The Best Kids’ Animation Of 2022
By Caroline Cao/
Animation for children deserves more respect, especially lately. In an industry that values profits over artistic risks, kids’ animation remains a dismissible art form, and the intelligence of its audience is often underestimated. In 2022, the industry faced HBO Max’s purge of several animated projects, an ongoing battle for fair wages, and the abridgement or outright cancelation of numerous shows and movies. Looking back, it’s hard to not wonder what might have been.
These obstacles are especially notable given how much animation aimed at children has evolved over the years. A number of 2022’s animated projects were particularly inventive and thought-provoking. It was a year full of glorious stop-motion productions, breathtaking visual innovations, and major milestones when it comes to queer visibility. Just remember: For our purposes, «kids» is an inclusive term that refers to both actual children as well as the kid that exists in every adult. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best all-ages animation that 2022 had to offer.
Wendell & Wild
Henry Selick’s output has never been so gruesome — and that’s saying a lot when you consider that he previously directed «Coraline» and «The Nightmare Before Christmas.» A movie that’s definitely not for the younger kiddies, Selick’s latest feature, «Wendell & Wild,» is full of death. Wracked with survivor’s guilt, the orphan Kat Elliot (Lyric Ross) must survive under an apathetic system when she’s sent to a boarding school. Later, fate makes her a human «hell maiden,» giving her the ability to summon two mischievous demons, Wendell (Keegan-Michael Key) & Wild (Jordan Peele), who may be the key to resurrecting her parents. However, the interests of greedy corporate moguls get in the way of both the demons’ schemes as well as Kat’s wishes.
Selick’s collaboration with Peele, who contributed to the screenplay, is not just a collection of scary, dramatic gags (including some physical manifestations of trauma), but also a celebration of the marginalized people who fight the systemic racism gnawing at their communities. But that’s not the end of its social commentary; «Wendell & Wild» also argues that the greed behind the prison-industrial complex is even more evil than literal hell demons. With a booming punk soundtrack, there’s no better ode to society’s rebels. «Wendell & Wild» can be found on Netflix.
ONI: Thunder God’s Tale
What does it mean to perceive an «Oni,» a type of spirit from Japanese folklore? Daisuke Tsutsumi seems to be asking this in «ONI: Thunder God’s Tale,» but really, that’s the wrong question. What the citizens of this forest village should be wondering is whether or not they have the physical strength to fight the neighboring Oni, who are planning to attack.
As the daughter of the big red thunder god Naridon (Craig Robinson), Onari (Momona Tamada) wants nothing more than to prove the viability of her «kushi,» or special abilities, to her community, which equates power with physical prowess. However, Naridon, a seemingly doltish entity, has very different ideas about strength. Across four 45-minute episodes, Onari learns about her heritage, and encounters quite a few twists and turns. She also discovers that the Oni may not be quite as monstrous as she’s been led to believe.
If the CGI animation in «ONI: Thunder God’s Tale» looks like it’s hand-crafted, that’s because this Tonko House production originated as a fully-fledged stop-motion production. Designed to look like they’re made out of cushioned felt, the diverse shapes of the forest spirits feel as lifelike as the landscapes they live in. Young Onari, however, is waxier and smoother, highlighting her differences. The show is currently streaming on Netflix.
The Owl House
Yet another animated series that was cut short before its time, Dana Terrace’s «The Owl House» has a certain crisp magic. Its world is populated with vibrant kids and kooky adults, and its visuals are inspired by the images of Hieronymus Bosch.
Under the tutelage of the cursed mage Eda (Wendie Malick), the human Luce (Sarah-Nicole Robles) immerses herself in magical studies at the Boiling Isles. More inclusive than the world of «Harry Potter,» «The Owl House» celebrates people who function outside the box, whether they’re a neurodivergent kid or a mentor trying her darndest to teach her pupil the best lessons. The cartoon is also highly regarded for centering a cute (and completely unambiguous) queer romance between Luz and her former rival, Amity (Mae Whitman).
Season 2, which concluded this spring, ramps up the stakes as Emperor Belos (Matthew Rhys) enacts his evil plan. The season 3 premiere, which aired in October, explores the ramifications of the characters’ return to the human world and Luz’s uneasy reintegration into a life of relative normalcy. The only real flaw? Disney apparently did not see the value of serialized storytelling for young kids, and the production ended up having a shorter season 3 than intended. «The Owl House» can be viewed on Disney+.
Bee and PuppyCat
A tuba. In «Bee and PuppyCat,» a character makes a major confession through the blaring sound of a tuba. That’s par for the course, though, for this Natasha Allegri cartoon, which has a vibe that’s difficult to describe. It’s kind of like chilling on a ride down a rainbow river, if that makes any sense.
