Last week, I had the opportunity to check out two sneak peeks of upcoming DreamWorks Animation movies: "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted"; and "Rise of the Guardians."
I even caught a glimpse of special guest stars Jada Pinkett Smith (Gloria in "Madagascar 3") and Chris Pine (Jack Frost in "Rise of the Guardians").
"Madagascar 3," which arrives in theaters June 8 in both 2D and 3D, looks like lots of fun. The "Zoosters" (as directors Eric Darnell, Conrad Vernon and Tom McGrath playfully called them) pop up in Europe, looking for a way back home to the Central Park Zoo in New York.
After dodging the feisty French animal control officer (devilishly voiced by Frances McDormand), they join a traveling circus that could use a little help to woo an American backer. Of course, that means lots of hijinks and kid-friendly craziness. (CC still watches the first two "Madagascar" movies faithfully. She can't wait for the third one.)
Sporting both "Naughty" and "Nice" tattoos on each huge forearm, North (aka, Santa Claus with a bit of an edge) leads a group of immortal guardians against an evil force named Pitch in "Rise of the Guardians."
Seeking to push "the boundaries of animation," as they did with the hit film "How to Train Your Dragon," DreamWorks Animation Chief Creative Officer Bill Damaschke said the studio wanted to do something different with its next film.
Based on the book series "The Guardians of Childhood" by William Joyce, this film centers on a group of guardians (Bunnymund, aka the Easter Bunny; Tooth, aka the Tooth Fairy; and Jack Frost) who want to protect the hopes and beliefs of children all over the world.
The thing is, if children stop believing, then the guardians will cease to exist.
As actor Chris Pine, who plays the searching Jack Frost, said at the preview, the characters want to protect "the beauty of childhood" and "fight against the cynicism of adulthood."
The voice cast also includes a lot of high-profile names, such as Alec Baldwin (North), Hugh Jackman (Bunnymund), Isla Fisher (Tooth) and Jude Law (Pitch).