Friday, June 20, 2014

A Six Pack Of... Our Favorite Dreamworks Animation Films!

Andrew: Hello dear readers! So because Sarah and I are going to hit up the local AMC tonight to catch How To Train Your Dragon 2 tonight, we figured it might be a fun exercise to figure out which Dreamworks Animation films were our personal favorites before we catch their latest one.

So, in full disclosure, Sarah and I figured out our own person Top 3 Dreamworks Animation films separately, we wrote up our little write-ups separately, and then she emailed hers to me so I could put together the post. We didn't give each other any clues about which films we were picking. Just so ya know.

Sarah: Ok, so this might be one of the tougher Six Packs that we have ever done. Picking just three of Dreamworks’ animated movies to call my favorite might prove to be a little difficult. But here we go.


1.) Shrek (2001) 

Number one definitely has to be Shrek. This movie is just so classic. It has a phenomenal cast that truly shines. But I think my favorite part about this movie, and all the ones following it, is that it pokes fun at all the Disney movies and, really, fairy tales in general. Shrek is a laugh-a-minute movie that I just remember just enjoying all the time as a kid. That has definitely translated into adulthood. Whenever I come across it on television, I immediately stop what I'm doing and watch it. 

It was such an original movie when it first came out. The poking fun at Disney hadn’t really been a big thing yet, because they were the powerhouse in animated movies. I really think Shrek changed all of that. There was kid comedy, sure, but there was also quick-witted adult humor as well making it fun for the whole family. 

2.) Madagascar (2005) 

Number two and three are going to be a whole heck of a lot tougher, but I think number two has to go to Madagascar. We’ve mentioned this before, but this movie holds a lot of nostalgia for me. I can clearly remembering pre-viewing this movie in our basement as a teenager because my parents wanted me to check it out before my younger sister saw it. And I was just sitting down there just laughing away the whole time! It was able to tickle my funny bone throughout the whole thing. 

I don’t know how Dreamworks does it, but they get some of the biggest stars to be in their movies and somehow it just works. That, I think, is one of their biggest assets to their films. And Madagascar is no exception. I actually think this is the one movie where the all the voices play into the characters perfectly. Especially David Schwimmer. His Melman is so hilarious. Gets me every time. 

3.) Chicken Run (2000) 

Last but not least I think I’m going to have to go with Chicken Run. This one was so different then everything else I had seen before! I mean, it was one of the first movies I saw in claymation that wasn’t a Christmas movie. And once again you have the big name star, Mel Gibson in this instance, but you also have my personal favorite kind of actor, the Brits. This is another movie that had me laughing as a kid and was definitely one that I can remember sitting with my dad and enjoying over pizza. The story is simple, but chickens who want to fly never gets old for me.

In an age where 3D is all the rage, this goes back to a time when the glasses weren’t really necessary. It all looks so 3D without the added need for all that nonsense. It’s simplicity and nostalgic feel definitely puts this movie in the top three for me. 


1.) Shrek (2001)

I mean, duh. Not unlike how Toy Story is generally regarded as the quintessential and best Pixar film, Shrek is still the best and quintessential Dreamworks Animation film for me. The animation itself obviously became better in the later films, but the story, execution and humor of the Shrek films was at its peak in the original. It was fresh, original and hilarious. Holds up amazingly well over time, unlike the latter films in the series that relied more on wink-wink topical humor.

It goes without mention, though, that part of the strength of Shrek is the voice-acting. Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy are perfect as Shrek and Donkey, Cameron Diaz was surprisingly great as Princess Fiona, John Lithgow is phenomenal as Lord Faarquad, and then the supporting cast for all the fairy tale creatures just buoy everything else. (Also, I can never not think about the big-headed mascot running through the queue every time we walk through the small queue at our local movie theatre.) A genuine modern classic.

2.) Chicken Run (2000) 

Another one of the earlier Dreakworks Animation films, I find that Chicken Run also holds up extremely well over time. We rented this On Demand over this past holiday season when Sarah’s family was visiting us and I found myself laughing more than I remembered from previous viewings as a child. Mel Gibson is the perfect voice as Rocky the Rhode Island Red rooster and the surrounding cast of British voices just propels the film even further. 

The biggest things going for this film though? The stop-motion animation was and is great and the story is still a blast. Chicken Run is another classic, in my humble opinion. If the Academy Award for Best Animated Film was around back when it came out, it would’ve won hands down. (To be fair, 2000 was a weak year for animated films. Pixar didn’t even have one out that year. But still.) Newer films might have bigger box office numbers, but only one other Dreamworks Animation film tops Chicken Run on Rotten Tomatoes (97% fresh), and fittingly enough for this column, that movie is How To Train Your Dragon (98% fresh). It's also the highest rated Dreamworks Animation film on Metacritic, FWIW.

3.) Madagascar (2005)

Not unlike the Shrek films, the original Madagascar film is the best of the series and it’s still one of the best in the entire Dreamworks oeuvre. Also not unlike my first two choices, the strength of Madagascar lies within the cast of voice actors. Ben Stiller is great as Alex the lion, Chris Rock is just the right amount of annoying yet charming as Marty the zebra, David Schwimmer is perfect as the germophobic giraffe, Melman; I could go on and on. But I’ll be honest - my favorite aspect of this film are the penguins. They alone propelled this to Top 3 for me. They’re hilarious and I can’t wait to see their own spinoff movie.

But Madagascar looks great, it has a very nice story about family, appreciating the things you have, overcoming your fears, all that jazz. It may not be as strong a film as some other Dreamworks films that came after it (Rise of the Guardians is vastly underrated and juuuuuust barely got beat out in my Top 3 here, and How To Train Your Dragon is probably Top 5) but I have to give this one the nod.

A: Alright readers! Those are our picks for our personal favorite Dreamworks Animation films. Suffice it to say we were quite surprised to find out we had picked the same exact three movies! So it's not really much of a Six Pack as it is two delicious Three Packs, eh?

Like we said before, we're seeing How To Train Your Dragon 2 tonight so you can expect a review of that sometime this weekend! In the meantime hit us up below and let us know which Dreamworks Animation films you liked best!

Photo Courtesy: animationmagazine.netWikipediamovieposter.comWikipedia

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