The confectionary-colored «Bee and PuppyCat» has all the randomness of «Adventure Time,» but brings its own wacky flavor. First, there’s the irascible and laid-back human (or human-like) Bee (Allyn Rachel), who bonds with the mysterious PuppyCat, a cosmic being who speaks in electronic synthesizer sounds. They soon become inseparable, and end up venturing into a gateway space where they are assigned tasks, then funneled to other oddball locations to carry them out.
While «Bee and PuppyCat» made its debut online in 2013, the 2022 series is considered a reboot. That said, the latest iteration also contains episodes from an ill-fated 2019 continuation of the original. It doesn’t really matter, though. The current version stands alone, and you can catch the whole thing on Netflix.
Dead End: Paranormal Park
Sometimes, the greatest horror is simply someone saying «hi» to you. In episode 3, season 1 of «Dead End: Paranormal Park,» a girl is assailed by a vision of friendly coworkers secretly hating on her. It’s a frank, terrifying, and incredibly specific depiction of life with social anxiety and neurodivergence.
Lifted from the pages of Hamish Steele’s comics, «Dead End: Paranormal Park» follows the misadventures of Barney (Zach Barack), Norma (Kody Kavitha), and Barney’s talking pug (Alex Brightman) in a supernatural theme park that’s centered around a movie star. If you like «Gravity Falls,» «Dead End» should be right up your alley. It has witty characters, including a snarky demon (Emily Osment), plenty of gallows humor, and some ghastly foes, like sleep-sucking hags and merciless demons.
The best parts of season 1 deal with the aforementioned panic attack, a game show in Hell, a genre-hopping adventure, a transgender boy’s season-long fight to assert his identity, and a musical episode. Season 2 goes on to tackle low self-esteem, fissures in a relationship, and coming out of the closet. By celebrating these misfit kids, «Dead End: Paranormal Park» breaks new ground when it comes to discussing queer struggles with nuance in a cartoon. The series is streaming on Netflix.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
In «Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,» our favorite anthropomorphic feline from the «Shrek» franchise, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas), has squandered eight of his nine kitty lives in the service of thrill-seeking adventures. Now, he only has one left. How shall he spend it? Can he outmatch the frightening Big Bad Wolf (Wagner Moura) — aka Death — who’s tracking his every move? Most importantly, can he reach the Wishing Star, which can extend his life, before it’s too late?
As witnessed in «The Bad Guys,» DreamWorks Animation has embraced the painterly textures and playful use of frame rates seen in «Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. » So, you’re in for a treat when Puss stares down the Grim Reaper, or when he travels through landscapes lifted from undiluted concept art. Adding to its depth, Paul Fisher and Tommy Swerdlow’s screenplay offers a meditation into the mortality that hampers Puss’ ability to live his remaining life to the fullest. The film’s most ingenious device is a magical map that transforms into abstracted obstacles symbolizing the holder’s psyche. «Puss in Boots: The Last Wish» is the sort of film that hits all the notes on the register; during its most harrowing sequences, you’ll both laugh and cry, sometimes because of a single sight gag.
The Orbital Children
Two feature-length films split into six episodes, Mitsuo Iso’s «The Orbital Children» is a bountiful confection full of technological advancements and philosophy. Every overstuffed frame is bursting with ideas. With its TV-14 rating and a juvenile feel, that makes «The Orbital Children» the rare animated film that’s intellectually generous to its young viewers. In the year 2045, AI has rapidly evolved into an unparalleled intelligence. Aboard the Anshin space station, the misanthropic moon-born child Touya (Griffin Burns) has every reason to be disgruntled with three visiting Earthling children (Adam McArthur, Tara Sands, Colleen O’Shaughnessey). Then, a mysterious act of sabotage leads to trouble for both the Anshin and Earth.
«The Orbital Children» features kaleidoscopic interiors stuffed with eye-popping technology, including smartphone gloves and brain implants. With its gumball-colored screens, buttons, and holograms, entering the ship is like floating into a zero-gravity playground. As on the science fiction show «The Expanse,» «The Orbital Children» has some thoughts about how the physical development of space children compares to that of kids born on Earth, and smartly uses those ideas to further the tension between its characters. All six episodes of «The Orbital Children» can be streamed on Netflix.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Carlo Collodi’s original 1883 novel «The Adventures of Pinocchio» is a didactic text about good behavior. Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson’s stop-motion feature «Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,» on the other hand, questions the very concept of obedience. Not to be confused with Disney’s live-action remake of its animated classic, which also came out in 2022, this film sees del Toro take his love of contraptions and inhuman outsiders to its imaginative extreme through frame-by-frame puppetry that requires meticulous joint-by-joint movements.
