At the time of release, Antz suffered comparisons to Pixar’s bug-themed A Bug’s Life, although those accusations appeared to come from John Lasseter himself rather than the public, as Antz became a critical and box-hit hit. -office. Beyond their use of insects as the main characters, the two films actually have very little in common.
Antz is more of an adult satire than a children’s animation, starring Woody Allen as Z, a worker ant who fights for individuality. The stellar voice cast is rounded out by Gene Hackman, Danny Glover, Christopher Walken, Sylvestor Stallone and Jennifer Lopez. And honestly, even without the smart writing and strong animation, any movie that pairs Alvy Singer and Rocky Balboa as best friends is a win in our book.
Too often, blockbuster children’s movie sequels are content to rest on their laurels and simply deliver the same. Fortunately, DreamWorks Animation doesn’t seem to take this approach. Kung Fu Panda 2 was surprisingly complex and ambitious, exploring the deepest issues in Po’s heroic journey. It has legitimate character development that raises questions about the nature and sacrifice of being a hero.
Of course, there are also copious amounts of fantastic, scintillating animations that shine in the action sequences. The second time around, those fight sequences were lifted by the clever use of 3D, proving to be one of the (admittedly rare) shining examples of how 3D enhanced the cinematic experience.
While not as ambitious a sequel as Kung Fu Panda 2, Shrek 2 is indeed bigger than its predecessor, introducing a slew of new characters – the most notable being the adorable Puss in Boots – and Far Country. Far Away which is the basis of a multitude of satire and pop culture mailings (Farbucks!).
While not as original as its predecessor, Shrek 2 features more laughs per scene than the first installment. From Alien references to Frankenstein to Wizard of Oz, Shrek 2 delivered exactly what we hoped for: more hilarity, more classic fairy-tale humor, and more donkey.
Wallace and Gromit have been entertaining audiences since 1989, when the first short film debuted. Their first adventure feature film, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit managed to translate the characters from the short format to the feature film and add awesome voices like Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter. The premise is suitably absurd: Wallace accidentally creates something called a were-rabbit that begins to terrorize their city.
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit offers more of the ironic humor and clay that Wallace and Gromit were built upon, especially refreshing in light of the deluge of CGI animated films that were airing around this time (a trend that continues to this day, in fact).
Capitalizing on the success of the Shrek films and the cute factor of his swashbuckling feline hero, Antonio Banderas starred in 2011’s Puss in Boots. With a kinetic animation style, an original cast of characters (Zach’s Humpty Dumpty Galifianakis is remarkable) and the fun chemistry between Salma Hayek’s Banderas and Kitty Softpaws, Puss in Boots is easy to love. He doesn’t have a message to convey (like Antz) or even a great character progression (like Kung Fu Panda 2), but it’s a lot of fun.
Plus, the idea of growing up Jack and Jill and becoming murderous outlaws is devilishly twisted.
Kung Fu Panda was one of DreamWorks Animation’s most visually impressive films and remains a crowning glory of modern animation. The screen is bursting with color and an interesting visual design, and the slapstick humor is expertly animated, creating not only one of the most engaging animated films of recent years, but also one of the best comedies. .
Few actors can give a role as much energy as Jack Black, let alone just use their voice. Backed by Black and the strength of its supporting cast – Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Ian McShane and Lucy Liu to name a few – Kung Fu Panda is a movie with tons of smooth action but a heart to the height.
When Shrek arrived in 2001, he turned expectations around in almost every way and gave us an instant animated classic that permeated pop culture and appealed to kids and adults alike. Despite the bizarre characters, all of their issues are relatable and distinctly human. Meanwhile, the film cleverly plays on the tropes of popular fairy tales in a way we’ve never seen before.
It was Shrek who established DreamWorks as a legitimate competitor to Pixar. While the studio had a few hits before Shrek (two of which appear on this list), none have been Shrek’s runaway box office success or sheer mainstream appeal. Of these early successes, only Shrek became a multimedia franchise that continued almost 15 years later.
Before bringing Wallace and Gromit to the big screen, DreamWorks Animation gave us Chicken Run, directed by W&G creator Nick Park and collaborator Peter Lord. The plot is surprisingly dark for a children’s film, featuring chickens hatching an escape plan when they learn that the farm they are on is going to go from harvesting eggs to selling delicious chicken pies. .
It’s not as dark as it sounds, of course, as the film is imbued with Wallace and Gromit charm, plenty of slapstick comedies, beautiful animation, and fantastic vocal cast. Mel Gibson, Miranda Richardson, Timothy Spall and Julia Sawalha lend their talents to Chicken Run. Impressively, Chicken Run is still the highest-grossing stop-motion animated film of all time.
Following the Kung Fu Panda sequel roadmap, How to Train Your Dragon neglects to play it safe. The sequel is just as beautiful in design and cinematography as its predecessor, but it aspires to advance the story of Hiccup and Toothless rather than just continuing it.
With the couple’s relationship so firmly established after the first film, the sequel puts the weight of drama on Harold’s path – and the obstacles therein – to becoming a man. It’s also surprisingly scary, reminiscent of old Don Bluth animated films, reminding children that it’s normal, even healthy, to be afraid every now and then.
Despite DreamWorks’ excellent animation record, How to Train Your Dragon surprised a lot of people with its absolutely fantastic character. Not only is the 3D animation visually stunning, but the witty dialogue and enormous depth of characters and message is what one can find in an aspiring Oscar champion. The film remains DreamWorks Animation’s most acclaimed film to date, and anyone who has watched it can understand why.
Building the Relationship Between Hiccup and Toothless, How to Train Your Dragon is a commentary on the relationship between man and animal, forging your own path, and having the courage to stand up for what you think is right. It may be a familiar story, but rarely has it been done in a more visually engaging and heartwarming way.
Cliff Wheatley is a freelance writer and a demon. Follow him on IGN.