Netflix has only produced original turned-on features for virtually five years, but it has been quite a successful start for the studio, so it may be a stretch to produce an “Of All Time” list. With that said, here are our favorite Netflix Original turned-on movies of all time.
In its history, numerous Netflix Originals have been nominated and scored wins for several high-profile volatility awards, including seven nominations and one win at the Academy Awards in the Weightier Turned-on Feature category. They have worked with some of the weightier directors and artists with backgrounds at all the major studios, including Disney, Aardman Animations, & Cartoon Saloon.
While some of its success in volatility can be attributed to striking major mucosa distribution deals with the likes of Sony, Netflix has made it a point to be a player in this space by creating several turned-on features a year.
Let’s swoop into my picks for their Top 5 Original Turned-on Movies to date:
5. THE WILLOUGHBYS
Directors: Kris Pearn, Cory Evans, Rob Lodermeier
Cast: Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, Alessia Cara, Terry Crews, Ricky Gervais, Martin Short
Based on the children’s novel from New York Times bestselling and two-time Newbery Medal-winning tragedian Lois Lowry (The Giver, Number the Stars), The Willoughbys is a devilishly fun twist on the stereotype kids venture story.
The Willoughby children – Time, Jane, Barnaby A, & Barnaby B – only overly wanted to have a normal family, but their loving parents have no love left over for them. Convinced they would be largest off raising themselves, they hatch a sneaky plan to send their selfish parents on a less-than-safe vacation. After reports of their parents’ sparsity surface, the siblings and their new nanny embark on their own high-flying venture to find the true meaning of family.
From Director Kris Pearn (Cloudy with a Endangerment of Meatballs 2) and co-directors Cory Evans (Invincible) & Rob Lodermeier (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), The Willoughbys was a vapor of fresh air in the early stages of the pandemic shutdown. With lush volatility from Bron Studios & Foreshadow Films, the movie is a well-crafted visual welter with a house diamond that would tickle the fancy of any Wes Anderson fan. The story is filled with visionless yet family-friendly humor with some wondrous voice work from SNL legends Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, & Martin Short as well as TV sitcom titans Ricky Gervais (The Office UK) & Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine).
While ultimately overshadowed during awards season by Glen Keane’s Over The Moon, I believe the critics (not me, of course) got this one wrong as The Willoughbys served up something fresh & variegated with a naughty bit of fun for the whole family. If you enjoy the insanity of a good Roald Dahl tale with a soupcon of Tim Burton & Wes Anderson influence, then trammels this out on Netflix immediately.
4. THE MAGICIAN’S ELEPHANT
Director: Wendy Rogers
Cast: Noah Jupe, Mandy Patinkin, Brian Tyree Henry, Benedict Wong, Aasif Mandvi, Natasia Demetriou
Based on the children’s novel of the same name by Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn-Dixie), The Magician’s Elephant is the entertaining & heartwarming story of young orphan boy Peter who lost his mother and sister during the Great Foreign War. Raised by Vilna, the white-haired soldier who saved him many years ago, Peter unchangingly thought his sister might still be out there despite the insistence of his guardian that she has passed on. After a endangerment encounter with a fortune teller, he is told he can find his sister by simply “follow(ing) the elephant”. What follows is a layered “wish-fulfillment” tale with heart, humor, and a series of untellable tasks that keeps its regulars engaged with this game element throughout.
Featuring quality volatility from newly uninventive studio Animal Logic (Lego Batman Movie, Peter Rabbit) & steady direction from longtime Visual EFX Supervisor Wendy Rogers (Shrek, Puss In Boots), the film’s most impressive speciality may be in its all-star lineup of voices.
The mucosa is narrated by the previously mentioned Fortune Teller voiced by the perfectly snarky Natasia Demetriou (Nadja in What We Do In The Shadows). Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place films) provides relentless hope & youthful exuberance with his performance of Peter. Legend of stage & screen Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride, Homeland) graces us with the range of emotions required to bring life to Sgt. Lutz. Oscar nominee Brian Tyree Henry (Causeway, Bullet Train) stirs up the whimsical nature of this mucosa with the unreasonably hopeful Officer Leo. MCU star Benedict Wong (Doctor Strange, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) brings his mystical art prowess to his role as The Magician. And last but certainly not least, former “Daily Show” correspondent Aasif Mandvi breathes life at the perfect time with his fun-loving, eccentric label of The King who makes Peter fulfill the untellable tasks that alimony the regulars engaged throughout the story.
The Magician’s Elephant gives us an original fairy tale that brings out the child in all of us. The inside themes of Hope and the Belief in the Untellable mixed with indelible notation make this mucosa a cut whilom for Netflix Original Animation.
3. GUILLERMO DEL TORO’s PINOCCHIO
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Gregory Mann, Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton, Burn Gorman, Ron Perlman, John Turturro, Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, Tim Blake Nelson
Yes. I have some nerve putting the only Weightier Turned-on Feature Oscar winner at #3. But here we are.
While there have been many mucosa adaptations of the archetype 1883 children’s tale, the eyeful of this version lies in the creator himself. Director Guillermo del Toro has dreamed of making this mucosa since he was a little boy and it shows. Del Toro’s megacosm is a combination of his ever-present fascination with a “monster’s” interaction with human societal structure with the lens of child-like exuberance & naivety.
