Could this mean Disney’s industry reign is over?
This new movie in the DreamWorks Animation Shrek Universe franchise could seriously threaten the dominance that The Walt Disney Company and in particular, their Walt Disney Animation Studios arm. It’s not DreamWorks first go at copying the animation giant, after all.
For decades, “Disney” has stayed at the top of the animation game. Ever since Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (1937), The Walt Disney Company’s first-ever full-length animated feature film, the name “Disney” has become synonymous with leading, world-class animation. The Walt Disney Company has even consistently been nominated in the same Academy Award category of “Best Animated Movie” at the Oscars — even beating themselves and associated studios like Pixar Animation Studios out for the win.
Now, it seems that the newest movie that came from the Shrek franchise, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022) is getting absolutely rave reviews. Raking in an extremely impressive 95% on RottenTomatoes.com, as well as an equally positive audience score of 93% at the time of writing. The new Shrek spin-off stars Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots searching for a mythical wishing star, Salma Hayek as Kitty Softpaws, Harvey Guillén as Perrito, Florence Pugh as Goldilocks, Olivia Colman as Mama Bear, Ray Winstone as Papa Bear, Samson Kayo as Baby Bear, John Mulaney as “Big” Jack Horner, Wagner Moura as Wolf / Death, Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Mama Luna, and Conrad Vernon as Gingy and Cody Cameron as Pinocchio, both reprising their roles from the original Shrek (2001) movie and its related sequels. The official description reads:
Puss in Boots discovers that his passion for adventure has taken its toll: he has burnt through eight of his nine lives. Puss sets out on an epic journey to find the mythical Last Wish and restore his nine lives.
Rotten Tomatoes glowingly describes the film:
Arriving more than a decade after the previous installment, the smart, sweet, and funny Puss in Boots: The Last Wish proves some franchises only get better with age.
Though it’s still in theaters currently, the new Puss in Boots film seems to definitely be set up for success — as people are already calling it the X-Men “Logan” of the DreamWorks Shrek franchise. Compared to Disney Animation Studios’ newest theatrical outing, Strange World (2022) that debuted in cinemas recently and some considered a “flop”, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish appears to have even out-done that. Strange World, despite reaching the number one spot on streaming giant Disney+’s rankings (not unlike that of Encanto (2021)), still only acquired 72% on Rotten Tomatoes. Although it definitely has its fair share of fans who love the risks that Strange World is taking in terms of animation, it’s clear that Puss in Boots has a sort of global appeal that will likely translate into box office and future streaming success.
It’s definitely also interesting to note that DreamWorks is an animation company started from the very idea of becoming a rival to Walt Disney Animation — after ex-Disney Renaissance man Jeffrey Katzenberg exited from The Walt Disney Company, following a perceived snub from then-CEO Michael Eisner and internal tensions with Walt Disney’s nephew, Roy E. Disney. The company began as DreamWorks SKG — where SKG stood for the initials of director and producer Steven Spielberg, former Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, and music executive David Geffen. DreamWorks Animation Studios is currently a subsidiary of Universal Pictures, under NBCUniversal, making it a Comcast company.
Could the tide finally be turning in DreamWorks’ favor? It stands to be seen if they will keep up this stellar streak of animation. Since Antonio Banderas himself seems so keen to expand the franchise, it seems like we may not be seeing the last of Shrek and the gang after all.
What do you think about the state of DreamWorks vs. Disney’s animation? Share your thoughts in the comments below!