I know I'm not the first one to cover this tune. The illustrious Roger Ebert tackled the subject on Christmas Eve, while our own Jeffrey Anderson made a similar call six months ago. But after sitting down with the ridiculously enjoyable (and enjoyably ridiculous) Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, my brain started percolating...
Avatar is an animated feature. As is my very favorite flick of 2009 (Fantastic Mr. Fox) ... and don't forget Pixar's truly sublime Up! And Disney's triumphant return to "traditional" animation with The Princess and the Frog! Oh, and the admirably twisted Coraline! Yet another Miyazaki masterpiece (Ponyo)? The strangely dark but oddly amusing adventures of 9? The slight-but-amusing antics of Monsters vs. Aliens? The environmentally friendly adventures of The Battle for Terra? The blissfully bizarre Belgian import A Town Called Panic? Oh, and be sure to remember the title Sita Sings the Blues. It's worth remembering. Stuff I haven't even seen yet like Ice Age 3, A Christmas Carol, and (the highly-regarded) Mary and Max?
As a guy who adores the artistry of animation (and longs for a day in which the medium is rescued from "the kiddie pool"), this sort of electrifying variety is precisely what I long for. There's more than enough room in the animation department for sweet little family flicks, slightly subversive literary adaptations, action, comedy, horror, romance ... obviously the "animated world" can produce literally anything. It's nice to know that Hollywood is finally starting to take note.
Or maybe I'm nuts. Can you think of another year that was able to boast so many wildly different (not to mention generally excellent) animated features? (First person to use the word "cartoon" gets a virtual slap.)