Someone needs to stop the madness. Head of DreamWorks Animation, Jeffrey Katzenberg, is serving up his plans for the future of his studio, and “sequel” seems to be his favorite word. The chief revealed that, like the Shrek series, other popular DreamWorks franchises will enjoy many additional feature length films; in total there will be three for How To Train Your Dragon films, four for Madagascar's, and six (as in a double trilogy) for the Kung Fu Panda movies.
Katzenberg insists that the series’ are all created carefully, allowing for a clear beginning, middle and end, and removing the cheap open endings that could allow for even further film offspring. I can at least be happy that DreamWorks isn’t allowing for any sequel wildness beyond what is already slated, but honestly I doubt that anyone will be clamoring for more after 6 installments of Jack Black’s panda-fied “complimentary awesomeness.” Don’t get me wrong, I loved the original Kung Fu Panda, but I definitely didn’t leave the theater thinking, “Damn I hope they turn this into a six part saga.” Sorry, but I just don’t have that many questions about a panda that serves ramen and happens to kick ass.
The real shame is How To Train Your Dragon, which is a beautiful stand alone film and probably my favorite DreamWorks animated feature since the original Shrek. It really doesn’t need a sequel, but unfortunately one’s already on the way, and most of the original cast is already on board. Katzenberg makes the point that there are 8 books in the series the film is derived from, but to be honest, the film doesn’t really follow them all that much so the argument is a bit flimsy.
As for Madagascar, I still don’t understand the TV shows and films that have spawned from the original. It was cute and mildly entertaining, but it was no Shrek and I can’t even stand the ogre’s sequels. Even so, I can complain until I run out of breath, but that’s not going to stop the studio from making the money that will surely pour in from this endless stream of regurgitated gags they’ve got lined up.