Rise of the Guardians: Inside DreamWorks' Ode to Childhood Fantasy

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Movie Fanatic headed over to the Directors Guild of America headquarters in Hollywood today for a DreamWorks Animation presentation for their upcoming 2012 slate. More on our look at Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted later, but first we wanted to take you inside their Avengers-like grouping of the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, Sandman, Jack Frost and the Boogeyman for Rise of the Guardians. The film is based on the William Joyce books that bring those childhood fantasies to life. The program began with a short introduction by DreamWorks Animation Chief Bill Damaschke. He spoke of the author’s affinity for holidays. “He’s somebody who really loves and celebrates the holidays full-out, all the time, not just the biggies,” he said. “He’s someone who has an Arbor Day party!”

Rise of the Guardians Poster

DreamWorks previewed footage that begins with the introduction of Jack Frost and how exactly he came to be. It seems that the Man on the Moon is the creator of these fantastical figures who gives them their life purpose upon their worldly debut. After we witnessed Frost learn his powers of frigidness, the film’s director took the stage to add his two cents before we were whisked off to the North Pole to meet his Santa Claus. “You know him as Santa Claus, but of course he goes by many names. We call him North, and he doesn’t exactly have a bowl full of jelly for a belly,” Peter Ramsey said. “He’s got ‘Naughty” tattooed on one arm and ‘Nice” on the other!"

In the film Santa is played by Alec Baldwin, the Tooth Fairy is Isla Fisher, the Easter Bunny is impeccably voiced by Hugh Jackman and Jack Frost is Chris Pine.

Baldwin presents his Santa with a Russian accent, and boy does it work. “He’s a warrior, a wild man, a force of nature. We think of him as kind of a Hell's Angel with a heart of gold,” Ramsey added. Of his Tooth Fairy, Ramsey said, “She’s beautiful, shimmering, sort of a half-human, half-hummingbird creature who does exactly what we’ve always known the tooth fairy does -- leave something nice under your pillow in exchange for one of your teeth.”

Now there’s the Easter Bunny, known in Rise of the Guardians as Bunnymund. With his Australian accent, our spring holiday rabbit says “mate” a lot, quite effectively. Ramsey says he’s “Sundance to Santa’s Butch Cassidy.”

Although we didn’t see much of Pitch (The Boogeyman), he is voiced by Jude Law and his presence was surely felt. “He’s the original bad guy,” Ramsey said. “Pitch hides under your bed at night and brings you scary dreams. He’s the last guy you want to believe in."

That’s the thing that lies at the heart of the film. These fantasy creatures only exist as long as children believe in them. So, when the belief fades, so do they.

The key ingredient to this conglomerate of children fantasy icons, we learn, is Jack Frost. “He’s the wildcard, the rebel without a cause in our movie,” Ramsey said. Once he joins Santa, Easter Bunny, Sandman and the Tooth Fairy, their united front is set for a fight against evil incarnated by the Boogeyman. "Jack Frost controls all the signs of winter. He uses these powers mostly to have fun. But when he meets the other icons, his true mission begins.”

Rise of the Guardians is due November 21 and the trailer, Ramsey promised, will debut in April. Stay tuned for more on the film, as well as our take on the Madagascar 3 presentation.

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Rise of the Guardians Review

Jack Frost is quite a character in the animated gem Rise of the Guardians. As envisioned by screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire and...

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