Director Peter Ramsey Talks RISE OF THE GUARDIANS, Roger Deakins, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, Working with David Fincher on FIGHT CLUB, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 148 days ago

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With Rise of the Guardians opening this week, I recently got to see the finished film at DreamWorks Animation and it’s really well done.  Not only is the animation great to look at, it’s got a strong story that’s character driven and it doesn’t rely on stupid jokes.  In addition, unlike most superhero films that spend half the time introducing characters by explaining their origin and showing off their powers, what’s fantastic about Rise of the Guardians is we join almost everyone in the middle of the story.  If you’re not familiar with the story, it  revolves around the rebellious Jack Frost (Chris Pine) teaming up with other mythical figures North aka Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), E. Aster Bunnyman aka Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth aka The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), and the Sandman to battle the evil Pitch (Jude Law).  Here’s my video blog review and all our previous coverage.

To help promote the film, last week I got on the phone with Rise of the Guardians director Peter Ramsey.  We talked about how they didn’t tell a typical origin story, the tone, how many times he re-storyboard the film and whether there were any dramatic changes along the way, the test screening process, collaborating with Roger Deakins, other DreamWorks Animation projects like How to Train Your Dragon 2Kung Fu Panda 3, Trolls (which he said is “kind of partially based on a Terry Pratchett novel”) and more.  In addition, Ramsey got his start as a storyboard artist working for David Fincher on Fight Club and Steven Spielberg on A.I., so we talked about those projects and a few others.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

Guillermo del Toro Talks RISE OF THE GUARDIANS, PUSS IN BOOTS 2, KUNG FU PANDA 3, TROLLHUNTERS, PACIFIC RIM, PAC RIM 2, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 149 days ago

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With Rise of the Guardians opening this week, I recently got to see the finished film at DreamWorks Animation and it’s really well done.  Not only is the animation great to look at, it’s got a strong story that’s character driven and it doesn’t rely on stupid jokes.  In addition, unlike most superhero films that spend half the time introducing characters by explaining their origin and showing off their powers, what’s fantastic about Rise of the Guardians is we join almost everyone in the middle of the story.  If you’re not familiar with the story, it  revolves around the rebellious Jack Frost (Chris Pine) teaming up with other mythical figures North aka Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), E. Aster Bunnyman aka Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth aka The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), and the Sandman to battle the evil Pitch (Jude Law).  Here’s my video blog review and all our previous coverage.

To help promote the film, last week I got on the phone with Rise of the Guardians producer Guillermo del Toro.  We talked about how they didn’t do a typical origin story, the tone, the Puss in Boots sequel, Kung Fu Panda 3, his DreamWorks Animation directorial debut Trollhunters, Pacific Rim, the 3D conversion, when we’ll see the trailer, the Pacific Rim sequel, and so much more.  Hit the jump for what del Toro had to say.

Guillermo del Toro Talks PUSS IN BOOTS 2, KUNG FU PANDA 3 & TROLLHUNTERS; Says PANDA 3 Has the “Most Formidable Villain in the Series”

by     Posted 1 year, 156 days ago

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It’s no secret that Guillermo del Toro is a busy guy.  At any given moment he’s developing a number of projects in various stages to write, produce, and/or direct, but fans can always rest assured that if del Toro lends his name to something, he puts his whole heart into it.  One of his more interesting recent collaborations has been with DreamWorks Animation.  He took on a small consulting role on the studio’s 2010 film Megamind, but since then he’s served as an executive producer on Puss in Boots, Kung Fu Panda 2, and the upcoming Rise of the Guardians.

Steve recently spoke with del Toro in anticipation of the release of Rise of the Guardians and the filmmaker gave updates on a number of future projects (read what he had to say about Pacific Rim and Pacific Rim 2 right here).  During the course of the conversation, del Toro gave updates on Puss in Boots 2, Kung Fu Panda 3, and an animated film called Trollhunters that he intends to direct for DreamWorks Animation.  Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

6 Character Posters for RISE OF THE GUARDIANS [Updated with New Clip]

by     Posted 1 year, 161 days ago

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DreamWorks Animation has released six character posters from the upcoming holiday film Rise of the Guardians.  Based on the popular children’s book, the story revolves around the rebellious Jack Frost (Chris Pine) teaming up with other mythical figures North aka Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), E. Aster Bunnyman aka Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth aka The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), and the Sandman (who appears to be a silent character) to battle the evil Pitch (Jude Law).  Early word on the film has been great, and I’m eager to see how much of executive producer Guillermo del Toro’s influence comes through in the finished film.

