With Dreamworks’ new animated feature premiering on Friday, I thought it might be fun to take a look back at the studio’s best and brightest, especially since Home isn’t getting very enthusiastic reviews. You can still go catch it this weekend, or stay home and take in any of the following films!
Chicken Run (2000)
Starting things off with one of the studio’s earliest, and best, efforts. Chicken Run was a major success for the studio both critically and financially. Following the story of a group of chicken’s trying to escape the terrible fate of being turned into Chicken Pot Pies. While the story maybe a little intense for the youngest viewers, most people including parents will find a ton to like about this stop motion film. I was sort of surprised the film never got a sequel of any kind, but this gem has certainly stood the test of time and should please most audiences! Chicken Run is available free on Netflix Instant Watch!
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
Our second film on today’s list is another stop-motion favorite, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. For me personally, Wallace and Gromit are simply hilarious. I grew up watching the short films and when this full length feature finally hit theaters I was simply ecstatic. Watching this eccentric duo chase down a mutant rabbit is one of the goofiest, most endearing animated films ever made and one I recommend for everyone. Even if you aren’t familiar with the original series this is still a perfect entry point into one of animations best teams.
How to Train Your Dragon 1&2 (2010/2014)
I love dragons. Sometimes I think I love them so much that it clouds judgement towards certain films. Fortunately, I know for a fact that How to Train Your Dragon is one of, if not, the best animated films Dreamworks has in its lineup. The story of young viking, Hiccup, begins with him meeting, befriending and training a Night Fury dragon named Toothless. This adventure continues into the second film where he must do battle against a ruthless dragon collector. In addition to these amazing films, a television series using the same voice cast has also come out and is surprisingly well done. This series has been an absolute essential in Dreamworks lineup. How to Train Your Dragon 2 is currently free on Netflix, but I highly suggest watching the first entry beforehand. I can’t wait for number 3 to hit theaters in a few years!
Shrek (Series) (2001 – 2010)
Now here is arguably Dreamworks crowning jewel. While I admit the 4th and latest film, Shrek Ever After was a bit below the curve. The first three films in this landmark series are all audience favorites. Following the exploits of an Ogre named Shrek, his donkey named Donkey and Princess Fiona the Shrek films have cultivated an impressive lore and even more impressive following. Though I’ve grown a bit out of them over the years, it’s hard for me not to look back on them with nostalgic fondness and a complete readiness to recommend them. Though none of the core series is on Netflix, it’s worth noting some of the shorts are available.
Kung Fu Panda 1&2 (2008/2011)
Last but never least, Kung Fu Panda 1&2 are some of my favorite animated films. Part of this stems from the fact that they are at heart, wuxia films catered to a western audience. A hero story about a young panda named Po with dreams of becoming a kung fu master. The film possesses a lot of genre staples, an in training hero, an old wise mentor, an unsupportive father figure, a classic villain. Everything about these film’s simply work, and they will most likely appeal to animation and kung fu fans alike. Similar to Shrek, the films are not currently available on Netflix, but some short films are on there if your curiosity is sparked.