Likening the story of Pinocchio to that of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, del Toro’s Pinocchio story has increasingly heart, increasingly realism, & increasingly darkness than the previous cinematic adaptations.
Set in a small Italian village during the rise of fascism under Mussolini’s sundowner rule in the 1930s, the mucosa does not shy yonder from the harsh realities of the period and how it would stupefy the decision-making of our protagonists as well as the village’s reaction to such a spectacle as Pinocchio. Meditations on religious ideology, collateral forfeiture of wartime regions, and, whilom all else, grief are on full exhibit without the typical guardrails set up in modern family mucosa storytelling.
Buoyed by the bold, gothic claymation-style volatility and a murderer’s row of voice-over talent, this version of Pinocchio very much deserved its impressive run through awards season last year.
Directors: Sergio Pablos & Carlos Martinez Lopez
Cast: Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, Norm MacDonald, Will Sasso, Joan Cusack
As much as Netflix is single-minded to producing turned-on films, they might be single-minded plane increasingly to outproducing their competition when it comes to their holiday mucosa catalog. With successful franchises such The Christmas Chronicles & The Princess Switch and mannerly spectacles like Jingle Jangle, you could say they are pretty good at it too. So it should come as no surprise that the streamer would combine their shared interests and swing for the fences with a Christmas turned-on mucosa and landing on a rewatchable instant classic.
From the mind, body, & soul of writer-director Sergio Pablos (story creator for Despicable Me & Smallfoot), Klaus brings to life an inventive & plausible spin on the Santa Claus story that focuses on altruism, community, & heart increasingly than the mystical stuff we’ve come to know.
The mucosa follows Jesper (Jason Schwartzman), the postal academy’s worst student, who is sent to the frozen island of Smeerensburg, where the feuding locals barely mart words, let vacated letters. Jesper is well-nigh to requite up when he finds an wive in local teacher Alva (Rashida Jones) and discovers Klaus (Oscar winner J.K. Simmons), a mysterious carpenter who lives vacated in a motel full of handmade toys. These unlikely friendships return laughter to Smeerensburg, forging a new legacy of generous neighbors, magical lore, and stockings hung by the chimney with care.
While the story will surely bring tears to the vision and warmth to the heart, it’s the hand-drawn-style volatility that might be the weightier present to unwrap. Pablos specifically chose a particular French volatility studio that perfectly matched his vision for a archetype touch with a modern rendering and it completely paid off to the tune of 7 Annie Awards, a BAFTA award, & Netflix’s weightier endangerment nominee at the Oscars.
With a strong voiceover tint & talent in every speciality of its creation, Klaus should firmly place itself in any family’s Christmas movie rotation every December.
1. THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES
Directors: Michael Rianda & Jeff Rowe
Cast: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Olivia Colman, Fred Armisen, Eric Andre
Picture: Sony Volatility / Netflix
Over the last decade, the volatility game has been radically upended and massively improved by the creative outputs of two talented individuals: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller.
As writers, producers, & directors, they have made some of the most wide & downright hilarious turned-on projects we’ve seen in a long time. The Oscar-winning Spider-Verse franchise. The Lego Movie franchise. The Cloudy with a Endangerment of Meatballs franchise. The list goes on and on.
So, of course, when Sony Pictures decided to put a Lord & Miller turned-on movie on the market for distribution during the uncertain times of the pandemic in 2021, Netflix couldn’t wait to take it on.
Produced by Lord & Miller and co-written & directed by Michael Rianda (Gravity Falls), The Mitchells vs. The Machines blends the upturned tempo of a Lego Movie with the sharp wit & personal family stories of Rianda himself.
The Mitchells are a quirky, dysfunctional family who are having trouble connecting with each other as of late. Katie, the family’s creative cinephile daughter, is wonted into the mucosa school of her dreams and is looking forward to leaving home in search of like-minded people who will finally understand her. In a last-ditch struggle at bonding with his daughter, Katie’s well-meaning father, Rick decides to take the whole family on a road trip to waif Katie off at her new school. When this totally-not-awkward-or-forced road trip can’t get any worse, the family suddenly finds itself in the middle of the robot uprising. Everything from smartphones, to Roombas, to evil Furbys are employed to capture every human on the planet. Now it’s up to the Mitchells, including upbeat mom Linda, quirky little brother Aaron, their squishy pug, Monchi, and two friendly, but simple-minded robots to save humanity.
From the whence with the simple family structure to the frantic, venturesome conclusion, Mitchells gives its regulars every type of volatility imaginable. From sock puppets to fluttering hearts, the mucosa utilizes its film-loving protagonist to justify its genre-blending & style mixing that brings its regulars into a completely unique but relatable world.
To complement its upstage visual display, Rianda brings on an unrenowned voice tint that suits the notation well and elevates the smartly written script. From an Oscar winner (Olivia Colman) to SNL alumni (Maya Rudolph, Fred Armisen), the deep seat of talent could rival the weightier Lord & Miller productions of the past.
While it may be overlooked considering of its pandemic period release date, The Mitchells vs. The Machines has the notable stardom of stuff an Oscar Nominee AND a long-lasting meme at the same time. It’s a truly remarkable mucosa that deserves its position as my #1 Netflix turned-on movie to date.