Animated films exist solely to trick dads into thinking it’s a good idea to take their children to the movies. As a result, even a bad animated film can pretty reliably bring in a hefty family crowd, because it’s better than spending two hours dealing with the kids in the house.
Which is why it’s truly a gift to dad when an animated film is actually good.
With that in mind, here is a list of the animated films that have been released so far in 2018 (with one that is coming out within the next week), ranked from worst to best by dads. Some dads. Not all dads. Obviously plenty of dads will get angry about this list, as is their Dad Right.
Gnomeo and Juliet was a pretty bad movie by dad standards, despite the aggressive dad pun in the name. Its sequel, Sherlock Gnomes, currently is rocking a Rotten Tomatoes score of 29% and an audience score not much better. Dads are better off skipping this one.
Duck Duck Goose
You’d be forgiven for not hearing about this movie. Voiced by Jim Gaffigan, this is a movie about two ducklings rescued by a goose who has been grounded by injury. This movie was released mostly for Chinese audiences, and has fallen flat among the few dads who have actually seen it.
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
The Hotel Transylvania movies are the definition of “fine.” Dads don’t love them, but they work at quieting the kids for a while. Dads would prefer their kids be seeing the Adam Sandler comedies that they grew up with, but they’re still trying to patch things up at home after showing their kids Happy Gilmore without the wife’s permission, so this animated feature will do in the meantime.
You might argue that Peter Rabbit doesn’t count as an animated film, as it’s live-action with CGI characters, but if you’re not going to be a stickler, as far as a movie that distracts the kids, there are worse films to end up watching.
Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero
Sgt. Stubby tells the true story of a dog who became a hero in World War I. It’s kid-friendly, so thankfully there are no CGI Saving Private Ryan scenes to worry about, but it’s also about World War I and dogs, which means that dads can actually enjoy the movie, as opposed to going through the motions.
From the people behind Wallace and Gromit, Early Man isn’t quite as great as some of the other films from that studio, but it still makes it a great animated movie for dads to see. There’s enough silliness to entertain the kids, and enough winking humor to placate dads everywhere.
Isle of Dog
Isle of Dog is both a great animated movie, according to dads, and a terrible one. Since we’re ranking how much dads like the movie, this Wes Anderson film rates pretty highly, but if we were talking about good films to take the kids to, it would be very low.
Wes Anderson’s quirky humor is not really designed to distract kids. If anything, they’ll get bored and frustrated, which will detract from a dad’s enjoyment. But, outside of that, it would easily be the animated feature of the year if it weren’t for…
The Incredibles 2
Of course Pixar is going to top the list. Pixar, with a few minor exceptions, is the gold standard for “great movies that dads will love, but that their kids will love too.”
Granted, Pixar also is the gold standard for “great movies that dads will love, but which will have a scene that at one point will cause dad not to cry, he’s not crying, it’s just very dusty in here.” The Incredibles 2 is a great return to form for the studio, and a movie that dads wouldn’t mind taking their children to more than once. It easily gets the top spot here.