2023 looks to be an incredible year for animated films. After numerous delays, audiences can finally see the long-awaited Super Mario Bros., the sequel to the beloved and successful Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and Aardman’s Chicken Run. This year we’ll also see Elemental from the ever-reliable Pixar studio. There will also be a brand new movie called The Exodus from Illumination (the studio responsible for the Despicable Me and Minions franchises).
Probably the most exciting project (and perhaps Disney’s biggest gamble given the current generation’s expectations for animation) will be Disney’s 100th anniversary Wish. Disney is combining traditional 2D animation techniques with advanced CGI technology in an all-new fairytale adventure.
If we want to enter the time machine and go back to 23 years ago, namely the year 2000, we will face a very different landscape when it comes to animated films. The situation was not very clear for this genre. After going through its renaissance and its huge wave of success in the 1990s, Disney seemed to have run out of creative ideas and entered a period of stagnation. It took him a decade to get out of it.
At other studios, some of the most ambitious animated projects with the biggest budgets failed at the box office. This was partly due to changing expectations from audiences who, thanks to the successes of Shrek and Pixar, now wanted their animations to be completely computer-generated. Unfortunately, some of the larger projects started their development several years ago and could not anticipate or adapt to such a change accordingly.
While it wasn’t all bad, there were definitely many ups and downs for the genre, and the following list takes a look at 10 of the most notable anime released in 2000.
10. Help! I’m a Fish!
A Danish hidden gem, help! I am a fish! It tells the story of three children and their transformation into fish by a mad scientist. This lovely film and its beautiful animation, made using traditional 2D methods, is reminiscent of Disney in its heyday. It was released in the US with an English-speaking voice cast, which included a young Aaron Paul and legendary British actors Terry Jones (Monty Python) and the late Alan Rickman.
Dinosaur is a film that fades into oblivion when it comes to Disney’s vast and impressive catalog, but, believe it or not, it was the highest-grossing animated film of 2000. Of course, the competition that year was very limited and this had the effect of Disney’s advertising power. While the CG looked truly amazing in its time and represented great things, the film suffered from a boring and forgettable story and rather one-dimensional characters.
8. Rugrats in Paris: The Movie
Rugrats in Paris can be mentioned among other animations that will be twenty years old in 2023. During the 90s, the cartoon series The Rugrats was one of the most popular and famous animated programs on the air. Its appeal comes from the concept of experiencing life through the eyes of a group of toddlers and how everyday activities can seem like a grand adventure to them. The popularity of this work was proven with the release of the movie Fasqliha in 1998. A movie that sold more than 140 million dollars at the box office.
By 2000, the show’s popularity had reached its peak and the producers were under pressure to repeat the success of the previous film. As a result, audiences were treated to a better character-driven story in Rugrats in Paris: The Movie. Financially, the film did not reach the profit of the previous work, but it was still successful at the box office and was able to get a higher score from the critics.
7. The Emperor’s New Groove
The turn of the century was a strange time for animated films, and especially for Disney. The studio achieved great success in the early and mid-90s with its traditional approach, with films like Devil and Lovely, Aladdin and The Lion King, but expectations were changing. This shift was evidenced in Disney’s later success with Pixar, which included animated films such as Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and A Bug’s Life. During this strange and complicated period, Walt Disney Animation Studios was trying its hand at both types of animation, but not really committing to either.
Dinosaur was its CGI output and The Emperor’s New Groove was its 2D version. While the animated dinosaur scored higher at the box office (perhaps a reflection of these changing expectations), The Emperor’s New Groove has certainly stood the test of time and has since gained a huge following among Disney-lovers. It has – and for good reason. The Emperor’s New Groove is full of well-developed characters and clever comedy aimed at both adults and children.
6. Titan AE
As the transition from 2D to 3D animation was taking place, Titan AE animation with its huge budget successfully combined the two to create a visual masterpiece. Unfortunately, as visually appealing as this work was, it struggled with its story. Even the famous voice actors of this work, including Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, John Leguizamo, Drew Barrymore and Ron Perlman, were not enough to save this sci-fi movie. Unfortunately, this animation became one of the biggest failures of the last twenty years and earned only 36.8 million dollars. It is against the budget that is said to be close to 90 million dollars.
5. The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea
In the 2000s, Disney made a habit of releasing sequels to its biggest hits on DVD and for the home network, including several movies for The Lion King, Aladdin, and Disney. It was about time that the little mermaid, who won the Oscar in 1989, became a victim of this Disney work. The truth is, these sequels weren’t made to have the same impact as the originals, and were given far less budget, time, and resources.
The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea was no exception, but a special investment was made to introduce a new character in the form of Melody in addition to the familiar faces of Ariel, Sebastian and Flanders. Melody is Ariel’s child. This is one of the rare cases Disney has given to the child of one of the princesses. Despite the negative feedback from critics, many were satisfied with her emotional relationship with Ariel, character development, likability, and Tara Charendov’s voice acting.
4. The Road to El Dorado
Titan AE was not the only expensive animation of 2000. DreamWorks Animation Studio has allocated a staggering ninety-five million dollars to its next project, The Road to Eldorado. The film is about two broke friends who, after discovering the lost city of gold, El Dorado, are proclaimed gods by a greedy priest who seeks to control the city. With a strong voice cast including Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh, music by the legendary Hans Zimmer, John Powell and other songs by Elton John and Tim Rice – the musicians of The Lion King – this was poised to be a hit.
This film did not get the audience it needed and could not recoup its costs at the box office. Much of the film’s failure can be attributed to the shift to 3D CGI animation, and despite less than favorable reviews from critics at the time, the film has since been re-evaluated and gained a following in recent decades.
3. Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins
Last year it was announced that Pixar’s Lightyear was about Toy Story Buzz Lightyear (or at least the person that Buzz Lightyear was made of). Many have forgotten that something similar happened 23 years ago in the direct-to-video movie Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins.
The film is a sci-fi adventure that explores Buzz Lightyear’s life as a space officer. While it maintains Tim Allen’s endearing tone as the title character and offers a fairly entertaining seventy minutes of intergalactic escapism, the animation style feels cheap and awkward, especially compared to the groundbreaking animation seen in Toy Story. The game was used. Later, they made a TV series from this animation and it seemed that the format of the series was more suitable for this work.
2. Digimon: The Movie
For a certain generation, Digimon virtual pets, along with Tamagotchi, were inimitable in the last few years of the 90s. It didn’t take long for big investors to realize Digimon’s high potential and make everything from the brand, from dinnerware and clothing to TV series and video games. With the arrival of 2000, the movie animation of this work also arrived. For those unfamiliar with these digital creatures, it’s hard to summarize the story in such a short space, but it basically revolves around a group of kids and their Digimon, tasked with stopping a new Digimon. Because this digimon threatens all the digital communications of the world.
While marketed as an original film, Digimon: The Movie was actually only made up of three shorts that had previously been released in Japan. As a result, the film’s tone, direction, and storyline all suffered, and the film was met with poor reviews and failed to do well at the box office.
1. Chicken Run
DreamWorks teamed up with the creators of Wallace and Gromit to create this hilarious stop-motion masterpiece based on the legendary 1963 film The Great Escape…but this time with chickens. In a relatively weak year for animation, one film stands above the rest! Chicken Run features the voice of Mel Gibson. Rocky, a very cool American rooster, happens to enter the chicken coop and subsequently agrees to help the imprisoned chickens escape. Chicken Run’s meticulous attention to detail, clever humor, and thought-provoking story make it not only one of DreamWorks’ best titles, but one of the best animations of all time.
Fans will surely be very excited that the sequel of this animation is going to be released in late 2023.