Forget ‘Finding Dory’ – The Sequel You Secretly Really Want Could be on the Way! – Animation Scoop

Forget ‘Finding Dory’ – The Sequel You Secretly Really Want Could be on the Way!

Yes, barely two months since it was first announced that Universal bought Dreamworks, comes the news we’ve been clinging to the edge of our chairs for: Shrek is coming back! It’s still only a possibility at this stage, but even that remains worrisome.

The entertainment business has a bad reputation for flogging horses until they’re beyond dead, not simply because they can, but because even dead horses still make money. Shrek is one such horse and despite being innovative, humorous, and entertaining back in the early years of the 21st century, by the time the final installment was released in 2010 (a mere six years ago,) it was patently obvious to everyone that the property was well passed its sell by date.

Even DreamWorks themselves admitted as much and while there was a spinoff of Puss in Boots, it seemed that Shrek was finally put out to the pasture where he and Donkey belonged.

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The arrival of new owners however means new decisions being made, and apparently one of the very first is to figure out a way, any way to bring Shrek back. Chris Meledandri is in charge now and has been given this poison chalice of sorts presumably by a bunch of bean counters who’ve crunched the numbers and have reckoned it could potentially be a profitable venture (if not an artistically bankrupt one.)

Yes, there are infinite numbers of reasons why this is a bad idea. If you’re reading this website, you can probably rattle of a few dozen without prompting. Resurrecting Shrek would be as bad as, if not worse than, putting Tom & Jerry into a talkie. The ogre’s moment clearly passed a decade ago! Brand recognition doesn’t count for squat in this day and age unless you are the very best.

Unfortunately for DreamWorks it (fairly or unfairly) is not the very best, and plying audiences with the same old tricks is surely indicative of a bigger problem. That is, that the studio’s new corporate masters are afraid to take an artistic risk. I know, we get it, films are expensive and need to make money. But that doesn’t mean you fall back on tired old ideas! That does a studio no good as they don’t get the opportunity to flex their creative muscles, and it reduces the necessity for them to try their best. Sequels never need to be the best, ‘good enough’ almost always works just as well.

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DreamWorks’ struggles from the past few years can be traced more to an inability to make good movies cheaply than to a failure to make good movies. The studio is already staring down the reality that its budgets are likely to be cut by the relatively-miserly Meledandri, so while certain studio luxuries will disappear, there’s also the possibility that the free-wheeling degree to which productions have been revised and finessed in the past will also be eliminated.

Bringing back Shrek is surely the opening salvo in this quest to make do with less, and creatively, DreamWorks will suffer for it. Instead of aiming for some low-budget, highly profitable films, the studio seems set to head down a well-trodden and unexciting path as it slowly becomes accustomed to dancing to somebody else’s tune.

Charles Kenny

Charles Kenny

Being tall, Irish and a civil engineer by trade, Charles stands out in the animation crowd, hence his position as the Animation Anomaly.
Charles Kenny
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