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It’s A DreamWorks Christmas Watch List!

The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper (Short 2005) - IMDbI have to admit, every Holiday season, I’ll either have an Ancient Aliens or DreamWorks Animation Holiday Marathon.

The standard rinse and repeat of particular Christmas classics can get stale, and I thought it’s time to take a look at what’s been added to this studio’s collection of holiday themed shows. This catalogue hasn’t been updated for years, and I’d welcome a new home video release of the past twenty years of animated programming they’ve developed. 

The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper (2005)

There’s actually two episodes featuring these penguins–Private, Rico, Skipper and Kowalski–attempting to spread holiday cheer. 

With Caper, Private goes on a search in New York to find a present for Ted, a polar bear. But he gets found by a human and the rest of the team has to rescue him. It’s a fairly fun episode, but my preference is with the season two episode “The All Nighter Before Christmas.”

As the zoo prepares for Kidsmas, things go awry when King Julien interferes and Skipper has trouble being Santa. Typical for the series, things get chaotic and it’s up to someone to fix things up.

Merry Madagascar (2009)
Available to watch on Netflix

This hilarious take about Santa losing his memory and lost in Madagascar is only accented with just how nasty King Julien is. Honestly, I watch it because we get to see the penguins learning to fly!

Donkey’s Caroling
Christmas-
tacular (2010)
Available to watch on Netflix

This short is more about seeing the entire cast singing a hit list of holiday songs as only a fractured fairy tale could. This work is more enjoyable for the little ones than for those who’ve outgrown those karaoke nights, but for a list about DreamWorks, it has to be mentioned.

Kung Fu Panda Holiday (2010)

Winter Feast at the Jade Palace is a highly formal occasion, but is it Solstice? Po would rather spend time with his father, and it’s a heartfelt episode because the celebration should be about enjoying the company of others rather than trying to ritualize everything.

Gift of the Night Fury (2011)
Available to watch on Netflix

The people of Berg have a Yuletide type holiday known as Snoggletog, and it’s a time of bonding for many. However, the dragons also have their own tradition to fly south for the winter (sort of), but when Toothless can’t follow, Hiccup offers a present to show just how close the two are. It’s a pleasant episode to show how the day is celebrated by other cultures.

How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming (2019)
Available to watch on Vudu

The dragons are missed, and while Hiccup and Astrid enjoy a married life and have children, Zephyr and Nuffink, the events of the films have much passed. While the elders of New Berk no longer fear the serpentine, the new generation has much to worry. The kids are swayed by the writings of their grandfather, and it’s up to the rest to show just how kind and gentle they are. But it’s tough without the dragons coming home to be with their former masters. It’s a better side story than the previous since we have a tale that gives this part of a franchise series a more fitting closure.

Shrek the Halls (2007)

Shrek never needed to celebrate the season and I can empathise. But when he’s now married and with kids, things better change, and it’s amusing to see how this ogre finds his holiday spirit. 

Captain Underpants:
Mega
Blissmas (2020)
Available to watch on Netflix  

The home video release of this title shows how much George and Harold love the holiday. It was originally released as “The Xtreme Xploits of the Xplosive Xmas” when on television.

When these two boys think Christmas can use some improvements, problems are going to arise. It always does with these two. Just how they make a time machine requires a suspension of disbelief, but as for what they’ve done, it isn’t for the better. While this special isn’t as good as the film, trying to keep this franchise fresh is a challenge. 

Trolls: Holiday (2017)
and
Holiday in Harmony (2021)

Once upon a time, there was a tradition known as Trollstice. After the events of the first film, Queen Bridget and King Gristle will have to come up with something new. The first tale has a lot of good narrative beats, and I feel it’s more of a afterthought to prelude the rock n’ roll sequel than anything else.

In the next tale, Poppy is stressed over the holidays and Branch thinks he can help. Dealing with various relationships is more at the core of this special than the season. The tale is a sweet one as it considers how everyone matters and not be shortlisted. The look at how these trolls remain cheerful is more at the core of why this franchise continues.

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