After he carves a boy out of wood to replace his slain son, Geppetto (David Bradley) wants the living puppet Pinocchio (Gregory Mann) to behave. He’s not alone; over the course of the film, many forces try to tame (or puppeteer) the rambunctious wooden child. First, his loving but harried creator pressures Pinocchio to behave, wishing he’d act more like his deceased son. Next, a ringmaster (Christoph Waltz) tries to use Pinocchio to amass fame and fortune. Finally, a fascist officer (Ron Perlman) sees the boy’s immortality as a military asset, and attempts to prepare him for combat.
Bathed in warm, sun-soaked colors, our wooden boy explores the fraught world of 1930s Italy and the perils of immortality. Co-written by «Over the Garden Wall» creator Patrick McHale, «Pinocchio» zips through many themes: the futility of war, how fascists brainwash both youths and adults, and the eternal ache of loss. Like McHale’s cartoon, it also ends with a graceful enigma. You can watch Pinocchio’s adventure on Netflix.
My Father’s Dragon
A bright-eyed sense of wonder winds through «My Father’s Dragon,» which is based on the 1948 children’s novel by Ruth Stiles Gannett. Every frame of Nora Twomey’s film (a co-production between Netflix Animation, Mockingbird Pictures, and Cartoon Saloon) moves like something out of a storybook. Like its Cartoon Saloon sibling «Song of the Sea,» «My Father’s Dragon» is a visual delight.
In the middle of a recession, young Elmer (Jacob Tremblay) must adjust to the closing of his mother’s candy shop. Then, he is spirited away onto a sinking island and tasked with rescuing Boris (Gaten Matarazzo), a kooky dragon with circus-inspired patterns on his body and an endearingly approachable face. Boris’ destiny is to pull the island to safety, but its animal occupants interfere with the dragon’s attempts to do his job. A film with crystal-clear voicework, «My Father’s Dragon» eschews a traditional evil villain in favor of well-intentioned antagonists who act out of desperation. The film is streaming on Netflix.
Since 2021, young Kid Cosmic (Jack Fisher) and the Local Heroes have wielded rings of power in order to save the world. It’s an ingenious setup for a show, allowing creator Craig McCracken to fully exploit the possibilities inherent in superpowered rings that can be passed among owners both human and extraterrestrial. However, season 2 of «Kid Cosmic» ended too easily, wrapping up all dangling plot threads. Its transition into its next arc was too clean, and the conclusion seemed to embrace the beat-’em-up fantasy that the first season sought to subvert. Enter 2022’s season 3, which introduces a twist that, in hindsight, changes that fantasy into something devastating.
The Kid’s world feels like it’s been injected with caffeine. Animated in a grainy retro-comic style with a comically choppy frame rate, McCracken’s final season of «Kid Cosmic» is both a headbanger and a tearjerker. Its ultimate message is less about hero fantasies, and more about embracing community. The final season — and the rest of the show — are available on Netflix.
Craig of the Creek
One particular season 4 episode of «Craig of the Creek» lands like a gut punch. In «Craig to the Future,» the title character imagines himself and his friends all grown up, but no longer mingling. Despite affirmations that their friendship will last forever, Craig (Philip Solomon) realizes that their social group may come to an end. To drive the point home, throughout this season we see older kids (including Craig’s brother) prepare for adulthood.
Created by Matt Burnett and Ben Levin, «Craig of the Creek» delights viewers with its idyllic portrait of play, the power of make-believe, and the warmth of a diverse children’s community. For young Craig and his friends, playtime in the wilderness is as serious as Frodo and his fellowship’s journey into Mordor. They settle into cliques, take on pretend roles inspired by Dungeons & Dragons and genre films, and spin their own mythologies out of their imaginations. In season 4, Craig searches for cubes that could create a giant treasure map. The season also teaches poignant lessons about fitting in, being liked, and being honest with your parents. You can catch «Craig of the Creek» on Hulu and HBO Max (for now, anyway).
