I recently wrote about my concern that Pixar was compromising in the storytelling arena. They are instead choosing to delve into the world of crude humor, rushed sequels, and unnecessary spin-offs that DreamWorks was better known for.
My expectation for DreamWorks Animation is not as high (and neither is my anticipation for their releases). They seem to put out two films for every Disney/Pixar Feature Film. Quantity over quality. However, as of late, they have been the ones who have invited the audience into the sights and sounds of another world (Kung Fu Panda) and heartwarming endings (How To Train Your Dragon).
In honor of watching Turbo this afternoon with our church, I thought I would keep track of DreamWorks Animation’s best releases. I elected to list only the top ten out of the twenty-eight movies released to date (this studio began in 1998 – just three years after Pixar released their first Toy Story film). In the interest of full-disclosure, I have not seen all of their works – but I am fairly confident that films such as Sinbad and Spirit would not have made the list. Maybe the only exception that rule would be last year’s release of The Croods (but I will make sure to write a follow-up blog as soon as I catch that cartoon on DVD in the Fall).
I would also like to point out that, with the exception of maybe the top three, none of the following movies would have made my Pixar list (and I struggled to come up with ten movies that I actually would recommend). So while one studio seems to be getting better and better (most of the below films were released in the last few years), they still have a long way to go.
My top ten are…
- Kung Fu Panda (2008): So creative and so hilarious.
- How To Train Your Dragon (2010): The ending is second in sentimentality only to classics such as Toy Story and Up. One can only hope that the sequel will stay true to the original.
- The Prince of Egypt (1998): They did the epic story justice – especially for the era.
- Shrek (2001): So overrated. Not even close to Monsters Inc. (which it shockingly stomped at the box office).
- Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011): Their best sequel. A great story. Honestly, I can’t wait for the third installment.
- Megamind (2010): A great year for the studio. Great jokes (though I don’t really want my three year old listening to ACDC?).
- Madagascar 2 (2008): A pattern for DreamWorks. Releasing an excellent original (KFP) and an entertaining sequel in the same year. I didn’t care for the first zoo drama – but this one a much lighter tone.
- Turbo (2013): Bugs Life meets Cars. Spectacular animation. Subpar story. Lesson learned: gangster rappers grow up to star in children’s movies.
- Madagascar (2005): Talented cast. The same cannot be said of the script. I guess it could have been worse (what was Walt Disney exactly thinking with The Wild?).
- Over the Hedge (2006): Gets better every time that I watch it.