Shrek the Third opens this weekend and that means lots of money for Katzenberg. It also means that we will be taking a Saturday afternoon sometime soon and seeing it. But it also brings to my mind a question. Has anyone else noticed the disturbing trend of Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks making identical movies? Here’s what I mean:
Dreamworks: Antz 1998
Pixar: A Bug’s Life 1998
This one started it for me. This was back when we were all enamored with the idea of computer animation, and it didn’t really matter whether the movies were any good or not. I remember thinking “Do we really need two ant movies in the same summer?” Were we really supposed to tell these two apart? A co-worker actually told me “No, I saw Antz, because in real life ants have six legs.” Engineers are so stupid. What kind of freakish logic is that? You’re not smarter than me just because you can count to six.
Pixar: Finding Nemo 2003
Dreamworks: Shark Tale 2004
When Jonathan was born and Karen was still in the hospital I took Isaac to see Finding Nemo. Isaac was three. Can you say five bathroom breaks? Who makes a kid’s movie set in the water, anyway? This movie has the highest gross ticket sales of any Pixar movie, and it’s no wonder. You got kids, you’re only seeing half this movie at a time thanks to potty breaks. There were some scary moments in that movie, too. There were scary sharks, scary jellyfish, a scary angler fish, but the part that scared Isaac the most was when Nemo’s daddy was yelling at him. Reminded him too much of his own abusive father I suppose. Shark Tale sucked, although the scene of that shark coming out of the closet dressed like the Village People was pretty darn funny.
Movies about zoo animals who are accidentally sent back to the wild:
Dreamworks: Madagascar 2005
Disney: The Wild 2006
In this case Dreamworks and Disney released, in consecutive years, two bad movies with exactly the same plot, setting, and most of the same characters. I’ll be honest, I never saw The Wild, and I only saw a tiny bit of Madagascar because it was boring. How can a movie with Chris Rock in it not be funny? Ask Dreamworks, they did it. Bad timing for Disney, though, because when The Wild was released everybody had already seen it the year before, when it was called Madagascar.
Dreamworks: Flushed Away 2006
Pixar: Ratatouille 2007
Two movies about a rat who likes living the high life. In Flushed Away, he was the high society pet rat in a wealthy house, and in Ratatouille he’s a master chef in Paris. Maybe he should’ve been voiced by Gordon Ramsay. I’m siding with Dreamworks on this one even though Ratatouille isn’t out yet and it looks very funny. Hey! A food movie! Maybe I can write a review! I wonder if I can claim the ticket price as a tax deduction. But Flushed Away wasn’t really done by Dreamworks, it was done by Aardman. I’ve been a Wallace & Gromit fan for a long time now and anything with Nick Park’s name on it wins in our house. And who doesn’t like singing slugs?
Dreamworks: Chicken Run 2000
Disney: Valiant 2005
As stated before, anything from Nick Park wins in our house, and Chicken Run was his first full length movie. Since these movies take 2-3 years to write, direct, and produce this is perhaps the only set capable of being a true copycat in the list. I never saw Valiant, but seriously, did anyone see Valiant? Anyone? Valiant it proof positive that Disney has lost their magic completely. My only consolation is that Disney lost $20 million on it. Almost immediately following this flop Disney bought Pixar.
Pixar: Monsters, Inc. 2001
Dreamworks: Shrek 2001
This one’s a bit of a stretch, I know, especially since I loved both movies. I can’t say anything really bad about these two except that the make-believe creatures weren’t made as scary or ugly as they could’ve been because they’re marketed towards kids. Is it me or are those monsters cute? For those of you who’ve never read Shrek!, the book by William Steig, you must. It is hilarious and I guarantee you’ll love it. Shrek is far more repulsive in this book than he is in the movie. That being said, both these movies are winners in my opinion, and are actually fairly original stories, which is hard to find in one movie a year, let alone two. Shrek was pretty good but it was nothing compared to Shrek II. Dare we dream that Shrek the Third is better still?
Pixar: The Incredibles 2004
Disney: Sky High 2005 (Live Action)
This is perhaps the real surprise of the bunch because they’re both from Disney. Disney has long been known for beating lots of dead horses, and I won’t even get into movies like Cinderella II, Cinderella III, Pocahontas II, The Lion King II, The Fox & the Hound II, Little Mermaid II, Bambi II, Lady & the Tramp II, The Hunchback of Notre Dame II, Brother Bear II, The Return of Jafar, and all the other cheap-ass sequels that went straight to video. Did anyone actually pay money to see Sky High, when you knew it would be on the Disney Channel in a month or two?
Now that I think about it, maybe Sky High is more of a copy of the X-Men franchise. Either way, boo to Disney for producing some cheesy knockoff of a real movie. I must say I really liked The Incredibles, and for months Isaac ran around the house at top speed like Dash.
Is it me or has Fiona lost weight?
I’m not sure if I’m imagining things but it seems as though Fiona the ogre has hit the gym since we saw her three years ago. You decide:
I understand that ogre obesity is on the rise, but so are ogre eating disorders so I’m a bit surprised at the decision. At this rate Fiona will be a size 2 ogre in a little ogre miniskirt and haltertop in Shrek 4.