As families settle into their seats to watch the latest release from DreamWorks Animation Puss in Boots: The Last WishThey are greeted by a group of new yet familiar faces.
To help Trumpet in its latest era, the studio is unveiling a new curtain raiser, which will make its nationwide debut during special “Catterday” opening showings on November 26. Shrek franchise sequel – ahead of its December 21 theatrical release. The 32-second dreamlike sequence traces one of the studio’s most popular and longest-running franchises before settling into its classic moon shot.
“We bring dreams to life on screen, so the idea was basically that you go into the dreams of a new kid. They’re taking you through this dreamscape and reintroducing you to these iconic characters that we’ve created all these years,” says production designer Kendall Cronkite, who helped lead the project. . “The kid is surfing, floating and flying through galaxies like this, and brings all the different-looking movie characters together in one piece.”
That journey begins with one of the animation studio’s latest titles, The Bad Guysbefore leading the viewer through interactions with the characters How to train a dragon, Kung Fu Panda, Boss baby And Demons. The audience is shepherded across land, sea and space, ending Shrek – a title that producer Suzanne Bergey compares to DWA’s Mickey Mouse.
“Shrek Started the whole thing with really contemporary stories, realistic look, contemporary jokes. It was not timeless. It was not a classic. It was very then and now. And the use of celebrity voices wasn’t really done at that frequency before DreamWorks came on the scene,” DWA President Margie Cohn says of the movie-turned-franchise’s industry impact. “But what I love Shrek It was irrelevant and spoke to outsiders. This is a sign of success – you don’t have to play by the rules. To me, this is a great banner for the brand.
Throughout the process, viewers are guided by what Cronkite describes as a “magical” Dreamworks human silhouette sitting on the moon. Long known as “Moon Boy”, it was renamed “Moon Child” by the team. The Hollywood Reporter They removed “all kinds of gender specific things” from the original model so the silhouette would more broadly represent the studio’s fans and young dreamers.
“We like the idea that we now have a moon baby, because we want that baby to be liked by everyone,” Bergi says.
“At the studio, we like to say that all dreamers are welcome here, and when you think about who the iconic dreamer is, it’s Moonchild,” Cohn adds. “People look to the stars, people look to the sky for inspiration. They’ve set the stage for fun if they step out from the moon and surf the sky, meet new and familiar friends.
While the animated characters themselves undergo slight design changes, their art styles are tinkered with to create strong visual continuity. Includes such roles Kung Fu PandaNa Po, who has less fur detail, but Shrek All three were dusted off and updated in light of technological advances in animation.
“The idea was to take a simplification pass for all the characters, so they look like a graphic character in that graphic world,” says Cronkite. “They’re a little bit lower quality so they fit that space better.”
“We had Sean Sexton, our head of character animation, take a pass on everything on the whole piece so that it had consistency,” Bergi adds. “Then we had three animators who specialized in those characters.”
All the characters are then set against a background of 2D art, which serves as a metaphor for the material content that connects all life and shapes dreams. “As humans, we all dream, so it’s part body, part magic, part REM. It’s where our imaginations come from, so I wanted to have it all in the DNA,” says Cronkite. THR.
Curtain Raiser puts an imaginative new spin on the studio’s long-standing fairy tale musical theme, composed and modified by Harry Gregson-Williams, who initially wrote the song with John Powell. Shrek. In addition to playing with the tempo, the theme features more strings (as opposed to other studios’ reliance on horns and brass) to increase the energy and create a more “celebratory” feel at the end, according to Kohn.
“Music is emotional. It’s our emotional connection to DreamWorks, and so the question is how can we change it a little bit, adjust what’s going on visually, but keep that wonderful theme,” says Buirgy. “It’s a much more powerful startup than it has been in the past.”
“I love romantic, emotional, tugging-at-your-heartstrings melodies, and I wanted to keep that as opposed to a ‘we’re going to break down your door,'” adds Cohn.
Throughout its history, the studio has toyed with standard iterations of Curtain Raiser (focusing on lures vs. balloons) and custom adaptations. Bee movie, Madagascar 2, Shark Tail, Monsters vs. Aliens And Megamind. Now the plan to combine those methods will stick to the studio’s dream palette but leave room to change which titles and characters are featured in the “biomes.”
All – maybe minus Shrek, Cronkhite says — is changeable and could change as soon as 2023, according to Kohn. “If we open another movie with these characters, we don’t want to repeat the characters in the next movie, which is actually what happens, so we made it so they’re ‘plug and play,'” Bergi says. “You can literally take one out and put a new character from one of our favorite franchises in place of the other.”
In total, Curtain Raiser took about eight months to complete and was produced by a team of 10 to 12 people with the collaboration, suggestion and contribution of 40 separate hands. That group is comprised of DreamWorks veterans with literally decades of experience between them: Bergey, Cronkhite, and visual effects supervisor Matt Baer worked with Matt Trull to figure out the technical aspects of swapping biomes in and out.
That same year Cohn’s own greenlit slate would begin hitting theaters and perhaps full circle ahead of the studio’s new era of hits. Shrek The franchise started with a more realistic CGI feel and now with that Puss in Boots The sequel exemplifies an innovative storybook visual style. The launch comes amid the studio’s growing library of film-to-TV crossover series and theatrical release challenges for films in general.
“I feel like we’re really making a strong creative statement in terms of trying to own a franchise. But how do you break through the confusion with the originals? So I thought it was a good time for a brand statement and to remind people why they might have come to a DreamWorks movie,” Cone said of the timing of the new curtain raiser release. Says. “Not having a house style, not choosing one character, but choosing from the variety of characters we have in films with different tones makes alternatives feel welcome here.”