By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com February 24, 2012 at 11:19AM
They may still not have the prestige of arch-rivals Pixar, but things have been looking up over at DreamWorks Animation of late. Once the home of poor CGI fare like "Shark Tale" and "Bee Movie," recent years have seen a new emphasis on quality rather (or at least in addition to) big names. 2010's "How To Train Your Dragon" was their best film to date, and last year even sequels "Puss In Boots" and "Kung Fu Panda 2" displayed more artistry than "Cars 2" did, picking up Oscar nominations for their trouble.
The company's next film, the Noah Baumbach-penned "Madagascar 3," lands in the summer, but the studio have just finalized the cast for one of their three movies for 2013, the superpowered snail tale "Turbo." The film has had Ryan Reynolds (who'll also lend his voice to their March 2013 release "The Croods") attached for a while, playing an ordinary garden snail with dreams of going fast, who ends up competing in the Indianapolis 500, but according to Heat Vision, a fairly comprehensive selection of talent has come on board to join him.
According to the trade, Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Luis Guzmán, Bill Hader (who's also in the company's "Me And My Shadow" next year), Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz (Jean-Ralphio!), Kurtwood Smith, Snoop Dogg and Samuel L. Jackson have all signed on to make up the rest of the voice cast. There's no news on who the actors will be playing, but we'd wager that Giamatti is playing a villain of some kind.
The film set to be directed by David Soren ("Merry Madagascar"), who also co-wrote the script with Darren Lemke ("Shrek The Halls") and, most intriguingly, former Onion scribe Robert Siegel ("The Wrestler," "Big Fan"). We weren't really fans of the recent sales poster, but given our general feeling of optimism about the company at present, and the strong cast assembled, there's enough to keep us checking in on this one between now and when it hits theaters, on July 19, 2013.