Charles Solomon reflects on quality animation.
2009 IN ANIMATION: SOMETHING IN THE WAY THEY MOVE
... Character animation — the art of making a figure move in ways that convey a unique personality — dates back to Walt Disney’s 1933 watershed cartoon Three Little Pigs. ... [D]irector Chuck Jones commented, “Three Little Pigs proved it wasn’t how a character looked but how he moved that determined his personality. All we animators were dealing with after Three Little Pigs was acting.”
At a time when so many CG characters chatter nonstop, it’s easy to forget how many memorable scenes in animated films communicate feelings through pure movement, from the Seven Dwarfs weeping over Snow White’s bier to Chihiro riding the mysterious train in Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. ...
Decades ago, I asked animator Ollie Johnston, "Of all the animated features you've worked on, which one's your favorite?"
I expected him to say "Bambi" or "Pinocchio" or maybe even "Lady and the Tramp." But he peered off into middle distance and said: "Robin Hood."
Stunned, I said, "Really? Why that one?"
He replied: "Because I really liked the characters I had in the picture. And the acting I did with them. Robin Hood's got some of the best animation."
Ollie might be right, although I think RH's weaker story and art direction undercuts the feature. But I take his point about animation acting. Film reviewers mention the quality of the acting in cartoon features not at all, yet it's with live-action pictures on a regular basis: "Daniel Day Lewis and George Clooney give knock-out performances in the new release Grand Emoting,...".
But you'll be old, feeble and residing in an assisted living facility before you'll see that kind of analysis regarding an animated feature. It just never happens. The quality of the acting isn't something mainstream reviewers think about or consider.