I love animated movies and DreamWorks has definitely produced some good ones. While there’s definitely a lot less to pick from compared to Disney or Pixar, I still carefully took my time to evaluate which one’s I enjoy the best. If you’re here expecting the green ogre to be on this list, look no further because HE’S NOT ON HERE. But if you’re still interested in seeing my top 3 favourite DreamWorks animations films, here there are:
1. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Alright, I’ll admit I didn’t have to think very hard in deciding which DreamWorks movie was going to take my #1 spot. Without a doubt, it’s How To Train Your Dragon. The first time I saw this trailer, for some reason, I remember thinking that it looked really lame. I don’t know why, but 12 year old me did not vibe with the idea of this movie. So I ended up not seeing it until several years later when I finally decided to give it a go, and what’d you know, I completely fell in love with it. It’s heartwarming, it’s relatable, it’s exciting, it’s everything I want in an animated movie. Hiccup and Toothless shine as the main protagonists and they share the cutest friendship on screen. It was fun watching their relationship develop and one of my favourite scenes in this movie is the montage where Hiccup is trying to gain Toothless’ trust (not to mention the beautiful score by John Powell playing in the background). There’s just something so sweet and innocent about this scene, and throughout the whole movie really. It’s a great coming of age story and Hiccup is an underdog we want to root for; his rocky relationship with his father is a relatable one and it adds a nice depth to both of their characters. I also really appreciated Astrid’s role in this movie and I thought they did a good job developing her character across a short amount of time. It’s easy to see her as rude or aggressive (especially towards Hiccup at first), but I just saw her as someone who was really determined and wanted to prove herself. There wasn’t a character that I disliked and I felt they all had a purpose in the movie that helped further Hiccup’s story. It’s just an overall wonderful movie with a whole lot of heart, and I always love recommending this to those who haven’t watched it before. Just a note but I’ve yet to hear from someone who doesn’t like this movie!
2. Kung Fu Panda (2008)
Kung Fu Panda is such a fun and happy movie, I couldn’t not put this as #2 on my list. Believing in yourself is such a simple thing, but so easily forgotten. I love that this movie reminds us of this, and I’m so glad it’s sending such a positive message to all the kids watching. The movie itself has a ridiculous concept (kung fu lovin’ animals?), but it’s the best kind of ridiculous. Who knew you could relate so well with an overweight, kung fu fighting panda? I always find myself rooting for Po and appreciating his unwavering optimism. I think many of us can relate to wanting to succeed in something despite being told you can’t, so it feels all the more special when Po finally embodies becoming the Dragon Warrior. I don’t just love Po though, this is one of those movies where I love each and every character because they all provide something different to the table. I still find it hilarious how they call him Master Shifu because it literally translates to Master Master. Anyway, as the title suggests, there’s a ton of exciting kung fu action, and while it is a children’s movie, there are some pretty intense and cool fight sequences. I especially like the scene where Tai Lung escapes from the prison. There’s a good amount of tension there and it really sets him up to be a powerful antagonist. The movie has a good balance of light-hearted humour and seriousness, which I like because the goofiness doesn’t overwhelm the deeper parts of the story that explore peace, regret, and rejection. There’s definitely some heartfelt moments, and combined with Hans Zimmer and John Powell’s beautiful score (John Powell being mentioned twice in this list!), it becomes something extra touching. All in all, Kung Fu Panda (2008) is such a great film that really combines the best of both worlds – it’s a fun watch for kids, but also for adults.
3. The Prince of Egypt (1998)
Now this one’s an oldie but definitely a goodie. The Prince of Egypt recounts the Book of Exodus through wonderful music and stunning animation. I watched this at a very young age so I wasn’t able to fully appreciate the story until I was older. It’s very mature for a children’s animated movie and it explores a lot of serious and dark themes, so this movie might be more fitting for adults. I’ve always really liked that because it shows how animated movies aren’t just targeted for kids. To be completely transparent though, I’m not familiar with the Book of Exodus and the extent of my knowledge mainly comes from this film, so I’ll just be commenting on what I enjoyed about this movie as a movie. I would say my favourite element of the film is the music. The songs are all very powerful (catchy too!) and each lyric carries significant meaning to the story. The visuals are especially stunning and I’m still amazed at how beautiful it is despite how long ago this was made. Fun fact, apparently the scene where Moses parts the Red Sea took two whole years to animate! That’s definitely one of my favourite parts of the movie – it’s such a wonderous spectacle to see on screen. That’s certainly the climax of the film and getting there was an emotional road. It was really heartbreaking to see the two brothers, Moses and Rameses, become such enemies despite their initial loving relationship. Rameses’ building hatred towards Moses creates such a strong tension in the movie, and it’s at full force when we see him trying to attack and intentionally kill the Hebrews passing through the Red Sea. I feel genuine fear and discomfort when watching this scene because the emotions being displayed are so raw and real. It’s just animation, but they capture it so perfectly. While I respectfully can’t speak to the religious aspects of this movie, what I can say is that this movie is truly phenomenal and a beautiful piece of cinema.
Let me know your favourite DreamWorks animated films in the comment section below! (Don’t worry, I won’t judge if Shrek really is on your list)
Isn’t it interesting how, of all the animal kingdom potential, the Turtle is The Kung Fu Master in “Kung Fu Panda.”? This one’s so much fun.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yes! Also love how they make the smallest of them (Mantis) also one of the physically strongest.
LikeLiked by 1 person
No Shrek, really? oh well, I guess I’ll watch the whole franchise again to make up for that 😀
I saw prince of egypt when it came out on vhs in the late 90’s and my recollection is that it stuck pretty close to the Biblical account.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Nope, the green ogre didn’t make it onto my list! 🤭
I’ve also read that it’s a pretty faithful adaptation of the Book of Exodus 👍
LikeLiked by 1 person