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The Ultimate DreamWorks Animated Film Guide: 2005-2009

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The Ultimate DreamWorks Animated Film Guide
1998-2004 | 2005-2009 | 2010-2014
DreamWorks DVDs

In the mid-1990s Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen formed a new major Hollywood studio. Known as DreamWorks SKG, this was created to make both live-action and animated films. After their animated film Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003) failed at the box office and lost around $125 million, DreamWorks' animation division was split off from the DreamWorks live-action studio to form a separate company, DreamWorks Animation SKG, with the new company put on the stock market to raise further funds.

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas was also the last traditional cel-animated film that DreamWorks Animation made; they would now concentrate on computer animation, known as CGI. However DreamWorks had signed a deal with Aardman Animation, agreeing to finance and distribute five feature-length films made by the highly regarded British studio. The first of these, Chicken Run, had been released to huge success in 2000. Aardman specialised in stop-motion animation and were keen to branch into computer animation also.

The Films

Below are listed the DreamWorks Animation films made during this period. Characters and actors whose names appear in Bold return in other, related films.

10. Madagascar (2005)

DirectorsEric Darnell & Tom McGrath
PlotFour zoo animals from New York's Central Park Zoo find themselves abandoned in a remote and wild region of Madagascar.
Length86 minutes
Animation TypeComputer Animation
SettingNew York and Madagascar, Early 21st Century
Characters
  • Alex, a lion (Ben Stiller)
  • Marty, a zebra (Chris Rock)
  • Melman, a giraffe (David Schwimmer)
  • Gloria, a hippopotamus (Jada Pinkett Smith)
  • King Julien, a ring-tailed lemur (Sacha Baron Cohen)
  • Maurice, an aye-aye (Cedric the Entertainer)
  • Skipper, a penguin (Tom McGrath)
  • Kowalski, a penguin (Chris Miller)
  • Rico, a penguin (Jeffrey Katzenberg)
  • Private, a penguin (Christopher Knights)
  • Mort, a mouse lemur (Andy Richter)
  • Nana, a violent old lady (Elisa Gabrielli)
Music
  • 'Born Free' written by John Barry & Don Black
  • 'Boogie Wonderland' written by Jon Lind & Allee Willis
  • 'New York, New York' written by John Kander & Fred Ebb
  • 'Stayin' Alive' written by Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb & Maurice Gibb
  • 'The Candy Man' written by Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley
  • 'I Like To Move It, Move It' written by Erick Morillo & Mark Quashie
  • 'What A Wonderful World' written by Robert Thiele & George David Weiss
Sequels
  • 17. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)
  • 24. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012)
  • 30. Penguins of Madagascar (2014)
  • The Penguins of Madagascar (2008-2012) – spin-off television series
  • The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper (2009) - short film
  • Merry Madagascar (2009) - Christmas short film
  • Madly Madagascar (2013) – Valentine's Day short film
  • All Hail King Julien (2014+) – spin-off television series
LogoDreamWorks Animation SKG to the tune 'Born Free'

Madagascar was the first film in DreamWorks Animation's second successful film franchise, following Shrek. The story of four zoo animals and the rather bizarre creatures they encounter has led to three sequels to date and two spin-off television series. Like the Shrek series, it can be enjoyed both by children (who will enjoy the story of animals and sing along to 'I Like To Move It, Move It') and adults (who will pick up on other references).

DreamWorks Animation had been accused of copying Disney and Pixar films, ever since they rush-released Antz (1998) shortly before Pixar had made A Bug's Life (1998). Other potential examples of copying include A Shark's Tale (2004), supposedly based on Pixar's Finding Nemo (2003). Yet for Madagascar, it may have been DreamWorks Animation that were copied when the following year Disney distributed a film by Canadian television and special effects company C.O.R.E. This film, The Wild (2006), was about a lion and giraffe in New York Zoo escaping into the wild.

11. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

A co-production with Aardman Animations.

