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Feature Film

FIRST LOOK: “Rise of the Guardians” trailer

A kick-ass Santa Claus, Sandman, Tooth Fairy, and Easter Bunny take on the dark forces of evil – via William Joyce and Guillermo del Toro. This Dreamworks production opens November 21st and here’s our first look at the animation:

  • Rodrigo

    What?!?! No fart jokes?!?! WHERE ARE MY FART JOKES?!?

    Oh wait, that’s right. Thanks Pixar.

    • Jess

      this isn’t pixar

    • Matthew Koh

      Sorry, it seems they finally realized that fart jokes are the thing of the past.

      • Bob

        I’ve been hearing this comment for the last several Dreamworks movies, how many years can it be repeated?

    • DonaldC

      You can blame Disney’s horrific marketing division for that. Foreign commercials for Brave and the look much better and take a far deeper tone. Same happened with tangled.

  • Tom

    Looks really cool, and I’m usually not into holiday-themed films. With Brave and this coming out, it looks like a great year for animated epics!

    Count me in.

  • It actually looks really good. I’m there.

  • looks pretty cool, can’t wait to see this. dreamworks is doing a great job lately :)

  • Lib

    This is a really bizarre combination of concepts for me to digest without questioning. So now Santa, the Easter Bunny and company are The Avengers? It’s like trying to mix oil and water.

    I can only think of a good example of children book characters acting badass: Fables, the comic book series. And that’s because the tone, look and chosen characters for that story were the way they were. This, however, looks as forced as Ronald MacDonald and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    • wever

      You should check out William Joyce’s books that this is based on. The concept is all his idea!

      • Funkybat

        I think the concept *can* work, but I wish more of William Joyce’s visual style were evident. I really liked the look of “Robots” and wished that more of the original look of “Meet the Robinsons” has been retained in the Disney feature, which was enjoyable nevertheless.

      • wever

        He really did need to be the designer on this film. Awww well…

  • lola

    They’re trying REALLY hard to make these guys look cool. I dunno. I can’t believe they’re serious about this…

  • Doug

    Hey now! That looks very interesting. Del Toro and William Joyce? WOW. This is how to sell a movie, I don’t feel it gave too much away but got me intrigued enough to stay tuned. And no fart,burp,hit-in-the-crotch gags!!

  • Justin

    Santa with “Naughty Nice” tattoos on his forearms reminiscent of Night of the Hunter’s “Love Hate” Knuckle Tattoos, and a Russian accent to boot?

    Most Badass Santa Ever!

    This seems to be entering the territory of so bad it’s good!

    • Shouldn’t Santa have a Greek accent?

  • TheDoctorJones

    man…i haaaaaaaate the general look of this one. the character designs are grotesque to me. and the animation seems weirdly stiff…very unappealing all around. a little “Delgo”-ish maybe? i dunno…can’t quite put my finger on why this is so bad.

    • Bill

      Agree on the stiff animation, but the rest of it looks good. Bring it on!

      • Jess

        just wait.

    • a little birdie

      There are two blokes who are predominately responsible. Emphasis on “bloke”.

  • AwEsOmE!!!

  • Looks pretty interesting. Been a fan of the last few Dreamworks Animation pics I’ve seen.

  • sasha

    wow! I’m amazed at how seriously they are taking this (dreamworks usually doesn’t take their movies too seriously)I’m not a huge fan of the character designs but…. well could be fun.

  • Beth

    I’m not sure I can get behind this. I’ll try to not be so narrow-minded and just look at it as a fun take…. but I love the jolly Santa more than Russian Alec Baldwin.

  • Stephen

    I really like the texture on the Sandman. I’m also interested to see how they’re interpreting Santa this time around.

  • CTM

    This looks awesome.

  • Alissa

    Silly premise that manages to extremely awesome nonetheless? Hopefully this will be just crazy enough to work.

  • SO need to see this!!!!!

  • Adam

    Santa and the Easter Bunny are responsible for the safety of children everywhere? I guess my job as a parent is done then. Thanks guys!

    • Doug

      Its a fantasy. Lighten up.

  • Steve

    The tone of the film looks great. The effects look great.

    The character design and animation is just terrible. It looks mocapped and/or poorly animated.

  • I thought for a moment it had something to do with those armor-clad owls from a couple of years ago.

  • Deaniac

    …This is a full 180 from Chris Rock yelling “DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA CIRCUS AFRO”, that’s for sure.

