Total Recall: The Best (and Worst) of DreamWorks Animation

RT runs down the studio's complete animated output.

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5. Shrek 2

The law of diminishing returns tends to apply to sequels whether or not they're successful, but when you're talking about a critical and commercial winner as powerful as Shrek, the odds of turning in a second installment that exceeds the original are pretty slim. Shrek 2 beat the odds, to put it mildly -- at least commercially, where it gobbled up nearly a billion dollars in ticket receipts on its way to becoming not only the most successful chapter in the Shrek franchise, but DreamWorks Animation's most profitable release, period. Critically, it didn't do quite as well as Shrek -- but we're only talking a one-percent difference on the Tomatometer, and the Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan pronounced it "better and funnier than the original," so why quibble, right?


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4. Shrek

They'd enjoyed their share of successes, but by 2001, DreamWorks Animation had yet to score the type of hit that would help put them on equal footing with their rivals at Disney. Initially, it didn't look like Shrek would break that trend -- the movie's original star, Chris Farley, died before finishing his work, and his replacement, Mike Myers, recorded all of his lines before insisting on redoing them in a Scottish brogue -- but none of the behind-the-scenes turmoil was reflected in the final product, an irreverent bundle of pop culture gags (including an infamous, thinly veiled swipe at Disney's Michael Eisner) that appealed to kids, parents, and critics such as the San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle, who succinctly declared, "This is beautiful work."


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3. Wallace & Grommit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Already known to animation fans via a series of highly regarded shorts (such as A Close Shave and The Wrong Trousers), Nick Park's Wallace and Gromit characters made their feature-length debut with The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, a co-production between DreamWorks and Park's Aardman Animations. A major hit outside the United States, Were-Rabbit was considered something of a letdown for DreamWorks, but even if American moviegoers didn't turn out in quite the numbers the studio was hoping for, the warm critical response the film received -- from scribes including the Boston Globe's Ty Burr, who called it "a tiny plasticine masterpiece" -- proved that Park's creations remained well worth watching.

Comments

Rolento88

Ricky Tolentino

maybe they should do one for pixar now...

Mar 26 - 09:17 AM

dlo2012

Daniel Lopez

i think they already did a pixar one

Mar 26 - 09:55 AM

dokson6

Daniel Haas

there's no reason to: it would just be "great animated adventure", "magical and beautiful thrill ride", etc.

My point being that Pixar has no movies with a tomatometer of under 70 or so.

Mar 26 - 11:43 PM

Richard W.

Richard Watson

well if they did one for pixar
toy story 2 would be number 1
wall e would be number two
cars would maybe be at the bottem

Mar 27 - 02:33 AM

dlo2012

Daniel Lopez

i think they already did a pixar one

Mar 26 - 09:55 AM

dlo2012

Daniel Lopez

chicken run was ok
but i really think that shrek, kung fu panda, and antz were a lot better

Mar 26 - 09:59 AM

the_clouds_are_bleeding

J T

I loved Wallace & Gromit: Curse Of The Were-Rabbit! It is the only movie on the list which I have seen more than once and will go back for repeat viewings.

Mar 26 - 12:21 PM

centaine

Sam c

whatever...Madagascar is still my fav

Mar 26 - 12:33 PM

alsanali

Alsan Ali

Flushed Away is by far Dreamworks' best CGI film. Though, unsurprisingly, the wit didn't work quite as well for American audiences as it should have.

Mar 26 - 12:36 PM

Speaker for the Films

Matthew Legarreta

Right Now, Monsters would be #9, right before Flushed Away.

Mar 26 - 12:43 PM

alsanali

Alsan Ali

I'm also hoping Monsters vs. Aliens turns out well. Any movie that combines House, Dwight, Jack Bauer and Stephen Colbert as president gets points in my book.

Mar 26 - 12:43 PM

Speaker for the Films

Matthew Legarreta

Right Now, Monsters would be #9, right before Flushed Away.

Mar 26 - 12:53 PM

ihatecarneys

Matt Lubisich

i'm sure they'll do a pixar one when Up comes out.

Mar 26 - 01:14 PM

vashfanatic

Martha Boatright

And yet, "Shark Tale" received an Oscar nomination. That's just sad.

Mar 26 - 01:31 PM

Sputnik99

sputnik 99

I own Antz on VHS-tape. That's funny. Didn't realize it was that old.

And Chicken Run is a masterpiece. Love it. Aardman is the only production company that I consider better than Pixar.

Mar 26 - 02:06 PM

Travis C.

Travis Cowsill

Dreamworks sucks

Mar 26 - 02:18 PM

inactive user

Jared King

"Kung Fu Panda" is my favorite Dreamworks film. I love "Shrek" and "Shrek 2" and "Antz" and "Chicken Run", but "Kung Fu Panda" was a great animated movie. If you haven't seen it, do so.

Mar 26 - 03:09 PM

Lonette982 H.

Lonette982 Harris

i agree w/ ledawg

Mar 30 - 04:25 PM

Natalie S.

Movie Maniac

I definitely agree w/Kung Fu Panda being the best Dreamworks production so I think it should have gotten a higher ranking...but all of the Aardman w/dreamworks are their better movies...although...i didn't really appreciate flushed away as much as the rankers did...but whatever...this is my opinion not theirs!

Mar 30 - 09:47 PM

Floor Man

Floor Man

I wonder...does anybody remember the BOOK called..."Shrek"? Not a bad film, of course, but the book holds a special place in my heart.

Mar 26 - 03:31 PM

LakersFan-BostonSucks

Matt St. John

Sorry people, but Kung Fu Panda (while not a bad movie at all) is highly overrated! Wall-E is by far the best animated movie I've seen in a looong time!

Mar 26 - 03:36 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Yeah, "WALL-E" is better, but "Kung Fu Panda" is still a great animated film.

Mar 26 - 04:37 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Yeah, "WALL-E" is better, but "Kung Fu Panda" is still a great animated film.

Mar 26 - 04:37 PM

Zaraki

Rick V

Wallace and Grommit rocks, my favorite animated movie :)

It's also one of the few family movies i enjoy.

Mar 26 - 05:09 PM

nate2709

Nate 2709

Kung Fu Panda is easily the best thing Dreamworks Animation has done to date.

Mar 26 - 05:44 PM

LakersFan-BostonSucks

Matt St. John

No

Mar 26 - 08:00 PM

knowingtoast85

brian Firenzi

Call me a sucker for claymation, but nothing tops Nick Park's masterpieces. Even "Flushed Away," a victim to the rewrites and notes processes that befall CG productions far more streamlined than painstaking stop-motion, had some really bright, engaging moments.

Mar 26 - 06:51 PM

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