Netflix is the best place to find some of the most heartwarming and hilarious animated movies, and lately, they’ve started publishing their own. While many of their films are hit-or-miss, their animations are wholesome. Let’s look at some of the best animated movies on Netflix.
The Kung Fu Panda trilogy is the most fantastic set of animated movies ever. They’re highly entertaining no matter how many times you rewatch them, and each has strengths that allow them to stand on their own. The first one, however, will always remain the best one.
The film follows Po (voiced by Jack Black), a panda working in a restaurant with his goose father, Mr Ping (voiced by James Hong), who has had no training in kung fu. During a tournament, which he finally manages to get into after struggling to get through the door, he is selected to be the Dragon Warrior and become a member of the Furious Five.
Master Shifu (voiced by Dustin Hoffman) and the Five, most Tigress, are not too pleased about the turn of events. They begin to do everything they can to try and get rid of Po, from running him through their training course without guidance to outright insulting him.
While this is happening, Master Shifu’s adopted son Tai Lung (voiced by Ian McShane) has managed to escape from prison and is making his way towards the Jade Palace, where he plans to kill the Dragon Warrior so he can take on the mantle for himself.
Most of the Five begin to accept him, but Tigress (voiced by Angelina Jolie) refuses to acknowledge him as the Dragon Warrior. Instead, she challenges him constantly, and when she learns that Po is supposed to be the one to defeat Tai Lung, she goes after him herself, determined to prove that she is the true Dragon Warrior. The rest of the Five follow her to help out.
This animated comedy is still one of the best movies yet, standing slightly above its sequels. Further comprising the star cast are actors like Seth Rogen, who plays Mantis, Jackie Chan, who plays Monkey, David Cross, who plays Crane and Lucy Liu, who places Viper.
This sweet musical film follows the kinkajou, Vivo (voiced by Lin-Manuel Miranda), who goes on a mission to deliver his late humans love song to his old friend Marta Sandoval (voiced by Gloria Estefan). Along the way, he gets help from Gabi (voiced by Ynairaly Simo), a young girl with interesting taste in music who is stubbornly rebelling against her mother (voiced by Zoe Saldana) in any way she can.
Along the way, the two get separated in a forest, and while Vivo helps a roseate spoonbill find love, Gabi learns that they’ve been followed by a group of girl scouts who have the song (but refuse to give it to her). A Burmese python attacks the girls, and Vivo saves them, but the song is lost during the rescue.
Vivo is ready to give up when he realises that he and Gabi and create the song. They succeed and finally arrive in Miami, where Vivo manages to get the song to Marta while Gabi is caught by security and her furious mother. Marta leaves to sing her final song, and Vivo finds Gabi and her mother arguing in their car.
Gabi finally confesses that she misses her father and her mother. Touched by the confession, she turns back to take them to the concert.
It’s an adorable film, and Miranda did a brilliant job with the music. If you’re a fan of musicals and enjoy the energy of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s music, this is a film you’ll enjoy.
Without a doubt, Vivo is one of the best animated movies on Netflix.
This retelling of the origins of Santa Claus tells the story of Jesper (voiced by Jason Schwartzman), the spoiled, lazy son of the Royal Postmaster General, and Klaus (voiced by J. K. Simmons), a woodworker who makes toys. Sergio Pablos directed it and has a dual role in the film.
Jesper arrives in the town of Smeerensburg, where he must deliver 6000 letters or be cut off from the family fortune. Unfortunately for him, he soon learns from Alva (voiced by Rashida Jones) that the people are more focused on hating each other than writing letters.
He stumbles upon Klaus’ home, and after delivering a toy to one of the Krum boys, the two start delivering toys to the town’s children. They start playing together, much to the displeasure of the family elders, who want to keep the feud going.
The children learn that they will only receive toys if they are good, and the kindness with which the children treat each other beings to influence the adults. This ends the dispute and encourages Alva to reopen her school.
Jesper convinces Klaus to make toys in time for Christmas and finds himself enjoying the people of Smeerensburg and wanting to stay in the little town. However, Aksel Ellingboe (voiced by Will Sasso) and Tammy Krum (voiced by Joan Cusack) are determined to stop Klaus and Jesper, so they come to a temporary truce and start posting letters to that Jesper will reach his goal and leave town.
His father arrives to congratulate him on Christmas Eve, exposing his initially selfish ways to the town. After a talk, he is allowed to stay and attempts to stop an angry mob from destroying the Christmas toys but fails, only to learn that Klaus and Alva had replaced the toys with decoys.
