|Jack Frost just wants to have fun|
Kids will connect to the lonely Jack and love the other Guardians, especially boisterous Santa, his goofy elves, and the guys who apparently do the real work at the North Pole, the Yeti. Parents and guardians will like the slightly darker tone of the story and its imagery. Santa has "Naughty" tattooed on one forearm and "Nice" on the other. The Easter Bunny lives in a warren with monolithic sculptural eggs. The Tooth Fairy is unnaturally knowledgeable about Jack's and everyone's flossing habits. The voice actors for the most part have a lot of fun with their characters and their enthusiasm carries through to the audience. Pine does a nice job as Jack. Baldwin sports a Russian accent for his boisterous Santa. Hugh Jackman gets most of the laughs with his down-under kangaroo — I mean bunny. Jude Law is appropriately menacing as Pitch. Isla Fisher is fine as the Tooth Fairy, but her voice isn't very remarkable or memorable — it's not likely that the audience would recognize her the way they might have if the character was voiced by someone with a more distinctive voice like Reese Witherspoon.
|The all-embracing Santa and his sidekicks, the Yeti|
Coincidentally I had picked up the first book this summer in the Guardians series at a library book sale, Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King. The kid and I had not gotten around to reading it yet. After seeing Rise of the Guardians I zipped through it in two afternoons, deciding to read it first before handing it over to my daughter. We'll probably end up reading it together. It shares some similarities with the film, as Pitch is still the main villain, but it is more of an origin story for Santa Claus, or the bandit Nicholas St. North as he was once known. There are hints of everything from The Wizard of Oz to Harry Potter in the book, but kids should enjoy it and its heroine, Katherine, a young girl who joins Nicholas and the wizard Ombric on an adventure. Joyce has followed it up with E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth's Core! which also looks like a lot of fun.
|The Easter Bunny can be tough when he wants to be|
The idea of developing a feature, as just a feature, seems kind of limiting. You could develop it as a book, and develop it as an app, and get its — see how it’s working, and see if the designs are appealing. And get it out there, get a sense of people’s response to it, and not just stay cloaked behind a veil of secrecy. Back in the day, Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, a lot of those — and Chaplin — they would take their ideas, and take them on the stage first. They’d go and play, evolve those ideas, see how the audience responded to what they were working on, and get a sense of how the story, ideas, the gags and things would work, before they go into production on a film. We’re finding the equivalent of that, you know, now with apps and other technologies. It’s kind of exciting.DreamWorks's animated films just keep geting better and better looking, and Rise of the Guardians takes viewers through environments that are visual knock-outs. It's a fun movie, if a bit frenetically paced. There are likely to be a sequel or two. Hopefully the filmmakers will slow things down enough for the audience to take in all the pretty pictures.
A113 Animation, "Interview: William Joyce, Moonbot Studios Co-Founder and Co-Director of Morris Lessmore"