Disney vs. Dreamworks
For a significant portion of this generation’s childhood, Disney has been the be-all, end-all of entertainment in regard to animation. Many of us of can navigate through the sea of memories of our childhood with the help of characters like Ariel the mermaid and Buzz Lightyear. It was not until the turn of the new millennium that the tides began to flow in favor of a new animation studio.
DreamWorks Animation debuted in 1998 with the mildly successful animated feature, “Antz,” which most Disney fans would call a rip-off of “A Bug’s Life.” DreamWorks’ real success came in 2001 in the form of the smash hit “Shrek” and has since then spawned three sequels and an upcoming spinoff. Aside from the lovable green ogre, DreamWorks has created dazzling new worlds through the guise of fighting pandas, dragon-riding Vikings and the schemes of a blue headed alien.
The newfound success of this studio has given Disney its only real competition with animation in a very long time. A large part of the debate between Disney and Dreamworks is that each studio brings its own benefits and shortcomings to the table. Another take on this argument is that one can either remain loyal to a company that has produced countless classics or be swept away by the new hits of a breakout franchise.
“If you’re talking about old style cartoon animation with Disney versus Pixar, then I’m split because nothing can beat the old style animation of Disney.” junior Elizabeth Wilk said. However, Wilk also notes the declining quality of Disney films over the past decade, plagued by poor sequels like Cinderella’s 2 and 3 and “Pocahontas 2.”
Disney has been around for the better part of 90 years and in that time it has become a cherished part of culture for children all over. Few people can think of “Aladdin” and not start humming the tune of “A Whole New World” or look at a fish tank and not think about “Finding Nemo.” Disney is an American staple and, because of its deep roots in society, this studio is not going anywhere any time soon.
“DreamWorks has their own twists on the Disney movies, but you can’t beat the classics,” junior Gabbie Lim said. “Plus the characters were really memorable, especially since Disney took Grimm’s Fairy Tales and added their own, more cheerful, twists. Just look at “Tangled”–fairly new approach to Rapunzel.”
Dreamworks is just starting out in comparison to Disney’s long and prestigious history, but in the ten years since its first major success, this studio has become a force to reckon with. Original takes on classic concepts like superheroes and the secret lives of animals have propelled this studio to the very top of the charts with billions of dollars in profits and five Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Feature.
Although these story models have been used before by Disney, Dreamworks has taken original direction by incorporating widespread pop culture references and using the vocal talents of comedians and celebrities that Disney seemingly never considered using.
It cannot be denied that Disney films are entertaining, but in recent years they seem to have slowed down in the creative process. Sequels like “Toy Story 3” and “Cars 2” and princess story models are being overused to the point of taking up space for potentially original films. In short, Disney needs to maintain the creative drive that brought them to fame in the first place. Until then, DreamWorks is a strong contender when it comes to animated feature films.
Works like “Kung Fu Panda 2” and “The Croods” should keep DreamWorks alive in the next few years, while Disney is putting out a few more sequels including “Cars 2” and “Monsters Inc. 2.” Audiences will be the obvious judge in the long run, but for many, the tides seem to be shifting towards Dreamworks.
“I can honestly say that some of my favorite movies of last year were animated Dreamworks films, and some of my least favorites were Disney,” sophomore Samantha Collins said. “I’m not sure if that’s an indication of a more mature line of thought or not, but that’s my general outlook.”
Christopher Spall can be reached at Christopher.email@example.com.