There are a lot of people who feel like Dreamworks has a habit of “milking their franchises dry” and I’m not one to disagree with that. The Sherk franchise is probably the finest example of something that needed to have ended long before it actually did.
The first movie was excellent, and—in my opinion—so was the second. And we all know the rest. They should have just stopped after the second. But why is that since there are plenty of good trilogies out there? Well, my whole thing is when you rely more on pop culture and comedic antics to fuel the story you can only go but so many movies. Plus, the only crossover plot from movie to movie was Sherk and Fiona’s marriage, other than that mostly everything got resolved by the end of each movie.
Moving on from Shrek, though, we can see that Dreamworks is focusing on about four franchises right now: Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, Monster vs. Aliens, and How to Train Your Dragon. Each of which either have a TV show or have one planned to air soon.
Madagascar has “the Penguins of Madagascar” cartoon out on Nickelodoen, and—once again this is all my opinion—it’s a pointless waste of the penguins comedy. I would’ve much rather seen a tv show with them traveling around the world and fighting crime than having them stuck, for the most part, at the zoo. And then, there’s just the fact that the show relies too much on potty humor, even for a kid’s comedy show, there’s gotta be some other point/conflict to the show, which there really isn’t. What’s the motivation? We don’t know…cause there isn’t any. The movies, on the other hand, are rather funny…silly, but funny. But then again, this is the same situation Shrek was in: two good movies and an upcoming third movie with high expectations. Let’s hope Madagascar can end strong.
Next there’s Kung Fu Panda which has four more sequels on the way and a tv series also on Nickelodeon. Now, if there was ever something to milk dry, this is definitely it. But, I’ve gotta hand it to Dreamworks, cause they’ve made a pretty good attempt here. The first movie was good, the second movie was excellent, and the tv series is a refreshing change of pace from most of the garbage shown for kids these days. I think it’s a little stiff in the moral/resolution plot lines in the tv series, but still, it’s a lot better than I expected. And I don’t mind watching a few episodes when I get some free time and nothing else is on tv. I can see that they’re able to produce a fresh and new conflict for Po in each movie and each episode, so I’m thinking they might be able to pull off a 6 movie saga and even a tv show. My only problem is I think I’ll be good and sick of Po by then, so they might want to at least shorten the number of movies.
My main love for this franchise, though, is that they’re able to have a convincing back story for all their characters and that they have emotions! They’re not just tools to make you laugh, but their real characters that have pasts, secrets, and moments that make them weak. This is a beautiful companion to any movie and I think the fact that this is shown continuously in each short film, movie, and episode is why any of this total franchise domination is able to be pulled off.
Read PART TWO for Monster vs. Aliens and How to Train Your Dragon!