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10 Best Animated Movies Of The 2000s (That Aren't Disney)

Disney might be the most famous, but animation studios like DreamWorks, Blue Sky, and Sony produced some of the best animated movies of the 2000s.

Animation has been a staple of the entertainment industry since it was revolutionized by Walt Disney. While Disney wasn't the first to create animated movies, it was the first to use synchronized sound, and its resources as a studio, to churn out some of the biggest animated films to date. By the 2000s, other studios acquired the tools and resources to produce memorable animated films of their own.

The 2000s were marked by the ingenuity of studios such as DreamWorks Animation, Blue Sky Studios, Sony Pictures Animation, and Warner Bros. Animation, as they pushed the boundaries of what traditional animation stories have been. Animation was steering away from princesses finding their prince charming and moving toward telling stories audiences had yet to see but were asking for.

10. Bee Movie (2007)

DreamWorks Animation's Bee Movie follows Barry B. Benson, a honey bee who experiences the human world for the first time through florist Vanessa before learning bees are exploited in the honey business and sues them as a result. Barry is played by Jerry Seinfeld, who is also one of the screenwriters. He provides the film with a heavy comedy presence.

While the Bee Movie was a box-office hit, it became a cult classic after its DVD release thanks to its fans and their healthy obsession with the film's opening monologue. Bee Movie is not only filled with jokes for kids and adults, but it also educates audiences on the world of bees in a fun and exciting way.

9. Osmosis Jones (2001)

Osmosis Jones takes audiences into the mind and body through its protagonist, Osmosis Jones, commonly known as Ozzy, as he works to fight off a virus in his host's body. While the film is a hybrid animation and live-action feature, its heavy use of animation has garnered a reputation as one of the best live-action and animation hybrid films of all time.

The film was fresh and unique, garnering praise from critics for its world-building and story. Audiences follow Ozzy, who becomes a sort of germ-fighting superhero, as he travels through the live-action human Frank's body. Osmosis Jones has a healthy mix of science and education, as well as one-of-a-kind animation that leaves fans in awe.

8. The Road To El Dorado (2000)

The Road to El Dorado is DreamWorks Animation's third feature, taking a classic story about El Dorado, translated into English as "the city of gold," and turning it into a fun-filled adventure. While the film flopped at the box office, its DVD release reached new audiences, and it quickly gained a cult following in years since.

The Road to El Dorado sucks audiences into the story with an exciting gambling opening, in which the two protagonists, con artists Miguel and Tulio, win a map to El Dorado. Whether running from the law, escaping imprisonment, pretending to be gods, or its musical numbers, The Road to El Dorado is packed with enough humor and adventure for fans to fall in love.

7. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Fantastic Mr. Fox is Wes Anderson's first animated stop-motion feature. Reputation aside, the film's craftsmanship, story, and use of stop-motion blew audiences away. Based on Roald Dahl's children's book of the same name, Fantastic Mr. Fox brought the story to life through beautifully crafted stop-motion techniques combined with Wes Anderson's iconic direction.

Mr. Fox, Fantastic Mr. Fox's protagonist, is a thief who vows to find a safer job for the sake of his pregnant wife. However, Mr. Fox misses the thrill, reverting to old ways. After getting caught, Mr. Fox runs from farmers using tricks and quick thinking while protecting his family in the process. The film is a heartwarming and complex story that thrives due to its medium.

6. Flushed Away (2006)

Following the success of Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit, DreamWorks Animation and Aardman Features co-produced one last feature together, Flushed Away. Though sticking to the claymation style, Flushed Away was Aardman's first feature made fully using CGI animation.

Flushed Away follows a pet rat, Roddy St. James, who gets flushed down the toilet by a sewer rat who intrudes on his home. Roddy befriends Rita Malone, a scavenger, in order to get back home but gets caught up in the cross-fire between Rita and hench-rats, who are after her. Flushed Away proves itself to be a fun, crime-fighting feature, continuing to push animation's typical genre out of its comfort zone.

5. Curious George (2006)

Based on H. A. Rey and Margret Rey's children's book series of the same name, Curious George tells the story of how the Man in the Yellow Hat first met George and how the two became the best friends they're portrayed as. Co-produced by Universal Animation Studios and Imagine Entertainment, Curious George brought fans of the books and the animated series together in theaters for the first time.

Its lighthearted tone, simple but lovely animation style, and heartwarming story touched audiences' hearts, receiving an additional five sequels. Apart from Curious George's success as a story, its soundtrack and original songs by Jack Johnson have become a symbol for the film, especially Johnson's "Upside Down."

4. Ice Age (2002)

Before Blue Sky Studios shut down as a result of Covid-19's economic impact, it produced Ice Age alongside 20th Century Fox Animation before it became a subsidiary of Disney. Ice Age's unique story and setting, alongside its remarkable humor, received critical acclaim and an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature.

Ice Age follows protagonists Manny, a woolly mammoth, Sid, a sloth, and Diego, a saber-toothed cat, who come across a baby and work together to return it to its tribe. The film's success earned countless sequels, and before Blue Sky Studios shut down, fans were happily surprised with Scrat finally being able to catch the acorn he'd been chasing since Ice Age.

3. Robots (2005)

Robots is a science-fiction, adventure-comedy film created by the late and acclaimed Blue Sky Studios. Robots follows an aspiring inventor, Rodney Copperbottom, who sets out to meet his idol, Bigweld, only to discover Bigweld's company has been taken over by a corrupt robot, Ratchet, and his mother, who are working toward a society in which robots only wear new and expensive upgrades.

The film garnered positive reviews for its world-building, lovable characters, and acclaimed cast, including Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Greg Kinnear, Mel Brooks, Amanda Bynes, and the great Robin Williams. While Robots might not need a sequel, fans have no opposition to seeing Rodney and his friends return to the screen.

2. Shrek (2001)

Loosely based on William Steig's picture book of the same name, Shrek is a fantasy comedy film following an ogre, Shrek, and the world of fairy tales and fairy tale parodies that he lives in. Shrek's script was brilliant enough to attach a beloved cast, including Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and John Lithgow, and the film's success resulted in several sequels, as well as Puss in Boots spinoffs.

Adding a comedic twist to classic fairy tales, Shrek plays into the save the princess stereotype by having Shrek rescue Princess Fiona before ruler Lord Farquaad's executor can. With witty dialogue, unique character designs, countless puns, and a great story, Shrek has become a cultural icon among animated films.

1. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (2009)

Following the success of Open Season and Surf's Up, Sony Pictures Animation produced Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, adapted from Judi and Ron Barrett's children's book of the same name. Taking full advantage of animation's magic, the film is filled with exciting visuals, loads of color, and humor.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs follows inventor Flint Lockwood, whose inventions receive backlash from his town Swallow Falls' residents. After inventing a machine that can print food, he earns the town's respect. However, the machine becomes sentient, threatening Swallow Falls and its residents, leaving Flint to destroy his most successful invention. Along with its story, fans fell in love with Flint's side-kick, Steve, a talking monkey obsessed with gummy bears.

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