Exclusive: Kris Pearn’s five favorite overlooked animated films
While chatting with artist and director Kris Pearn for his first solo directorial effort, Netflix’s animated adventure The Willoughbys, ComingSoon.net dove in to the animation genre with Pearn to explore his five favorite most overlooked animated films of all time.
In The Willoughbys, convinced they’d be better off raising themselves, the Willoughby children hatch a sneaky plan to send their selfish parents on vacation. The four siblings then embark on their own high-flying adventure to learn how to adapt their old-fashioned values to the contemporary world as they try to find the true meaning of family.
The film will feature the voices of Grammy nominee Alessia Cara as Jane, Will Forte (Scoob!) as Tim, Vincent Tong (Sausage Party) as the Barnabys, Ricky Gervais (The Little Prince) as Cat, Maya Rudolph (Big Hero 6, Connected) as Nanny, Terry Crews (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2) as Commander Melanoff, Martin Short (Frankenweenie) as Father and Jane Krakowski (Open Season) as Mother.
The Willoughbys is written and directed by Pearn (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2). It is produced by Luke Carroll, Aaron L. Gilbert and Brenda Gilbert. The movie is a highly stylized CG animated feature film created by BRON Animation.
The Secret of Nimh
Pearn: The one that got me into this business was The Secret of Nimh. I loved that film when I was a kid, you have the story that is based on the book from Richard O’Brien. I loved how at the time, in the ’80s, it was kind of cool and dark and it felt slick and there was real stakes in the story and a little bit of blood in one shot. But ultimately it was a great story, it felt different and it felt fresh. I spent hours drawing the Nicodemus hands, trying to figure out how did they do that, that was amazing.
Pearn: When I was a kid I loved Watership Down, the original movie. I rewatched that with my kids when they were little and it’s got this great weird soundtrack, it’s another dark story that’s also very conscious about life and death and I think it still holds up.
Shaun the Sheep
Pearn: To flip the tables, I don’t know if this is underrated, but I love Aardman’s Shaun the Sheep, I was lucky to be a part of one of the films. Before I got to work on the movie, I loved that series and to me it’s like silent comedy is so hard to do, the fact that they pull it off time and time again with the sheep, it’s great. I think it works on the little kid level, but for me as an animator and as a grown up, I find myself grabbing for it all the time.
My Neighbor Totoro
Pearn: I think most animators know it, but My Neighbor Totoro, that’s one of my favorite movies. Weird enough, one of the guys in archive was talking about it being a comfort viewing in these trippy times and I literally just rewatched it again, because it reminded me of when I was little and it was just this whole story, it’s wandering and it’s sweet.
TIE: 101 Dalmatians & Robin Hood
Pearn: If I’m being honest, I’d say 101 Dalmatians, the Disney one. I loved the memories I have of it from when I was a kid, I mean that movie I used to try and draw the characters. I loved that photocopy era, but I’m on the fence too, because if I had to choose a Disney one it’s between that and Robin Hood.
The Willoughbys is available for streaming on Netflix now!
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)