Life on the internet has taught us that the most important part of being a fan of anything is picking a side. You can't just like video games anymore; you have to stake out your community and protect it to the death. Console or PC? PlayStation or Xbox?
It's not enough to enjoy your hobby. You also have to ensure that everyone else knows that the specific parts of that hobby that you enjoy are the best ones. We don't make the rules; we just document them.
This is also true of comics (Marvel/DC), soft drinks (Coke/Pepsi), and, yes, animated movies. If a fandom exists, so does a false dichotomy, and the one we've settled on in this case is the "struggle" between Disney/Pixar and Dreamworks Animation.
Both groups have created good -- and bad -- projects. But adherents to both of these massive corporations make their allegiance known through unending battles in comment sections and forums. Their weapons are the time-honored bullets and bombshells of the online world: image macros and memes.
We've collected some of the shots the internet has fired in the ongoing conflict between their favorite studios.
Here are the 15 Savage Disney Vs Dreamworks Memes That Only True Fans Will Understand.
15 The sincerest form of laziness
One of the recurring themes in the battle of these two companies for the hearts and minds of cartoon fans is the odd similarities between a lot of their films
. This comes up all the time — and will continue to do so — and this meme comes up with a funny way to describe the … we’ll just call it a “coincidence.”
The films in question are Pixar’s 2003 movie Finding Nemo and Dreamworks’ Shark Tale, which premiered the following year.
The two have little in common other than being computer-generated, having main characters who are fish, and taking place in the ocean. One was a critical and commercial success, while the other was Shark Tale.
We think the homework-copying metaphor is really effective here because no teacher would believe that these were the same assignment.
14 Don't argue with math
This Venn diagram represents the single most convincing argument Dreamworks fans can use against their Disney and Pixar-loving counterparts.
Despite its consistent successes with Wall-E, The Incredibles, and the Toy Story series, the Cars franchise still exists. And no single element better represents the drop of quality in those films than their inclusion of comedian Larry the Cable Guy.
Larry plays Mater the tow truck. And Mater isn’t everything that’s wrong with Cars and its sequels, but he is the first thing we’d point to.
No matter how many box-office records Pixar breaks, Dreamworks lovers can always just point to this series and its annoying comic-relief character and say, “Yeah, but.”
This diagram is obviously outdated. It’s also slightly misleading, since Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. didn’t win this Oscar the first year the Academy gave the award. It lost to Shrek, even without Larry the Cable Guy.
13 If you don't know, don't Google it
The top half of this meme seems to only refer to the Kung Fu Panda franchise. Between Antz, three Shrek movies, Flushed Away, Bee Movie, Puss in Boots, and Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Dreamworks has dropped at least a dozen movies about animals acting like people.
We suppose the comparison here, however, comes from the fact that the beasties in both properties wear pants.
However, that’s not really the point here. The weird reaction to Zootopia’s animal society complete with jobs, cars, and, yes, pants, is slightly at odds with the more casual acceptance of the staple of animated films on display in Kung Fu Panda.
We’re not here to take sides or anything. We’re happy to just point out how silly this double standard is and then move on.
12 Targeted humor
We’ve already brought out a Venn diagram, so why not a flowchart, too?
It provides a quick and easy way to determine who made the animated film you’re watching. This assumes you don’t know anything about the thing on your screen and also didn’t catch the opening credits. That might be the worst possible circumstances to watch anything, but it’s possible, we guess.
However, we do have to pick on Kung Fu Panda here because as much as we love it, it does seem to think Po getting hit in the head and stomach is the funniest thing possible. It makes other jokes, too, but it does risk draining that tank.
Also, this one doesn’t even limit its criticism to Dreamworks because believe it or not, more than two studios make animated films. We know. It’s crazy.
11 The tower of memes
This meme started as an eye-popping reveal that the same trailer appears in two Pixar movies three years apart. But the internet loves to iterate, so it gained another layer.
Sure, it’s amazing that A Bug’s Life and Monsters, Inc. seem to take place in the same universe. However, the image also points out that what this really means is that Pixar animators really just brought out some old assets to save themselves the trouble of creating a new setting.
Making movies is expensive and intensive, though, so we don’t blame anyone for saving time or money.
The root picture also provides the early seeds for the fan-crafted Pixar Theory, which says that the studio's first 14 films coexist and tell an epic, century-spanning tale of magic creating talking animals, toys, and machines. I t’s all because Boo from Monsters, Inc. misses Sulley... No, you're crying.
10 Copying. Again.
The incidental similarities between Finding Nemo and Shark Tale aren’t the only time Dreamworks’ output has carried a startling similarity to Pixar’s. This meme showcases a few additional examples and ends with a twist.
It starts with A Bug’s Life and Antz, which came out in the same year. It also throws Pixar’s superhero movie The Incredibles against Megamind, a Dreamworks movie about a supervillain that came out six years later.
That time span is so long that we don’t quite see the connection, but we’ve learned not to let logic get in the way of an amusing superfan theory.
However, things take a turn in the final panel, which puts Dreamworks’ 2010 Viking movie How to Train Your Dragon against Pixar’s 2012 Celtic story Brave. This is the flimsiest argument of them all since those are totally different mythologies and aesthetics, but the Dreamworks fans needed a win.
9 Not quite painting with all the colors of the wind
Other than those accusations of plagiarism, one of the recurrent topics in the battle of the animators is the topic of diversity.
The argument here is that Dreamworks’ heroines represent a wide spectrum of ages and ethnicities, and Disney’s don’t.
We haven’t analyzed the data enough to decide who’s doing a better job of being inclusive, but we’d say that on the whole, wide-release projects are slowly getting better at reflecting society and everyone who lives in it. And that’s definitely a good thing.
