Best Animated Movies of the Year 2023 (Till June): Welcome to our mid-year review of 2023’s animated cinematic highlights. As we navigate this thrilling animation landscape, we’ll spotlight the top animated movies that have captured our imaginations, tugged at our heartstrings, and left us in awe of their creative genius. From the reimagining of beloved classics to the introduction of innovative new tales, these films have redefined the boundaries of animated storytelling.
Best Animated Movies of the Year 2023 (Till June)
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Kicking off our list with a bang is the electrifying “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (2023). This sequel pushes the envelope, outdoing its predecessor with more daring narrative beats and dazzling visuals. It thrusts us further into the mesmerizing multiverse, embellishing the journey of Miles Morales with intriguing new layers. The story is more vast and surreal, deftly exploring the limitless possibilities of the multiverse in a way that’s as beguiling as it is complex. The talented directorial trio of Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson, along with an all-star cast featuring Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac, and Jake Johnson, ensures the movie grabs hold from the get-go and keeps us engrossed until the cliffhanger end. As a standout in the realm of comic-book movies, it manages to stretch the boundaries while serving up heart-pounding action.
Continuing our cinematic trek, we spotlight the enchanting work from Makoto Shinkai, an established luminary in anime, who may just have outperformed himself this time. The animated masterpiece follows a plucky teenager’s epic quest across Japan, as she seeks to protect cityscapes and countryside alike from a behemoth worm, a task involving the sealing of malfunctioning inter-dimensional portals. Unfolding as a magical road tale, the film masterfully interweaves Shinkai’s signature apocalyptic themes with lighter comedic moments. The journey is studded with charming oddities and clear and veiled tributes to seminal anime works. Each meticulously crafted frame reflects Shinkai’s renowned attention to detail, resonating with audiences as it elegantly balances a poignant reflection on Japan’s recent environmental crises with lighthearted entertainment.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Defying expectations, the year’s quirkiest commercial endeavor also claims the crown as the box office champion, amassing a staggering $1.339 billion worldwide, outshining all other 2023 releases. Led by Chris Pratt, this unexpected triumph surpasses the ill-fated live-action Super Mario Bros. debacle of yesteryear by an astounding 36-fold. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” is a vibrant escapade, clocking in at a brisk 92 minutes, immersing audiences in Nintendo’s beloved realms, including whimsical detours through the Mushroom Kingdom, Jungle Kingdom, and Rainbow Road. While the film treads familiar narrative territory, it sidesteps the pitfalls of excessive self-awareness. Directors Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic expertly infuse elements from the cherished franchise into Illumination’s visually stunning sequences, delivering a breathtaking fusion of artistry and storytelling.
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken
In an inexplicable turn of events, “Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken” emerges as the standout mermaid film of the summer. While the competition may not have been fierce, this charming sea-monster mash-up delivers a fun-filled adventure. The story follows Ruby, a young kraken whose powers awaken just as she must gather the courage to ask her crush to prom. Amidst the struggles of fitting in at school, she finds herself entangled in a multigenerational war between her kind and the mermaids. The animation and character designs possess a delightful elasticity, while the stellar voice cast led by Lana Condor, Toni Collette, and Jane Fonda brings the characters to life. Although its not flawless but has more than enough to keep you hooked.
Another fantastic addition to your 2023 watchlist is “Nimona,” a remarkable animated film based on ND Stevenson’s comic. This queer parable revolves around a courageous shape-shifter who refuses to conform to society’s expectations regarding appearance and identity. When Nimona encounters Ballister Boldheart, a knight wrongly accused of regicide, they join forces to challenge the oppressive establishment that once employed him. The film’s artistry is showcased through a captivating fusion of 2D and 3D animation, building up to a thrilling kaiju-scale climax. However, it is the profound emphasis on the unbreakable bond between Nimona, voiced by Chloë Grace Moretz, and her gay best friend Boldheart, portrayed by Riz Ahmed, that truly shines, adding a layer of beauty and depth to this extraordinary tale.
The Magician’s Elephant
Directed by Wendy Rogers and adapted from Kate DiCamillo’s book, “The Magician’s Elephant” is a visually stunning animated film. It weaves a captivating tale of magic and whimsy, delving into themes of courage, teamwork, and embracing one’s true self, while offering an underappreciated exploration of problem-solving. The film boasts an impressive voice cast, including the talents of Mandy Patinkin (known for “The Princess Bride”), Brian Tyree Henry (featured in “Eternals”), and Benedict Wong (recognized from “Doctor Strange”). Noah Jupe takes the lead as a young boy who discovers his extraordinary destiny when he embraces the challenge of three seemingly impossible tasks presented by the king.
Wrapping up our list is the captivating animated film “Elemental,” helmed by director Peter Sohn. Taking place in a bustling city where fire, water, land, and air residents live harmoniously, the narrative centers around Ember and Wade as they embark on a transformative journey. Amidst their exploration of elemental differences, they uncover surprising connections and shared experiences. “Elemental” delivers a thrilling adventure that celebrates unity amidst diversity. Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, the film has made a significant impact at the box office, amassing a remarkable $251.9 million.
Also Read: 10 Best Movies of the Year 2023 (Till June)