Has There Been a 10/10 Dreamworks Animated Movie?

The family watched Penguins of Madagascar last night. (It just got added to Netflix!). We all had a great time with the film. Plenty of laughs and penguin hijinx, just as you would expect. But after the movie was over and I went to rate it (8/10), TRC wondered why I wasn’t giving it the full 5 stars on Netflix.

“What was wrong with it?” he asked.

It’s a good question. I avoided it last night by just giving it 5 stars, but even after thinking about it, I still don’t feel like it’s a 10/10 movie. I laughed (lots), and it was a bunch of fun, but . . . it’s a Dreamworks movie, and frankly, they all pretty much blend together.

Think about it. They’ve got a pattern down at this point. Can you really remember the difference between the Shrek movies? Madagascar? Kung Fu Panda? Then there’s a slew of stand alones. The Croods. Megamind. I’ve enjoyed all of them, but they all start to feel more or less the same. You’ll get some snappy, irreverent humor. Characters will come to some heartfelt discovery about themselves, band together, and defy the odds.

Rinse and repeat. (I don’t count the Aardman animated movies. Those are really Dreamworks.)

How to Train Your Dragon 2 departed from that a bit, but still nowhere in the 10 classification. What do I think of when I think of 10/10 animated movies? Well, there’s obviously Pixar. Yes, their movies have also begun to follow a pattern (and it’s not too different from the one I just described), but they do it so well. I remember Up and Wall-E and Toy Story years later. I remember the support characters, the jokes. Compare Toy Story 1-3 with Shrek 1-3, and I think you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Then again, I pride myself in accepting a movie on its own terms. Of rating it according to what it was shooting for. So what could Penguins have done differently? Nothing, really. It was what it wanted to be. So why doesn’t that deserve a 10? What was wrong with it?

In the end, nothing really. But it’s still an 8. A movie that aspires to be a forgettable, fun time does not a 10 deserve.

Maybe I’m a movie snob. What do you think?

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