DirectorsNick Park & Steve Box
PlotWallace and Gromit have founded 'Anti-Pesto', a service that protects their customers' fruit and vegetables from being eaten by pests. Wallace, though, has put on weight and decides to slim down with science. Yet after his little harmless dietary brain alteration experiment goes awry, a hideous beast, the Were Rabbit, haunts the area around Tottington Hall, just before the annual Tottington Hall Giant Vegetable Competition.
Length85 minutes
SettingSmall village near Tottington Hall in the Yorkshire/Lancashire border area
Animation TypeStop-motion
Characters
  • Wallace, eccentric inventor (Peter Sallis)
  • Gromit, his dog
  • Lady 'Totty' Tottington of Tottington Hall (Helena Bonham Carter)
  • Victor Quartermaine, hunter and bounder (Ralph Fiennes)
  • Philip, his dog
  • PC Albert Mackintosh, village bobby on the beat (Peter Kay)
  • Reverend Clement Hedges, village Vicar (Nicholas Smith)
  • Hutch, a rabbit mutated by Wallace (Peter Sallis)
Music
  • 'Wallace & Gromit Theme' by Julian Nott
  • 'Bright Eyes' by Mike Batt
  • 'The Planets: Venus, The Bringer of Peace' composed by Gustav Holst
  • 'We Plough the Fields and Scatter' words by Matthias Claudius, music by Johann AP Schültz
  • 'Symphony No. 1 in A Flat Major, Opus 55' composed by Sir Edward Elgar
LogoDreamWorks Animation and Aardman
Oscar2006 Best Animated Feature

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit won the 2006 Best Animated Film Oscar, the second and, to date, last time a non-American animation has won this award. It is the only stop-motion animation film to have ever won this award. At present it is the second-highest grossing stop-motion animated film of all time.

Sadly, DreamWorks Animation felt that the film was too British for an American audience, and constantly requested changes, which led to a strained working relationship between Aardman and DreamWorks Animation.

For more information, see The Ultimate Aardman Animated Film Guide.

12. Over the Hedge (2006)

DirectorsTim Johnson & Karey Kirkpatrick
PlotWhen RJ the raccoon is caught trying to steal food from a bear, he is given two weeks to create a vast food stockpile. Meanwhile, a group of forest animals discover that their natural habitat has been all-but demolished to create a new housing estate. RJ shows them how to gather food from suburbia, encouraging them to believe he is gathering the food for winter. However, their activities enrage the local president of the Home Owner's Association, who hires an exterminator to stop them.
Length83 minutes
Animation TypeComputer Animation
SettingEarly 21st Century America
Characters
  • RJ, a raccoon (Bruce Willis)
  • Verne, a tortoise (Garry Shandling)
  • Hammy, an American red squirrel (Steve Carell)
  • Stella, a skunk (Wanda Sykes)
  • Ozzie, father opossum (William Shatner)
  • Heather, daughter opossum (Avril Lavigne)
  • Gladys Sharp, president of the local Home Owners' Association (Allison Janney)
  • Dwayne LaFontant, an exterminator (Thomas Haden Church)
  • Lou, father porcupine (Eugene Levy)
  • Penny, mother porcupine (Catherine O'Hara)
  • Spike, Bucky, Quillo, porcupine children (Shane Baumel, Sami Kirkpatrick & Madison Davenport)
  • Vincent, a bear (Nick Nolte)
  • Tiger, a Persian cat (Omid Djalili)
InspirationOver The Hedge comic series by Michael Fry & T lewis
MusicBy Ben Folds unless stated:
  • 'Family of Me'
  • 'Heist'
  • 'Still'
  • 'Rockin' the Suburbs (Over the Hedge Version)'
  • 'Lost in the Supermarket' written by Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon & Topper Headon
Spin offHammy's Boomerang Adventure (2006 short film)

In early 2006, Paramount purchased DreamWorks SKG, the parent company that had overseen the distribution of DreamWorks Animation's films. DreamWorks Animation remained independent, but signed a deal allowing Paramount to distribute their films. Over The Hedge was the first film to be distributed under the new agreement. Sadly it was only a very minor success at the box office and so all plans to make a proposed sequel were dropped.

13. Flushed Away (2006)

A co-production with Aardman Animations.