Little Nicholas — Happy as Can Be
Despite its title, «Little Nicholas — Happy as Can Be» is anchored by an aura of adult longing, particularly when it comes to writer René Goscinny (Alain Chabat) and artist Jean-Jacques Sempé (Laurent Lafitte), Little Nicholas’ real-life creators (the character originated in a series of French children’s books). The film starts with the exhilarating painting of a world on blank pages, with everything beginning as uncolored concept art. In later vignettes, we witness Little Nicholas (Simon Faliu) engage in everyday activities like some cartoonish brawling, a quarrel with his crush, and fishing at summer camp. Nicholas’ life is depicted through a splashy watercolor window; whenever uncolored characters enter the shot, you’ll notice that they gain various hues as they stroll into the center of the frame. This choice suggests that the artists are constantly inventing Nicholas’ world as they go.
Nicholas’ adventures are framed around meetings with Goscinny and Sempé, who find comfort in interacting with their creation. Unlike characters like, say, Bill Watterson’s Calvin or Charles M. Schulz’s Charlie Brown, Nicholas resides in a sunny world, and has a wholesome outlook and an unfazed innocence. During the creators’ conversations with Nicholas, they reference the trauma that led to the invention of this universe. For them, Nicholas’ colorful version of France was a means of escape. For Sempé (who passed away this year), it was also a way to preserve his friendship with Goscinny.
The Sea Beast
In «The Sea Beast,» the orphan Maisie Brumble (Zaris-Angel Hator) enthusiastically chirps about her parents’ demise like it’s a badge of honor while an adult figure surveys her with skepticism. Touches like this best represent the film’s simmering conflict with legacy and the difficulty of subverting it. Determined to live up to her parents’ example, Maisie stows away on a monster-hunting ship run by the imposing Captain Crow, an Ahab-like figure voiced by Jared Harris, and ends up under the wing of Crow’s would-be successor, Jacob Holland (Karl Urban). After an attack from a beast known as the Red Bluster, Maisie and Jacob are swept into the sea and make discoveries that force them to reconsider their occupation.
Under the watchful eye of director Chris Williams, «The Sea Beast» is a seafaring tale about subverting legacies. It’s a tale that’s been told many times in western animation, including in Williams’ own «Moana,» but it’s delivered here with dramatic intelligence, an eye for charming character details, and an adventurous sense of humor. The movie is streaming on Netflix.
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
A live-action and stop-motion hybrid, «Marcel the Shell with Shoes On» centers on an imaginary being, and uses the power of animation to bring him to life. Marcel (Jenny Slate), a one-inch conch shell with a single googly eye, was separated from the rest of his family (who are also shells) during a tragic incident, and now must care for his ailing grandmother all on his own. To find his family, he and his human friend, a documentarian, turn to the World Wide Web. Along the way, Marcel also offers microscopic insights into how to cope with alienation, find empathy in the digital age, and live life to the fullest.
Do not underestimate this cutesy mockumentary by Dean Fleischer Camp, who plays himself in the film. Like crisp B-roll footage from a nature documentary, «Marcel the Shell with Shoes On» overflows with an empathetic intelligence and a keen awareness of the documentary format. As a stop-motion puppet, Marcel is top-notch, too. After just one glance, you immediately know that he’s some kind of forgotten knickknack. This befits the film’s underlying message, which implores viewers to take notice of and appreciate life’s smaller details. Every frame works in service of this theme: curly wood shavings, rustling tissues, kernels that burst into popcorn, and tiny footprints. This love letter to miniature things can be rented on various video-on-demand services.
Best Animated Movies 2022 | Rotten Tomatoes
Guillermo del Toro played to his dark fantasy strengths with the stop-motion Pinocchio, while Pixar put out some of their zippiest character animations ever in Turning Red. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On was a plea for curiosity and integrity in turbulent times, Puss in Boots and Beavis and Butt-Head made feature-length returns after years away, and anime made another strong showing with Belle, Jujutsu Kaisen 0, and the latest in the Dragon Ball Super saga.
The order reflects Tomatometer scores (as of December 31, 2022) after adjustment from our ranking formula, which compensates for variation in the number of reviews when comparing movies or TV shows.
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Adjusted Score: 109714%
Critics Consensus: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio delivers fully on its title — which is to say it’s a visually stunning adaptation that embraces its source material’s darkness.
Synopsis: Academy Award®-winning director Guillermo del Toro and award-winning, stop-motion legend Mark Gustafson reimagine the classic Carlo Collodi tale of the… [More]
Starring: Gregory Mann, Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Tilda Swinton
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson
Adjusted Score: 107862%
Critics Consensus: Heartwarming, humorous, beautifully animated, and culturally expansive, Turning Red extends Pixar’s long list of family-friendly triumphs.
Synopsis: In «Turning Red», Mei Lee is a confident, dorky thirteen-year-old torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos… [More]
Starring: Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Ava Morse, Hyein Park
Directed By: Domee Shi
Adjusted Score: 106323%
Critics Consensus: Poignant, profound, and utterly heartwarming, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is animated entertainment with real heart.
