Top 10 DreamWorks Movies With the BEST Soundtracks
VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Catherine Neal
These DreamWorks soundtracks will make you move it, move it! For this list, we'll be looking at some of the epic playlists that accompany the movie studio's animated features. Our countdown includes "Trolls," "Flushed Away," "Shark Tale," and more!
Top 10 DreamWorks Movies With the Best Soundtracks
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 DreamWorks Movies with the Best Soundtracks.
For this list, we’ll be looking at some of the epic playlists that accompany the movie studio’s animated features.
What’s your favorite DreamWorks soundtrack? Let us know in the comments!
#10: “Kung Fu Panda” franchise (2008-)
Since these are comedy movies about a panda learning martial arts, you might be forgiven for not expecting anything too sophisticated from the soundtrack. And yes, we do get a cover of “Kung Fu Fighting” performed by Jack Black and Cee-Lo Green (which is an absolute banger, by the way.) However, the rest of the music is actually pretty special. Hans Zimmer and John Powell joined forces again to create this sweeping, orchestral soundtrack. The melodies draw inspiration from classical Chinese music and make use of traditional instruments, such as the erhu and pipa, to great effect. It’s a truly beautiful score that’s well worth a listen.
#9: “Turbo” (2013)
An animated sports movie, about a snail who wants to be a racer, requires a soundtrack as wild as its premise. Or at least something you could blast out in a stadium. “Turbo” definitely delivers on that front. A heady mix of old-school classics and original songs, the track list is guaranteed to get the blood pumping. From Run-D.M.C. and Pitbull to Tom Jones and the Jackson 5, the tunes don’t let up from start to finish. Snoop Dogg even contributed an original song for the end credits. And you have to give kudos to the movie’s signature track, performed by V12 and Nomadik - that snail really is fast.
#8: “Shark Tale” (2004)
As DreamWorks films go, “Shark Tale” might not have been memorable enough to stand the test of time, but that soundtrack is just one great song after another - especially if you’re looking for some early aughts nostalgia. The movie featured contributions from Will Smith, Christina Aguilera, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, Sean Paul, and more. All the songs were newly recorded for the soundtrack and every one is floor-filler - no slow dances here. The cherry on the cake is Hans Zimmer’s original closing theme, “Some of My Best Friends Are Sharks,” which makes playful reference to the “Godfather” movies.
#7: “The Road to El Dorado” (2000)
For the music of “The Road to El Dorado,” musical supervisor Marylata Jacob wanted to go for a non-Western approach. She commissioned Elton John and Tim Rice to write seven songs with a World music feel. The result was a colorful, upbeat soundtrack that helps make the film a whole lot of fun. The opening number sets the scene and the tunes keep that feel-good vibe going all the way through. Elton John also sporadically narrates the movie through song. Our favorite numbers are “The Trail We Blaze” and “It’s Tough to Be A God” - the only question is, do you prefer the movie versions or the soundtrack versions?
#6: “How to Train Your Dragon” franchise (2010-)
Composer John Powell turned to the Vikings and the Celts for inspiration when scoring the “How to Train Your Dragon” series. The soaring orchestral music incorporates traditional Scottish and Irish instruments and the soundtrack also includes an original song by , an Icelandic singer. In the second and third movies, the most memorable themes are used to call back to scenes and moments from the original, thematically linking the films together. “Test Drive,” the piece that accompanies Hiccup’s first flight on Toothless, is one of the standout tracks that always strikes a chord with us. But perhaps the most memorable musical moment comes from the second film - who could forget the touching scene where Valka and Stoick sing together?
#5: “Madagascar” franchise (2005-)
We could spend ages debating which “Madagascar” movie has the best playlist - but who really cares when every song is a tune? King Julien and the lemurs became icons when they first raved to “I Like to Move It.” And for a certain age group, classic songs like “Wonderful World” and “New York, New York” will forever be associated with cartoon zoo animals. These animated comedy classics feature an array of pop hits, both contemporary and timeless. The feel-good songs are sure to make you want to get up and dance and some are bound to get stuck in your head for days.
#4: “Trolls” franchise (2016-)
The soundtrack for the first “Trolls” movie went Double Platinum in the US, while the lead single won a Grammy and also bagged an Oscar nomination. Not bad for Justin Timberlake, who wrote and produced most of the music for the film. The poppy, feel-good soundtrack features a few new songs alongside the hits, and all are performed by a talented cast made up of famous actors and artists. Anna Kendrick, Ariana Grande, Gwen Stefani, and Zooey Deschanel all take a turn - alongside Timberlake who also plays Branch, the male protagonist. Like most of the Trolls themselves, the film’s soundtrack is colorful, upbeat and loads of fun. The sequel followed suit, this time adding a dash of Country and Rock to the mix.
#3: “Flushed Away” (2006)
“Flushed Away” was DreamWorks’ third collaboration with Aardman Animation Studios, and it may have been the quirkiest of the lot - the music would suggest so anyway. “Chicken Run” had some great rousing themes, but “Flushed Away” is all about a bit of pop and rock. Some highlights include an impromptu Tom Jones performance by Roddy, some slugs singing Akon, and a blast of Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” to see in the happy ending. It’s not a musical, but there are bits and pieces of singing throughout “Flushed Away,” and the slug chorus pops up every now and then to give us a laugh. The rest of the soundtrack is catchy too and overall, it’s all a lot of fun.
#2: “The Prince of Egypt” (1998)
Most of DreamWorks’ animated movies are set to a soundtrack of well-known hits, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make an original musical when they want to. “The Prince of Egypt” has an epic score to rival Disney’s best, with some beautiful songs and intense musical sequences that really pulled out all the stops. The very first scene sets the bar very, very high. From the first few notes “Deliver Us” gives us chills, but those great songs just keep on coming. “When You Believe” even won an Oscar. The score was composed by Hans Zimmer, with songs by Stephen Schwartz and the movie has since been made into a stage musical.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
“Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” (2002)
Hans Zimmer & Bryan Adams Create Something Really Special
A Fun Orchestral Score with a Dose of Classic Rock
“Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas” (2003)
An Underrated Movie with an Underrated Score
“Boss Baby” franchise (2017-)
Like the Boss Baby Himself, This Soundtrack Is Larger Than Life
#1: “Shrek” franchise (2001-)
Somebody once told me that the “Shrek” soundtrack is one of the greatest of all time. Or at least, when it comes to DreamWorks movies. It’s hard to name a track we’d skip past in either the first or second installments. From recent rock songs to golden oldies, the movie’s music became synonymous with the big, green ogre. If you grew up watching those films, Smash Mouth’s “All Star” will probably conjure up Shrek in his swamp, whereas “Holding Out for a Hero” may bring associations with the Fairy Godmother. Each song is great in its own right, while also fitting seamlessly into the story. It’s a soundtrack guaranteed to make you leave the movie theater in a better mood than when you came in.