Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Nine years ago, How to Train Your Dragon became the first film to demonstrate that DreamWorks Animation could be more than The House That Shrek Built; the first film to eschew the lazy pop culture references, music cues and shticky jokes based on celebrity personae and just go out and make a rich-looking, emotionally resonant […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: there are ants in Ant-Man and the Wasp. There are ants in other things also, but only rarely as […]

If we weren’t through the rabbit hole before, we sure as hell are now: DreamWorks Animation has made a film that is literally about potty humor, sixteen years after their Shrek normalised fart jokes in animated features, and about how people who don’t like potty humor are joyless assholes, and it is the sweetest, nicest, […]

If you had asked me ten years ago, when Shrek the Third was farting its way through theaters, which major American animation studio I expected to be pushing the medium forward the most in 2017, between Pixar, Disney, or the Shrekmeisters at DreamWorks, I would have frankly looked at you like you’d just grown two […]

The notorious dance party ending is a plague upon all animated films, but it is perhaps a particularly important element in the films of DreamWorks Animation; it was that studio’s 2001 Shrek that did more than probably any other individual title to cement the trope into place, and they’ve relied on it extensively in the […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: thirteen years later, Finding Nemo finally gets a sequel in Finding Dory. In contrast, it took less than sixteen […]

Now that we’ve hit film #3, and given that the worldwide box office take so far makes it seem somewhat unlikely that film #4 is in the offing, we are able to speak of the “Kung Fu Panda Trilogy”. And as far as I’m concerned, we are able to speak of it in especially fond […]

All things being equal, I am pleased that Home didn’t turn out to be the movie to kill off DreamWorks Animation. I’d have been even more pleased if Home could have managed that feat while not sucking, but then, there had to be a reason why DreamWorks ended up on a cliff’s edge in the […]

As the Hollywood Century takes us into the 21st Century and thus near to the present day, I shall find myself increasingly hard-pressed to do much good situating the films I’m discussing in any kind of historical context: we’re still in that historical context, for the most part, and it will take a few more […]

There’s one very specific thing happening in How to Train Your Dragon 2 that would cause me to kind of love it a bit even if it the rest of it was a crashing failure instead of a small disappointment. Which it is, unfortunately; still one of the top handful of movies ever made by […]

The first surprise – ah, hell, it’s the only surprise, let’s be honest – is that Mr. Peabody & Shermanis not terribly good, but it’s not terribly good in the way that DreamWorks Animation features tend to not be terribly good. That is to say, it’s not a hell-spawned devouring nightmare that leave nothing but […]

2013 has been a remarkably mediocre year for American animated features, but even in the company of Monsters University and Despicable Me 2, there’s something special about Turbo, the second and final DreamWorks Animation project of the year (following The Croods, which is starting to look like an elder statesman). It is mediocre; unabashedly so. […]