Starring: Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, Isla Fisher
Release Date: November 30th
Rise of the Guardians follows Jack Frost, one of many celestial beings brought to life by the Man in the Moon. He is chosen to become one of the Guardians, a select group consisting of Santa, the Sandman, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, whose job it is to protect the children of the world, and help them in their fight against Pitch Black, A.K.A. the Bogeyman, who is trying to stop all the children of the world believing in the Guardians so that only fear remains.
Make no mistake, this is a children’s movie. The dialogue is simple and the story uncomplicated and full of vibrant, colourful characters. The entirety of the film revolves around the power of children’s belief in that which only they can believe in, and the importance of keeping that belief alive.
When Pitch Black begins his reign of terror, the Guardians begin to lose their power as the children stop believing in them. The tooth fairy loses the ability to fly when he kidnaps all of her fairy minions and the children of the world wake up penniless, the Easter Bunny (who resembles a kangaroo and speaks with an Australian accent) reverts into a cute, teeny bunny form when Pitch Black’s nightmarish creations smash all the eggs he was supposed to deliver on Easter night, and so on. All the while, Jack struggles with the fact that nobody believes in him, and with the fact he has no idea who he was before he became Jack Frost.
It is a coming of age tale of sorts. Jack strives to find his purpose in life, the Guardians relearn what their true purpose in the world is, and the children learn the power of belief and the hope it can give them. Guillermo Del Toro’s influence as producer can be clearly seen in the fantastic visuals, particularly in Pitch Black’s Nightmares, the tooth fairies and Santa’s elves. The film proves, as have others before it, that 3D for 3D’s sake is not good enough. This film was made for 3D and makes full use of the extra feature, giving even more life to the well-animated characters on screen.
The characters are interesting and different from their normal incarnations (Santa has Naughty and Nice tattooed on either arm), the jokes are amusing and the whole thing is underlined by its warmth and its obvious direction at children. While it may contain a few plot holes and inconsistencies, Rise of the Guardians has the potential to become a much loved childhood film for future generations.
In a Nutshell: If you leave this film without a warm, fuzzy feeling, you have no soul.