Synopsis: Marcel is an adorable one-inch-tall shell who ekes out a colorful existence with his grandmother Connie and their pet lint,… [More]
Starring: Jenny Slate, Rosa Salazar, Thomas Mann, Isabella Rossellini
Directed By: Dean Fleischer-Camp
Adjusted Score: 103126%
Critics Consensus: Arriving more than a decade after the previous installment, the smart, sweet, and funny Puss in Boots: The Last Wish proves some franchises only get better with age.
Synopsis: This fall, everyone’s favorite leche-loving, swashbuckling, fear-defying feline returns. For the first time in more than a decade, DreamWorks Animation… [More]
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Olivia Colman, Harvey Guillen
Directed By: Joel Crawford
Adjusted Score: 99618%
Critics Consensus: Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie offers a thrilling, beautifully animated gift for fans of the anime — and a story that holds up as a standalone effort.
Synopsis: When they were children, Rika Orimoto was killed in a traffic accident right before the eyes of her close friend,… [More]
Starring: Kayleigh McKee, Anairis Quiñones, Allegra Clark, Xander Mobus
Directed By: Seong-Hu Park, Sunghoo Park
Belle (2021) 95%
Adjusted Score: 100265%
Critics Consensus: A remarkable story brought to life with dazzling animation, Belle finds writer-director Mamoru Hosoda setting a brilliant new benchmark.
Synopsis: Suzu is a shy, everyday high school student living in a rural village. For years, she has only been a… [More]
Starring: Kylie McNeill, Chace Crawford, Paul Castro Jr., Manny Jacinto
Directed By: Mamoru Hosoda
Adjusted Score: 99110%
Critics Consensus: Fart-knockers beware: Beavis and Butt-Head are back, and they’re just as stupidly hilarious (or hilariously stupid?) as ever.
Synopsis: A tale that technically spans two centuries, BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD DO THE UNIVERSE promises to sit atop all future lists… [More]
Starring: Mike Judge, Gary Cole, Chris Diamantopoulos, Nat Faxon
Directed By: Mike Judge
Adjusted Score: 99426%
Critics Consensus: An original animated tale that’s often as daring as its characters, The Sea Beast sends audiences on a voyage well worth taking.
Synopsis: In an era when terrifying beasts roamed the seas, monster hunters were celebrated heroes — and none were more beloved. .. [More]
Starring: Karl Urban, Zaris-Angel Hator, Jared Harris, Dan Stevens
Directed By: Chris Williams
Adjusted Score: 96758%
Critics Consensus: The sweetly nostalgic Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood finds Richard Linklater reusing visual and thematic ingredients in a deeply personal, freshly inspired way.
Synopsis: Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood tells the story of the first moon landing in the summer of 1969… [More]
Starring: Jack Black, Bill Wise, Lee Eddy, Milo Coy
Directed By: Richard Linklater
Adjusted Score: 94814%
Critics Consensus: Blending beautifully animated action with fresh character development, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is everything fans of the franchise will be looking for.
Synopsis: The Red Ribbon Army was once destroyed by Son Goku. Individuals, who carry on its spirit, have created the ultimate. .. [More]
Starring: Kyle Hebert, Sean Schemmel, Robert McCollum, Christopher Sabat
Directed By: Tetsuro Kodama
« Previous Category Next Category »
Movie & TV News
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12 best cartoons of 2022 for kids and adults
December 21, 2022
New Pixar works and the next adventures of Dracula are waiting for you.
1. Monster League
- USA, Australia, Canada, 2021.
- Fantasy, comedy, adventure, family, sports.
- Premiere: 5 January.
- IMDb: 5.9.
In a world where monsters live side by side with humans, monster athletes compete in incredibly popular wrestling matches. Winnie, a girl who dreams of becoming a coach, takes a loser monster under her wing to turn him into a champion.
The date of the premiere of the animated film «Monsters League» was postponed several times, but the picture still reached the audience. It turned out bright, but not everyone liked it.
2. Monsters on Vacation: Transformania
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania
- USA, 2022.
- Horror, fantasy, melodrama, comedy, adventure, family.
- Premiere: January 14 on Amazon Prime Video.
- IMDb: 6.0.
This is the fourth film in the series about the adventures of the hapless Count Dracula, the owner of the Hotel Transylvania. This time, he and his friends will become victims of a mysterious beam that turns monsters into people and vice versa.
