd to be 57% female and 54% under 25. 3D screens made up 31% of the gross, a low figure but common nowadays for toons. Book of Life features voices from Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, and Cheech Marin plus earned positive reviews.
The best weekend gross among the sophomore titles was an estimated $12M for Disney’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Off only 34%, the Steve Carell comedy has collected a sturdy $36.9M to date and could be headed for the neighborhood of $70M.
Author Nicholas Sparks suffered his worst opening weekend ever for a film based on his novels as the romance The Best of Me opened in fifth to an estimated $10.2M from 2,936 locations for a mild $3,474 average. It was the ninth movie adapted from his books but audiences did not show up. Reviews were terrible and starpower was low with Michelle Monaghan and James Marsden anchoring. The PG-13 entry was released by Relativity which has not yet opened a film north of $13M this year.
The effects-heavy thriller Dracula Untold fell 58% in its second weekend to an estimated $9.9M boosting the cume to $40.7M for Universal. A solid $95.7M from overseas markets during these pre-Halloween weeks has raised the global gross to $136.4M.
Fellow sophomore The Judge held up moderately well with an estimated $7.9M, off 40%. The Warner Bros. release has grossed a modest $26.8M and looks headed for about $45M. The studio’s horror hit Annabelle dropped 50% to an estimated $7.9M as well for $74.1M to date making it 2014’s highest grossing fright film. A final of close to $90M seems likely.
A pair of September hits rounded out the top ten. Denzel Washington’s The Equalizer grossed an estimated $5.5M, down 44%, for a $89.2M cume for Sony. Fox’s The Maze Runner fell 40% to an estimated $4.5M banking $90.8M to date. Both will reach nine digits.
Oscar hopeful Birdman got off to a thunderous start in platform release debuting to an estimated $415,000 from only four locations in New York and Los Angeles for an eye-popping $103,750 average. That was the second highest opening weekend average of any film over the past two years. Only Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel fared better when it bowed last March to a $202,792 average. Both were released in four theaters on the first weekend by Fox Searchlight.
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman stars Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts and earned sensational reviews. The R-rated film is eyed as a major contender in the picture, director, cinematography, and acting races. Searchlight will expand Birdman on Friday into 18 new markets for a total of about 50 theaters and continue to roll the awards contender out into November.
Also faring very well in its limited release debut was the race relations satire Dear White People which grossed an estimated $344,000 from 11 playdates for a strong $31,273 average. The Roadside Attractions release has earned great reviews across the board and also took home a Special Jury Award from Sundance last winter.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $116.3M which was up 28% from last year when Gravity remained at number one with $30M; and even with 2012 when Paranormal Activity 4 opened on top with $29M.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Take the star of Inglourious Basterds, mix him in with a ragtag band of soldiers reminiscent of the crew in Saving Private Ryan, and what have you got? Fury, a World War II drama that critics say is a powerful document of the horrors of war that doesn’t quite meet its grand ambitions but still packs a wallop. Pitt stars as tank commander who leads a diverse band of brothers on a deadly mission behind enemy lines to stymie a Nazi attack; along the way, our heroes come face-to-face with the grim realities of life on the battlefield. The pundits say Fury is a rock solid war film, with bracing battle scenes and a feeling of you-are-there authenticity. (Check out Pitt’s 10 best-reviewed films here.)
Right off the bat, The Book of Life has a couple big things going for it: it’s a visually stunning fantasy that’s rooted in Mexican cultural tradition. And critics say that’s mostly enough, even if the story is never up to brilliance of the animation. It’s the tale of two childhood friends who fall in love with a princess, one of which must make a perilous journey through the land of the dead in order to win her heart. The pundits say The Book of Life is energetic and vibrant, a rare example of style winning out over substance.
Nicholas Sparks knows the value of corn better than anybody, and the films adapted from his novels (The Notebook, A Walk to Remember ) can extract tears from even the sternest souls. But critics say The Best of Me is so preposterous and bland that it’s more likely to inspire incredulity or boredom than sniffles. Two high school sweethearts are reunited at a mutual friend’s funeral, and find that they still have feelings for each other, before forces beyond their control intervene. The pundits say the actors do what they can with the paper-thin characters and silly dialogue, but ultimately, The Best of Me is too schmaltzy and absurd to resonate.
Certified Fresh on TV this week:
The dubious premise of Jane the Virgin (100 percent) is part of its unlikely charm, which critics say shines thanks to sharp writing and a knockout performance by Gina Rodriguez.
Thanks to a liberal dose of propulsive, bloody action and enough compelling character moments to reward longtime fans, critics say The Walking Dead‘s fifth season (97 percent) continues to deliver top-notch entertainment.
Critics say The Affair (96 percent) is a somber, bewitching exploration of truth and desire, thanks to some smart, creative storytelling and spectacular performances from Dominic West and Ruth Wilson.
Finally, props to Andrew LaPlant for coming the closest to guessing Addicted‘s eight percent Tomatometer.
Channing Tatum, Christina Applegate, and Ron Perlman talk about their upcoming animated film and do impressions of themselves, with varying degrees of success. Also, Channing Tatum admits he can’t grow a mustache.