Non-Disney Animation Collections

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Sean Campbell, Sep 29, 2004.

  1. Sean Campbell

    Sean Campbell Second Unit

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    I'm sure it goes without saying that most animation fans ( much like myself ) will have a large collection of Disney movies on their DVD shelf. But what of non-Disney productions?
    The following is a listing of such movies in my collection, and I'd be quite interested in hearing what other HTF users have in their animation collections too.


    The Adventures of Prince Achmed ( 1926 ) Directed by Lotte Reiniger.
    Region 2. BFI Video.
    Sometimes hailed as the earliest full length animated film, The Adventures of Prince Achmed still holds up pretty well today. The shadow puppet style animation is very simple yet at the same time highly effective. 1920s audiences must have been enthralled by the sheer love that went into putting this all together. A new recording of the original musical score is included and it sounds fantastic. There's also the option of a voiceover, but for some reason I can't access that track on my player. Picture quality is pretty good considering the age of the source material, an Academy Ratio presentation that's tinted and toned. The disc includes a 60 minute documentary on director Lotte Reiniger, pioneer of silhouette animation.


    Animal Farm ( 1954 ) Directed by John Halas & Joy Batchelor.
    Region 2. Universal.
    Although the ending has been altered from Orwell's novel, this is still a truly excellent film and it holds up superbly! It certainly features in my top 10 animated movies. The film has been digitally restored ( although I can still hear a few pops on the soundtrack ) and includes many extras. These include a commentary track by film historian Brian Sibley, a making of featurette, storyboards, conceptual drawings, contemporary newspaper reviews and a poster gallery. Be careful not to confuse this special edition with an earlier, extra free release ( also from Universal ) that appeared about three years back..


    Gay Purr-Ee ( 1962 ) Directed by Abe Levitow
    Region 1. WB.
    I love this movie. The animation is simple yet at the same time a joy to behold and the songs are very catchy indeed. I could watch this a hundred times without getting tired of it! A few more extras would have been appreciated though.


    Lord of the Rings ( 1978 ) Directed by Ralph Bakshi
    Region 2. WB Home Entertainment
    Unfinished and pretty rough around the edges. I'm not a fan of the Rotoscope process as I think it limits the animation to reality and doesn't let the animators utilise the fullness of their imaginations. On the plus side, Leonard Rosenman's score is fantastic.


    Watership Down ( 1978 ) Directed by Martin Rosen
    Region 2. WB Home Entertainment Germany.
    An excellent film adaptation of Richard Adams' novel, even if a lot of the story has been ditched to fit the short running time. The vocal performances and quality of the script help to turn this into something very special indeed. I had to import the German edition of this after the UK release ( which was distributed by Universal ) turned out to have a very poor, faded 4:3 picture. As far as I'm aware, this German disc is identical to the US edition ( aside from being in the PAL format ).


    The Castle of Cagliostro ( 1979 ) Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
    No Region Code. Manga Entertainment.
    Probably my least favourite Miyazaki movie. It's certainly entertaining, that's for sure, but at the same time there's a certain sense of magic missing. Perhaps it's because it features already established characters that I'm not familiar with. I know this is well liked by others though.



    The Plague Dogs ( 1982 ) Directed by Martin Rosen.
    No region Code. Anchor Bay
    Rosen's second attempt at filming a Richard Adams novel, The Plague Dogs is a horribly grim affair in places. It's a great film but probably not suitable for younger kids. I'm disturbed by claims that this release is an edited version of the film.


    The Last Unicorn ( 1982 ) Directed by Arthur Rankin jr. & Jules Bass
    Region 2. Concorde Home Entertainment ( Germany )
    I had to import this 1:85:1 anamorphic copy of the movie from Germany after the domestic release turned out to be 4:3. It's a little uneven in places ( the singing butterfly seems to belong in a different film entirely ) but it still remains a fine piece of entertainment overall. Some scenes verge on brilliance. The disc includes a few text file extras, but as they're in the German language I can't say for sure what they're about. There are four soundtrack options - 5.1 English or German and 2.0 English or German. The German subtitles are fully removable.


