For over a decade now, DreamWorks Animation have been consistently behind Pixar in their output: films like of "Shark Tale," "Monsters Vs. Aliens" and the "Shrek" sequels substitute star voices, bombastic action sequences and already-past-their-sell-by-date pop culture gags for heart and soul, to increasingly diminishing returns. But, to their credit, the company seem keen to change things, bringing on big creative names to aid their newer projects: Guillermo Del Toro will serve as executive producer on many of the company's new films, and top-flight writers like Charlie Kaufman and Noah Baumbach are writing sequels to "Kung Fu Panda" and "Madagascar."
The benefits of the company's new talent-first approach have already been seen -- last year's "How To Train Your Dragon," aided by work by the likes of legendary DoP Roger Deakins and "Son of Rambow" team Garth Jennings & Nick Goldsmith, and not least "Lilo and Stitch" director Chris Sanders, saw the company put out a superior film to Pixar for the first time, and now another top-flight cast are being teamed with an A-list writer for another 3D animation from the company.
Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, Isla Fisher and Jude Law will lend their voices to "Rise of the Guardians," an adaptation of the children's book "The Guardians of Childhood" by William Joyce. The plot involves four childhood icons, Jack Frost (Pine), Bunnymund/The Easter Bunny (Jackman), North/Santa Clause (Alec Baldwin) and Tooth/The Tooth Fairy (Fisher), who team up to battle Pitch (Law), a boogeyman-type figure out to take over the world.
The project was originally announced at the end of 2009, with Leonardo DiCaprio set to voice Jack Frost, but he's off the film now. Christopher Lee, Dwayne Johnson, Natalie Portman, Hugh Laurie and Ian McShane were rumored to be involved at various points as well, but again, are nowhere to be found in the film's latest incarnation.
Peter Ramsey, director of the holiday special "Monsters Vs. Aliens: Pumpkins From Outer Space," is helming, alongside the source material's original author Joyce. Perhaps most excitingly, the script comes from "Rabbit Hole" writer David Lindsay-Abaire, who suffered one of the more egregious snubs at the Oscar nominations. This could still go either way, but we're hopeful for a creative resurgence from the studio, and the tea leaves are good on this one so far. The film will open, possibly with a title less reminiscent of Zack Snyder's owl-fu opus "Legend of the Guardians", on November 21, 2012. [Variety]