Initially, Sony Pictures was going to release the tape in the cinema, but the pandemic made its adjustments, and Amazon Prime Video streaming service acquired distribution rights.
3. Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild
The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild
- USA, 2022.
- Drama, comedy, adventure, family.
- Premiere: January 26 on Disney+.
- IMDb: 4.3.
Possum brothers are looking for a new home. They will again have to go on a journey in which they will meet with a variety of inhabitants of their time.
The Ice Age franchise, with five films each weaker than the last, has come to an end. The audience did not appreciate the new picture, so the end of the once successful story turned out to be sad.
- France, Canada, 2022.
- Comedy, adventure, family.
- Premiere: 17 February.
- IMDb: 6.2.
The French Canadian cartoon tells about a girl Georgia, who since childhood dreamed of becoming a firefighter like her father. But since only guys are taken to study this profession, she decides to pretend to be a man.
One of the directors of «Flaming Heart» was Laurent Zeytun, screenwriter of the cartoon «Ballerina». The picture is unlikely to surprise adult viewers with Pixar-level graphics or a deep plot, but it will surely delight and entertain very young children.
5. Turning Red
- Canada, USA, 2022.
- Fantasy, comedy, adventure, family.
- Premiere: 10 March.
- IMDb: 7.0.
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Obedient and responsible girl Mei Li enters adolescence and discovers the ability to turn into a huge red panda. And this happens not by her will, but only when she experiences strong emotions.
New Pixar animated film directed by Domi Shi. For her, this is the first full-length work. Prior to that, she shot a lovely short film «Bao» about the complexities of the relationship between parents and children, for which she received an Oscar.
- Russia, 2022.
- Comedy, adventure, family.
- Premiere: 24 March.
- IMDb: 5.9.
Finnick the furry brownie loves to play tricks on his owners. Some of his pranks even forced him to move out of the apartment, but with the new tenants — a girl named Christina and her parents — everything does not go according to plan. Soon, inexplicable events begin to occur in the city, and the heroes have to unite in order to save everyone.
This curious project was released in March 2022 and delighted fans of domestic animation. The leading director of Smeshariki Denis Chernov is responsible for the production.
7. Super Pets
DC League of Super‑Pets
- USA 2022.
- Fiction, fantasy, action, comedy, crime, adventure, family.
- Premiere: 27 July.
- IMDb: 7.2.
The main character of the cartoon is the most famous dog from DC comics — Superman’s flying dog Krypto. He must save the world in a situation where his master cannot help him.
Krypto has made numerous TV and film appearances, from his solo animated series Superdog Crypto to the recent HBO Max show Titans. Now a full-length animated film has also been dedicated to him, and Dwayne Johnson is voicing the famous dog.
8. Buzz Lightyear
- USA, 2022.
- Fantasy, action, comedy, adventure, family.
- Premiere: 15 June.
- IMDb: 6.0.
Astronaut Buzz Lightyear roams the universe. He defeated many enemies, but now he will have to fight the Emperor Zurg — a powerful villain.
The cartoon tells about one of the main characters of Pixar’s «Toy Story» franchise — Buzz Lightyear. But the focus will not be on the hero that we saw in the main series, but on a fictional astronaut, in the image and likeness of which those very figures began to be produced.
9. Three cats and a sea of adventures
- Russia, 2021.
- Comedy, adventure, family.
- Premiere: 1 June.
- IMDb: 6.2.
Kisulya and Kotya together with their family go on vacation to a seaside resort. Their children, Korzhik, Caramel and Kompot, constantly get into small scrapes.
The cutest domestic animated series about the adventures of the cats Korzhik, Caramelka and Compote received a full-length sequel. The permanent director of the project, Dmitry Vysotsky, is responsible for the production. The cartoon focuses on lightness and naivety.
10. Minions: Gruvitation
Minions: The Rise of Gru
- France, Japan, USA, 2022.
- Fantasy, comedy, crime, adventure, family.
- Premiere: 30 June.
- IMDb: 6.6.
This is the story of the formation of the charismatic villain Gru from the cartoon «Despicable Me». He learns to deceive his enemies in preparation for his future accomplishments.
Universal Studios has postponed the premiere several times due to the pandemic. The film was a success at the box office and provoked a flash mob — American teenagers came to re-screening dressed as a villain.
- USA, Spain, 2022.
- Adventure, family.
- Premiere: 5 August.
- IMDb: 6.4.
The most unlucky girl in the world ends up in a magical land. Teaming up with the locals, she will do everything to regain her luck.
A cartoon about a naive heroine is designed to please both children and adults. Voice actors include Simon Pegg and Whoopi Goldberg.
