I think this will be a little disappointing, but I don't have a favorite animated movie. There are some films that made a big impression on me and probably made me begin to love animation, but it's not just one film - it's many.
For instance, short films made a huge impression on me. Not only one - many of them. I think short animated films are an awesome thing. And many years ago, they seemed to be even more special than now! Maybe because 20 or 30 years ago it was not easy to see them. There was no internet. There was no YouTube. You would have to go to a film festival, or sometimes in my school they would be shown in special screenings. And I fell in love with Norman Maclaren films, and many other films from the National Film Board of Canada. European shorts like the works of Jan Svankmajer. Nick Park films such as Creature Comforts and The Wrong Trousers. Balance by Wolfgang and Christoph Lauenstein made a strong impression on me, as well as Zbigniew Rybczynski's Tango. Well, and I LOVE Chris Wedge's Bunny - not only is it a great animation short, but it also was the first one that I worked on! These short films and many others were so inspiring! They made me see animation as a real art form, not just entertainment. I think of all the animated films I saw, short films were by far my favorite and I will always have a special place for them in my heart and soul.
Other than that, there are a couple of feature films that were really important to me. Jungle Book is one of them. I remember when I was little and my family took me to the theater to see it. I was maybe five or so, and I remember telling my mom how the movement was so much more detailed than in Saturday cartoons. The way things moved in Jungle Book was totally amazing to me. And the characters! The songs!
Toy Story was also a turning point for me – I was at School of Visual Arts in New York trying to decide between multimedia/internet type of stuff or animation, and when Toy Story came out, it was really hard to resist. It was really the best possible beginning for 3D in the big screen: fun story, great characters, very well conceived and done, using this amazing new technique - what a treat! It certainly was an important factor in my decision to become a 3D animator.
Another film that made a huge impression on me was Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki. I love the story and the characters. The type of narrative is so refreshing and it takes you to places you wouldn't expect. It is great when a film doesn't feel like “just another formula to get huge box office money” – it's so much nicer when a film feels original, special, truly coming from the heart. I think that shows respect for the audience and respect for the art form.
And of course, there are remarkable films made in CG and stop motion in the past 6 or 7 years. I love Ratatouille, The Incredibles and Horton Hears a Who. I had a great time watching Kung Fu Panda. I also love some of the more obscure stuff, like Mirror Mask, a live action film with some 3D elements, which I thought was very exciting and refreshing. And of course I absolutely love Coraline which was so wonderful and inspiring. I also liked the The Curse of the Were-Rabbit - so much fun!
As you can see, is really hard to nail it down to just one film!