Animated Movies as Good as Pixar Movies

It doesn’t take much browsing on my blog to figure out that I’m a devout Pixar enthusiast (Disney included). But there are some movies made by competitors that come awfully close, if not hit right on target, to Pixar’s standards of excellence. Here are my favorite non-Pixar/Disney animated movies that you’re sure to have a good time with.

Shrek-2-card-2004-12Shrek 2 (Dreamworks)

I love the second installment of the Shrek movies. It’s hip, it’s fun, and the soundtrack is awesome. It’s a fairytale within a fairytale, and it doesn’t bash all the other fairytales like its predecessor does. And the pouty Prince Charming is just hilarious.

surfs_up_620x348_0Surf’s Up (Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia)

This one didn’t sit too well with critics and audiences far as I know, and I can’t understand why. It’s a very original animated flick told in the style of a documentary. Sarabeth says you’ve got to have a love for the beach and surfing to enjoy this movie, so she might be right. At any rate, I’ve always said it’s as good as a Pixar movie, if for anything, its originality.

1_0_2008_07_09_05_16_25_65625Horton Hears a Who (Blue Sky Studios/Fox)

This is a fun little movie based off of the Dr. Seuss classic storybook, which I hadn’t read before seeing it. It’s not as sophisticated as other movies, but it’s big, bright, and colorful. Definitely pulls out the child in me, and it’s no chore to sit down and watch it on a rainy weekend.

despicable-me-2-22543-1280x800Despicable Me (Illumination Entertainment/Universal)

There’s nothing truly awe-inspiring about this movie, but it’s fun – just flat-out fun, with a few quotable moments throughout. Another good one for rainy weekends. I think what draws me in so much is the adoption theme. That’ll get me every time.

81AjuXCw9UL._SL1500_How to Train Your Dragon (Dreamworks)

This one probably comes the closest to being on par with Pixar standards. It’s got everything you need to make an animated movie go from really good to exceptional – fast action, witty dialogue, no potty humor, emotional content, and the protagonists lose something dear in the end. I haven’t seen the sequel yet, but I’m sure excited to whenever we get around to it.

What are your favorite non-Pixar/Disney animated movies? 

About Andrew Toy
Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

35 Responses to Animated Movies as Good as Pixar Movies

  1. I’m a huge fan of ‘Up,’ it brings me to tears every time and ‘Tangled,’ was a big surprise – my 13-year-old son and I laughed hysterically the first time we watched it – wonderful one-liners!
    Great post – thanks for sharing.
    AnnMarie 🙂

  2. ellierayne says:

    ‘Monsters Inc’ would be one of my favourites. But then again, ‘Megamind’ aren’t half bad itself. I kind of love Megamind’s way of style in talking and actions its rather cute I’ll say.

  3. Geraint Isitt says:

    My friends have a daughter who thinks the Finn Ryder from Tangled is me. She got such a kick when I’d fall on purpose and say, “I think I broke my smoulder.” All great films.

  4. lauramacky says:

    Up is my FAVE!!! And it includes Fenton’s at the end, lol. I’ve been going there since I was a baby!

  5. ItMatterstoGrey says:

    Nice list as you asked for NON PIXAR….

    My favorite non Pixar movie is The Iron Giant. It was directed by Brad Bird who did The Incredibles, the studio did not know what to do with it before they released it and it was dead on arrival when it finally made it to the theaters. If it was released today it would be promoted so differently. Here is a link to the trailer:

    If you get choked up watching Toy Story, this movie will do the same.

    Here are two others I would also consider good family movies that are annimated and would give Pixar a run for their money story wise.

    Another is Howl’s Moving Castle.

    My Friend Totoro

    • Iron Giant is absolutely amazing! I would have included it at the top of the list had I not just been focused on CGI movies. But yes, Iron Giant is one of the greats (as is Bird).

  6. umashankar says:

    I am wallowing in my middle years but my heart refuses to shun animation movies. I am going to pull out ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ this weekend.

  7. I have seen and thoroughly enjoyed not only all those listed but also all those suggested in the comments thus far. Miyazaki’s anime films are INCREDIBLE. I also like his “Porco Russo” film very much, partly because they don’t really bother explaining everything.

    Iron Giant is a long standing favorite here.

  8. Jenny M says:

    Oooo, love Despicable Me, Miyazaki and Iron Giant as well! I do have to admit that I really love Kung-Fu Panda. It’s just so ridiculous. But I think my absolute non-Pixar – though still Disney – is Meet the Robinsons. It’s adoption-themed as well, but also ridiculous. That dinosaur scene, where the T-rex goes, “I have a big head, and little arms…” and then he sits there apologetically holding his tail, saying, “Master?” gets me every time.

  9. I agree with some of the other commenters that anything by Miyazaki is wonderful. Also, thanks for including How to Train Your Dragon on your list. That film is fantastic!

  10. Passions says:

    My favourite of this is How To Train Your Dragon, it is very heart warming movie.

  11. Hazy says:

    Nice list!

    For me, I liked Spirited Away the most among Miyazaki’s works. I thought Tangled was fantastic. Meet the Robinsons and How to Train Your Dragon were very good as well. My 2-year-old niece enjoys Megamind.

  12. Novelacious says:

    Those minions from “Despicable Me”, are just overly adorable. Plus, I love that movie called, “Monsters Inc.” ❤

    And, sir, your blog is great (Y) 🙂

  13. The Otaku Judge says:

    A non-Pixar CG cartoon I enjoyed recently was Megamind. I thought it was witty and I am a sucker for super hero stuff.

  14. ali062122 says:

    We love all of the Ice Age films in our house and the Madagascar crew!

  15. mrsgillies says:

    I love all these movies! And Shrek 2 was by far my favourite of the Shrek installments.

  16. I really love How To Train Your Dragon! The second movie is awesome! 🙂

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