I hope I haven’t made it a secret that I prefer Pixar films, because this match-up takes me back to an instance where Dreamworks went out of its way to piss fanboys off. Shrek 2 had done very well over the summer of 2004. Not only did it break the box office record set by Finding Nemo the previous year (for a domestically released animated film,) Dreamworks decided to move the home video release event date from Tuesday to an unprecedented Friday. Why? To steal as much thunder from The Incredibles opening weekend as possible.
The fact that Shrek 2 didn’t do it for me is personal thing, as is the fact that Incredibles is my favorite of the Pixar films. But Dreamworks forcing families to choose one or the other, as if making half a billion dollars entitled it to eliminate animation coexistence, was such a deliberately underhanded maneuver that I’ve only just recently stopped caring about…. Oh God, the games! Right, this is about the games... Both are insipid platformers hastily cobbled together to dupe children out of money and remain an insult to the medium. Happy?
You can tell a lot about a studio based on their “worst” film. So while Cars is Pixar’s least critically beloved movie, it was incredibly profitable, remains a merchandising powerhouse and has a sequel in the works for 2011. Now compare that to Over the Hedge, a movie most people forget exists even though it’s based on a fifteen-year-old comic strip that is still being produced. Thus, in 2006, Pixar reclaimed the (bad, movie licensed) gaming crown, and Cars would even go on to become the #2 best-selling game of 2006 in the US… seriously!
A colossal battle between little critters in a big world?! Nah, just the standard deception built to last as long as the movie’s media blitz. FACT: GamesRadar has the lowest score for Bee Movie Game in the history of Metacritic. So, in an arcane bit of hindsight that’ll never be revisited following the end of this sentence, that pretty much makes us heroes!
Kung Fu Panda is the odd Dreamworks duckling, in that it’s actually a really good movie. Great, even! Of course, Wall-E was a way better movie… although, that didn’t save the game based off of it from playing like interactive ass. Sadder still, the PS2 version scored about 15 points higher than its console counterparts, making Wall-E one of the lowest rated Pixar games ever, despite being based on Pixar’s highest meta-scoring movie. Kung Fu Panda, on the other hand, performed so well it got a game sequel, and Microsoft even saw fit to showcase it as a pack-in with family-friendly Xbox 360 console bundles. Sorry Pixar, looks like being the first game to license a Hello Dolly song can only get you so far…