The elders are forced to end their feud because of the marriage between their children, and Jesper has redeemed himself and later marries Alva. However, he and Klaus continue to deliver presents even after he disappears over a sunny hill one day to reunite with his wife.
The film was nominated for Best Animated Feature, and Netflix became one of the first streaming services to have an animated movie nominated for a Best Animation Academy Award.
5. The Mitchells vs The Machines
This animated Netflix film was produced by Sony Pictures Animation and follows the story of the Mitchells, a mildly dysfunctional family whose road trip across the United States is turned into an epic journey when it is interrupted by machines taking over the world. The voice cast is brilliant.
Katie Mitchell (voiced by Abbi Jacobson) is a teenage girl who struggles to bond with her technophobic father, Rick (voiced by Danny McBride). Their relationship becomes even more strained after he accidentally breaks her laptop during a fight over one of her short films. Rick hopes that a road trip to her new school will mend what he’s broken.
While this happens, PAL (voiced by Olivia Colman), an AI virtual assistant bent on getting revenge against humans, reprogrammes her creator’s new robots and orders them to capture the humans. The Mitchells evade capture, and Katie manages to convince her father to help save the world. They bond with two defective robots on their way to take out PAL and learn that a kill code will shut down PAL.
Katie learns from her mother, Linda (voiced by Maya Rudolph) that Rick gave up his lifelong dream for the sake of their growing family. When they arrive, their attempt to shut PAL down fails when the AI brings up footage of Katie admitting to pretending to have faith in her father. This results in her parents getting captured while she, her younger brother Aaron (voiced by Mike Rianda) and their pug Monchi regroup and come up with a new plan to save everyone.
The family once again try to save humanity, Rick and Linda having managed to escape, but they are unable to do so until the two robots they bonded with re-malfunction and upload a video of Monchi, which causes most of the robots to malfunction.
The Mitchells work together to take out the rest of the robots, and Katie drops PAL in a glass of water, disabling the rest of the robots and freeing the humans.
It’s a lovely Netflix movie and fun for the entire family (even dads that aren’t particularly interested in animated movies). The Mitchells vs The Machines is definitely one of the best movies of 2021.
4. The Bad Guys
This film tells the story of an anthropomorphic gang of criminal animals who steal due to the assumption that they are “bad” creatures. Dreamworks Animation Studios produced it.
Mr Wolf (voiced by Sam Rockwell) convinces his gang to steal the Golden Dolphin award before it is given to Professor Marmalade (voiced by Richard Ayoade) at a gala. Unfortunately, the group gets caught, but Wolf convinces Marmalade to reform them.
The gang struggles with their lessons and fails to rescue a herd of guinea pigs from a lab when Mr Snake (voiced by Marc Maron) eats them. Governor Diane Foxington (voiced by Zazie Beats) plans to call off the experiment but stops when Wolf admits the reason he became a criminal. He finds he has reformed for real and can’t go through with the heist his gang planned.
After they are wrongfully arrested for stealing a meteorite, Wolf tries to convince his gang that they can be good, but they refuse to believe him until Snake gives his last push pop to Mr Shark (voiced by Craig Robinson) out of kindness. After that, everyone but Snake, who allies himself with Marmalade, leaves to help Wolf.
Foxington reveals her past to Wolf, and the two try to steal the meteorite back from Marmalade. They fail and have to be rescued by the rest of the gang. They save Snake, and the gang surrenders to the authorities to keep Foxingtons former criminal past as the Crimson Paw a secret. Marmalade is also arrested after a diamond falls from his suit, and is framed at the Crimson Paw.
Glen Keane directed the film. It follows the story of Fei Fei (voiced by Cathy Ang), a young girl whose late mother told her the legend of the moon goddess Chang’e (voiced by Phillipa Soo), who waits for her lover Hou Yi. Four years later, she is upset that her father is engaged to Ms Zhong and decides to build a rocket to prove Chang’e is real. It’s a success until she realises that Ms Zhong’s son, Chin (voiced by Robert G. Chiu), snuck aboard, and the rocket begins to crash to Earth. Fortunately, a beam of energy catches the rocket, and it crash-lands on the Moon instead. The two are taken to Lunaria and introduced to Chang’e.
The moon goddess tells Fei Fei she is meant to deliver a gift that will bring Hou Yi back and demands to know where it is, but Fei Fei doesn’t know what she’s talking about. So the frustrated goddess arranges a competition to find the gift, and Fei Fei leaves Chin behind and leaves for her rocket with Biker Chicks.