DirectorsDavid Bowers & Sam Fell
PlotSnobby pet rat Roddy's luxurious life comes to an end when he is flushed into London's sewers by common sewer rat Sid, who wishes to stay in Roddy's flat and watch the England v Germany World Cup Final. After meeting Rita and discovering a city full of rats, Roddy becomes embroiled in the Toad's terrible plot to drown all the rats by flooding the sewers when all of London's toilets are flushed during Half Time in the middle of the World Cup Final.
Length85 minutes
SettingA posh Kensington flat and the sewers beneath
Animation TypeComputer Animation
Rats
  • Roderick 'Roddy' St James aka 'Millicent Bystander' (Hugh Jackman)
  • Rita Malone (Kate Winslet)
  • Spike (Andy Serkis)
  • Whitey (Bill Nighy)
  • Sid (Shane Ritchie)
Animated Amphibians
  • The Toad (Sir Ian McKellan)
  • Le Frog (Jean Reno)
Music
  • 'Dancing with Myself' written by Billy Idol & Tony James
  • 'Are You Gonna Be My Girl' written by Nic Cester & Cameron Muncey
  • 'She's a Lady' written by Paul Anka
  • 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' written by Bobby McFerrin
  • 'Bohemian Like You' written by Courtney Taylor
  • 'Ice Cold Rita' written by Joe Keenan & Keith Baxter
  • 'That's Not Rice You're Eating' written by Keith Baxter
  • 'Proud Mary' written by John Fogerty
  • 'Mr. Lonely' written by Bobby Vinton & Gene Allan
  • 'What's New Pussycat?' written by Burt Bacharach & Hal David
  • 'Wonderful Night' written by Norman Cook & Lateef Daumont

Flushed Away was Aardman's first computer animated film; they had adapted to CGI because of the difficulties involved in using water in stop-motion. Relations between DreamWorks and Aardman really soured during the making of this film, as Aardman had wanted to make a film about pirate rats, but DreamWorks proclaimed that any film featuring pirates would flop, plus when the film was finished DreamWorks felt that Flushed Away was too British. It was agreed by mutual consent that DreamWorks Animation would not continue co-producing films with Aardman. The film rights for an idea by John Cleese that Aardman were working on developing with DreamWorks Animation at the time, to be called Crood Awakening, were kept with DreamWorks.

For more information, see The Ultimate Aardman Animated Film Guide.

14. Shrek the Third (2007)

DirectorsChris Miller & Raman Hui
PlotThe king of Far, Far Away dies, appointing Shrek and Fiona heirs to the throne on his deathbed. Rather than accept this position, Shrek unilaterally decides to embark on a voyage to make a distant cousin, Arthur, king while struggling with the news that Fiona is pregnant. However Prince Charming and other disgruntled fairy tale characters invade Far, Far Away while he is gone, plotting to put on a show...
Length93 minutes
Animation TypeComputer Animation
SettingFar, Far Away & Worcestershire Academy
Characters
  • Shrek, an ogre married to Princess Fiona (Mike Myers)
  • Donkey, a talking donkey (Eddie Murphy)
  • Princess Fiona, an ogress (Cameron Diaz)
  • Puss in Boots, a cat (Antonio Banderas)
  • King Harold, frog king of Far, Far Away (John Cleese)
  • Queen Lillian, Fiona's mother (Julie Andrews)
  • Prince Charming, a villain (Rupert Everett)
  • Merlin, a magic teacher (Eric Idle)
  • Arthur Pendragon, Harold's nephew (Justin Timberlake)
Music
  • 'Barracuda' written by Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson, Michael DeRosier & Roger Fisher
  • 'Live and Let Die' by Paul  &  Linda McCartney
  • 'Immigrant Song' by Jimmy Page & Robert Plant
  • 'Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio?' by Dee Dee Ramone, Johnny Ramone & Joey Ramone
  • 'Joker & The Thief' written by Myles Heskett, Chris Ross & Andrew Stockdale
  • 'Cat's in the Cradle' by Harry & Sandy Chapin
  • 'Royal Pain' written by Mark 'E' Everett
  • 'All Star' written by Greg Camp
  • 'Losing Streak' written by Mark 'E' Everett
  • 'Final Showdown' written by David Lindsay-Abaire, Walt Dohrn & Jeanine Tesori
  • 'What I Gotta Do' written by Natalie Hinds, Joshua Lopez, Jeremy Ruzumna, Jason Villaroman & Caleb Speir
  • 'Thank You (Falettin Me Be Mice Elf Again)' written by Sylvester Stewart
  • 'Best Days' by Matt White
Others in the Series
  • 5. Shrek (2001)
  • 8. Shrek 2 (2004)
  • 20. Shrek Forever After (2010)
  • 23. Puss in Boots (2011)
  • Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party (2001) - musical short film
  • Shrek 4-D (2003) - theme park attraction
  • Far Far Away Idol (2004) - musical short film
  • Shrek the Halls (2007) - Christmas short film
  • Donkey's Carolling Christmas-tacular (2010) - musical short
  • Scared Shrekless (2011) - Halloween anthology
  • Shrek's Thrilling Tales (2011) - Halloween anthology
LogoStorm clouds cover the boy in the moon