Hit the jump to check out posters for Frost, Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Sandman, and of course some elves, and click here to read Steve’s reaction to seeing the film.  Rise of the Guardians opens in 3D on November 21st. [Update: A new clip from the film has also gone online and is included after the jump.]

New RISE OF THE GUARDIANS Featurette (Making Dreamsand) Plus Images and Reaction to the Film

by     Posted 1 year, 167 days ago

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With DreamWorks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians opening November 21, we’ve been provided with a new featurette called “Making Dreamsand.”  In the video, you can see how the filmmakers were able to bring Sandman’s powers to life.  If you’re not familiar with the story, it  revolves around the rebellious Jack Frost (Chris Pine) teaming up with other mythical figures North aka Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), E. Aster Bunnyman aka Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth aka The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), and the Sandman to battle the evil Pitch (Jude Law).

I got to see the finished film the other day at DreamWorks in Glendale and it’s really well done.  Not only is the animation great to look at, it’s got a strong story that’s character driven and it doesn’t rely on stupid jokes.  In addition, unlike most films that spend half the time introducing characters by explaining their origin and showing off their powers, what’s fantastic about Rise of the Guardians is we join almost everyone in the middle of the story.  I wish more “origin” stories would do this.  Hit the jump for more.

New Featurette for RISE OF THE GUARDIANS Focuses on Chris Pine’s Jack Frost

by     Posted 1 year, 170 days ago

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A new featurette for DreamWorks Animation’s holiday-centered film Rise of the Guardians has been released.  The story revolves around the rebellious Jack Frost (Chris Pine) teaming up with other mythical figures North aka Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), E. Aster Bunnyman aka Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth aka The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), and the Sandman (who appears to be a silent character) to battle the evil Pitch (Jude Law).  This featurette focuses on the character of Jack Frost, who acts as an audience surrogate in the film as he’s being inaugurated into the world of the Guardians.  Though I’ve heard some disappointing things about William Joyce’s source novel, the visuals still look gorgeous and I’m eager to see how the magical story unfolds on the big screen.

Hit the jump to watch the featurette.  Rise of the Guardians opens in 3D on November 21st.

First Trailer for DreamWorks Animation’s THE CROODS

by     Posted 1 year, 196 days ago

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The first trailer for DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods has been released.  Written and directed by Kirk De Micco (Space Chimps) and Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon), the film takes us back to “a previously undiscovered era in the history of our planet” and centers on the culture clash between a family of cavemen and a more evolved young man named Guy (Ryan Reynolds).  We don’t see much of the plot in this trailer, but the visuals look absolutely gorgeous.  We learn that the family The Croods live by the rule of “never try anything new,” so naturally the film will focus on their journey of leaving the cave for the first time.  It’s interesting to see DreamWorks playing up the more dramatic and awe-inspiring aspects of this and Rise of the Guardians compared the comedy-heavy trailers for their previous films.  I’m sure The Croods will still have plenty of jokes, but I’m encouraged by what we see in this teaser.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  The film also features the voices of Emma Stone, Nicolas Cage, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman and Clark DukeThe Croods opens in 3D on March 22nd, 2013.

First Poster for DreamWorks Animation’s THE CROODS

by     Posted 1 year, 202 days ago

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The first poster for DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming caveman pic The Croods has been released.  Written and directed by Kirk De Micco (Space Chimps) and Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon), the film takes us back to “a previously undiscovered era in the history of our planet” and centers on the culture clash between a family of cavemen and a more evolved young man named Guy (Ryan Reynolds).  The poster teases the film’s colorful visuals and some interesting-looking species, so at the very least The Croods should be great to look at.  DreamWorks is pretty hit or miss, but I’m really looking forward to this November’s Rise of the Guardians so hopefully The Croods will be an entertaining follow-up.

Hit the jump to check out the poster.  A trailer should be going online any day now.  The film also features the voices of Emma Stone, Nicolas Cage, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman and Clark DukeThe Croods opens on March 22nd, 2013.

DreamWorks Animation Announces Slew of Release Dates Including Seth Rogen-led B.O.O. in 2015 and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 3 in 2016

by     Posted 1 year, 220 days ago

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DreamWorks Animation is known for being prolific, but the studio has just announced a massive 12-picture slate that runs through 2016.  Here’s a brief look:

Hit the jump for more details on this ambitious line-up of animated films.

