My Favorite Animated Scenes: 30-21

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30. Metropolis (2001)-Sunlight Catching

This scene is from Rintaro‘s famous animated film adaptation of Osamu Tezuka‘s 1949. Its earliest roots come from Fritz Lang‘s infamous silent film of the same name. Both Fritz Lang and Rintaro conveyed through cinematography the consequences of playing God by suppressing and using people. 

This particular scene represents hope. I love how the sunlight comes down, envelops the young girl Tima, and shines out in a profound angelic moment. It reminds me of a quote from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). “Happiness can be found even at the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Even though so many things were going wrong for Tima and her newfound friend Kenichi, sunlight could still reach them. The same could be said for the people living there in poverty.

Movie is available on Hulu

29. Loving Vincent (2017)- Vincent’s Death and Dr. Paul Gachet.

This is the world’s one and only painted animated film. For its subject matter, it works extraordinarily well. I struggled to choose a particular scene from this movie that stuck out more than others. As I watched through the trailer I remembered a particular moment, when Dr. Paul Gachet stood in Vincent’s room as he lay dying. Vincent says to Gachet, “Maybe it is better for everyone.” that he will die.

His inevitable death cast wide open Vincent’s deepest fears: that no one wanted him and he was a burden for those who loved him. Vincent says to Gachet as he lay dying, “Maybe it is better for everyone.” if he should die. After vincent’s sad proclamation, Gachet shut the door and sat with his head resting on Vincent’s bed, sobbing. As I watched this scene, I thought, “Living sometimes is such a burden, but it takes great courage to cry and continue living.”

28. The Secret of Kells (2009)- This is My Forest

Tomm Moore’s The Secret of Kells is a visual wonder. Honestly, any scene from the film could be on this list. I chose one of the least talked about moments in the movie, when Brendan climbs a huge tree with a fairy Aisling. There are so many beautiful shots in this short one minute clip. The light breaking through the branches, the many golden spirals hidden in the backgrounds designs, and the small details painted in vivid greens and browns. If the Book of Kells really did come to life, it would look like this film.

27. Shrek 2 (2004)- I Need a Hero

Who knew such a climactic scene could be so comedic. I saw this movie back in seventh grade, and I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced cheese. The music, coupled with the dramatic, time-crunching race to reach Fiona before the spell wears off, gets my blood pumping! Strangely enough, the animation is silly. The giant gingerbread man falling to his death, the fairy godmother singing her heart out on the piano like a pop star, and Charming being not charming at all during his and Fiona’s dance seem strange on paper but work marvelously throughout this whole sequence.

26. Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)- The Sinister Sisters

Animators from Laika studios demonstrated how to build needed tension and introduce important characters well in this scene. In only 45 seconds of animation, they established who these sisters were and their sinister intentions. There is so much more to love in this scene: the subtle voice over for the two sisters, them slowly floating ominously over the river, and the scenery devoid of light and life.

25. Toy Story 2 (1999)- When She Loved Me

Some scenes blow me away with their vivid imagery and intricate animation. Some simply paint for me a beautiful moment. Others can reach in and help me see and understand human relationships and emotions. Sarah McLachlan’s song in Toy story 2 has stayed with me since I was eight years old. As a child, I vowed to never forget or lose my toys ever again. As an adult, I can understand how hard it is to have someone you love leave you behind, to feel unwanted.

One of life’s hardest lessons is people change and move on. That doesn’t mean ties we had with those we love are meaningless. It means they evolve and transform into new love. I love the setup and lighting for this song as well. Music has the power to transform any animated scene into a more meaningful experience. Whenever I hear this song, I remember those feelings I had as a child, and I ponder what it means for me as an adult.

24. The Little Prince (2014)- Stop Motion Reels

This movie is a children’s story for adults. At its surface, its seems like an untrue version of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry‘s children’s book. Looking deeper, its The Little Prince through a very specific little girl’s eyes. It showed how any person can apply its message to their own life.

My favorite scenes are the stop motion reels depicting the little prince’s story. It was such a creative way to make his story feel like a living book. The animators took different shades of paper and molded them into the sets and characters. Doing this also gave the story a special sort of light, like it was not of this world. Overall, these scenes made me appreciate this simple children’s story even more.

23. How to Train Your Dragon 3 (2019)- Reunion and Wedding

Relationships evolve. Hiccup and Astrid’s transformed into marriage and a family of their own. Hiccup and Toothless had to part for a while, but their friendship stayed strong even after many years. I liked this movie’s ending because its characters made important life decisions, which led to many wonderful blessings. Change is hard. Saying goodbye is hard. But to live well, we need to do these things so we can grow. All in all, I get emotional whenever I watch it.

22. Coraline (2009)- Opening

This scene demonstrates how to set up a movie. Within the first two minutes, the animators make it abundantly clear its villain, the Other Mothers, knows who Coraline is. They set this up with no dialogue, just meticulous animation aided by indecipherable music. This sliver of well-executed animation sets up a series of mysteries first-time viewers can shiver too.

It’s a miracle I even found a video for this scene. Though I am sorry the words aren’t in English. Feel free to watch the movie on HBO Max!

21. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)- Bus Stop

Hayao Miyazaki builds his scenes in such a wonderful way. I always feel like I can breathe in each setting like an aromatic candle. For Totoro, Miyazki gave a usually sinister character, who can fill the entire camera slot, such a buoyant personality. His childlike wonder as he hears raindrops fall on his umbrella, and his huge grin as he jumps and causes a shower of water never fails to lift my spirits.

What I like about this scene especially is how meaningful this quiet moment at a bus stop feels. It doesn’t need blood pumping action or clever dialogue to be memorable. It makes me believe I can experience fantastical things in everyday life.

Thank you all for reading! I hope you have a wonderful day wherever you are!

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