Rise of the Guardians (2012)
Starring the voices of Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Isla Fisher and Hugh Jackman
Written by David Lindsay-Abaire based on the books written by William Joyce
Directed by Peter Ramsey
New in theaters in time for US Thanksgiving weekend, and ready to fight for box office domination against stiff competition, Dreamworks and Paramount Pictures bring us the new animated film Rise of the Guardians. Classic iconic characters such as Santa, the Easter Bunny, Sandman, Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost are all in this rousing tale of camaraderie and teamwork. But how does Rise of the Guardians fare against other options out there this weekend?
Rise of the Guardians starts by introducing us to Jack Frost, the fun-loving yet very lonely master of ice and snow, who runs around in secret as the humans of the world cannot see him. When an evil spirit known as Pitch lays down the gauntlet to take over the world the Guardians, the group of legendary characters mentioned above, are re-united to defend the earth and its children. But Pitch knows the Guardians’ weakness and is ready to take them on. It’s up to Jack to decide whether he will change his solitary lifestyle and become a true guardian.
Dreamworks has managed to produce what is destined to be another holiday classic, yet for Easter, not Christmas. You read that right, the film is set three days before Easter, not Christmas. The script is very funny and while it still hits familiar notes, the film makes these conventions work and introduces its own rules specific to this universe. We see not just Santa’s Workshop but the Tooth Fairy’s palace and the Easter Bunny’s burrow. Many films have shown Christmas in full prep mode, but Guardians shows us a fun, if not slightly Willy Wonka creepy, interpretation of the Easter Bunny’s prep. Having the writer of the original books William Joyce along on the production adds to the quality of the film and has obviously helped in the creativity department.
The voice cast here works for the most part, even though it is a touch gimmicky. Chris Pine as Jack Frost and Isla Fisher as Tooth Fairy are both charming and sweet. Jackman’s bunny and the non-verbal Sandman are highlights for sure. Alec Baldwin doing basically the Russian version of Mike Myers’ goofy Shrek accent works most of the time, but does to go over the deep end at times. The best work though belongs to Jude Law, whose work as Pitch Black, the villain, is impeccable.
The CG animation work is great, with many photo realistic touches and elements. The character models are updated takes on the classic imagery we have of these iconic characters. Santa becomes a large tattooed burly man with a thick Russian accent; The Easter Bunny is a 6 foot tall Kiwi with boomerangs for weapons and the Sandman is actually made out of sand. These ingenious little touches lets you know right away that we are dealing with new takes on these characters and set the right tone for the adventure to come.
Destined to become a crossover holiday classic, much like Henry Selick’s Nightmare before Christmas is both a Christmas and Halloween favorite, Rise of the Guardians will be the same for Christmas and Easter. Fun, smart and endearing, Rise of the Guardians will be fun for kids of all ages. Rise of the Guardians is a definite recommend.
Till Next Time,
Movie Junkie TO
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