Like onions and ogres, a good Shrek film should have layers. Sadly, after the excellent first two Shrek films, Shrek The Third feels less than the sum of its parts. The plot involves Harold dying and naming Shrek and Fiona as his heirs. Rather than allow Fiona, King Harold's own daughter, the chance to decide whether she wants to become queen, and even though Harold's wife Lillian is still Far, Far Away's queen, plus the kingdom is cluttered with genuine princesses including Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and even Rapunzel, Shrek instead decides to make someone he's never met the next king. As Prince Charming proclaims himself king, attempting to usurp the throne, only to be replaced by King Arthur, the film's old-fashioned message seems to be that only men can rule.

There's no doubt that the film is weaker than previous films, mainly because the two new characters, Merlin and Arthur, are very weak and do not actually do a lot. Where previous films in the series had twisted Disney stereotypes, Shrek the Third insists on portraying these two as exactly the same characters they had been in The Sword in the Stone: a forgetful teacher with a beard and a young, clumsy boy who is picked on by older and stronger lads.

There is a very minor character called Rumpelstiltskin; a completely different Rumpelstiltskin would play a much larger role in Shrek Forever After1. Sadly, Doris the ugly stepsister is only voiced by Larry King, and not by Jonathan Ross, who had voiced her in the UK version of Shrek 2. The plot, in which Shrek and Donkey visit a High School, does not quite evoke the same sense of adventure as their first quest together when they rescued Princess Fiona from a dragon-guarded tower built on a lake of lava.

The film had a lot to live up to and does not quite make it. Despite this, there are good lines and enjoyable moments. It also remains one of DreamWorks Animation's most successful films.

15. Bee Movie (2007)

DirectorsSteve Hickner & Simon J Smith
PlotAfter having an identity crisis and forming a close friendship with a florist, a young bee decides to sue the human race for taking honey without permission. What will the consequences be?
Length91 minutes
Animation TypeComputer Animation
SettingA Hive and surrounding area in Central Park, New York, and across the USA
Characters
  • Barry B Benson, a bee (Jerry Seinfeld)
  • Vanessa Bloome, a florist (Renée Zellweger)
  • Adam Flayman, a bee (Matthew Broderick)
  • Ken, Vanessa's boyfriend (Patrick Warburton)
  • Layton T Montgomery, a lawyer (John Goodman)
  • Mooseblood, a mosquito (Chris Rock)
  • Janet Benson, a bee (Kathy Bates)
  • Martin Benson, a bee (Barry Levinson)
  • Ray Liotta, a honey-making actor (Himself)
  • Sting, an actor (Himself)
  • Bee Larry King (Larry King)
WritersJerry Seinfeld, Spike Feresten, Barry Marder, Andy Robbin with additional material by Chuck Martin and Tom Papa
Music
LogoThe boy on the moon is attacked by Barry B Benson and falls off the moon so Barry relaxes on the moon instead.

A moderate box office success, but still one of DreamWorks Animation's least profitable films. As well as a cast involving many of the actors in Seinfeld's show Seinfeld, the film features cameos from Vincent from Over the Hedge and even Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet. It is also the second DreamWorks animated film in a row to feature Larry King.

