7 Movies From Our Childhood That Mixed Animation And Live Action Perfectly, Ranked
Hands down, the '90s were the best time to be a kid. I mean, how could any other decade compare? We had Pretty Pretty Princess, we had Jumanji, we had the Olsens, and we had Nickelodean back when Kenan and Kell was still on the air. We had Hansons to crush on and Amelia Bedelia books to read and Lip Smackers to lip smack. We really had it all, honestly. But as if the long list of celebrity crushes all '90s kids had to choose from and the kick-ass board games all of us played weren't enough, all those magical movies from our childhood that mixed animation and live action definitely would have been.
I'm not sure why these movies started cropping up one right after the other in the late '80s and continued through the early '00s, but I loved every one of them (especially the ones made in the '90s.) There's just something about seeing real people next to cartoons and/or real people who turn into cartoons that made my weird, little '90s-kid-heart swell with joy. And I've yet to find a film that gives me quite the same feeling of childlike wonder that all those part animation- part live action ones from my millennial childhood did.
If you were one of those kids who went nuts for the many childhood movies that mixed live action and animation too, then you know what I'm talking about. Here's seven movies from our childhood that mixed animation and live action perfectly, ranked.
7. The 10th Kingdom (2000)
The 10th Kingdom is technically a mini-series, not a movie, but it still makes the list because it's awesome. I mean, who doesn't love fantasy in general and Scott Cohen's portrayal of Wolf in particular? And all the scattered gems of animations mixed in with live action throughout the episodes, like the stream of hearts when Wolf kisses Virginia during that gorgeous balcony scene? Classic. Granted, it's long AF. I'm pretty sure I've only seen it from start to finish twice because of this fact, but there really is no better movie to watch when you're stuck at home with the flu or waiting out a blizzard.
6. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Of all the live action/animation hybrid films of the '90s, I think Who Framed Roger Rabbit was probably the most impressive. I actually studied it in one of my college film classes because it's really such a cinematic feat.
Of course, all I can ever remember about this movie is the infamous Jessica Rabbit. She always made me a touch uncomfortable as a kid, probably because I had a crush on her, but also because she's the thickest, sexiest cartoon character in existence. It's weird to call a cartoon character sexy, it really is, but there's just no other word to describe Jessica. And even though her insane curves kind of made me feel insecure about my scrawniness as a kid, I'm happy Jessica was able to give girls watching a (slightly) different body type to idealize than all those Disney princess bodies.
5. James and the Giant Peach (1996)
I actually wasn't allowed to watch this one. I don't know why, exactly. I think my dad must have seen a preview and assumed it would scare me or something, but he made it clear that I was not to see James and the Giant Peach. Fortunately, I lucked into a loophole and got to watch it anyway.
My grandpa took me to the movies around the time James and the Giant Peach came out, and it was the only movie showing that wasn't rated PG-13. So, we watched it, and I fell in love. It had it's darker, scarier moments for sure. The rhino scene in the film's live action beginning scared me, and the shark scene after everyone turns animated kind of made me nervous too — but I still couldn't get enough of this movie. And I especially couldn't get enough of Mrs. Ladybug.
4. Balto (1995)
I love, love, love Balto. The live action intro starts in one of my all time favorite places in the world — New York, and the animated portion always made me dream of visiting Alaska. But besides super cool locations, Balto earned my love with it's fantastic characters. Daisy's adorable voice, Boris's good-natured crankiness, Jenna's sweetness, and Balto's gumption were always fun to watch and to root for. Not to mention, that white wolf scene is epic as hell.
3. Casper (1995)
I never watched the sequels or the animated spin-offs, but I absolutely loved Casper when it came out in 1995 and I've loved it ever since. Everything about that movie is perfect. That huge, beautiful, creepy house, the fact that it's set in autumn, (my favorite season forever and ever) Casper's general adorableness, the magical soundtrack, and Christina Ricci's surly portrayal of Kat Harvey all make for a winning motion picture. Plus, it mixed the animated ghost of Casper with the live action characters seamlessly. Oh, and if you don't tear up during that ballroom scene between Kat and Casper near the end, then you have no heart. Can I keep you?
2. The Pagemaster (1994)
I am always deeply saddened when I meet a fellow '90s kid who has never seen this movie, because I honestly can't imagine my '90s childhood without it. As if its not enough that Macauly Caulkin (who will always have a piece of my heart for his entertaining and heartwarming portrayal of Kevin McCallistar) stars in The Pagemaster, his scary, awesome, animated adventures begin in one of my all time favorite places as both a child and an adult — the public library. Plus, there's pirates and talking books and dragons and bike riding.
Whether you obsessed over this movie as soon as it was released in 1994 like I did, or you've never even heard of it, you should check it out.
1. Space Jam (1996)
Like most '90s kids, I couldn't get enough of Space Jam when it hit the big screen in 1996. Who wouldn't love watching toons play basketball with the ever so awesome Michael Jordan and a bunch of crazy looking, animated, alien monsters? I never did get why Buggs Bunny was the star toon though. He could play ball, of course, but he just never impressed me, and he was kind of a jerk, to be honest. But at least Lola Bunny was there, in all her adorableness, to offset his rascally ways.
Images: Warner Brothers Entertainment; Giphy