Let me get this out: I hate Dreamworks Animation. Actually, more specifically, Dreamworks computer animation. Going from this list (Box Office Mojo) I have only really liked two out of their titles - I'm not including Chicken Run or Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, which they distributed, but can't really be called a "Dreamworks movie". I enjoyed their first computer animated feature, Antz, which is still a breath of fresh air when looking at their list. I find it hard to believe that they would hire Woody Allen, Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone these days to voice their movie. I also liked Over the Hedge, but it's hardly to the levels of Pixar.
After that though it becomes a dire situation. I will be quite adamant and vocal at the end of 2009, when everyone starts making best and worst lists for the decade, that Shrek 2 is truly one of the worst pieces of "cinema" of the past ten years. The original Shrek isn't much better in my eyes, and I really had such sharp negative reactions to Madagascar, Shark Tale and Bee Movie. I can't bring myself to see Shrek the Third or Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa due to be traumatised by the previous installments.
And that brings me to Kung Fu Panda, a movie that was supposed to be a an improvement even to people who, like me, have rejected previous Dreamworks endeavors. And while it's true that it is better than Shrek 2 it's still nothing impressive. It's very colourful, the animation is lovely and the sound work especially is very well done, but it suffers from some of the same problems as other Dreamworks product. They still haven't figured out how to cast voice actors. Angelina Jolie is about as interesting to listen to here as a dead fish, Dustin Hoffman is reserved and I don't even remember Seth Rogan, Lucy Liu and Jackie Chan voicing characters. Only Jack Black and David Kross seemed to suit the film. And I was quite shocked that the only times the film felt like it was living up to it's premise was during the dumpling battle and the final fight sequence. Many of the other passages are just flat and lifeless. I only finished watching the DVD an hour ago and I have already forgotten large chunks of it. Such a shame.
So, really, it's just another Dreamworks Animation title. C