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Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the Guardians

What She said:

She

In today’s somewhat over saturated world of CG animation, there is plenty of room for annoying, over-the-top, kiddie-centric duds.  Rise of the Guardians appeals to children—yes—but it also offers a little bit for the poor adults who are forced to drag their 7 year olds to a Saturday matinee.  Thank goodness, the film is moderately entertaining and visually appealing, with well-developed animation technique.

The movie is about the guardians, who essentially are the characters of folklore—Santa, Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, Easter Bunny, etc.—and watch over our children.  They keep the magic and hope of childhood intact.  Of course, not every folklore character is designated a guardian.  This is a special mark of distinction.  And we’re introduced to Jack Frost, who is sort of a mischievous teenager who likes to make kids happy by giving them snow days.  The sad part is that there isn’t an overwhelming belief in Jack Frost, and so the kiddies cannot actually see him.  This leaves Jack feeling really bad about himself and his role in our world.  But, cue some evil and things are turned around.  A very dark and scary boogeyman, aka Pitch, swoops in and tries to terrorize the children. His goal is to make them stop believing in the entities like the guardians, and to instead live miserable lives fueled by nightmares.  The moon, which apparently has some power of oversight, designates Jack Frost as the newest guardian, and he teams up with the others to try to save the world.

There are some familiar voices in this film including Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, Chris Pine, and Jude Law.  If you’re like me, you’ll be racking your brain to place a name with a voice, but I admit that I cheated and looked everyone up no more than 20 minutes into the movie.  Baldwin puts on quite an accent, which gives Santa, or as they call him, North, an interesting Russian flare.  You can tell that all of the actors are having fun with their characters.

The greatest strength of this movie is its visual appeal.  The animation is colorful and well-done.  I’d say it’s at times somewhat magical.  The plot sort of ebbs and flows.  I think the first third of the movie was solid, but then things seemed to taper off and got a bit dull.  There are moments of fun humor in the film, although I admit to wishing there were more jokes that would appeal to older children and adults.  It’s enough to get by, but there was potential for a lot more.  The lack of complexity in this storyline lends itself to the film resonating better with the younger crowd, and indeed, I’d say this movie will work best for children ages 6-12.  However, it’s not going to be too painful for teenagers and adults.  For someone like me, it’s pretty forgettable.  But when you’re approaching kids’ movies that can actually be a good thing.  A decent, but unmemorable movie.

Thumbs mostly up

Rise of the Guardians

What He said:

He

Imagine a Santa Claus who has tattoos up and down his arms and carries swords. What about an Easter Bunny who carries boomerangs, has a fiery personality, and seems willing to back it up at the drop of a hat? That is what you get in Rise of the Guardians. It takes classic folklore and fairytale characters and turns them on their heads.

The movie begins with Jack Frost (Chris Pine) and what appears to be the beginning of his existence. For lack of a better word, it appears he is being born, except that he begins life as a teenager. Jack emerges from darkness, doesn’t seem to know who he is, but quickly discovers he has the power to control the cold. He also discovers that people can’t see him.

Rise of the Guardians

Fast-forward to 300 years later. It is modern times and Nicholas St. North (Alec Baldwin) is going about his normal business. He’s in his North Pole home, eating cookies, overseeing the production of toys, and preparing for the next Christmas season. That is, until he gets a visit from someone he believes to be an old adversary. It is then that he decides to gather the rest of the Guardians.

E. Aster Bunnymund (Hugh Jackman) is the Easter Bunny. He’s not what you’d imagine as the Easter Bunny either. He’s a man’s bunny. Toothiana (Isla Fisher) is the Toothfairy. She is a very happy person who appears to enjoy her job very much. Sandy, the Sandman, is a quiet, but powerful guy. He doesn’t say much, but his powers make him one not to be messed with.

North informs them that the Boogeyman/Pitch Black has returned. Pitch (Jude Law) has been MIA since the Dark Ages. They thought they got rid of him forever, but he’s returned, and seems more powerful than ever.

They also find out that the Man on the Moon – who seems to be their boss/creator – has chosen a new Guardian. Jack Frost has been chosen as a new recruit. This does not make the Easter Bunny happy. He thinks Jack is reckless, selfish, and just generally not Guardian material. Jack actually agrees. He doesn’t want the job. But when Pitch and his evil forces attack, he decides to help them out…for now.

Rise of the Guardians

I remember when I first heard about this movie and I saw images of the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus as beings that looked exactly the opposite of the traditional versions of the characters, it stood out to me. Then the trailers came out and I thought it looked decent. I never got around to seeing it until recently. I thought it was a solid animated fantasy adventure. Better than the Best Picture winner, Brave (review here), that’s for sure. Just about every other nominee and several other animated movies I have seen since were. I liked this movie. I thought it was funny, had some good adventure, and appealed to the kid in you. The voice acting was solid as well.  I really enjoyed them all. They each really embodies the character’s personality. Alec Baldwin as Santa Claus was pretty damn funny. Even the sidekicks were funny. Sometimes those types can be roe annoying than funny, but Yeti were hilarious. Santa’s elves were also funny. Even the Tooth Fairy’s little helpers were adorable. The one is named Baby Tooth for God’s sake, it doesn’t get much cuter than that.  I thought this movie was a lot of fun.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on May 26, 2013.

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