    But really, it looks amazing.

    • wever

      Hey that circus dance wus FUNNY.

      But I agree with your take on this film!

  • It looks pretty cool, but I’m still a bit iffy on it. I have to see more to really get a feel for it.

  • SOUTH PARK did this already. More than once.

  • Mark R.

    Thanks for taking the things I believed in as a child and raping them.

    • optimist

      Talk to William Joyce.

    • Gobo

      Read the books and then get back to us about what constitutes “rape”.

  • I actually like the designs of the characters. not too extreme like we are used to seeing. Like many have said it before, don’t be quick to judge. This looks really good…getting excited… Something the Brave trailer didn’t do for me from it’s first trailer, that’s for sure. Get the book that this is adapted by as well. Beautiful book. You can get more of an idea what this is all about, if you guys are so put off by the mixture of characters in here. Good job so far DW.

  • simple math

    This is bound to get nominated for an OSCAR?!!!

    Why, you ask? Because there are 5 nominees for approximately 18 movies and most of them are shit.

  • A Russian Santa? Now, I have officially seen everything!

    • DonaldC

      Shouldn’t he be Turkish?

  • The publicity for this does not mention the Sandman, but he’s in the trailer. It DOES mention Jack Frost, who is NOT in the trailer. What’s up with that?

    Regardless, it looks hella-cool. I’m there.

    • It’s simples : They kill the Sandman !


      But yes, this was something that i noticed too … i liked the Jack Frost design =(

    • wever

      They obviously want to build up to Jack Frost’s appearance. I hope he appears in the next trailer.

      Out of the characters here, Sandman’s design is the closest to the one from Joyce’s book. The designs for them are all over the place in this movie.

  • Are we the only ones who think the characters look appealing? Sure, they may not look like plastic Barbie dolls, but heck, what do we know.

    I think the film will have a genuine story to tell, and I also get a feeling that something might be really special about this film. I think DreamWorks may have a good film on their hands.

    Hey, no fart jokes, or pop-culture jokes in the trailer. That’s at least a good sign, right? :)

  • Brad Constantine

    (starts writing: “Revenge of the Son of The Guardians”)…In 3d of course!

  • League of Extraordinary Mythic Creatures.

  • Sarah J

    Wow, it seems like Dreamworks finally took my advice and got someone else to do their advertising for them. Seriously, even when they make a more serious film like Shrek 4 or How To Train Your Dragon, the ads made it look all silly and comical.

    When I read the premise for the film a while back I was just like “meh”, but the promotional artwork blew me away with the character designs. Seriously, I thought they looked GREAT. This ad is making it look appealing too, I’ll probably give it a chance.

  • anonymous

    I Cant say i am a huge fan of the designs. I don’t mind the tooth fairy and sandman but the Easter bunny and Santa are pretty unappealing. The story seems fun and original enough and i do have to commend recent Dreamworks on being abit adventurous with the designs displayed throughout their movies.

  • Max

    This could be their darkest one yet. Besides, Dragon and Guillermo really deserve those credits.

  • animac

    Pleasantly surprised! I spent the entire time watching this trailer waiting for the record scratch then fart joke…..and it didn’t come!!

    Dreamworks have so many talented artists working for them, what is up with their bland, generic, and often ugly character/production design?!

    Say what you will about Tangled having a very cheesy, Disney-esque, Glen Keane look, but it was a bright, rich world with very appealing character designs.

    • Big Brown

      They were some amazing/cool character designs done when I saw this project back in 2008/2009, unfortunately that particular art team is long gone and a new team of designers were brought in and changed the look to suit the executives taste. Am I a fan of the designs? Not really, but usually designs are the victim of studio politics and not the fault of the artist’s….

  • :- .

    Not very appealing designs, everything seems crazy busy but what I’m thankful for the fact my son ain’t ever gonna ask me for a santa claus action figure, thank you Dreamworks!

  • Until now, I was expecting this concept to be handled in a Shrek type of manner. It begs belief that Dreamworks, of all entities, expects to play it straight and get away with it. Amazingly, they might.
    That said, the rather awkward Bunny design seems to belong to an earlier age of CGI—it’s as if he hopped over from HOODWINKED, if not TONY DE PELTRIE.

  • hellohue

    Looks interesting, but the A/B studio philosophy at Dreamworks leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, are they in the business of making a quick buck or good animation> It’s like being kissed on the cheek whilst being fucked in the arse. Madagascar 3 or this, Katzenberg? Choose one, you can’t have you cake and eat it.

