Animation Age Ghetto: The studio's relationship to this trope is... complicated, to say the least. Their sense of snarky humor and broad appeal have brought in legions of adult fans, but their films are almost always conceived and marketed for younger audiences. This reputation (as well as their failed attempt at prime time television) has labeled CGI as mostly kiddie fare.
The fans who wish they would do traditional animation again, even some who want them to be exclusively traditional, versus those who prefer their All-CGI Cartoon works.
The sale of the studio to NBCUniversal. While some in the media biz, including some of NBCUniversal's own competitors (particularly Viacom), praised the sale as a well-organized strategy to take on Disney, others, particularly animators, historians, animation fans and amateurs, fretted over a hypothetical Seasonal Rot of DreamWorks' future projects under their new owners. This is especially evident with the Hype Backlash Universal's Despicable Me received years prior. The news that Illumination Entertainment head Chris Meledandri, who produced Despicable Me, would replace Katzenberg as DWA CEO after the sale was completed only added to the division given his mixed record in animation production. On the financial side, some analysts criticized the $3.8 billion price tag as overpriced, believing that Comcast could never recoup the money it paid for the studio due to the studio's dwindling value even if NBCUniversal took DWA's intellectual property and milked it to the fullest potential. Then there are those who feel the deal was a sellout and that NBCUniversal should have paid more; one of DWA's shareholders on this side sued Katzenberg, alleging he made a side deal.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Puss in Boots was an extremely popular character with audiences in the Shrek series, so he got his own movie. And a TV seriesnote It's a Netflix exclusive in the US, but DWA is airing it on it's newly launched channel in Asia (where Netflix doesn't exist in most countries), so it counts. In a similar vein, the penguins from Madagascar got their own TV series and got their own movie too.
Friendly Fandoms: Some of The New Ten's DWA films such as How To Train Your Dragon have seen their fanbases on good terms with a few Disney fandoms (it helps that the directors of Dragon also did Lilo & Stitch.)
Growing the Beard: The general opinion of Dreamworks has gone from "Wannabe Disney/Pixar" to "A really good studio" after they stopped rehashing the Shrek formula and made better films such as Kung Fu Panda, Mega Mind, Kung Fu Panda 2, and How to Train Your Dragon. The studio has been largely shifting to less pop culture reference humor to more story centered work in their best films. That reputation grew still more in 2011 after Pixar eventually trip-up with Cars 2; at least everyone knows that DA as an independent studio needs to develop every Cash Cow Franchise it can to survive. To do that and still create great films while they are at it is a mark of its unpretentious artistic ambitions. However, with both The Penguins of Madagascar and Home both receiving mediocre critical reception, they may be shaving the beard.
It sometimes seems as thought they grow their beard out when they feel like it. They started with one with the very mature religious epic The Prince of Egypt, then shaved it off when Shrek came along and churned out several forgettable Shrek clones, eventually re-growing it in The New Tens with both more mature films like How to Train Your Dragon, and even more fleshed-out comedies like Kung Fu Panda. However, due to their bloated production schedule of both types of films, Turbo and Home being released in-between the former's sequels see them regularly jump back and fourth between respectable and schlock.
Harsher in Hindsight: In October 2015, Jeffrey Katzenberg was involved in a car accident that destroyed his Tesla car and hospitalized him with a broken arm. The Harsher in Hindsight trope comes into play when one realizes that this is nearly 10 years after Pixar/Disney animator Joe Ranft died in a car crash, which was 20 years after a valuable member of Disney's Nine Old Men, Wolfgang "Woolie" Reithermann, passed away in a car crash himself.
They've gotten plenty of flack for being a part of a fixed income scandal with other major animation studios including Pixar and Blue Sky but it has yet to sully their name or the other two studios' names, so it's averted so far.
The infamy that Katzenberg and the studio got for creating films like Antz and Shark Tale, which didn't endear them to Disney or a handful of other people, never really went away and dragged on DWA all the way up to the sale to Comcast/Universal.