    The Secret of NIMH ( 1982 ) Directed by Don Bluth
    Region 2. MGM Home Entertainment
    Probably my second favourite animated movie of all time ( coming in just narrowly behind My Neighbour Totoro ). Everything about this movie is simply superb from the character design to the lush animation and the fantastic Jerry Goldsmith score. The picture is 1:85:1 but non anamorphic. The sole extra is the theatrical trailer, so here's hoping for a special edition someday.


    The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue ( 1998 ) Directed by Dick Sebast
    Region 2. MGM Home Entertainment
    Absolutely dire sequel to the above. The animation looks horribly cheap, the story is clearly aimed at little kids and the whole thing stinks of a 'quick buck' mentality. Avoid at all costs!


    Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind ( 1984 ) Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
    Region 2. Studio Ghibli/Buena Vista
    The film that first proved Hayao Miyazaki was a genius. A sci-fi masterpiece with a non preachy, environmental theme. Like all Ghibli DVD releases, English subtitles are included for the main feature only, not the extras.


    Laputa: Castle in the Sky ( 1986 ) Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
    Region 2. Studio Ghibli/Buena Vista
    A superb adventure story set in an alternate 20th century where giant airships are the norm. More classic stuff from Miyazaki.


    An American Tail ( 1986 ) Directed by Don Bluth
    Region 1. Universal
    Bluth's second mouse movie isn't quite as good as his first, but it's still a worthy production. Pity about the 4:3 transfer though. I was going to hold out to see if a region 2 release would have a widescreen picture, but ended up succumbing to temptation and bought the US edition while on vacation in New York. As far as I can tell, no region 2 release date has been announced.


    Akira ( 1987 ) Directed by Mamoru Oshii, Katsuhiro Otomo
    Region 2. Manga Entertainment
    A classic movie well presented. Although not one of my own personal favourites, the epic quality can't be denied. Like many Japanese movies, certain scenes are pure works of art.


    The Brave Little Toaster ( 1987 ) Directed by Jerry Rees
    Region 2. Prism Leisure.
    Another fine animated movie from the 80s, once again hampered by a 4:3 transfer.


    Grave of the Fireflies ( 1988 ) Directed by Isao Takahata
    Region 2. WB Japan
    A grim but beautiful film about two children trying to survive in Japan during the closing stages of WW2. It all ends in tragedy but the final scene is quite uplifting.


    My Neighbour Totoro ( 1988 ) Directed by Hayo Miyazaki
    Region 2 & 3. Studio Ghibli/Buena Vista
    Has there ever been a more effective ode to the wonders of childhood? My Neighbour Totoro is not simply the best animated film ever made, it's one of the best films ever made period.
    I think I've watched it 15 times over the past 6 months alone. Fantastic! At the present moment the best DVD available is the region 3 Korean edition, which is anamorphic widescreen and has literal English subtitles. A new US edition is due in January though.


    Kiki's Delivery Service ( 1989 ) Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
    Region 2. Studio Ghibli/Buena Vista
    My third favourite animated movie ( after Totoro and NIMH ), this is a wonderful tale about a young witch in training. The city backdrops are works of pure art and Kiki's world is 100% believable as a result. Just make sure you watch it in Japanese with subtitles as Disney fiddled about with the musical score when they produced the English dub.


    Once Upon A Forest ( 1993 ) Directed by Charles Grosvenor
    Region 2. Universal
    An odd US/Welsh tv co-production that seems a bit truncated. Apparently there was an extra 15 mins or so removed from the final cut of the movie, which is a pity as it could have been rather good in it's full length. Sadly, these 15 mins ( which were reportably finished animation ) aren't featured as an extra. The picture is 4:3, which is another disappointment.
    The story, about a chemical truck that crashes amongst a community of forest critters, is quite disturbing in places.


