15 Great Animated Movies From The Past 15 Years

Movies whether they are new or old have to be good before we’ll tell you whether or not they are worth watching.

Here at MarkMeets.com our team regularly get invited to attend press screenings and watch films before release besides doing publicity for London Film Premieres.

Even the extreme popularity and success of both Disney and Studio Ghibli’s animated movies, it can be hard to find something new to watch that doesn’t come from one of the two studios. Despite how fantastic both company’s films are, branching out provides audiences with stories that they’d otherwise miss.

Whether these movies are adaptations of beloved characters from books and comics, or original stories from the minds of the film’s creators, there are a great number of narratives that benefit from being told through the medium of animation.

The Lego Movie (2014)

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The Lego Movie shows the wonder of a child’s imagination as it follows a vast world of Lego characters, including protagonist Emmet; an ordinary guy who becomes part of a resistance effort to fight against the plots of the sinister Lord Business.

Though the film is mostly animated, it also features a few key scenes of live-action, which frame the story in a new light and help enforce the story’s message. The Lego Movie was particularly praised for its humor and music, which helped emulate the kid-at-play narrative at its heart.

Mary And The Witch’s Flower (2017)

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Mary and the Witch’s Flower is the debut film from Studio Ponoc. It shares many visual similarities with the films of Studio Ghibli, owing to the fact that it was largely made by former employees of Ghibli, including Studio Ponoc’s founder, Yoshiaki Nishimura.

The movie tells the story of protagonist Mary Smith, a young English girl who after moving houses discovers a mystical kind of flower called fly-by-night, which can grant its wielder the powers of a witch, but only for a single evening. The tale is a work of stunning animation that completely transports viewers into its world.

Sing (2016)

Stream On fuboTV

Produced by Illumination Entertainment, Sing follows a group of anthropomorphic animals who take part in a singing competition designed by a local theater owner to stop his establishment from shutting down.

A musical comedy, Sing brings together its ragtag ensemble of characters from many different backgrounds. It features a variety of pop tracks performed by the cast, bound to bring a smile to viewers’ faces with its joyful vibes.

Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train (2020)

Stream On Funimation Now

A direct sequel to the first season of the Demon Slayer anime, Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train was released to astronomical success in 2020, thanks to its jaw-dropping animation and strong character moments.

Though the movie doesn’t stand alone from the anime, it’s a fantastic fantasy story, following protagonist Tanjiro Kamado as he travels with his sister Nezuko and their allies, hunting down enemies while also searching for way to cure Nezuko of her demonic affliction.

Wolfwalkers (2020)

Stream On Apple TV+

Drawing from Irish folklore, Wolfwalkers tells the story of two young girls, hunter-in-training Robyn and the mysterious Mebh, who is part of a clan that it’s said can turn into wolves at night.

Robyn and her hunter father have travelled to Mebh’s homeland on orders to wipe out the wolves, but when the girls meet they strike up a friendship and embark on a quest of their own. The movie’s distinct visuals and themes of solidarity help enrich its magical setting and story.

The Mitchells Vs. The Machines (2021)

Stream On Netflix

Produced by Sony Pictures Animation and using many of the same animation techniques they’d earlier developed for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Mitchells vs. The Machines tells the story of the Mitchell family, who get caught up in a robot apocalypse whilst driving across the country, and end up as humanity’s only hope.

Packed with fantastic jokes, complex family dynamics, and LGBTQ+ representation, all rendered in an incredibly detailed style, The Mitchells vs. The Machines‘ relatable moments are just one reason it’s a story worth re-watching, with new details standing out upon each viewing.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

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Envisioned as a loose sequel to the 1967 novel of the same name by Yasuktaka Tsutsui, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time follows Makoto Konno, a high schooler who gains the ability to leap through time, and explores how this new power and responsibility affects her life and relationships.

The story is full of heart, with moments of both comedy and drama, and watching the evolution of Makoto’s choices over the course of the movie is truly thought-provoking. The movie’s visuals also contributed to it winning the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year in 2007.