Periphery Demographic: Their brand of snarky, in-your-face humor has earned them plenty of adult fans, to the point that they're accused of doing it on purpose.
Seinfeld Is Unfunny: When Dreamworks first went into producing their own animated films, they did so under the belief of being an alternative to Disney. Movies like Antz and The Prince of Egypt dealt with more "adult" topics that were then uncommon for Disney to cover. The unexpected success of Shrek note which was praised for its witty humor, good use of Celebrity Voice Actors, and ability to appeal to multiple age groups and the decline of traditional animation led Dreamworks to try and duplicate its success with their future films. Unfortunately, this led to every other animation studio not named Pixar copying their schtick, including Disney with Chicken Little. Suddenly, Dreamworks went from being the innovator of Western Animation films to being the representation of everything wrong with it. This Forbes Article actually goes quite in depth with it.
On PDI's end, the morphing technique that they pioneered in the late 1980s became overused by the early 1990s.
CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg had been trying to sell the studio off since Rise of the Guardians failed to turn a profit for the studio and ended its nearly decade-long financial winning streak. Around that time, Katzenberg sought to expand the studio's success by making risky acquisitions, most notably the purchase of Classic Media, the Trolls toys and the YouTube service AwesomenessTV. Meanwhile, their next films, such as Turbo, Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Penguins of Madagascar ended up being financial failures despite recouping their budgets, leading to major write-downs. Coupled with failed takeover attempts by Hasbro and Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, a massive reorganization at DreamWorks saw the closure of Pacific Data Images (who comprised of half the studio) and 500 jobs lost, ensuring that its glory days of being head-on competitors to Disney and Pixar had long passed. Nevertheless, Katzenberg continued his ventures in an attempt to have the company stay in the black, to mixed results, and oversaw two more films, Home and Kung Fu Panda 3, that somehow did turn a profit yet not enough to please shareholders. At that point he was about to say "screw it" and take the company private with the help of Chinese investment firm PAG Asia Capital, then Comcast's NBCUniversal unit came knocking on their door with $3.8 billion in their hands. Given the timing of the acquisition talks (a deal was reached after just thirteen days of negotiations), one has to wonder whether or not Katzenberg simply wanted to run the studio to the ground just so he could sell it to someone and silence the shareholders.
If analysts of the sale are to be believed, it seemed NBCUniversal's parent Comcast wasn't even interested at all in DreamWorks' film library. The main motive for buying the studio? To gain access to DreamWorks' intellectual property to add to NBCUniversal's content portfolio, meaning that all Comcast cared about was to milk their propertyin order to expand their revenue. In a way the priorities behind the deal are reminiscent of Comcast's failed $54 billion bid for Disney in 2004; after the buyout was rejected it was revealed that Comcast wasn't interested in Disney for its studio or theme parks or even its intellectual property - rather Comcast was only interested in Disney for ESPN, the company's biggest cash cow at the time.
Uncanny Valley: Some of their human designs suffer from this for having exaggerated features but realistic surface textures. Though arguably, it's not as bad as when they had all of their characters be an Ink-Suit Actor.
Visual Effects of Awesome: If not in story quality, Dreamworks definitely matches up to, if not outright surpasses at times, Pixar in this department.
Win Back the Crowd: The Kung Fu Panda sequence of Master Oogway's death up till Po's despairing confession to Master Shifu about his deep self-loathing that the old Red Panda feels helpless to counter. In that sequence, Dreamworks Animation showed that it had recovered from its post-Shrek 2 creative nadir that drove away its partner, Aardman Animations, and learned how to make stories with profound emotional depth with a skill rivaling Pixar. That in turn made the blistering wuxia action to follow all the more powerful when you have grown to care about these characters.
How to Train Your Dragon, natch. If you're talking about single sequences of extraordinary emotional power, you can't go past 'Forbidden Friendship', the epic battle against the Red Death, and Hiccup waking up after the battle and discovering he's lost his foot.