    Porco Rosso ( 1993 ) Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
    Region 2. Studio Ghibli/Buena Vista
    Yet another Miyazaki masterpiece. This one is about a WW1 fighter pilot who has become a pig. Wonderful stuff.


    The Swam Princess ( 1994 ) Directed by Richard Rich
    Region 2. Columbia Tristar
    Saw this going cheap and bought it as a blind buy. It's clearly a Disney wannabe but at the same time it's actually pretty decent. Not sure if it'll stand up to repeated viewings though. 1:85:1 anamorphic.


    Pom Poko ( 1994 ) Directed by Isao Takahata
    Region 2. Studio Ghibli/Buena Vista
    Another fine movie from the Ghibli studio, this one deals with a group of Tanuki ( racoon type creatures ) who decide to fight back when man encroaches on their forest. The film goes from comedy to tragedy with ease. The animation, as always, is wonderful.


    Ghost in the Shell ( 1995 ) Directed by Mamoru Oshii.
    No Region Code. Manga Entertainment
    I have to admit that this film left me cold. Although clearly a mature production dealing with big themes, I couldn't find myself caring about any of the characters. The cityscape sequence set to the main theme is a fantastic piece of animation though.


    Balto ( 1995 ) Directed by Simon Wells
    Region 2. Universal
    I bought this on the recommendation of a friend but I have to confess I was slightly disappointed. I did like it enough to seek out the statue of Balto in Central Park though...
    The region 2 edition has the advantage of being 1:85:1 anamorphic, so the picture quality is pretty good, even if the storyline isn't. This disc includes a documentary about the real Balto.


    Princess Mononoke ( 1997 ) Directed by Hayo Miyazaki
    Region 2. Studio Ghibli/Buena Vista
    Although not one of my favourite Miyazaki productions, there's no denying the power of this film. The Japanese edition is a three disc affair yet strangely low on extras. The movie ( with Japanese and English soundtracks ) is on disc one, the movie with storyboards as a multi angle feature and various trailers is on disc two, and about 6 or 7 international dubs are on disc three.


    Kirikou & The Sorceress ( 1998 ) Directed by Michael Ocelot
    Region 2. BFI video
    A highly entertaining French film based on a west African folk tale. The African look to the art certainly gives this film a unique look. No attempt has been made to westernise the story, and it's all the better for it. Kirikou is a tiny child ( less than a foot tall ) who sets himself the task of saving his village from a seemingly evil sorceress. It's well worth checking out. The disc appears to be 1:66:1 but it's not anamorphic. French and English language tracks are included.


    The Iron Giant ( 1999 ) Directed by Brad Bird
    Region 2. WB.
    A fantastic movie and certainly one of the best animated productions ever made. The fact that it was near buried under the weight of Disney's inferior Tarzan was near criminal.


    Metropolis ( 2001 ) Directed by Rintaro
    Region 2. Columbia Tristar
    I know a lot of people love this, but much like Ghost in the Shell it left me cold. I wasn't too fond of the jazzy score either. The visuals are fantastic though.


    Spirited Away ( 2001 ) Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
    Region 2. Studio Ghibli/Buena Vista
    The well deserved winner of the 2003 oscar for best animated film, Spirited Away proves that Hayao Miyazaki is still the greatest director of animated movies alive today. I can't wait for the forthcoming Howl's Moving Castle.

    The Cat Returns ( 2002 ) Directed by Hiroyuki Morita
    Region 2. Studio Ghibli/Buena Vista
    A low key Ghibli release, this is the tale of a girl who saves the life of a cat and is brought to the cat world as a reward. Up to the usual Ghibli standards.


    Belleville Rendez-Vous ( 2003 ) Directed by Sylvain Chomet
    Region 2. Tartan DVD
    A near silent French film, Belleville Rendez-Vous is a semi masterpiece. It may be slightly overlong, but it's quite hypnotic in places.

