10 Best Animated Movies Turning 20 in 2022, Ranked By IMDb

10 Best Animated Movies Turning 20 in 2022, Ranked By IMDb

It’s hard to believe that 2002 was 20 years ago, but the math doesn’t lie. While animation has experienced incredible commercial, critical, and technological success since then, the truth is 2002 was a bit of a rough year for animation as a whole. Walt Disney Animation Studios was in its third year of the Post Renaissance Era which historically was one of their worst decades ever in terms of box office success. In addition, several other hit animated movies were either less-than-stellar sequels or movies inspired by popular animated kid’s shows at the time.

RELATED: 10 Best Animated Movies Turning 10 In 2022

However, there was one area of the animation studio that succeeded undoubtfully in 2002 and that was Blue Sky Animation which put out its first-ever full-length animated movie that year. While 2002 might not have been the year of animation wonders, it still offered a handful of entertaining and heartwarming movies that the whole family can and should enjoy together at least once.

10 Stuart Little 2 – 5.5

Stream On Netflix

While Stuart Little 2 is ultimately a sequel to the extremely successful Stuart Little movie released in 1999, it actually is more relevant to the original Stuart Little children’s novel that served as the inspiration for the adaptation. Though not incredibly influential in popular culture, the movie was a commercial and critical success largely in part to the way it blended live-action and animation together.

The movie picks up three years after Stuart has been adopted as he befriends an injured canary named Margalo. Wanting to help her, he invites Margalo to come home with him. She accepts the offer since she works for a greedy falcon who has made a living by stealing from people’s homes. As Margalo grows weary of stealing, her life is put into danger which sends Stuart and Snowball on an epic adventure to save her before it’s too late.

9 The Wild Thornberrys Movie – 5.6

Stream On Paramount+

Eliza and Dawin walking in the grass in The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002)

The Wild Thornberrys Movie is obviously based on Nickelodeon’s children’s show of the same name. While the series has a large enough following to warrant a theatrical release, the movie ultimately struggled at the box office because it was released against The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. 

Like the show, the movie centered on pre-teen Eliza who is now in Africa with her wildlife documentary family. The movie serves as a prequel for the series and explains how Eliza got the magical power that allows her to communicate with animals.


8 Return To Never Land – 5.8

Stream On Disney+

Part of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ strategy during the 1990s and 2000s was creating sequels to beloved Disney classics that were released exclusively on VHS/DVD. However, Disney decided to put one of its sequels into theaters in 2002 when Return To Never Land was released in February.

Having returned to London at the conclusion of Peter Pan, Wendy is now grown up with children of her own. Though Wendy is an adult, she never lost her love for storytelling and tells her kids stories of Peter Pan every night. Unlike Wendy, her daughter doesn’t believe in these stories until she is mistakenly captured by Hook and his pirates to lure Peter Pan to them under the guise that they have Wendy.

7 Hey Arnold! The Movie – 6.0

Stream On Paramount+

Nickelodeon kicked off its year of releasing theatrical movies based on its animated shows in June when they released Hey Arnold! The Movie. Unlike some of its other TV show-turned movies, Hey Arnold! The Movie never impacted the plot of the series despite arriving during the fifth and final season of the show.

RELATED: 10 Best Shows Like Hey Arnold!

The movie kicks off when Arnold and his friends discover that a wealthy tech company’s CEO plans to buy their entire neighborhood and turn it into a luxury multi-level shopping mall. Arnold and Gerald immediately set out to save their neighborhood from this plan which puts him at odds with Helga for the first time since her father works for the tech company.

6 Barbie As Rapunzel – 6.5

Rent On Amazon Prime Video

Barbie smiling in Barbie As Rapnunzel

There’s no doubt that Barbie has been one of the most profitable toy franchises for decades so it was no surprise that the company decided to venture into the world of animated movies in 2001 with direct-to-video releases. After the success of the first movie, they tried their hand again with the release of Barbie as Rapunzel which later premiered on Nickelodeon.

The movie begins with Barbie telling her younger sister Kelly about Rapunzel. As she reads the book, audiences see Barbie transform into Rapunzel and follow her through Rapunzel’s adventures.

5 Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year – 6.7

Stream On Disney+

Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet in Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year

Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year is an underrated holiday animated special that deserves more recognition. It was released straight to video in 2002 and served as a sort of finale to the 1990s animated series The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. 

The movie covers both Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the Hundred Acre Woods. The action is kicked off on Christmas Eve when Pooh is unable to find the gift he bought for Piglet and hid for safekeeping. As shenanigans occur, Rabbit becomes more and more fed up until he decides that he needs to move unless his friends can be better friends. This has Pooh and company pretending to be each other in the hopes of appeasing Rabbit.

4 Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron – 7.2

Rent On Amazon Prime Video

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is one of DreamWorks Animation’s most underrated movies of all time. Despite this, the movie launched a media franchise and was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

RELATED: 10 Other Horse Films To Watch If You Liked Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron 

An animated western, the movie centers on a wild stallion who is captured by humans against his will. Though the humans mean well and plan to train him, Spirit fights back and becomes determined to take back his life and finally return home to he heard.

3 Treasure Planet – 7.2

Stream On Disney+

The underrated Treasure Planet has an impactful history in the world of animation and Disney, despite being a major box office failure. On the positive side of things, the animated sci-fi adventure is the most expensive traditionally animated movie ever made. On the negative, it’s was the second lowest-earning movie of the Post-Renaissance Disney Era.

The movie follows Jim Hawkins, a teenager who finds a map leading to a legendary pirate trove. Determined to get there, he enlists the help of a ragtag group of intergalactic travelers to help him find the treasure and make history.

2 Lil0 & Stitch – 7.3

Stream On Disney+

Lilo and Stitch dancing.

The beloved Lilo & Stitch is arguably the most well-known Disney movie of the Post-Renaissance Era and one of the few successful ones. It launched a franchise that has included direct-to-video movies, three television shows, and even theme park attractions in Disney Parks.

The movie follows Lilo, a young girl who is being raised by her older sister after their parent’s untimely death, and Stitch, a rogue alien on the run. After rescuing Stitch from the shelter, Lilo makes it her mission to turn him into a good “dog” while Stitch avoids being captured by his creator.

1 Ice Age – 7.5

Stream On Disney+

Ice Age Originally Planned To Kill Off A Main Character

Ice Age might just have saved animation in 2002 from being a joke. This is an incredible feat given that it marked the first full-length animated movie created by Blue Sky Animation. Now Ice Age is one of the most successful animation franchises of all time.

Set in prehistoric time, Ice Age centers on a ragtag group of animals who are on the move to avoid being frozen as Earth experiences an “Ice Age.” Their mission is further complicated when they come across a human baby who has been left on its own. Together, Manny, Sid, and Diego must reunite this human with his pack while trying to survive themselves.

NEXT: 10 Hilarious Quotes From Ice Age

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