lilo and ChrisThere’s a lot of railing that goes against Dreamworks Animation. In most cases, with its reliance on the pop culture Shrek formula and star power instead of character and story, deservedly so. The topic has been discussed to death on the boards and for those who champion Dreamworks and those who spit in their general direction, it’s been agree to disagree. That was, until John Lassetter started making decisions at Disney. Now Dreamworks Animation defenders will have a little more ammunition in their pockets to fire off at all the haters.

Thanks to a recent brawl at Disney where Chris Sanders was forcibly taken off his project American Dog by The John, the admired Lilo & Stitch director has jumped ship and landed squarely on the deck at Dreamworks Animation. In the days since the Aardman/Dreamworks breakup, it’s once again time to talk un-Shrek related legitimacy.

Sanders is being utilized to restart Crood Awakenings, an evolutionary cave man concept (written by John Cleese) that was being headed by Aardman when Dreamworks and the Wallace and Grommit studio came to blows over disappointing returns and split (which we covered here).

This is all good news for fans of studio animation. As "The Mouse House" makes tough decisions about the direction of its animation and spreads itself out by reshuffling projects and revisiting 2D, Dreamworks, which has always had the intention of going head to head with Disney (and has unquestionably done so with Shrek) is pooling up the Disney’s veteran talent one artist at a time, having nabbed Lion King director Rob Minkoff a few months ago.

As for Crood Awakenings, the road to the screen is a long one. Thanks to a heavy animation calendar lineup, Crood isn’t slated to hit theaters until at least 2010 or 2011, by which time we’ll all be hunkered down in walled cities fighting off zombie hordes or trying to nuke incoming meteors out of trajectory thanks to the Aztec calendar prophecies of end times in 2012.