    My collection also includes:

    Looney Tunes Golden Collection ( brilliant! )
    Family Guy Seasons 1-3
    Ulysses 31: Complete series ( interesting French/Japanese cartoon from the 80s )
    The Nightmare Before Christmas
    Ice Age
    Toy Story 1 & 2
    A Bug's Life
    Monsters Inc
    Finding Nemo
     
  2. Nick Sievers

    Nick Sievers Producer

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    I only have a handful of non-Disney animation (and very few Disney animated films).

    Grave of the Fireflies
    Spirited Away
    Princess Mononoke
    The Triplets of Belleville
    Shrek
    The Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol 1. (and Vol 2 in November)
    The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle - Season 1
    Futurama - All Seasons
    Simpsons - Season 1
    The Family Guy - All Seasons

    I will also buy the upcoming edition of The Iron Giant.

    The Animated Disney/Pixar films I own are:

    Toy Story 1 & 2
    Monsters Inc.
    A Bugs Life
    Finding Nemo
    The Lion King
    Aladdin
    Dumbo
     
  3. Brian Kidd

    Brian Kidd Screenwriter
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    I have to second the admiration for PRINCE ACHMED. The detail present in the cut-outs is amazing. Also, the humor in the story holds up quite well. Great movie!

    I love WATERSHIP DOWN but couldn't make it through PLAGUE DOGS. It was just so dire, and having just lost a dog, I just wasn't up to it.

    I'll admit that LOTR is flawed, but I still love Bakshi overall. His early films are fantastic. Check out FRITZ THE CAT and COONSKIN. It's a shame that his last animated film, COOL WORLD, was such a stinker. He quit animation for a while, but has said that he's itching to give it a try again. Let's hope he gets the chance. Supposedly a sequel to WIZARDS has been written already.

    Myazaki is a god. 'Nuff said.

    I'm also a big admirer of YELLOW SUBMARINE. The animation itself is a little haphazard, but the design of the film is stunning and the music is...well...it's the freakin' Beatles!

    TWICE UPON A TIME is a flawed film produced by Lucasfilm back in the '80s. The only version available is edited which removes some of the best jokes, but the animation is quite interesting.

    ALEGRO NON TROPPO is an uneven but still decent riff on FANTASIA from Italy. Well worth watching.

    If I think of others, I'll add later.
     
  4. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    Charlotte's Web- contains some really magical moments, such as the haunting songs "Charlotte's Web" and "Mother Earth and Father Time" (I dare anyone not to shed a tear during that song.)

    The Secret of Nimh
    Shrek
    The Last Unicorn
    The Rankin/Bass Productions (along with the above)
    Animalympics (remember this?)
     
  5. Chris S

    Chris S Cinematographer

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    Wow that's a great run down!

    I like to consider myself an animation fan but I haven't heard of some of those titles (ex Gay Purr-Ee & Watership Down). I own most the others listed and would definitely add Cowboy Bebop: Knockin on Heavens Door and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

    Chris S.
     
  6. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    Sean, do you recall from where you acquired the region 2 widescreen edition of NIMH and BALTO? Good list!
     
  7. WillardK

    WillardK Second Unit

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    Because I collect animation dvd's, I do have a few Disney titles. However, they would be the first I'd sell or trade (a couple of treasure sets will doubtfully ever be viewed again). I also have one anime title which I found interesting but am not that fond of (Metropolis). All of this is to say that as there are many types of animation on dvd, there are a variety of fans. Disney is not a baseline by which all else is judged. There are many of us who love animation but don't care much for Disney.

    I have two of those listed besides Metropolis in your original post, Achmed and Belleville. I like both but would rate the Achmed disk especially high. As if the animation itself weren't enough, the documentary included is fascinating and informative.