Gus Van Sant’s PROMISED LAND Gets into Awards Race; Release Dates Announced for DreamWorks Animation Pictures

by     Posted 1 year, 237 days ago

We haven’t heard much about Gus Van Sant‘s Promised Land since it went into production this past April.  Matt Damon was originally set to make his directorial debut on the flick, before his busy schedule prompted the actor to hand the reigns over to his Good Will Hunting director.  Damon co-wrote the screenplay with John Krasinski, and the plot is described as “Capra-esque.”  The story focuses on a duo of corporate salesmen (Damon and Frances McDormand) who try to prey on an economic town in decline only to have their mission complicated by the citizens they encounter.  According to Deadline, Focus Features will release the film in an exclusive engagement in New York and Los Angeles on December 28th in order to qualify for awards consideration.  The movie, which also stars Krasinski, Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook, Scoot McNairy, and Titus Welliver, will then expand in January.

Hit the jump for release dates for upcoming DreamWorks Animation films.

DreamWorks Animation Sets 5-Year Distribution Deal with 20th Century Fox

by     Posted 1 year, 240 days ago

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Some shakeups in the animation industry are taking place.  We recently learned that Paramount Pictures was ramping up its own animation division with a SpongeBob SquarePants sequel, an animated J.J. Abrams film, and adaptations of Nickelodeon shows like Dora the Explorer and The Legend of Korra.  Since 2006, Paramount has handled the distribution of DreamWorks Animation’s output, but their deal is nearing a close at the end of this year.

DWA made it known that they would be seeking a deal with a different studio after Paramount requested a higher fee for bot theatrical and home video releases, and now it looks like the Shrek studio has found a new home in 20th Century Fox.  Hit the jump for more.

Paramount Ramps Up Animation Division with J.J. Abrams Project, SPONGEBOB Sequel, THE NEW KID, Nickelodeon Shows and More

by     Posted 1 year, 244 days ago

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The feature animation world is about to get a bit bigger as Paramount Pictures is looking to expand its original animation output.  The studio surprised last year with the excellent Rango, a film which many (myself included) stood head an shoulders above what Pixar and DreamWorks Animation had to offer in 2011.  The studio has since put into development a number of properties, but thus far the only one we’ve known much about was The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 2.

A new report just hit that clues us in on much more of what Paramount has in store, including an animated project from J.J. Abrams and feature film adaptations of a number of Nickelodeon shows like The Legend of Korra and Dora the Explorer.  Hit the jump for more.

DreamWorks Animation Acquires Classic Media; Owns Rights for Voltron, Casper, Rocky & Bullwinkle and More

by     Posted 1 year, 268 days ago

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DreamWorks Animation has made a major acquisition by acquiring Classic Media and its stable of properties.  Classic Media owns such titles as Casper the Friendly Ghost, Where’s Waldo?, Lassie, The Lone Ranger, George of the Jungle, Voltron, and Rocky & Bullwinkle.  While The Lone Ranger is already in development at Disney, and this acquisition clearly doesn’t supersede previous deals regarding other properties set up other studios, it still gives DreamWorks Animation a large number of titles to draw from.  DreamWorks Animation could now expand to making movies based on Rocky & Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle, Casper, etc.  The studio is already working on an adaptation of Mr. Peabody & Sherman, which is due out next Christmas.

Hit the jump for the press release.

Comic-Con: DreamWorks Animation Panel Debuts Footage from THE CROODS, Reveals Inspiration for RISE OF THE GUARDIANS, Confirms KUNG FU PANDA 3

by     Posted 1 year, 279 days ago

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The DreamWorks Animation panel at Comic-Con 2012 featured chief creative officer Bill Damashke, James Baxter (supervising animator on The Croods), Tom McGrath (director of the Madagascar series), and Patrick Hanenberger (production designer on Rise of the Guardians).  The panel started with a clip reel  of highlights from the DreamWorks filmography, from Shrek to Kung Fu Panda to How to Train Your Dragon.  Given the panel members, the reel and the discussion shifted mainly to Madagascar 3 (currently in theaters), Rise of the Guardians (in theaters November 21), and The Croods (coming March 2013).  The Rise of the Guardians section was nothing you haven’t already seen in this trailer, but the Croods footage was brand new, and it looks very interesting.  Hit the jump for more.

New Character Posters for DreamWorks Animation’s RISE OF THE GUARDIANS

by     Posted 1 year, 308 days ago

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A few new character posters for the upcoming DreamWorks Animation film Rise of the Guardians.  The adventure story centers on a group of heroes who must join forces to protect “the hopes, beliefs and imagination of the children all over the world.” The twist is that the heroes are Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, the Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost.  I was a big fan of the film’s first trailer, and I’m eager to see what the full story involves.  Though knee-jerk reaction to the premise would be to expect an action-comedy featuring all these “zany” characters ribbing each other in between fights, author, co-writer and co-director William Joyce looks to have brought a great deal of heart, wonder and whimsy to the pic.

Hit the jump to check out the character posters.  The film features the voices of Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher and Jude LawRise of the Guardians opens on November 21st.

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