16. Kung Fu Panda (2008)

DirectorsJohn Stevenson & Mark Osborne
PlotA powerful, evil warrior named Tai Lung escapes from prison and threatens the Valley of Peace. Kung Fu master Oogway announces he will decide who will be allowed to learn the secrets of the Dragon Scroll and become the Dragon Warrior who will be able to defeat Tai Lung. Much to the disgust of Kung Fu experts The Furious Five and their Master Shifu, Po, an overweight and clumsy panda who fantasises about Kung Fu, is chosen.
Length92 minutes
Animation Type Computer Animation
SettingValley of Peace, ancient China
Characters
  • Po, a giant panda Kung Fu fan (Jack Black)
  • Shifu, a red panda Kung Fu master (Dustin Hoffman)
  • Tai Lung, a snow leopard Kung Fu villain (Ian McShane)
  • Oogway, a tortoise and Shifu's master (Dandall Duk Kim)
  • Mr Ping, Po's goose father (James Hong)
  • Commander Vachir, a rhinoceros prison warden (Michael Clarke Duncan)
  • The Furious Five:
    1. Tigress (Angelina Jolie)
    2. Monkey (Jackie Chan)
    3. Mantis (Seth Rogen)
    4. Viper (Lucy Liu)
    5. Crane (David Cross)
Music
  • 'Kung Fu Fighting' written by Carl Douglas, performed by Cee-Lo Green and Jack Black
  • 'Masterami Kung-Fu' by Ilya Lagutenko
Sequels
  • 10. Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
  • 24. Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
  • Secrets of the Furious Five (2008) – short film
  • Kung Fu Panda Holiday (2010) - Christmas short film
  • Secrets of the Masters (2011) - short film
  • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (2011-14) – spin-off television series
LogoAn animal in a Chinese hat climbs up to the moon and uses his fishing rod to catch the DreamWorks Animation logo

Kung Fu Panda is the most successful non-Shrek DreamWorks Animation film to date, and it easily beat Disney's Bolt (2008) at the box office. More than just a kick-flick, at heart it is the story of a nobody who becomes a hero by believing in himself and being himself. The film also looks at the importance of role models and idols.

The quality of the animation is so impressive, it became the first DreamWorks Animation film to be released on IMAX screens. The film also begins with a stunning, stylised animation sequence that reflects Japanese anime. The opening DreamWorks logo sequence also references Chinese shadow puppets. This, and the time and effort of ensuring that the small details of Chinese culture were correct ensured that this film received unprecedented success in China.

A confident film, by having the central character a panda while his father is a goose it practically announces the intention to resolve unanswered questions with a sequel. As it was so successful, it became the first film in DreamWorks Animation's third film franchise when Kung Fu Panda 2 was released just three years later.

17. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)

DirectorsEric Darnell & Tom McGrath
PlotAfter attempting to fly from Madagascar to New York, a group of former Central Park Zoo animals and some lemurs crash in the African plains. There Alex rediscovers the home and family he was kidnapped by poachers from as a cub, Melman fears he has a terminal disease and Marty has an identity crisis.
Length89 minutes
Animation Type Computer Animation
SettingMadagascar, African Plains and New York, 20th and 21st Century
Characters
  • Alex, a lion (Ben Stiller)
  • Marty, a zebra (Chris Rock)
  • Melman, a giraffe (David Schwimmer)
  • Gloria, a hippopotamus (Jada Pinkett Smith)
  • King Julien, a ring-tailed lemur (Sacha Baron Cohen)
  • Maurice, an aye-aye (Cedric the Entertainer)
  • Skipper, a penguin (Tom McGrath)
  • Kowalski, a penguin (Chris Miller)
  • Rico, a penguin (Jeffrey Katzenberg)
  • Private, a penguin (Christopher Knights)
  • Mort, a mouse lemur (Andy Richter)
  • Zuba, a lion (Bernie Mac2)
  • Florrie, a lioness (Sherrie Shepherd)
  • Makunga, a lion (Alec Baldwin)
  • Moto Moto, a hippopotamus (will.i.am)
  • Nana, a violent old lady (Elisa Gabrielli)
MusicBy will.i.am and Hans Zimmer unless stated:
  • 'Born Free' written by John Barry & Don Black
  • 'I Like To Move It, Move It' written by Erick Morillo & Mark Quashie
  • 'The Traveling Song'
  • 'More Than A Feeling' by Tom Scholz
  • 'Who Let The Dogs Out' by Anselm Douglas
  • 'Private Dancer' by Mark Knopfler
  • 'Big And Chunky'
  • 'It's Raining Men' by Paul Jabara & Paul Shaffer
  • 'Let's Get It Started'
  • 'She Loves Me'
  • 'Best Friends'
Others in the Series
  • 10. Madagascar (2005)
  • 24. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012)
  • 30. Penguins of Madagascar (2014)
  • The Penguins of Madagascar (2008-2012) – spin-off television series
  • The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper (2009) - short film
  • Merry Madagascar (2009) - Christmas short film
  • Madly Madagascar (2013) – Valentine's Day short film
  • All Hail King Julien (2014+) – spin-off television series
LogoThe boy in the moon is attacked and replaced by the Madagascar penguins, who catch a fish.

