Arthur Christmas: OK, the title isn't promising, but it's actually smart, funny, heartwarming-without-being-treacly, beautifully animated, and thoroughly entertaining, featuring wonderful voice work by James McAvoy, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent, and Hugh Laurie. Perhaps it'll catch on in Christmases of the future.
Balto is a truly amazing animated film that needs MUCH more attention than it gets. Even Universal itself seems to be trying to forget the film ever existed, for some reason.
Cats Don't Dance is a charming movie about a cat trying to get big in Hollywood. With sweet, lovable characters and catchy musical numbers (by Randy Newman), it's a great family film. Plus, the choreography was done by Gene Kelly, and Lauren Faust (the creator of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic) was one of the animators. Unfortunately, the movie flopped because Warner Brothers didn't really support it, and it has (mostly) fallen into obscurity.
Hercules gets a lot of flack for being extremely Sadly Mythtaken and perpetuating Everybody Hates Hades. That said, it's got a great soundtrack, the most unique character designs in any Disney movie (courtesy of Gerald Scarfe), and the ever-hilarious Hades. I mean, they managed to make Danny DeVito a good singer for the film. Without Autotune.
While we're talking about Disney, we've got The Great Mouse Detective, which is truly one of Disney's underrated classics. While Disney in the '80s was known for being outdone by Bluth(bar The Little Mermaid), it didn't mean the Disney movies were bad either. And The Great Mouse Detective combines a great hero and villain(voiced by Vincent Price!) with an exciting story. The characters are all endearing such as Olivia and Dawson. While the songs aren't as numerous as a full-fledged Disney musical, they are still quite memorable such as "The World's Greatest Criminal Mind".
The Rescuers Down Under: Why the freak does nobody talk about this?! The animation is spectacular, the characters are great, and it totally diverts itself from everything else Disney has done! Heck, even the Nostalgia Critic acknowledges its underrated status and says we need to see it! I echo his argument!
Cinderella III: A Twist in Time. Not only is it good for a Disney sequel, it's a legitimately good movie. Everyone is given more personality, the jokes are funny, the animation is good, the story's intriguing, and need I even mention the carriage scene? Plus, Cindy jumps off of a moving carriage and then crashes her own wedding. Not bad, considering the coolest thing she did in the first movie was go to a party.
While we're talking about sequels, how about all the ones to Lilo & Stitch? Not only are they good Disney sequels, they are good sequels period! They actually continue the story, add the universe, and keep the charm of the first film.
Bolt got a lot of (undeserved) flack when it first came out...because if it's CGI, and came out around Disney's Dork Age, then it MUST be bad!
Same deal for Meet the Robinsons as Bolt. It provides an interesting idea of time travel and is very funny and adorable.
Everybody forgets about The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, despite it being the most memorable package movie, having high production values, featuring some brilliant animation, ingenious stories and possibly the scariest Disney scene, period.
Jungledyret Hugo is a great, wonderful and beautiful piece of Danish animation. For the first two movies, the animation is of Don Bluth quality, the music is kick ass, the songs are both awesome and beautiful, the actors are great and they really puts their all into it, the plot is simple but good and it can be dark, gritty and intense but still keeps its optimism, the heroes are lovable and the villains vary from inefficent to extremly efficent, and the romantic relationship between the two main characters actually feels real and sincere for once. A must for any animation fan. And for the TV-series and the third movie; while the animation is cheaper and the plot is not as that mature, they too have their own charms that make them good to watch in their own rights.
Mary and Max is a brilliant Claymation film that is a rather strange mix of drama and Black Comedy. The characters are deep, and the idea of "two people exchanging letters" in film has never been done quite so well.
The Powerpuff Girls movie defintely deserves more credits then it got. What makes this movie great is how they took such a childfriendly and brightcolored kid show and turned it into such Darker and Edgier levels and adding more realism so that it completly deconstructs the show and the characters in it. The movie plays out almost like Batman Begins: the city is so corrupt and crime-infested that it's basically Hell on Earth, which inspires Professor Utonium to create the girls in order to bring some change... only it fails miserably due the girls' tag game causing massive damage to the city and them being outcasts, completly averting the Hero Insurance for once. The greatest part of the movie is how it transformed the large hamedIneffectual Sympathetic Villain Mojo Jojo to a hardcore, silver-tongued, badass Magnificent Bastard who is downright ruthless. It's just sad that it was released the same year as The Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers and the Scooby-Doo movie were. If not maybe it would had earned more recogniztion.
The Princess and the Goblin, which had a pretty good story and got terrible reviews and flopped at the box office. The characters were very well designed and the main protagonists were adorable.
DreamWorks Animation as a whole is generally derided for being derivative and full of bad popular-culture referencing jokes, yet if you look at especially their more recent films, most of them are actually pretty stunning. Definitely rivaling the more popular competitor, Pixar.
The Prince of Egypt, while chastised for being an animated musical take on a story in the Book of Exodus, and often compared to The Ten Commandments in that regard, is a truly epic movie. The songs are gorgeous to listen to, the truly spectacular animation is to die for, and it even gives little explanations for things never really touched upon originally, such as the vitriol between Moses and Ramses, and the way the Priests mimic Moses's miracles. Really, the only reason for anyone to not see this movie is because it's so dang tough to find.
Actually, it's aired a couple times on HBO Family, and you can find the movie on YouTube if you look hard enough. Plus you can find the DVD online for a relatively low price. Even the Nostalgia Critic acknowledges how underrated it is! Good thing he's been giving it more attention.
The Road to El Dorado is a fun, truly unique film with no proper hero character (the writers themselves admitted to focusing the entire story on Those Two Guys on purpose), gut-busting humor and a creative premise that goes sorely glossed over for absolutely no reason.
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is a remarkably somber film, unlike most kid's movies, it's pretty quiet. It has no comic relief characters or crazy sidekicks. It's a very good movie, though with a somewhat more serious and dramatic tone, it's likely that a lot of parents never took their kids to see it for fear that it would not keep the attention of said kids.
The Barbie films. You'd think they'd be utterly ridiculous, being, well, films with Barbie as the lead, but the storytelling is on par with Disney and Pixar and the animation gets more and more gorgeous as time passes.
Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure bombed when it was released in theaters in 1977, partly because it had been so expensive to make but also because many parents found it boring and/or thought it went on too long. A common complaint was that the movie had too many songs (over a dozen of them!), but the fact is that at least some of these songs are very good. Plus, how can you not like an animated film that inspired an MTV video (for Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down a Dream")?
Some works from Soyuzmultfilm. This once powerful animation studios from the Soviet Union has over 1000 animated films in its library that were produced in the Soviet times and few projects recently. For this reason, it has a lot of art styles, a lot of characters, and for these reasons, it was praised for its variety of style around the world in film festivals. Unfortunately, they were obscure outside the Iron Curtain hence few exports depending on which foreign country it is released at, even after the Cold War, and needs information on other languages as well. And few Soyuzmultfilm works are even obscure in Russia itself. It remains to be a influential animation studio that inspired people like Hayao Miyazaki.