    The design looks really cool and unique (not restricted by the idea of generic ‘appeal’ that is in most animated films’ designs, it’s more built around intrigue. I’m for that.

    As long as it doesn’t take itself too seriously (which seems the case from this trailer) then it could be good. That doesn’t mean bring on the fart jokes, but a degree of fun and wit is required. There are glimpses of it in the trailer, but that’s no means by which to judge the film by. I just hope there is a good balance of humour and wit and it doesn’t expect you to take it too seriously.

    • optimist

      What do you mean, “choose one”? “Bitter taste”? Why? because something doesn’t play to your cookie-cutter prejudices? Good grief.

      Different directors on different projects with different plots and crews will come out DIFFERENTLY. Quit thinking like a clueless fanboy.

      • hellohue

        Sorry, I didn’t mean to come off as an insolent ‘fanboy’, I really believe that they should choose a direction and stick with it now. It’s a matter of company image. My choice of colourful language was intended to really explain how I felt about it. Earlier in the year I saw some of the Guardians when a Dreamworks animator came to our university for a presentation. It looked incredible and like Dreamworks was taking another step in the direction of Dragon (which had its fair share of slapstick humour as well, but didn’t wear it on its sleeve or sell itself on the fact)

        A couple of weeks later in the cinema, I suddenly see a trailer for Madagascar 3, and I simply thought ‘oh come ON guys, I know you’re better than this!’

        Whatever people think of your product, they will think of your company. The schizophrenic nature of Dreamworks this year releasing a film (Madagascar 3) that advertises itself as in-your-face, relying on cheap jokes in the hope you’ll buy a ticket, and then also releasing a straighter, original film idea such as Guardians makes me think ‘who are Dreamworks?’

        It’s not a question of talent, talented and innovative directors and story artists and animators and technical crews work on both, it just bothers me how the artists at the company are used, and whether the studio cares more about making a quick buck for the hell of it or really putting their all into innovative projects.

        You can still have all the variety of ‘different projects/directors/stories/crews’, but have them create new, innovative quality ideas rather than pander to the executive’s anxiousness that a sure-fire moneymaker sequel isn’t being made for the umpteenth time.

      • Gobo

        @hellohue: Why can’t Dreamworks just be a company that makes a variety of animated movies for different audiences, from a variety of directors? Pixar’s movies have wildly different tones — from WALL-E to TOY STORY to INCREDIBLES — based on the director and the story’s needs.

        I am completely okay with Dreamworks making goofy fart-jokey movies like Madagascar 3 and richly-designed epics like this at the same time. I get to choose which I want to see, and so do you.

  • Rob Yulfo

    Needs more Fart jokes.

  • After JOHN CARTER, i am a little more hesitant with rushing out to see a movie because of a trailer. This looks ok, so maybe we’ll Redbox it.

    • Gobo

      I rushed out and saw JOHN CARTER -despite- the mediocre trailers, and thought it rocked, myself.

  • Gobo

    I kept expecting a Dreamworks-style “durr dee durrr” scene where a record scratch was followed by one of the reindeer farting or the Easter Bunny pooping an egg and looking sheepish. But no, it has the conviction to give us a tattooed Russian Santa and a badass Aussie Easter Bunny. And I’ll be there on opening day.

  • Scarabim

    What happened to Jack Frost? He was the only cool-looking one.

    • Dan Kyder

      I spent the whole trailer waiting to see him


  • KyleB

    This may sound weird, but I like a lot of the designs overall but I dont like how they look rendered in 3D. Theres something unappealing about the way the movie looks in a bad way thats stifling otherwise neat designs. I cant put my finger on what it is though. The Easter Bunny is extraordinarily terrible looking all around though.

    I find it curious the trailer makes no mention of Jack Frost or explains that the villain is The Bogeyman.

    • Sarah J

      To be fair, it’s only a teaser. They typically don’t give much information and instead focus more on visuals, the setting, and action scenes.

      • KyleB

        I think one line saying who the villain actually is would suffice for a trailer that focuses on the evil plot and has a few lines from him in it.
        Its the difference between “Oh this is actually kinda cool!”and “This generic shadow thing seems kinda lame”

        And I dunno, Chris Pine gets top billing as Jack Frost and a lot of the early stuff I’ve seen from this film focused on that character. He seems like kinda a big deal in the film. They couldn’t add him in somewhere during those two and a half minutes?