This meme has detractors, however, who say it’s misleading because it includes secondary and tertiary characters.
Very few of the people in this picture are the stars of their films, the argument says. When you limit your sample to leads only, the difference between the two companies isn’t that great, if it even exists at all.
8 Confused Gandalf weighs in
The Confused Gandalf macro comes from the scene in The Fellowship of the Ring when the grey wizard realizes he has no idea which part of the Mines of Moria he’s wandered into.
Residents of the internet use it to make jokes about changing the camera angle in a game or parents rearranging the furniture while their kids are away. But here, it describes a deeper, more existential battle.
It’s never fun to find out that the company whose work you’ve been enjoying most of your life has done some questionable stuff. People have accused Disney of so many suspect things that we aren’t even sure which acts this meme is referring to.
Still, the conflict is real. For the person who made this macro, the choice between liking “evil” Disney or enjoying Dreamworks at all is a real pickle.
7 And yet they did both
We aren’t sure what the issue is here. Dreamworks produced both The Boss Baby and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie last year, so why not just skip the one they didn’t want to see? No shame exists in not watching The Boss Baby if you don’t want to.
However, it’s never enough for fans to simply not see something they aren’t interested in. The mere existence of things they don’t like is an affront to their existence, and the world must know that they are displeased.
Sometimes we wonder how much the internet would accomplish if it focused its meme energy on more important things than hating movies nobody ever expected them to see. However, we have to stop because that world is too wondrous to imagine.
6 The most important question
This comic by Joseph Dunn takes on one of the most pressing questions of all competing fandoms: “Who would win in a fight?”
We don’t have any arguments to refute Dunn’s claims because of course a panda could beat up some action figures, and we don’t doubt that an ogre could beat a clownfish.
However, who would win in a fight between lovable trashbot Wall-E and Shrek’s pal, Donkey? Would they even dislike each other? They’d probably get along really well, and it would be adorable.
The opposite of this comic is the bizarre, trans-universal romantic pairing that happens all over the internet.
Probably the most widely spread one involves Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. You can google it if you’re curious, but we would not recommend an image search.
5 The Dreamworks Face
The Dreamworks Face is a long-running joke about the uniform smirk the studio’s characters strike on their posters. And the more films the company releases, the more obvious it becomes.
This meme also lays out the differences in storytelling styles between Dreamworks and Pixar. According to this, the Disney subsidiary puts out brilliant, creative stories that its makers are super passionate about. Dreamworks puts out stuff about “talking animals … and they do things animals normally don’t do.”
It’s hard to argue with something so reductive and general. Also, reportedly, the Dreamworks Face is entirely a product of the marketing department, and the animators hate it.
However, apparently that isn’t enough to kill the trend because it’s still happening. It’s even more insidious than it seems.
4 Not so fast, Pixar
The urge to show off on the poster how cool and full of attitude your characters are isn’t just a Dreamworks thing.
It’s a wider advertising trend that makes us feel like the ‘90s never quite ended. We honestly have no idea why every animated character on a poster still looks like Sonic the Hedgehog, but here we are.
This mirror of the previous entry says that Pixar character are the ones that are all smirky and weird and positions Dreamworks as the truly creative animation house.
It sums up Pixar’s work this way: “Uh, it’s the life of stuff. Toys, bugs, fish, cars, robots, superheroes. However, then the main character screws it up and has to fix it.”
We still can’t argue with the extra-simplified version. And yes, they do all make the same face.
3 Pixar's secret formula
This even more cooked-down version of Pixar’s work supposes that every project that comes out of the studio follows a simple format that it’s repeated for years. It starts out reasonably until the 2012 entry describing Brave, and then it loses us.
However, it comes back hard with the description of Inside Out (“What if feelings had feelings”) and this is so ridiculous and true that we have to love it.
We doubt even Pixar itself would argue with this summation of its work over the past 20 years, since its whole approach has been telling surprising, relatable, and ultimately emotional stories in a variety of fun settings.
They came up with A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and Wall-E during a single lunch meeting. So we kind of understand how they might be kind of similar at heart.
2 Like echoes but for your eyes
The person who created this meme had a 10-year stretch of déjà vu in which they kept seeing similar looking characters appearing in Dreamworks movies after Disney or Pixar had already used them.
We’re calling out some nonsense on the multiple uses of St. Nick in The Santa Clause and Rise of the Guardians.
Sure, Disney now owns Marvel, Lucasfilm, and is pretty close to raking in a huge chunk of Fox, which means they’ll control the bulk of the entertainment we see from now on. However, they don’t own Santa. If anyone does, it’s the Coca-Cola Company.
But it’s still uncanny how many people and creatures overlap between the two studios. We stop short of saying Dreamworks is straight ripping Disney off, but we’re just saying it’s weird.
1 But sometimes it is intentional
We’ve given Dreamworks a lot of slack here because despite all the accusations of plagiarism Pixar fans level at them, they’re still a highly creative group of people who genuinely care about creating good work that audiences will love. However, in one case, the claims of copycatting are spot-on.
Sure, it was weird that two studios had ant movies come out so closely together. However, we had dueling volcano movies in 1997 and multiple “space rocks hitting Earth” movies the following year.
So when we got Dreamworks’ Antz and Pixar’s A Bug’s Life premiered a month apart in 1998, we thought it was just another one of those things.
However, it probably wasn’t. Dreamworks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg left to form his company after an ugly split with Disney. Even our skepticism has limits, so we think he probably stole that premise.
Do you know of any other savage Disney vs Dreamworks memes? Let us know in the comments!