The Best Animated Movies Of 2024 So Far – SlashFilm

Last year was a standout year for animation, and 2024 is already shaping up to be another banger. While a majority of the high-profile animation releases are due out later this summer, the first quarter of 2024 has already been promising. We at /Film are constantly singing the praises of animation as a medium, and doing our best to course-correct the ignorant idea that animation is only for children. Admittedly, this list is going to look mighty small for the time being, but it will be updated throughout the year as more films become available. As we noted last year, animation is one of the only mediums where global cinema is given an equal footing to studio-produced films in America, with the artistic visuals serving as a universal language that we can all enjoy. Meaning, this list is not limited to Hollywood animation releases … and that’s a good thing. As for now, here are the best animated movies of 2024 so far, and they’re all fantastic works that deserve a spot on your watchlist.

If you thought Pokémon Concierge was adorable, you’ll absolutely flip for “The Concierge.” Based on the popular manga “The Concierge at Hokkyoku Department Store,” this mid-length feature (It’s barely 70 minutes in total) centers on a magical department store where anthropomorphic animals of all kinds can shop and dine at their leisure while treated to the best customer service imaginable. Highly-trained concierges are here to make every customer’s experience the best it can possibly be, but newly-hired Akino fears that she doesn’t have what it takes to provide the service required. There’s an argument to be made that “The Concierge” would fare better as a limited series considering the film is structured with vignettes of Akino’s many customers and experiences, but it all becomes full circle at the end with a beautiful and honest look at the trials and tribulations of working in the service industry. “The Concierge” is currently finishing up its festival run before being released later this year on Crunchyroll. It’s a cozy little movie with adorable animation, lively character designs, gorgeously detailed backgrounds, and will leave viewers feeling charmed and joyful. Sometimes it’s nice to sit back and enjoy a movie with low-stakes but plenty of good feelings, and “The Concierge” more than delivers. (BJ Colangelo)
Director: Yoshimi Itazu
Cast: Natsumi Kawaida, Takeo Ōtsuka, Nobuo Tobita, Megumi Han
Rating: N/A in the United States
Rotten Tomatoes Score: N/A

For the past two decades, DC Comics has been the champion of superhero animation, putting out at least one animated movie starring their characters every year or so; I’ll admit this steady pace played a big role in building and sustaining my passion for DC as a teenager in the 2010s. None of the DTV DC animated movies are as formally inventive as Marvel’s “Spider-Verse” films, but there have been some real classics; I’m a die-hard for 2010’s “Batman: Under the Red Hood.”
Now, these movies converge in the crossover to end all crossovers: “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” named for the 1986 comic crossover (by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez) that reset the DC Universe. It uses the thick-lined animation style introduced in “Superman: Man of Tomorrow” but alludes to even earlier DC movies (the late Kevin Conroy will even be back as Batman in “Part Three”). Thanks to perpetual mismanagement, we haven’t gotten a cinematic DC Universe that embodies the fun of different corners of a comic universe converging; last year’s “The Flash” tried and then fell face down. The animated DC movies stepped in to pick up the slack and are more than up for it. “Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths Part Two” releases on April 23, 2024, and then “Part Three” comes later this year. (Devin Meenan)
Director: Jeff Wamester
Cast: Matt Bomer, Ashleigh LaThrop, Jensen Ackles, Darren Criss, Stana Katic, Nolan North, Liam McIntyre, Matt Lanter, Jimmi Simpson, Zachary Quinto, Meg Donnelly, Jonathan Adams.
Rating: PG-13.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

What happens when pair up animation veteran Sean Charmatz and the brilliant mind of Charlie Kaufman and have them do a DreamWorks animated movie for kids? Well, the result is about as weird as you would imagine. “Orion and the Dark” follows the neurotic young Orion (Jacob Tremblay), who is afraid of everything but especially the dark. One night, as he struggles to fall asleep, Orion is whisked away (read: kidnapped) by Dark, the embodiment of darkness itself (Paul Walter Hauser). Dark simply wants to show Orion that darkness is cool, but of course, getting a kid to overcome their fear is easier said than done.
Though the story is entertaining enough, the characters are memorable, and the animation by Mikros Animation (the studio behind “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem) is fantastic, with tactile and almost stop-motion-like characters and stylish backgrounds. But what truly makes “Orion and the Dark” special is Kaufman himself. The writer doesn’t hold any punches even when working in family-friendly animation. Dark introduces himself through a short film narrated by Werner Herzog that jokes about being rejected by Sundance, there are complex conversations and metaphysical themes, and the narrative itself goes from fun adventure into a meta-narrative and generational tale about the importance of storytelling and facing existential fears in parenting. It is deeply weird, visually dazzling, and a one of the best movies of the year so far. (Rafael Motamayor)
Director: Sean Charmatz
Cast: Jacob Tremblay, Paul Walter Hauser, Colin Hanks, Natasia Demetriou, Ike Barinholtz
Rating: TV-Y7
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

“Robot Dreams” surprised movie fans when it earned a nomination for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, but in truth this is a most deserving film, and one of the best movies finally getting released in 2024. This is a beautiful story about love, loss, and friendship — a movie about a dog and his robot best friend. Based on a 2007 graphic novel by Sara Varon, Pablo Berger makes his animation debut with “Robot Dreams,” a 2D animated film that is beautifully crafted, and full of vibrant color. This is a love letter to 1980s New York City, each moment filled with details and references that make the city feel alive. The frame, and by extension the city, is so overwhelmingly filled with things that it is hard to find meaningful connections within that cacophony of images and sounds.
“Robot Dreams” is devoid of dialogue, but full of emotion, with the characters’ facial expressions and body language making the two main characters as emotive as any Oscar-winning performances. An early scene of the two bros rollerblading in Central Park to the tune of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September,” becomes one of the most joyful and then poignant scenes in a movie this year. From that, the song becomes an anthem for the movie, its lyrics about looking back and bygone days of glory becoming more resonant as the film goes on. (Rafael Motamayor)
Director: Pablo Berger
Cast: Ivan Labanda, Albert Trifol Segarra, Rafa Calvo
Rating: N/A in the United States but was given a PG rating in the United Kingdom
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%







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