Last Updated: March 15th
It’s easy for animation buffs to get discouraged flipping through Netflix’s animated offerings, which skew heavily toward mass-produced kiddie TV programs and dire-looking CGI direct-to-video sequels. But a little digging turns up quite a few unexpected animated gems — and what Netflix’s animated offerings lack in depth, they make up for in breadth. The range of techniques and narrative approaches on display here highlights what makes the animation medium so exciting and fruitful. So here are the best animated movies on Netflix right now.
The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
Run Time: 78 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
Here’s an over-reaching statement that we will defend until the end of time: The Emperor’s New Groove is one of the greatest animated films of our generation. The film follows a spoiled king (voiced by David Spade), who is accidentally turned into a llama and goes on the run from his evil adviser Yzma (Eartha freaking Kitt people). He’s befriended by a lovable llama herder named Pacha (John Goodman) who helps him take back his thrown. Llamas don’t get enough screen time, to be honest, and they make for hilarious heroes, but the real star of this show is Kronk (Partick Warburton), Yzma’s dim-witted, kind-hearted sidekick who can talk to squirrels and was so entertaining, he got his own spin-off.
The Incredibles 2 (2018)
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
Our favorite superhero family is back with a new mission that requires a reversal of roles for its patriarch. Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) is forced to stay home and look after the kids — including Baby Jack Jack whose powers continue to grow — while his wife Helen (Elastigirl) saves the world, becoming the new face of the superhero presence. While Elastigirl goes on covert missions aimed at restoring her family’s good name, Mr. Incredible struggles to raise the kids. There’s plenty of humor to be mined from his parental woes, especially when it comes to Jack, who eventually requires a special suit to control his abilities. Unfortunately, Elastigirl’s new employer plans to wreck the reputation of superheroes once and for all, using her family to do it, which means it’s up to the kids to save the day (again).