12. Strange World
- USA, 2022.
- Adventure, family.
- Premiere: 19 November.
- IMDb: 4.9.
A family of explorers explore the world’s strangest places, solve complex problems and avoid traps. And for the sake of the most difficult mission, they will have to forget about personal differences.
The cartoon starring Jake Gyllenhaal flopped at the box office, grossing less than $60 on a budget of $180 million. But children who do not pretend to be snobs will like the picture.
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Cartoons 2022: 12 best animated feature films
. From «Buzz Lightyear» to new «Minions» and «Puss in Boots»
Updated December 30, 2022, 06:52
Still from the cartoon «Minions: Gruvitation»
During the past year, cartoons did not please the creators of the box office. However, at the end of the year, several hits came out that claim to become classics. The editors of RBC Life analyzed the audience ratings on IMDb and Kinopoisk and chose the most rated new animated films. We have included only foreign full-length cartoons in the list. Shows are rated by IMDb.
12. Buzz Lightyear
- Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes
- Director: Angus MacLaine
- IMDb: 6 out of 10
- Kinopoisk: 6.4 out of 10
Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Chris Evans) comes to the fore in the spin-off of the hit Toy Story. A space ranger and his team face a hostile life form and try to defeat the villain Zurg (James Brolin). Buzz Lightyear’s personal history is neither plot nor form related to the original Toy Story. The hero is not a puppet, but an «intergalactic cop» (as he thought in the original cartoons).
One of the artists, Tim Evatt, also worked on contemporary masterpieces Soul and Coco. Critics positively accepted the project, however, Buzz Lightyear grossed only $226.4 million at the global box office, which did not live up to the hopes of the creators for big earnings. 
Frame from Buzz Lightyear
11. «Minions: Gruvitation»
Duration: 1 hour 27 minutes
Directors: Kyle Balda, Brad Ableson, Jonathan del Val
IMDb: 6.6 out of 10
Kinopoisk: 6.6 out of 10
Minions: Gruvitation is a prequel to the Despicable Me franchise. 11-year-old Gru (Steve Carell) dreams of becoming a real supervillain. He is invited for an interview with a villainous organization, but the bosses do not believe that the little boy is worthy of joining them. Faithful minions come to the aid of Gru.
Work on the project began back in 2017, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the premiere was postponed several times. Fortunately for the creators, the long wait did not affect the fees. «Minions: Gruvitation» became the highest-grossing cartoon this year, earning about $939 thousand in the world box office. 
Critics at Rotten Tomatoes noted that the adventures of the minions are rather boring, but they can still entertain children with jokes. 
Still from Minions: Gruvitation
10. Bad Boys
- Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes
- Director: Pierre Perifel
- IMDb: 6.8 out of 10
- Kinopoisk: 7.2 out of 10
A gang of criminals — Wolf, Serpent, Shark, Piranha and Tarantula — are trying to change their behavior and become good so as not to end up in prison. Suddenly, the Wolf begins to like helping others.
The cartoon with humanized animals is inspired by the Ocean’s Friends trilogy and will appeal to fans of Zootopia. Bad Boys became the second highest-grossing animated film of the year and grossed $250. 2 million worldwide 
Frame from the cartoon «Bad Boys»
- France, Luxembourg, Belgium
- Duration: 1 hour 16 minutes
- Director: Carlo Voghele
- IMDb: 6.8 out of 10
- Kinopoisk: 7.4 out of 10
Young Icarus lives with his father Daedalus in Crete during the reign of King Minos. One day, the boy made friends with the minotaur Asterion, a half-bull, half-man, who is feared and misunderstood by the rest of the inhabitants of the island.
The inspiration for «Icarus» was the ancient Greek legends, which the creators deliberately changed and rethought. A colorful cartoon will appeal to fans of classic animation and exciting stories.
Frame from the cartoon «Icarus»
8. «I blush»
- Canada, USA
- Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes
- Director: Domi Shi
- IMDb: 7 out of 10
- Kinopoisk: 7. 1 out of 10
13-year-old Meilin is an activist, an excellent student, and a good girl who tries to please everyone. One day she wakes up in the morning and realizes that she has turned into a red panda. Now that Meilin is experiencing strong emotions, she becomes a huge furry beast.
Although set in 2002, the cartoon touches on important contemporary themes, such as accepting yourself and your emotions. It will be especially useful to watch «I’m Blushing» for teenagers.
