Back in the day, there was this director who made some pretty great films. Unfortunately, this director was overshadowed by a much larger company, one that would rerelease their movies if there were any hints of competition. And while I incredibly love this large company, I think this director deserves some praise as well.
You know who I’m talking about. You’ve read the title. It’s Don Bluth.
And the strangest thing is, I have a lot of Don Bluth DVDs (you know, those things that existed before Netflix became a thing?) but I don’t remember a single one of them. I can’t remember if I watched them or just bought them and placed them on the shelf. So for winter break, I decided to marathon them and I really liked them!
So without further ado, here are my top 3 favorite Don Bluth films:
This movie was Don Bluth’s biggest hit, and I know a lot of people have a problem with that because he had to copy Disney’s formula in order to be successful. And while I agree, how can I be upset when the final product is so great? (Now, Thumbelina, that’s a different topic…) This is the only Don Bluth film I actually remember watching, and rewatching it made me remember why.
What can I say? The songs are just so lovely. Until now, I still can’t get Once Upon a December out of my head. Journey to the Past is a great listen. And you can’t not sing along to At the Beginning. That’s everybody’s jam. And the animation, in true Don Bluth style, is gorgeous. (Seriously, did you see that Once Upon a December scene? Absolutely marvellous.)
2. An American Tail
So I have one pet peeve about this movie, and it’s that it’s a musical. The songs aren’t very good, and there was no real need for the movie to be a musical. This movie would’ve been fine without the musical numbers.
But despite that, I still love this movie. Maybe it’s because I’m biased towards movies about mice, but this movie is just too much fun! The characters are all incredibly lovable, and while the movie is infuriating in which you just want to jump into the movie and turn Fievel’s head to go “THERE’S YOUR FAMILY” I still don’t mind because it just makes the ending so much more rewarding.
1. The Secret of NIMH
You KNEW this one was going to be on the list. You probably even knew this one was going to be number one. It just had to be. It’s Don’s magnus opus!
This movie works so well because of its atmosphere. Everything just feels so creepy, so scary, you almost forget you’re watching a movie meant for kids. The animation is so dark and so alluring, yet it still feels like Don Bluth. Mrs. Brisby is one awesome protagonist. This is one of those rare times where I find the movie far more superior than its source material. This movie is just a fantastic watch, and it’s not just one of the best animated Don Bluth films, it’s one of the best animated films ever.
I was too scared to watch this as a kid. I’m still too scared to watch it now.
So that was it! What are some of your favorite Don Bluth films? Let me know in the comments below!