  • An Australian Easter Bunny? But we have the Easter Bilby down here…


    • My thoughts exactly. Considering rabbits are a national pest and cause incredible amounts of environmental destruction here in Australia… Maybe that’s the angle they were after- a feral rabbit with some ‘edginess’ and not a cute one?
      Still, an (endangered*) Easter Bilby would have been much better.

      *Endangered because of rabbits.

  • Phil

    That actually looks much better than I would have ever expected.
    Those sequences with the Sandman were gorgeous.
    And was that a Russian Santa? That I could get behind.

  • E. Nygma

    C’mon Fart jokes are funny! Usually only in real life though.

    I did like the Pelican farting in the water in Finding Nemo. Remember that one folks? You are acting like Pixar never uses fart jokes. They just do it a bit better.

  • Bud

    Looks like it’s all over the map. And it looks like very “concept arty” fx house did it all. On the cheap. Really awful. Should we expect more like this from Dreamworks, India?

  • James Madison

    Good concept. I wonder if I will enjoy it as much as Bill Plympton’s “Santa The Fascist Years?”

  • Toonio

    Nice subversive take on this seasonal and non-seasonal characters.

    Did I like the designs? no. Did I like the animation? well some shots where very good. So I’ll guess I wait to wake up from the Frankenweenie shock and Paranorman awe to see this one.

    And in soviet Russia Santa… oh forget it.

    • The Gee

      In Soviet Russia Santa Tattoo you.

  • Clint H.

    The character designs look pretty unappealing, but Dreamworks has surprised me in the past, so I’ll wait until this comes out.

  • No Thanks

    I used to think Kate Beckinsale’s European accent in Van Helsing was the most over the top thing I’d ever heard in a Hollywood movie. Then I heard Alec Baldwin’s Russian santa in the Rise of the Guardians trailer.

    Also when did Dicaprio get replaced by Chris Pine? RED FLAG!!!!!

    • wever

      Shrek was originally going to be voiced by Chris Farley, but he was replaced… and it wound up being their most successful movie yet! Ya never know.

  • Mike

    Looks like a really boring concept with wooden acting and character designs that I abhor as much in motion as I did on the poster. Count me out.

  • A Painter

    eck that animation and design is atrocious.

  • Graham

    Insert “Zack Snyder sequel” joke here.

  • Regarding the plot: If it is actually “the Guardian’s job to protect the children of the world,” the Guardians are doing a pretty lousy job. If the Guardians are to be held responsible for failing to protect the millions of suffering kids around the globe, the Guardians should be let go and replaced by the Red Cross, low-priced HMOs, Doctors Without Borders and some vigilant crossing guards.

    • tredlow

      Also, in Toy Story 3, if there are security cameras in the daycare, then how come the Toys can walk around freely, even when the rooms are empty? The cameras must have caught them, unless the toys delete the tapes each night, which is horrible because that means if something happens to the kids, the adults won’t be able to know about it. Man, animated films are a horrible place for children!

    • Trevor

      hey put histeria out on dvd already

    • Drums

      What are the Guardians meant to do about hunger and human negligence? They exist to bring happiness, hope, dreams, wonder and fun to the world, but they can’t just make food appear, or stop people from fighting.They do these things, being this small happiness to as many people in the world as possible, just to try and help alleviate the horrors and suffering children and others experience. It’s not their fault that millions are suffering, and they try to bring some hope to the rather bleak situations, but the Guardians are busy fighting Pitch, and doing their own jobs (preparing for their day or working) and if they were to do everything for mankind, we would all get lazy and more useless, don’t you think?

  • Tak

    I have to say, I love the little walking eggs. They’re great. I also love Johane *rufftoon* Matte. She deserves some thumbs up and back pattery

  • tredlow

    Ugh. Where’s the gratuitous dance scenes? Where’s the embarrassingly unfunny jokes? Where’s the hackneyed, tired premise of animals doing people things?! Aside from the “In 3D” part, this just doesn’t feel like the Dreamworks we knew and love.

  • Looks pretty cool to me. :)

  • Roberto

    The Sandman is really cool. Other than that I find the designs a little ugly, and yes, it’s probably cause they are rendered in 3D. I kind of imagine similar designs in 2D being more aesthetic.

