Artistically Astounding Animated Films

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse movie poster
image via Wikipedia

…Can you tell I love alliteration? I also really love art, movies, and art in movies! I recently watched the new animated Spider-Man film, Across the Spider-Verse and let me tell you—the art and animation was as jaw-dropping as the prequel, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse.

Just like the prequel, the animation pushed the boundaries of the genre and of the silver-screen, was inextricable linked with the multiverse concept, various story beats, and character development, and visually conveyed the humour that Spider-Man is known for as much as he is for his web-slinging!

Because I’m a nerd, I’ve been eagerly exploring behind-the-scenes factoids on how the art of the film came together. Here are some fun tidbits on this movie:

  • It incorporated six different animation styles, borrowing from vintage comic-books, psychedelia, street art styles, and more!
  • It had a tongue-in-cheek conversation with the art establishment with its scenes involving the Guggenheim and in referencing Da Vinci through the Vulture, a minor villain
  • Preston Mutanga, a fourteen year old from Toronto, got hired to work on a portion of the film due to his animating prowess when he recreated the movie’s trailer using LEGO and impressed the producers
  • about 1,000 artists and animators contributed to the film
  • For the character of Hobie Brown, aka Spider-Punk, different parts of his body and props (like his guitar) operated at different frame rates and were outlined differently, making him constantly in motion and reminiscent of magazine cut-outs and 70s punk art
  • Gwen and her world were animated in a style similar to watercolour, with shifting tones to depict moods and story beats
Cover of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse: The Art of the Movie

Learn more art and animation facts about this movie directly from the artists themselves, or in The Art of the Movie book which is soon to be borrowable at VPL. And if I haven’t convinced you yet to give Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse and its sequel, Across the Spider-verse, a look yet, then the only thing I have left to say is…no worries, but you’re missing out on a fantastically fun film experience. (Yes, back at it with the alliteration!)

Never fear if superheroes aren’t your thing, though! Here are some other movies that are gorgeously animated which will, hopefully, be as engaging for you as they were for me!

Cover of Loving Vincent movie

Loving Vincent

Summary: The life and controversial death of Vincent Van Gogh told by his paintings and by the characters that inhabit them. The intrigue unfolds through dramatic reconstructions of the events leading up to his death.  

It’s the first fully painted animated feature film, and each of the film’s 65,000 frames are an oil painting on canvas, created using the same techniques as Van Gogh by a team of 125 artists from around the world. It is gorgeous and it made me cry. (Which is not really a feat as I cry easily, but I digress.)

Cover of Coraline movie


Summary: Coraline ventures through a mysterious door into a world that is similar, yet disturbingly different, from her own, where she must challenge a gruesome entity in order to save herself and others.

This is one of my favourite stop-motion films, made by the same studio (Laika) that brought such other awesomely animated films as Kubo and the Two-Strings and The Corpse Bride, among others. Every time I think about the sheer dedication and attention to detail required by stop-motion my mind explodes. Not only that, but the colours in Coraline, the textures, and all of the…well…motion in the scenery and clothes is phenomenal.

Cover of The Tale of the Princess Kaguya movie
image via IMDB

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Summary: Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her, but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime.

This Studio Ghibli films is the most expensive film ever produced in Japan, and took the animation department of over 170 artists more than eight years to finish drawing and painting the film via watercolours and pencil and ink sketches that are constantly in fluid, glorious movement.

Cover of Your Name movie

Your Name

Summary: Two strangers find themselves linked in a bizarre way. When a connection forms, will distance be the only thing to keep them apart?

Another movie that made me cry, but unexpectedly this time! The cinematography of this film is so crisp and vivid and wonderfully expansive, you feel like diving into the screen. It is utterly captivating (and anime tends to be visually captivating anyway). As a bonus, there is also apparently a manga series, which I just discovered as I wrote this post! For whatever reason, we only have the French version of the first book while the rest are in English. and that means I must encourage you to request an English copy!

Cover of Treasure Planet movie

Treasure Planet

Summary: In this outer space version of Treasure Island, space pirate Jim Hawkins searches the galaxy for hidden treasure. He meets up with Long John Silver and together they continue the quest and fight off space aliens.

An oldie but a goodie, this film’s animation—where 2D hand-drawn animation is set atop 3D CGI—holds up even after all this time, capturing nebulae and star-whales and moon-shaped space ports in lovingly rendered detail!

Cover of The Secret of Kells movie
Cover of Song of the Sea
Cover of The Breadwinner

I can’t not mention literally any of Saloon Lagoon’s films, which I’ve gushed about at length in another post. Suffice to say, check out The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea, or The Breadwinner and enjoy a visual and storytelling feast!

I could go on and on, but instead I will link you to a list I made with even more of my favourite fantastically animated films. (One last time with the alliteration, woop!)

Go forth and enjoy!

About Sumayyah

Sumayyah is an Information Assistant at the Vaughan Public Libraries. She's also a bookworm and author, constantly dreaming up a multitude of different stories and wrestling with finishing them.  |  Meet the team