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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Rise of the Guardians
Going against other big-name films at the box-office is always risky. There's a chance that each new film released will reach its own large demographic and everyone wins regardless of the final rankings, but there's also a chance that everyone will see that one franchise film-and who can blame them. Sadly, that happened to DreamWorks Animation's Rise of the Guardians. Years from now, it will be looked back on as that film people should have seen on the big screen and a holiday classic.

Rise of the Guardians is about the eternal battle between good and evil, and the soldiers in this battle are Santa, The Tooth Fairy, The Sandman, The Easter Bunny, and their new recruit Jack Frost, against Pitch Black: Creator of Nightmares. Both sides need the belief of children to exist and do their jobs, so both sides fight to make sure kids believe in them. That belief comes with its own reward as it allows The Guardians and Pitch to spread either joy or fear in fantastic ways.

This film tries to go deep into what it means to be one of these landmark figures that kids idolize, but only scratches the surface of what that means, leaving the rest up to the interpretation of kids watching the movie.

There aren't many characters in this film, and that's the way it should be. When dealing with all of the holidays coming together it's easy for small cameos to come up, and quickly become overwhelming. Instead, we are treated to a lot of great one-on-one moments with the people we've been introduced to. So, in a couple of ways, this is kind of like DreamWorks's Avengers.

Rise of the Guardians focuses on Jack Frost (Chris Pine), a mischievous little trouble maker who just likes to have fun. The role of being a guardian is thrust upon him without warning, but he ends up being a fast learner. Jack gets the most screen time and has a lot of great moments with each Guardian. I'm almost certain that all of the actors in this film recorded their lines together because the chemistry between everyone is phenomenal.

Since this is a DreamWorks film, people can expect nothing less than stunning visuals. Stunning action, set pieces, scenery, character design, the standard of Hollywood CGI films. Honestly though, that standard is really only guaranteed by the computer. Without designers coming up with this stuff, this film could have looked like a glossy video game-repetitive environments, characters, and everything else. Instead, any number of details could pop out to someone during any scene.

Two of my favorite scenes in this film involve how the Easter Bunny gets all of his eggs painted for easter, and a contest of who can collect the most teeth for The Tooth Fairy. Both scenes show how much fun these filmmakers wanted Rise of the Guardians to be, as the character's are constantly, comedically bouncing off each other while doing their tasks.

My only problem with this film is there may be one or two loose ends story-wise, and on the surface it is a real basic story. And what I mean by that is that the trailers (and this review) make it look like a lot less than it really is, so please check it out for yourselves.


Rise of the Guardians is a DreamWorks Animation film that stars Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, and Jude Law. It was directed by Peter Ramsey, adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire, and produced by Guillermo del Toro.