DreamWorks outshines rivals in star power

DreamWorks, the Hollywood studio set up by Steven Spielberg and the producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, has intensified its war on the rival Disney corporation by announcing plans for major investment in new productions.

At a Cannes launch that out-did even Troy for glamour, the studio unveiled Shrek 2 and announced that in future it would be deploying two computer animations a year.

It is a serious threat to Disney, where Katzenberg was formerly chairman, particularly now that Disney has parted company with the computer animation studio Pixar - which made the filmsToy Story and Finding Nemo.

DreamWorks is using this year's festival to promote its animation output aggressively. It launched the forthcoming Shark Tale with a photo opportunity that had Angelina Jolie, Will Smith and Jack Black riding an inflatable shark in the sea. The studio has another film in competition, the Japanese animation Innocence, which it is releasing in the US through its specialist label Go Fish.

The animal fantasy Madagascar and the new Wallace and Gromit film will be released in 2005, and two further Shrek films are planned.

If Shrek was a controversial Cannes selection in 2001 as the first animation in competition for nearly 30 years, Shrek 2 is even more so; as Katzenberg pointed out, this was the first time that the competition had invited an original film and its sequel.

DreamWorks yesterday displayed formidable star power. The Shrek 2 press conference was attended by its voice-over stars Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Eddie Murphy, Rupert Everett, Jennifer Saunders and Julie Andrews.

Warmly received in its press show, Shrek 2 offers a solid consolidation on the first film, which grossed more than $475m (£270m) worldwide. The sequel takes the ogre couple Shrek and Fiona to a land Far Far Away modelled on Los Angeles, and features spoofs on Spider-Man, The Lord of the Rings, the Oscars ceremony and the Disney animation canon.

The assembled cast gave an amiable if uncontroversial press conference. Diaz discreetly declined to answer a veiled question about her relationship with the pop star Justin Timberlake (the subject of a sly in-joke in the film in which Sir Justin appears in a poster within the movie), while Julie Andrews played the Brit card by saying how much she had enjoyed working with John Cleese, who also does a voice-over: "I worked for a day with him - we laughed a lot, talked a lot and drank a lot of cups of tea."

Katzenberg was notably discreet about any rivalry: "This is all about our own ambition and our love of animation, it isn't about what anyone else is doing. For sure, Pixar continues to be the gold standard for computer animation. We love to be able to follow in their footsteps - they started it."

However, Cannes did not entirely belong to Hollywood. The Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, a previous Palme d'Or winner, offered a piece of radical minimalism, Five. His gesture is not just aesthetic but political; in his other film here, 10 on Ten, he argues: "The presence of American cinema in the world could cause more problems than its military presence." Jonathan Nossiter's documentary Mondovino, about the globalisation of the wine industry, could also be read as an implicit attack on Hollywood.

Further dissent from the showbiz agenda came yesterday in the form of a demonstration by France's part-time cultural workers, the "intermittents du spectacle", protesting against changes to unemployment benefit. The French film-makers' body SRF announced that all French directors in Cannes had agreed to take part, while others, including Jean-Luc Godard and Ken Loach, had pledged support. The demo was highly visible in a year notable for intense security, with riot police already highly conspicuous in the streets around the festival centre, the Palais.

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas