The Best Animated Movies of 2018

Dog, Canidae, Dog breed, Miniature schnauzer, Companion dog, Snout, Scottish terrier, Schnauzer, Glasses, Fictional character,
Fox Searchlight FilmsDisney

In the age of blockbuster superhero franchises and CGI villains, you could kind of make the argument that just about every movie is an animated movie these days, but for the purposes of this list, we'll use the more traditional definition. Not so traditional as to rule out computer animation, of course (there basically wouldn't be a list if we did that).

Animated movies, with their fantastical plots and all-star voice talent, hold a special place in our hearts, even as we "grow up" and get "too old" for them. There's something about seeing an animal or an inanimate object start talking and dancing that's just weirdly delightful, no matter your age. So we are not ashamed to highly recommend all the following films—the best of 2018 so far. (We still have a little bit of a wait to see if highly-anticipated animated movies like Ralph Breaks the Internet and the new Grinch flick make the cut).

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'Early Man'

Release date: February 16, 2018

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, and Maisie Williams

About: This stop-motion movie from the team behind the classic Wallace & Gromit franchise is about a group of cavemen who are still living the Stone Age lifestyle when they encounter a group of hominids who have moved on to the Bronze Age. In addition to being wildly entertaining, it's informative—even reading the description forced you to think about lessons from history class you haven't used in years.

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'Isle of Dogs'

Release date: March 23, 2018

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Balaban, Kunichi Nomura, Ken Watanabe, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Fisher Stevens, Nijiro Murakami, Harvey Keitel, Koyu Rankin, Liev Schreiber, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Akira Ito, Akira Takayama, and F. Murray Abraham

About: If the cast list didn't give it away, this is a Wes Anderson movie. It's also stop-motion and geared for adults, two things that set it apart from most animated films. The story is set in a dystopian Japan where a devastating dog flu has prompted a decision to isolate the animals on their own island. The movie follows a boy who teams up with some of the isolated dogs on a quest to find his own pet.

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'Sherlock Gnomes'

Release date: March 23, 2018.

Starring: James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mary J. Blige, and Johnny Depp

About: Gnome-related puns are helping Emily Blunt and James McAvoy get PAID. This movie is a sequel to 2011's Gnomeo & Juliet, and follows the couple as they hire private eye Sherlock Gnomes to investigate mysterious disappearance of their gnome friends. You know, as you do.

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'Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero'

Release date: April 13, 2018

Starring: Logan Lerman, Helena Bonham Carter, and Gérard Depardieu

About: Did you miss this one? You're not alone if you did. It grossed just $3.8 million (and it cost $25 million to make). Still, the critics who saw Sgt. Stubby were mostly fans, calling it sensitive and charming. Unlike most animated movies, Sgt. Stubby tells the true story of the most decorated dog in American military history—for real. The real dog was a Boston Terrier who served in the trenches in World War I and was actually promoted to sergeant in the U.S. Army. As a dog.

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'Incredibles 2'

Release date: June 15, 2018

Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huckleberry Milner, Samuel L. Jackson, Bob Odenkirk, and Catherine Keener

About: You know this one: It's about the best family superhero team ever. More specifically, though, it's about Elastigirl finally getting her chance to save the day. The movie picks up right where the first film left off (which you can do 14 years later when your cast is animated) and sees Elastigirl doing the bulk of the hero-ing and Mr. Incredible staying home with the kids.

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'Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation'

Release date: July 13, 2018

Starring: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher, Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, and Mel Brooks

About: The monsters go on vacation on a cruise ship, Dracula falls in love with the great-granddaughter of his old nemesis Van Helsing and his family has to save him. The plot is nonsensical in the way only animated movies can be and it's not Incredibles 2 good, but this franchise basically just prints money at this point, so it's must-watch if you will be interacting with a child any time soon.

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Release date: September 28, 2018

Starring: Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, Common, LeBron James, Danny DeVito, Gina Rodriguez, Yara Shahidi, Ely Henry, and Jimmy Tatro

About: This movie sets out to flip the Bigfoot legend on its head, focusing on a young yeti who has been told his whole life that humans are just mythological creatures, then encounters one in the tiny-footed flesh. The voice cast alone is enough of a reason to give this one a shot.

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