The Peanuts Movie (2015)

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Released in some countries under the title Snoopy and Charlie Brown: A Peanuts Movie, 2015’s The Peanuts Movie adapts the characters of the Peanuts comic strip into a film that manages to be both nostalgic and fresh.

Following Charlie Brown’s adventures after the Little Red-Haired Girl moves to town, the movie is a funny and faithful adaptation. With a memorable soundtrack and new introductions to the main characters, it’s an animated movie that can be enjoyed by anyone, even if viewers have no familiarity with Peanuts.

Your Name (2016)

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Fantasy romance Your Name became one of the highest-grossing traditionally animated films of all time, and a worldwide success. It tells the story of two high-schoolers, a boy living in Tokyo and a girl in rural Japan, who, without reason, suddenly swap bodies.

The pair naturally wish to understand what’s happening, and while investigating develop an affection for each other that carries the movie’s narrative. The best anime movies like Your Name share the film’s sense of quiet yet powerful emotion, making for a rewarding viewing experience.

How To Train Your Dragon (2010)

Stream On Netflix

DreamWorks Animations How to Train Your Dragon centers on Viking teenager Hiccup, who wishes to become a dragon slayer in the tradition of his tribe. Instead, upon capturing a dragon he forms a bond with the creature and names him Toothless. The movie follows the pair’s friendship and its complications.

Boasting some of the best animated sequels ever, which have been praised for their wittiness and emotional depth, the How to Train Your Dragon series features distinctive characters and memorable depictions of dragons. The movie was also nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards.

Wolf Children (2012)

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The first release from Studio Chizu, and considered one of director Mamoru Hosoda’s best movies, Wolf Children tells the story of a young woman, Hana, and her relationship with a werewolf.  Following his death, she must raise their two half-human, half-werewolf children on her own.

A movie that focuses on the love between a mother and her children, the narrative also explores ideas of identity, with Hana having to navigate how to raise children who are part of a culture she doesn’t share, as they go through the journey of finding a place to belong.

Anastasia (1997)

Stream On Hoopla

A movie that looks into an alternate version of Russian history, the titular character of Anastasia was inspired by the idea that the historical figure Grand Duchess Anastasia could have escaped the execution of her family. In the movie, Anastasia is experiencing amnesia, and trying to find out who she is..

Anastasia also tells the story of the heroine’s romance with former palace worker, Dimitri, and features memorable songs that include, “Journey to the Past” and “Once Upon a December.” Ultimately, these factors combine to make Anastasia an animated musical that deserves more recognition.

Klaus (2019)

Stream On Netflix

A Netflix original Christmas movie, Klaus follows a postman named Jesper, who is sent by his father to be stationed in the far-north town of Smeerensberg, where he finds two family clans at war with one another. Searching for other people’s letters to post, Jesper stumbles upon the reclusive woodsman and toymaker Klaus.

With a distinctive hand-drawn animation style and a new take on the origins of Santa Claus, Klaus is a heartwarming movie that stands on its own merits outside of being a holiday film, avoiding many of the overused traditions that such movies often succumb to.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (2009)

Stream On Netflix

A science-fiction comedy, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs tells the story of Flint Lockwood, a young man who wishes to be an inventor. Though his experiments often fail, Flint manages to create a machine that can turn water into food. It subsequently overloads, and the movie follows Flint’s journey to rectify this mistake.

Joined by his faithful pet monkey Steve and weather intern Sam, Flint’s misadventures make for a creative and funny movie, with fantastic voice acting from its cast. Its success also led to a sequel, as well as an animated TV series from Cartoon Network.

The Little Prince (2015)

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An adaptation of the classic French novella of the same name, The Little Prince is a movie that uses both stop motion and computer animation to great effect. It follows a young girl in a new town, who is told the story of The Little Prince by her neighbor, and subsequently decides to go and find him.

The Little Prince references its source material in a satisfying wayand treats its big themes with sensitivity, delivering them in an easy-to-digest fashion suitable for viewers of all ages.

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Dan Dunn
Executive Managing editor

Editor and Admin at MarkMeets since Nov 2012. Columnist, reviewer and entertainment writer and oversees all of the section's news, features and interviews. During his career, he has written for numerous magazines.

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