Frame from the cartoon «I blush»
7. Sea Monster
- Duration: 1 hour 55 minutes
- Director: Chris Williams
- IMDb: 7.1 out of 10
- Kinopoisk: 7 out of 10
There has been a war going on for decades between humans and sea monsters. Brave hunters fight monsters. One day, Maisie, a girl who dreams of following in the footsteps of her dead parents and also becoming a monster hunter, sneaks onto the famous ship «Inevitable» under the leadership of Captain Crowe.
An exciting cartoon from director Chris Williams («Volt», «City of Heroes») will appeal to fans of stories about pirates. «Sea Monster» became the most viewed original animated film on streaming platforms this year. 
Sea Monster still
6. Super Pets
- Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Directed by: Jared Stern, Sam Levine
- IMDb: 7.2 out of 10
- Kinopoisk: 6.6 out of 10
The famous Superman (John Krasinski) has a faithful friend — the dog Krypt (Dwayne Johnson), who has the same abilities as the owner. One day, Superman and other heroes are kidnapped. Krypt gathers a team of animals to save the owner and his friends.
The cartoon with DC characters was generally liked by both critics and viewers. It has a 73% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on reviews. 
Frame from the cartoon «Superpets»
5. Apollo 10½: A Space Age Adventure
- Duration: 1 hour 37 minutes
- Director: Richard Linklater
- IMDb: 7. 2 out of 10
- Kinopoisk: 7.5 out of 10
A grown man remembers his life in Houston in 1969 when he was ten years old. NASA employees offer him to go to the moon a few months before the official launch of the famous Apollo 11.
The animated film was first filmed with live actors, and then the image was outlined and CGI was added. It was directed by Richard Linklater, best known for the 1995 film Before Dawn and its sequels Before Sunset and Before Midnight.
Still from Apollo 10½: A Space Age Adventure
4. «Little Nicolas»
- Duration: 1 hour 22 minutes
- Directed by: Amandine Fredon, Benjamin Massoubre
- IMDb: 7.2 out of 10
- Kinopoisk: 8.3 out of 10
Two friends from Paris, a writer and an artist, come up with a story about the boy Nicolas. This mischievous person does not obey his parents, plays pranks with friends and dreams of becoming a pilot.
The cartoon is based on the book series of the same name by French writer René Goscinny and artist Jean-Jacques Sempe. A good story with unusual animation will be interesting to watch for both adults and children.
Still from the cartoon «Little Nicolas»
- UK, USA
- Duration: 1 hour 33 minutes
- Director: Fletcher Muls
- IMDb: 7.4 out of 10
- Kinopoisk: 7.6 out of 10
The Netflix project tells the story of Jabari, a street artist from New York. He gradually goes to popularity, but unexpectedly meets a girl-photographer Meadow. This meeting will change Jabari’s life.
An adult cartoon based on the music album of the same name by rapper Kid Cudi. The project was enthusiastically received by both critics and viewers. Rotten Tomatoes has a rating of 9 for Entergalaxy based on reviews.6%. 
Frame from the cartoon «Entergalaktik»
Pinocchio Guillermo del Toro
- USA, Mexico, France
- Duration: 1 hour 57 minutes
- Directed by: Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson
- IMDb: 7.7 out of 10
- Kinopoisk: 7.7 out of 10
The action begins during the First World War and continues on the eve of the Second. The story is based on the famous fairy tale by Carlo Collodi «The Adventures of Pinocchio», but director Guillermo del Toro («The Shape of Water») rethinks the plot from the first minutes, adding new details and placing emotional accents.
Despite the fact that the story is not new, del Toro managed to create an unusual and original author’s project. Pinocchio has already received three Golden Globe nominations. 
Still from Pinocchio Guillermo del Toro
1. «Puss in Boots 2: The Last Wish»
- Duration: 1 hour 42 minutes
- Directed by: Joel Crawford
- IMDb: 7. 8 out of 10
- Kinopoisk: 7.7 out of 10
The second cartoon about the adventures of Puss in Boots (voiced by Antonio Banderas), one of the main characters of the Shrek franchise. According to the story, the cat spent eight lives out of nine. Now he and his girlfriend Kitty Softpaw (Salma Hayek) have to go on a journey to find a way to stay alive longer.
The world premiere of Puss in Boots 2 took place at the end of the year (and even then not in all countries), and the digital release on Amazon Video is expected only in February 2023, so not everyone could appreciate the film. However, without this project, the list of the best cartoons of this year would be incomplete.
Still from Puss in Boots 2: The Last Wish
The animation of «Puss in Boots» is somewhat different (for the better) from «Shrek». By the way, at the end of the cartoon there is a hint of a continuation of the story of the green ogre. On Rotten Tomatoes, the critical score is 95% and the audience score is 94%.