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Almost two years after the start of the COVID-19, the coronavirus continues to affect the film industry, particularly movie theaters. With venues closed or severely limited capacity for much of 2021 while vaccination campaigns were underway, the big animated movies ended up not on the big screen but on streaming services.
LOOK: Summary 2021: our TOP 10 of the best animated series premiered this year
This situation even affected animation giants such as Disney, which had to launch its long-awaited film “Raya and the Last Dragon” on its Disney + streaming service, as well as the new Pixar film “Luca.” It wasn’t the only studio to resort to this, with Sony Animation releasing “The Mitchells vs. the Machines, ”“ Wish Dragon ”and“ Vivo ”on Netflix and Warner Bros. premiering“ Space Jam: A New Legacy ”and“ Tom and Jerry ”on HBO Max.
The situation, difficult for cinemas and distributors, but somewhat beneficial for parents’ pockets, seems to have subsided in the last months of the year. Big premieres like “Encanto” could finally be seen on the big screen in the country, as well as lesser-known films like the heartwarming “Ron’s Gone Wrong.”
When it comes to which streaming services had the best animated offerings, it’s not surprising that Disney + tops the list considering the entertainment giant’s early days. However, Netflix is not far behind, who took advantage of the closing of the cinemas to exclusively get some of the most interesting animated films of the year. It is obvious that these platforms and their competitors recognized the importance of animation in attracting and retaining users of their platforms.
One of the most interesting premieres this year was “Ainbo: La guerrera del Amazonas” on October 28, a computer-animated film co-produced by the Peruvian studio Tunche Films and under the co-direction of the national director José Zelada. This, as well as future projects such as “Kayara”, show that the interest in this form of entertainment is still alive in the national industry.
The future also looks bright for 2022, unless the spread of the omicron coronavirus strain again causes more draconian measures to contain it. Among the films that we watch in advance is “Belle” – released in mid-2021, but which arrives in Peru in January 2022-, the Pixar films “Turning Red” and “Lightyear” and the unmissable “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part 1) ”, sequel to the best Spider-Man movie to date.
Some of the animated films that you should not miss in 2021
1. “Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time” – Prime Video
A quarter of a century of one of the animation sagas had its finishing touch with “Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time”, the fourth and final installment of the Hideaki Anno film saga. The film concludes the story of Shinji Ikari, the pilot of an anthropomorphic weapon used to combat alien beings known as Angels, but it is much more than this simple description can convey.
If you have an interest in Japanese animation, science fiction or exploring human nature, we recommend watching the entire saga (and the anime series available on Netflix). It requires a significant investment of time, but we assure you that you will not regret it.
2. “Encanto” – Cinemas, on Disney + on December 24
The film with which Walt Disney Animation decided to close 2021. Inspired by magical realism and with music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Encanto” is an entertaining adventure through the heart of Colombia following Mirabel, the only member without a power of the magical Madrigal family.
In addition to some exceptional musical numbers – as you might expect from the creator of “Hamilton” – “Encanto” is also an interesting dissection of a dysfunctional family and how people can hurt even those they love the most.
LOOK: With “Encanto” Disney brings the “Coco” formula to Colombia: Is it worth seeing?
3. “Summit of the Gods” – Netflix
While most animation focuses on younger audiences, there is no doubt that this art has room for more mature stories. Among the best to come out in the last decade is “Summit of the Gods,” a manga adaptation by Jiro Taniguchi and Baku Yumemakura that follows the story of photojournalist Fukamachi Makoto and climber Habu Jôji on their quest to conquer Everest.
4. “Luca” – Disney +
Almost everything produced by Pixar is gold and “Luca” is no exception. A perfect example of the ‘bildungsroman’ genre, the film takes us to the sunny beaches of the Italian Riviera for a world discovery story between the eponymous Luca and his friend Alberto, two aquatic monsters disguised as humans.
5. “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train” – Funimation
We admit that we are cheating something, because the film was released in 2020 in its country of origin, however it is impossible not to mention this film that became the highest grossing of all time in Japan.
Based on a manga of the same name by Koyoharu Gotouge, the story follows demon hunter Tanjiro Kamado, whose family fell victim to these monsters. The film stands out not only for the beautiful animation, but also for the fluidity of the battles, intriguing plot and excellent characterization of the characters.
We recommend that before watching this movie you also watch the anime, the first season of which is available on Netflix and Crunchyroll.
6. “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” – Netflix
With one of the most interesting styles of the year, “The Mitchells vs. the Machines ”tells the story of a dysfunctional family that becomes humanity’s last hope after a robotic invasion – think more in the vein of“ National Lampoon’s Vacation ”than“ Avengers: Age of Ultron ”. Full of creativity, humor and heart, it is one of the best films of 2021.
7. “Raya and the Last Dragon” – Disney+
Based on Southeast Asian mythology, the film follows Raya, a warrior who is in search of the legendary last dragon, the last hope to save the world of Kumandra from monsters known as the Druuns.
With an unusual number of action scenes for a Disney movie, “Raya and the Last Dragon” deserves a check.
8. “Vivo” – Netflix
Lin-Manuel Miranda had a busy 2021, as demonstrated by “Vivo,” where he not only voices the eponymous character, a rhythmically gifted martucha, but also manages to spice up the film with his usual musical genius.
9. “Ron’s Gone Wrong” – Disney+
Wrapped between this heartwarming comedy about a human and artificial intelligence is a surprisingly insightful film about our growing relationship – and dependence – on technology, as well as an exploration of the nature of friendship.
10. “Arlo, the Alligator boy” – Netflix
One of the unexpected surprises this year was “Arlo the Alligator Boy,” a film about a young alligator boy who travels to New York in search of his father. With beautiful animation, decent musical numbers, memorable characters and a message that highlights the value of our differences, the film is a gem that unfairly went unnoticed by many.