When they get to the crash site, she meets Gobi (voiced by Ken Jeong), an exiled Lunarian with a Chang’e doll that she believes to be the gift. Unfortunately, the Biker Chicks snatch it and leave her behind. The two head to Lunaria, and Gobi reveals that he was exiled because of a song about moving on.
They catch up to the Biker Chicks, but the doll is broken during the scuffle. Fortunately for Fei Fei, she discovers the true gift in one of her mooncakes and presents it to Chang’e. The moon goddess is briefly reunited with Houyi, who tells her to move on before fading away. Chang’e slips into a depression which extinguishes the light from Lunaria.
Fei Fer tries to reach the goddess but becomes depressed herself upon seeing a vision of her mother. They encourage each other to move past their tragedies and find love around them. With the light of Lunaria restored, Chang’e lifts Gobi’s banishment and returns Fei Fei and Chin home.
Fei Fei accepts her father’s engagement and continues encouraging herself by looking at the Moon.
Over the Moon is definitely one of the best animated movies on Netflix.
2. The Sea Beast
Our best animated movies on Netflix list wouldn’t be complete without The Sea Beast. This film was created and directed by Chris Williams and tells the story of a young orphan girl and a sea monster hunter. It became one of Netflix’s most successful animated films.
It is set in the kingdom of Three Bridges, where sailors have hunted sea beasts for hundreds of years. The most successful of these hunters is the crew of the Inevitable, led by Captain Crow (voiced by Jared Harris), his first mate Sarah Sharpe (voiced by Marianne Jean-Baptiste) and Jacob Holland (voiced by Karl Urban). They are told that their monster hunting days are over and that the Imperator is replacing them, but Jacob manages to convince the king and queen to let them do one more hunt and prove their worth.
Along the way, they discover that Maisie (voiced by Zaris-Angel Hator), a young girl who lost her parents to a sea beast, snuck aboard the ship. The Captain accepts her until she frees the Red Bluster to save the crew. Unfortunately, Maisie and Jacob end up in the water, where they are swallowed whole by the Bluster.
The two are taken to an island where they learn that sea beasts are misunderstood, creatures. Maisie proceeds to befriend a smaller sea beast, whom she calls Blue, and the Bluster, whom she calls Red and asks to take them to Rum Pepper. They bond along the way, and when they arrive, Red attacks the Imperator and accidentally hurts Maisie, which Jacob uses to stop her from killing the Captain. She then spots and attacks the Inevitable but is shot with a poison-tipped harpoon and almost killed.
Jacob and Maisie are brought aboard, where the young girl is nursed back to health before she is locked away. The inevitable sails back to Three Bridges with a comatose Red in tow. When they arrive, Blue frees Maisie, and she learns that the hatred of sea beasts was a lie created by the Crown.
While Jacob stops Crow from executing Red, Maisie and Sharpe, who now believes Maisie about the beasts, free Red, Maisie exposes the Crown’s lies when she stops Red from killing Crow and convinces the kingdom and the old sea Captain to renounce their beliefs of Sea Beasts.
1. The Willoughbys
This film is based on the book written by Lois Lowry and follows four children as they attempt to find new parents that will replace their horrible ones.
The Willoughby parents (voiced by Martin Short and Jane Krakowski) love each other. Still, they want nothing to do with their children, denying them anything pleasant and even kicking them out of their home when Jane Willoughby (voiced by Alessia Cara) brings an orphaned baby into the house.
The siblings create a vacation brochure that will take parents to deadly destinations and hopefully get rid of them. The two leave immediately and leave their children in the charge of Linda (voiced by Maya Rudolph), a nanny who is way more caring than their parents ever were. Tim Willoughby (voiced by Will Forte) doesn’t trust Linda, while his siblings warm up to her instantly.
The Willoughby parents have survived every destination, but they have spent all their money. To stay on their vacation, they decide to sell their home and inform Linda of their plans. She says she will take care of the children, and when Tim steals her phone and hears the message, he misinterprets the message. It’s only after she helps the kids scare away a potential buyer that he realises his mistake.
Orphan Services arrives, and a hurt Linda leaves in tears. The siblings are then put with separate foster families until their parents return home. Tim keeps trying to escape but is unsuccessful until Linda breaks him and his siblings out. Finally, they decide to go to their parents so Orphan Services will leave them alone. Still, when they arrive and try to convince their parents to unite their family, Mr and Mrs Willoughby steal their means of transportation and crash into the ocean when they realise they don’t know how to steer. Abandoned, the siblings start to freeze to death, but Linda finds them just in time and adopts them as her own.
Audiences learn that the Willoughby parents survived the crash, but a shark begins to chase them.
The Willoughbys deserves its place at the top as the best animated movie on Netflix.