7. Shrek 2 (2004)
Worldwide Box Office: $919.8million
Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Julie Andrews, Antonio Banderas, John Cleese, Rupert Everett, Jennifer Saunders
A worthy sequel if ever there was one, Shrek 2 embraced all of the odd-ball antics that made its predecessor so great and it expanded upon them to bring an even more meta and referential comedy than Dreamworks had touched upon before. Perhaps not as original as Shrek 1 in terms of its fantasy elements, central story arc and investment in its characters, Shrek 2 managed to introduce a whole new vision of its universe with a cast of royal characters and wish granters adding an extra dimension to the relatively small cast of characters present in the first film. With $919.8million earned at the box office, this is the most financially successful movie in the history of Dreamworks Animation, making it an iconic animated movie that doesn’t quite hit the top five in this list but is certainly an all-time Dreamworks Animation classic.
6. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
Worldwide Box Office: $621.5million
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, TJ Miller, Kristen Wiig, Djimon Hounsou, Kit Harrington
How To Train Your Dragon 2 takes the honour of being the highest ranking sequel in this list, and with good reason. After the success of the original movie (which is still to come), fans demanded a sequel, and it came came within just four years. Thankfully, number 2 was every bit as engaging, original and charming as its predecessor. It also introduced a selection of talented voices to the fray, with Cate Blanchett leading the additions that also included Djimon Hounsou and ‘Game of Thrones’ actor Kit Harrington. Much like its predecessor, How To Train Your Dragon 2 was nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, but unlike its predecessor, number 2 actually won the Golden Globe it was nominated for. If that’s not proof enough of this movie’s quality, then what is?
5. Chicken Run (2000)
Worldwide Box Office: $224.8million
Starring: Phil Daniels, Mel Gibson, Jane Horrocks, Miranda Richardson, Timothy Spall
“I don’t want to be a pie. I don’t like gravy!” – “All me life flashed before me eyes! It was really boring.”
Thanks to the team behind Wallace and Gromit (who else?), never before have chickens been so funny or had so much heart and ambition. Here, the chickens try to escape inevitable slaughter, aiming to reach the flowing grassy hills of “outside the farm”. It’s a simple story played out in traditional claymation that has stood the test of time due to funny quotes and the simplicity and engage-ability of its story. A mega-success in relation to its budget, this Dreamworks film is a sleeper classic that we don’t quite realise we miss until we read about it (you can thank us for reminding you about it later).
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4. Kung Fu Panda (2008)
Worldwide Box Office: $631.7million
Starring: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Ian McShane, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, Michael Clarke Duncan
A creative concept like no other, Kung Fu Panda pretty much sums up its plot in its title. For what it is – a children’s film about an adorable Panda trying the least Panda things possible – it is fantastic. The animation is beautiful with the Chinese theme gifting the movie a unique aesthetic that is hard to rival. Similarly, the casting choices are close to perfect, with Jack Black’s lovable buffoon persona radiating out of the talking Panda throughout the entire movie, and the supporting talents of Angelina Jolie, Ian McShane, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, Michael Clarke Duncan and especially Dustin Hoffman each bringing their own star personas to the table to offer their characters a little more life than can be the case in some animated movies. Sure the plot is a little basic, but Kung Fu Panda isn’t about giving you an existential crisis, it’s about family fun, and this film provides fun in spades.
3. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Worldwide Box Office: $494.9million
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, TJ Miller, Kristen Wiig, David Tennant
How To Train Your Dragon has been to the 2010s what Shrek was to the 2000s, a genre defining picture in terms of overall cultural impact that has come to define a generation of animated movies.
Owing largely to its presentation of dragon battles in the midst of fantastic scenery, this film is animated so well that much of it rivals Avatar (2009) and was somewhat of an awe-inspiring cinematic experience in 2010. The titular dragon, Toothless, is perhaps the biggest draw for the movie as he is presented equally as being the cutest and most badass creature you could imagine, and many a spin-off merchandise line has been born from his immaculate design. Contrary to this, and unlike much of Dreamworks’ output, How To Train Your Dragon successfully comes across as a story that needs to be told rather than a search for a sellable intellectual property, a feeling brought about by its charm and innocence within its storytelling. It is this, and the undoubted connection that so many had to the film, that makes How To Train Your Dragon the number three movie in Dreamworks’ illustrious history.
2. Shrek (2001)
Worldwide Box Office: $484.4million
Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow, Vincent Cassell
Perhaps the most iconic of all of Dreamworks Animation’s movies, Shrek has come to define the animated genre for many a millennial with some of the titular character’s best quotes becoming popular culture and its referential, and largely more adult, style of comedy coming to change animation for many years that followed. Starring a red hot Mike Myers who’d just come off the back of huge success with Wayne’s World 1 & 2 and Austin Powers, as well as the iconic talents of Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz, Shrek was a promotional powerhouse that delivered in terms of creativity, spectacle and hilarity, and only misses out on the number one spot in this edition of Ranked solely due to how its animation doesn’t stand up to the test of time in quite the same way that our number one does…
1. The Prince of Egypt (1998)
Worldwide Box Office: $218.6million
Starring: Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Steve Martin, Martin Short
The Prince of Egypt was a spectacle of so-called ‘original hand-drawn animation’, in which Dreamworks seamlessly integrated computer generated imagery to create one of the most epic, moving and timeless animated movies ever put to screen. A picture for adults as well as children, the movie’s directors Brenda Chapman, Simon Wells and Steve Hickner put challenging material to screen in a way that had not previously been so accessible to people of all ages, and the musical accompaniment written by Stephen Schwartz and Hans Zimmer was both beautiful and tragic in its orchestral power. Being based on a Judaic-Christian tale (a bible story no less), the worldwide appeal of this film wasn’t quite that of its Dreamworks contemporaries, but its thought-provoking nature and timeless world class animation clearly define it as one of the genre’s all time greats and Dreamworks’ number one film of all time.
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Which Dreamworks Animation release is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to never miss another list like this one from The Film Magazine.