    There are a good number of vintage discs available (search the forums, I know there are at least a couple of old threads with lists). The recent Winsor McCay disk is excellent. Just last night I was watching shorts from the Library of Congress on the Origins of Film set (OOP, but should really be reissued). The Ladislaw Starewicz Cameraman's Revenge disc is a surreal wonder as are the more contemporary collections of Jan Svankmajer and the Brothers Quay. (You should see what master animator Svankmajer has to say about Disney.)

    Courageous Cat might be the worst favorite... Rex the Runt the funniest... the Hubley Collection some of the most inspiring.

    Have a look at DVDToons and Cartoon Research for more ideas.
     
  8. Gregory E

    Gregory E Second Unit

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    I'm still waiting for more collections from Hanna Barbera. I'd like to see some of their other cartoons like Captain Caveman and Hong Kong Phooey.

    And I want some of those old Fred 'Tex' Avery cartoons like "The Flea Circus".

    [​IMG]
     
  9. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    I have a collection of about 90 Japanese animation Laserdiscs. Yes, I'm a nut. Most of them are not feature films, though; and I don't have any Ghibli, because I'm waiting on purchassing the box set.
    By the way, are you aware that the Rankin-Bass Unicorn was actually designed by them, and then subcontracted out to the Japanese studio TOPart, where it was animated by the crew who later became the core of Studio Ghibli [Miyazaki, Takahat & co.]?
    I also have a disc of the experimental films of John Whitney, arguably the inventor of motion-control and computer animation. He was trying to invent a form of visual music, and he came closer to succeeding than I think anyone has. EDIT: I've also got the book Digital Harmony which more-or-less goes with it. Pioneer Special Interests: just more reason to own LD. [​IMG]
     
  10. WillardK

    WillardK Second Unit

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    (drool)
    Wouldn't it be great to see this come out on dvd! I have his book "Digital Harmony" and saw some of his work in a class many years ago.
     
  11. Joshua Lane

    Joshua Lane Second Unit

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  12. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    I think the WB flop "Cat's Don't Dance" is a fairly underrated film. It's certainly not a grade-A stinker along the lines of "Quest for Camelot" or "The King and I".

    The character animation has one near-fatal flaw, which is that they really don't do a great job of animating the dancing.

    The character designs are pretty cool, though, and I love the gently irreverent sense of humor, and the affection the filmmakers have for old Hollywood.

    I have the laserdisc, but haven't picked up the DVD since it hasn't been released OAR.

    Regards,
     
  13. Brian Kidd

    Brian Kidd Screenwriter
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    Almost forgot; Jan Svankmeijer's (sp?) ALICE and FAUST. Beware if you're easily spooked, though. Creepy stuff.
     
  14. Sean Campbell

    Sean Campbell Second Unit

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    Cats Don't Dance is another one I've somehow managed to miss, but a friend of mine recently recommended it to me. Another one to add to the shopping list methinks.
     
  15. Sarah S

    Sarah S Second Unit

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    Don't forget Rankin-Bass' The Hobbit. A much better adaptation than Lord of the Rings, IMHO.
     
  16. Andrew Chong

    Andrew Chong Supporting Actor

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    Nice memory exercise.
    I also love animation on DVD. These are most if not all of my non-Disney titles:

    Akira
    The Animatrix
    Antz
    The Blizzard Collection
    Chicken Run
    Clerks Uncensored
    Family Guy
    Futurama
    Gate to the Mind's Eye
    Ghost in the Shell
    Grave of the Fireflies
    Ice Age
    Incredible Adventures of Wallace and Gromit
    The Iron Giant
    Looney Tunes Golden Collection
    Metropolis
    Ninja Scroll
    The Prince of Egypt
    Princess Mononoke
    Everything by Pixar
    Shrek
    The Simpsons
    Spirited Away
    Televoid
    Titan A.E.
    Yellow Submarine
     

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