Normally when we talk good movies, we talk about how successful they are at guiding believable and interesting characters along an engaging storyline. Characters are the bare building blocks of plot. If we're going to care about something happening in a fictional universe, we're going to have to first care about who it's happening to.
But not all films need fully realized imaginary personalities in order to draw in an audience. Some of the best films ever made convey compelling experiences with nary a character in sight. These are those films--the ones that somehow get us excited and engaged despite the fact that there's no one in them for us to relate to.
I guess you could argue that Mickey Mouse is a character in his own right, but he doesn't really do anything as himself in Disney's experimental synesthetic spectacular. He stands in for the Sorcerer's Apprentice and then he provides some comic relief in between segments--that's it. On the whole, Fantasia moves along purely on the engine of its visuals and the beautiful music that inspired them. It's perhaps the only Disney film without a brand to accompany it, existing purely for the sake of its own artistic merit.
Taking the earth as a whole in its gaze, this time-lapse full-length goes so far as to argue that all life is worthy of starring in its own film. Directed by Godfrey Reggio and scored by Philip Glass, this art film forsakes all the traditional hallmarks of the medium in which it operates. There are no characters, no sets, and no dialogue. There's simply the world, caught on camera. Koyaanisqatsi moves from documenting natural landscapes untouched by human development into a closer focus on civilization and bustling human activity. To see life portrayed on this scale grants you more than just a sense of perspective. It changes the way you think about why we do the things we do every day.