Rise of the Guardians Movie Review
Kidzworld gets in the holiday spirit with the new animated film Rise of the Guardians
By: Lynn Barker
Jack Frost is upset. He gives humans snow days and ice to ski, skate and sled on and nobody can see him or believe in him. When a boogeyman named Pitch decides to replace the wonder, dreams and belief of children with fear and nightmares, the Guardians (Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and the Easter Bunny) must keep kids believing in them or fear will take their place. Will Jack join them or go over to the dark side?
Out of the Ice
Coming out of a frozen pond, young Jack Frost (voice of Chris Pine) wonders why he was created. What is his life’s mission? He lives alone and nobody can see or hear him as he brings the snow and frost to the world.
At the North Pole
Meanwhile, North (Santa, voiced by Alec Baldwin) is told that the lights are going out on his large globe of the Earth. It’s the return of Pitch (the boogeyman voiced by Jude Law) who has been out of the picture for a very long time. The lights represent children and their belief in the beings of legend.. like Santa. The call goes out for The Guardians to gather. The Sandman, the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) come running and are told that a new Guardian has been created, Jack Frost.
We go to a neighborhood where one child, Jamie (voice of Real Steel’s Dakota Goyo), especially believes in creatures of legend. He keeps trying to convince his friends to keep believing. Even though Jack Frost makes snowflakes, snowballs and a great ice run for their sleds, the kids still don’t see him or believe in him. He’s bummed.
Dreams Become Nightmares
Pitch takes over the Sandman’s sweet dreams, replacing them with bad nightmares (personified by horses.. mares, get it?) for all the kids in the world. The Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy bring Jack into North Pole HQ to formally become a Guardian and he doesn’t want to. Santa shows him around, tells him how much he’s needed.
Off In Santa’s Sleigh to Battle
The Guardians take off in Santa’s revved-up sleigh after hearing that the Tooth Fairy castle has been raided by Pitch. The teeth were stolen along with all the junior fairies. Jack learns that his own childhood memories were stored there. The only way he’ll learn who he is and why he’s Jack Frost is to get them back from Pitch. The gang also has to team up to play the Tooth Fairy, gather teeth and leave quarters behind or kids will stop believing. It’s a big competition between them. Jack can fight off Pitch with his frost but the poor Sandman is overtaken.
Jack is lured to Pitch’s lair and is told that his memories will only be returned if he joins Pitch’s crusade to bring darkness to the planet. He refuses but meanwhile the nightmares have wrecked Easter too, breaking all the Bunny’s eggs before they could be delivered. More kids stop believing.
Saving the Sense of Wonder
Jack is able to help young Jamie continue to believe. Finally a human child can see and hear him! He gets his memories back and realizes that he is, indeed a true Guardian. More and more kids stop believing and the Guardians start to lose their powers. Teaming up with Jamie and his pals, the Guardians manage to save the day.
Rise of the Guardians looks colorful and amazing. It especially makes good use of its 3-D. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t match the level of the great visuals. The tale throws too much at the audience on too many fronts and it gets repetitive. The Guardians must run around at a breakneck pace doing battle,
To gain more heart, the story emphasis should be on Jack Frost and his quest for knowledge of his past so that he can understand why he was created and was chosen as a Guardian. As written, his quest has to take a backseat to action attack scenes. Where is the heart?
There is little humor that isn’t visual and the one-liners and jokes aren’t very zingy unlike the live action banter between the superheroes in The Avengers film often cited as inspiration for this movie. Santa’s little elves are cute but are too much like the Minions in Despicable Me.
Voice actors do their best. Isla Fisher is charming as the Tooth Fairy, Hugh Jackman makes a fun macho bunny, Jude Law is especially good as the evil but sorta sad Pitch (aka the boogeyman) but Chris Pine’s voice is a little too low or grown up to be convincing as the looks-like-a-teen Jack Frost. Also, although well-voiced by Alec Baldwin, Santa may be a little too gruff. He cracks a whip to get the reindeer to pull his hopped-up sled. What happened to the more gentle “On Dasher, On, Donner and Blitzen”… etc.?
Mixed feelings on this one. Is it mostly entertaining? Yes, if just for the well-executed 3-D animation sequences. Will you become really invested in what happens to the characters? Not really. For that reason we have to go 3 stars.
Rise of the Guardians Movie Review: