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Ever since Pixar and DreamWorks both collided with a similar theme production, "A Bug’s Life" and "Antz" back in 1998, the word 'animation' is never the same again. A genre dominated by Disney since the land before time, the demands for computer generated animations has seen the sprouting of Nickelodeon Movies, The Weinstein Company, Sony Animation and other smaller effects houses such as Vanguard Animation joining the race in snatching a slice of the lucrative pie. The fortunate Singapore audience even gets a chance to see more Made-in-Asia animations all thanks to the ingenious minds of independent distributors who brought them in. With an average of ten animations hitting the local screens a year not including the home entertainment side, we track down the 18 must watch animations in the last four years. And here they are (not in any particular order):

KUNG FU PANDA (2008) DreamWorks Animation

This quirky animation from this year summer blockbuster slate which featured kung fu prancing animals including of course the Jack Black voiced Panda collected more than US$500 million worldwide. Accounting for its huge success are the fast & furious jokes that entertained both kids and adults unlike a certain green ogre which is fast turning mould (green) as the sequels go. In other words, "Kung Fu Panda" shows that audience needs to see new material and not endless, repetitive sequels, prequels.

WALL-E (2008) Disney/Pixar

There isn’t much of a sound in the first twenty minutes but anyway does it matter if you have a delightful piece of story to tell? From the director of "Finding Nemo", this Pixar animation is a remarkable piece of work in all areas and yes, it has an environmental-friendly message for all of us out here on earth. Our resident reviewer has watched this thrice. If you haven’t caught this, you should be ashamed.

SURF’S UP (2007) Sony Animation Pictures

Voiced by Shia LaBeouf as a teenage surfing penguin Cody Maverick, "Surf’s Up" is a witty, energetic mockumentary styled movie that oozes so much coolness on the big screen that you can’t really find fault with the lightweight plotting. The cinematic CG environment is simply astounding and I highly recommend watching this on Blu-ray DVD on your extra-large LCD TV.


This is apparently the best way to enjoy Evangelion if you are yet a fan of the renowned TV series because the folks behind it decide to give it a redux treatment by streamlining the story plot and enhance the visual effects for the big screen. Condensing the original first six episodes into a full-length feature, there’s nothing better than watching gigantic robots and monsters battling it out in surround sound.

HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (2004) Studio Ghibli

After his immensely popular "Spirited Away" and "My Neighbour Totoro", one of Japan’s most prominent animation director, Hayao Miyazaki came out with "Howl Moving Castle" in 2004, a story based on the original novel by UK writer Diana Wynne Jones. Howl was meant to be Miyazaki’s last outing as a director but the 'Walt Disney of Japan' seems to lament the same old thing whenever his full-length feature is released. As we are typing this, his latest feature, "Ponyo on the Cliff" has already performed wonders at the Japan’s box-office and due to release here in 2009.

HORTON (2008) 20th Century Fox/Blue Sky Studio

To be fair, I love "Horton" although frankly not as much as my fellow writer. Based on a Dr Seuss’ book which tells the story of an imaginative elephant who hears a cry for help coming from a tiny speck of dust. Funnyman Jim Carrey voices the clumsy but kind-heartened elephant while Steve Carell (that 40-year-old virgin) is the Who’s mayor. Cute animals, cute antics and cute song routines. There’s even a soft toy of Horton which comes with the DVD. So cute.

THE INCREDIBLES (2004) Disney/Pixar

Pardon the pun but this is simply incredible! A family consisting of super heroes is nothing new. Think "Fantastic Four". Brad Bird and the merry men at Pixar brought that genre to a whole new level with insane action sequences and characters which you endear and root for. It’s so good that it can easily beat those lame Marvel movie adaptations anytime.

The list continues here


Kung Fu Panda (2008)
Movie Review

Wall-E (2008)
Movie Review

Surf's Up (2007)
Movie Review
DVD Review

Evangelion 1.0 (2007)
Movie Review
DVD Review

Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Movie Review

Horton (2008)
Movie Review
DVD Review

The Incredibles (2004)
Movie Review

Complied by Linus Tee with thanks to John, Stefan, Richard, Gabriel, Daniel and Lokman.
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