One of the most underrated films of recent memory is Dreamworks 2012 offering, Rise of the Guardians. Therefore, it should come as no shock the artbook is also underrated and equally excellent. It is similar in some ways to the Art of Zootopia in that it focuses on the world-building.
The most special part of this art book is the clear affection for the film all involved have. It even has a forward by voice star Alec Baldwin- something you usually don’t see in art books. He talks about being presented with the role and opportunity to play Santa Claus. He says “from the beginning, the movie was pitched to me as a heart-warming yet clever tale about the importance of belief and the banishment of fear. The result has truly exceeded expectations. Not only is the movie funny, thrilling and gorgeously rendered, it also tells a poignant story with intense dramatic stakes”. I agree with Mr Baldwin on this one!
Then next the introduction is done by William Joyce, writer of the Guardians books, which says something about his feelings towards the film. “Dreamworks animation took everything that I wanted these characters to be and took it so much further than I was ever able to illustrate. The whole work is now grander than I could imagine”. Again, high praise coming from an author of a book who are normally prone to be critical of adaptations.
This art book does a great job mixing informative text, mostly about the creative process, with visuals and concept art. We start by going over the broad concept of a superhero team for children with some dark tones mixed in. Then they go over each superhero and their accompanying lands.
It’s just amazing to see the level of detail in that drawing of Santa’s home and the evolution of what came to be North himself. I don’t know how you can be an animation fan and not be in awe of this art work.
But I also really loved the sense of teamwork shown in the book. We even get a fold out poster which shows you all the various hands that make an animated film work and how they are all intertwined. This is fascinating stuff for an animation fan.