This entertaining film seems like a cross between Madagascar and The Lion King. Alex the lion is like Simba, rediscovering his father who is the current lion king, while Scar-like Makunga wishes to take the throne for himself. The film perhaps has more for adults to enjoy than the original did, as it includes references to diverse sources like The Twilight Zone and Joe Versus the Volcano.

Early trailers for the film, including ones found on other DreamWorks Animation DVDs, had it entitled Madagascar: The Crate Escape even though only Alex is seen in a crate in this film.

18. Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)

DirectorsConrad Vernon & Rob Letterman
PlotOn the morning of her wedding day, Susan Murphy is struck by a meteorite containing a substance called Quantonium. This causes her to grow to 50 feet tall. She is tranquilised and transported to a secret government facility, run by General WR Monger, which also contains a half-man half cockroach mad scientist, a living blob of goo, a giant insect and a fish man. However an evil alien called Gallaxhar wants the power of the Quantonium in order to conquer the universe, starting with the world.
Length94 Minutes
Animation Type3D Computer Animation
SettingEarly 21st Century California, USA
Characters
  • Susan 'Ginormica' Murphy (Reese Witherspoon)
  • Dr Cockroach (Hugh Laurie)
  • B.O.B. (Seth Rogen)
  • Missing Link (Will Arnett)
  • General Warren R Monger (Kiefer Sutherland)
  • Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson)
  • President Hathaway (Stephen Colbert)
  • Derek Dietl (Paul Rudd)
  • Wendy Murphy (Julie White)
  • Carl Murphy (Jeffrey Tambor)
  • Katie (Renée Zellweger)
Inspiration1950's B-Movies
Music
  • 'Planet Claire' written by Henry Mancini3, Kate Pierson, Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland, Cindy & Ricky Wilson
  • 'Roses are Red' written by René Dif, Soren Rasted, Claus Norreen, Lene Nystrøm, Peter Hartmann & Jan Langhoff
  • 'Purple People Eater' written and performed by Sheb Wooley
  • 'When You See Those Flying Saucers' written by Cy Coben & Charlie Grean
  • 'Who's Crying Now' written by Jonathan Cain & Steve Perry
  • 'Axel F' written and performed by Harold Faltermeyer
  • 'Wooly Bully' written by Domingo Samudio
  • 'Tell Him' written by Bert Berns
  • 'Reminiscing' written by Graham Goble
  • 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' composed by John Williams
  • 'E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial' composed by John Williams
  • 'Bridal Chorus' composed by Richard Wagner
  • 'Let's Get It Started' written by will.i.am, Michael Fratantuno, Taboo, Terence Graves, George Pajon Jr & Apl.de.Ap
Spin Offs:
  • B.O.B's Big Break (2009) – Short film
  • Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space (2009) – Short Halloween special
  • Night of the Living Carrots (2011) – Short Halloween special
  • Monsters vs. Aliens (2013-14) – Spin-off television series
LogoA flying saucer abducts the boy on the moon.

The film is a delightful homage to 1950s era B-movies, with a few nods to more recent films such as ET The Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The titular monsters were inspired by classics of the genre; Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958) for Ginormica, The Blob (1958) inspiring B.O.B., Dr Cockroach was inspired by The Fly (1958), Mothra (1961) was the basis for Insectosaurus and the character of the Missing Link owes a large debt to Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). One of the joys of watching this film is looking out for the homages to previous films, including Dr Strangelove; or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb and Beverly Hills Cop.

Appropriately for a film tribute to 1950s B-movies, many of which were shown in 3D, this was the first DreamWorks Animation film created to be in stereoscopic 3D from the start rather than being converted to 3D later. This did, however, add approximately $15 million to the film's cost.

The highly enjoyable film was a modest success - successful enough to lead to a television series and some spin-off shorts, but sadly not successful enough for a sequel to be commissioned.

The Ultimate DreamWorks Animated Film Guide
1998-2004 | 2005-2009 | 2010-2014
1Presumably they are cousins or other distant relations who share the same surname.2Bernie Mac died before the film was released.3Composer Mancini is credited as this version of 'Planet Claire' included a sample from Mancini's Peter Gunn theme.

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