People who grew up during the early 2000s were hit with waves of nostalgia earlier this month as a fifth instalment in the popular Shrek franchise was announced by Dreamworks. Whether or not we really need another Shrek movie is debatable, but there’s no doubt that the surprising return of Shrek and Fiona, as well as sidekick Donkey, will be a welcome one for fans of the series.
The four original Shrek feature films were all released during the ‘noughties’, a decade which could be described as a golden age for CGI kids films. While Pixar broke the mould with the innovative Toy Story in the mid-90s, the format really caught on after the turn of the century. However, despite Shrek being incredibly memorable, there are some CGI movies from the decade that have now been overlooked and forgotten about.
While director Chris Wedge’s animated magnum opus is definitely 2002’s Ice Age, 2005’s Robots shouldn’t be ignored. The dystopian sci-fi comedy was hugely successful at the time, grossing $260.7 million at the box office, but the franchise never expanded in the same way as Ice Age. The movie’s biggest selling point was its fantastic cast; Ewan McGregor and Halle Berry portrayed Rodney Copperbottom and his love interest Cappy, whilst comedy heroes Mel Brooks and Robin Williams featured in supporting roles.
Another thing that many kids and adults alike enjoyed about the film was its soundtrack, which featured songs from a variety of artists including Tom Waits, Fatboy Slim and Barry White. Unfortunately, there are certain elements of the film that now seem outdated. The soundtrack also features stereotypically noughties song ‘Baby One More Time’ by Britney Spears, and Amanda Bynes, who plays Piper Pinwheeler, is surely the most outdated actress in existence. This may be why the film is hardly ever mentioned any more.
Over the Hedge (2006)
Based on a comic strip of the same name, Over the Hedge was another CGI comedy that raked it in at the box office. As well as grossing a whopping $336 million, it also gained largely positive reviews from critics. Like Robots, this movie also features a stellar voice cast including the likes of Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling and Steve Carell. It also exhibits a fun sense of humour with an endless amount of puns and wordplay, as well as a non-sanctimonious satire of suburban America.
The quality of the animation in Over the Hedge matches anything that Pixar had released prior, with the textures of the animal fur and forest landscapes still holding up today. However, the fact that the movie is only 83 minutes long and that a sequel never made it past development may be why it didn’t last long in audience’s memories.
Flushed Away (2006)
After becoming well known through their stop-motion movies made out of plasticine, Aardman ventured into the CGI market when they released Flushed Away, a hilarious story about a pet rat who finds himself in the sewers of London.
Despite the change in animation style, Aardman’s delightful sense of humour wasn’t lost in this adventure. The comedy is unashamedly silly, with stereotypical French frogs, singing slugs and main character Roddy being hit in the ‘nether regions’ five times in a single scene.
Sadly, Aardman’s decision to design the characters as if they were plasticine models has been mistaken by some as bad animation, making the film seem more dated than it actually is. Now that there is more focus on how realistic CGI animation can be, Flushed Away has become irrelevant.