    But I applaud that they’re doing a more serious movie, even if I prefer comedy. But I’d rather take something like this than Madagascar 3, cause really the only charismatic characters in those movies are the penguins.

    Anyway I also like that they have different types of movies, I mean this and Kung Fu Panda or Dragon. I wish they cut or improve the Puss In Boots/Madagascar section. Megamind and Monsters Vs. Aliens were sort of in the middle of both worlds.

  • Lucy

    Seems like there’s almost… Two Dreamworks, now. One that releases movies like this, How to Train Your Dragon, and Kung Fu Panda, and then the Shrek and Madagascar Dreamworks. Hey, if nothing else, we never know what we’re going to get, with every new trailer.

    In my personal opinion it looks great, and it looks fun, more than anything. I actually dig the character designs, and how unique each character looks. :)

  • dan

    I usually don’t take the time to write negative things on the internet but man this movie isn’t for me. I find the character designs wildly unappealing and turning Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny into kick ass/tough-looking guardians of childhood seems ridiculous.

    My take on it would have been to leave Santa and them all cutsie but then they have to kick ass. Would have been a funnier contrast.

  • Jason

    Looks really lame. It’s going to flop.

  • Jow

    A Kick-Ass Santa Claus With A Accent And The Tooth Fairy? Uh….It’s A Movie, That’s For Sure.

  • Glowworm

    This completely blew me away, I love the hummingbird design for the toothfairy. Also, that is one heck of a badass Santa. I love the Russian accent and “Naughty/Nice” tattoos on his arms.

  • Fenwick

    Ok; I like various styles of animation- 2D, 3D, stop motion. Its all good.
    A plot line, however, is paramount, and this brings nothing new to the table.

    Scary shadow bad guy. Run-of-the-mill characters. Roller coaster camera shots. Save the blahblah. Protect the kids.

    Yes, every new films does something that we haven’t seen before. Golden manta rays in this one are indeed cool, but once this is off the big-screen… will anyone care? ( lazy babysitters excluded)

    Taking existing characters/story lines and throwing a stack of money at them doesn’t win respect in my book. Same as clash of the titans. They are sound investments from lazy studios who are just looking to get their money back.
    In Aus, we have a saying “You can’t polish a turd”.. . and I have seen (or avoided) so many polished turds recently.

    If, however, this turns out to be amazing and has used the hollowed-out shells of much loved childhood characters for the good of cinematic history, I will return here again to eat my words.
    In the mean time.. . I’m not contributing my $15 merely for bright lights, expensive animation and loud music.
    I’ll buy a ticket to paranorman instead. Though it is crawling with smelly old zombies, it seems a little more fresh.

  • Face

    AND… you realize how WHITEWASHED the things which will influence you and your kids are.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    This looks quite great! Kudos to Dreamworks for not giving away the whole movie in the trailer.

  • Peter J Casey


    My goodness you people need to pull your noses out of your rumps.

    “I don’t like the design”
    “I think this combination will not work. Why are you making holiday characters apear bad ass?”
    “I’m an art snob, and I only and I hate everything non-pixar.”

    You’re all bunch of hippocrates.

    I believe that if Pixar release the exact same film everyone would be praising how good it is and they can’t wait to see it. You hate on it only because it’s Dreamworks.

    • Mike

      I don’t know what website you think you’re on, bud, but half the people that come here hate on Pixar like it’s their job. And are we not allowed to dislike something based on its own [lack of] merit? Hell, I’m a huge Pixar fan but I’ll be the first to tell you Cars 2 was a bad film, and I’m more excited for ParaNorman and Pirates this year than for Brave! So don’t go blind-firing your accusations around here–if Pixar made this vanilla tripe I’d say it looked just as bad.

  • Jon

    Im honestly afraid this is gonna flop and set them back a few more years.

    however I was totally blown away, I men this is like the most backward concept, like something out of Mc Donald’s toy line. But it looks actully fucking badass. I think dream works found how to make dumb work, they crossed that line a little to far and BAM….magic.

    can’t wait to see santa and his twin yetis dual wielding russian sabers…..

  • This weekend I saw ‘Rainbow Fireflies’, an unassuming and nostalgic Japanese animation film which tells a story about a little boy who has lost his father. The film contains some unnecessary time travelling, but the center of the movie is a sense of loss and how to overcome that…

    I wish that American studios, with their large budgets, would produce films like that instead of infantile and shallow superhero movies like this one..