Claus is armed. The Easter Bunny has an Aussie accent. Jack Frost is a bit of a juvenile delinquent, the Sandman is mute and the Tooth Fairy is a cross between a pretty ditz and a hummingbird.
These are some definitely fractured fairy tales. They have some wit and snap though, and they breathe a good deal of real life into "Rise of the Guardians," a new 3-D film inspired by the lovely books by William Joyce.
In this world, the five good-guy characters are in charge of protecting the hopes of children. But they draw their power from the little ones' belief in them. Once the Boogeyman sets out to shake that faith, the weakened warriors have to fight back fast.
Jack Frost is, like most children's-film heroes, a misfit who needs to find his place, and suffers a (not-quite-motivated) misunderstanding in the second act he has to recover from. There are also the obligatory cute little supporting characters just begging to be made into plush toys.
But, thanks to its animators and its voice cast, the film has plenty of nice touches.
There's Alec Baldwin's Santa, who seems more Cossack than Claus, throwing around swords and swears (his startled oaths run along the mild lines of "Rimsky-Korsakov!") and Hugh Jackman's Down Under bunny, who carries a pair of formidable boomerangs. Jude Law's Boogieman is marvelous, the sort of a slithery, black-clad, snake-faced figure that only a Lord Voldemort could love.
Best of all is the Sandman, who brings children sweet dreams -- he's a golden, gentle, silent half-pint with the childlike resilience (and occasional impatience) of Harpo Marx.
The story has surprising layers, too. The Bunny's background seems to come courtesy of Jackman, but it makes sense -- Australia was once seriously overrun with rabbits. And why shouldn't Santa Claus -- with his love of winter, huge fur coats and gorgeous sleigh -- be a son of Mother Russia? Or Jack Frost, who brings slippery streets and iced-shut locks, be a prank-playing boy?
Most children, of course, won't give a thought to any of this. But it's proof of how much thought actually went into the film, and one of the reasons that "Rise of the Guardians" is such a satisfying holiday treat for adults and children alike
November 20, 2012 Years ago, when author William Joyce’s young daughter lost her tooth and casually asked her father if Santa and the tooth fairy knew each other, she couldn’t have predicted it would spark a creative streak in him, resulting in thirteen books and now, a movie. Mary Catherine Joyce has since passed away, but Rise of the Guardians serves as a nice tribute to her imaginative childhood mind.
The books and the movie are based on a simple yet clever idea; supposing our childhood heroes (Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman) are part of a group called The Guardians - like a Justice League or Avengers for children. And because these are characters many of us grew up with, the film spares us the origin stories for all… except one.
Rise of the Guardians opens with a beautiful prologue showing Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine) waking up in an ice-cold lake with no recollection of how he got thereAlicia Malone Says
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or who he is. Soon, Jack realizes he has been given the power of cold weather - he can create slippery ice, snow days, and lots of cold mischief for young kids.
Skipping forward 300 years or so, the film picks up at the top of the world where North (Alec Baldwin) is busy preparing gifts for Christmas, when he sees that the evil boogeyman Pitch (Jude Law) has begun to insert terrifying nightmares into children’s dreams. So, North, along with the other Guardians - Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth (Isla Fisher) and Sandman – try to convince Jack Frost to join their team and stop Pitch before children stop believing in them, and magic, forever.
Though they’re all familiar characters, these childhood heroes look and sound differently to how you’d expect. Baldwin’s Santa-like North has a thick Russian accent and heavily tattooed arms. Jackman’s Bunny is a Crocodile Dundee-type hero, with a broad Australian accent and a boomerang. Fisher’s Tooth is a hummingbird busily multi-tasking her little fairies, Pine’s Jack Frost a slacker teenager, Law’s Pitch an evil Voldermort-esque English devil, and the Sandman is silent, communicating via pictures which appear above his head in gold sand. It’s strange, but somehow works.
That’s mainly thanks to the beautiful design, which has executive producer Guillermo Del Toro’s influence all over it. There’s so much to look at, every frame is bursting with life. All of the characters (even the smaller ones) look unique, the backgrounds are colorful, the 3D subtly used, and the “camera” moves similarly to a live action film thanks to DP Roger Deakins who serves as a visual consultant.
There’s also humor to be found in Rise of the Guardians, though not in the usual DreamWorks style of inserting pop culture heavy jokes. Those work for Shrek and Madagascar, but would have been at odds with the timeless feel of Rise of the Guardians. Instead, there are cute recurring jokes involving background characters. It’s the kind of comedy children of all ages will enjoy, but parents should be aware that some of the non-humorous scenes might be too scary for really young kids.
As Rise of the Guardians makes it’s way to its predictable end, the moral of the story is hammered in a little too hard, though its nice message of keeping imagination alive is probably something we should all be reminded of. Particularly during the holidays. Santa forever!
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Though not as unique as recent animated movies like Wreck-It Ralph, Rise of the Guardians is very well made, and the set-up of these characters leave many possibilities for a franchise. Kids and adults will enjoy the holiday magic that Rise of the Guardians spins with its beautiful design and interesting twist on well-known characters
What if Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and Jack Frost all knew each other? Well this isn't a Rankin & Bass stop motion special because this time they are a group of formidable superheroes called the Guardians. Jeffrey Harris checks in with his full review of the new CG animated picture.
Rise of the Guardians is quite possibly the best CG animated feature I think to ever come out of Dreamworks Animation. While I think Dreamworks Animation has made some fun and appealing films, I’ve found they’ve always paled in comparison to the best work to ever come out of Pixar. I really enjoyed Antz and Shrek, but found the Shrek sequels to be disappointing. The Kung Fu Panda movies are really good but nothing yet has really ever measured up to say the heights of the Toy Story franchise, Finding Nemo, or The Incredibles. Rise of The Guardians though is definitely one of the strongest overall stories and movies the company has put together and I think easily surpasses Cars 2 and Brave.
The story centers around holiday and fantasy characters of myth and legend: North or Santa Claus (Baldwin) as we know him; the Easter Bunny or as he is here as the Bunnymund (Jackman) a built and badass rabbit; Tooth or the Tooth Fairy (Fisher) who directs little fairies to pick up and store children’s teeth and the memories that come with them; and the mute and gentle Sandy or the Sandman who gives children all their wonderful dreams. They are all comprised of a group chosen by the Man in the Moon to be Guardians and charged with protecting the children of the world who in turn believe in them and give them their powers. A rogue among them is Jack Frost (Pine), the spirit of Winter. Jack provides fun and mischief for the wintry season, but he’s lonely since children don’t believe in him or know he exists. He’s become frustrated because he has no memories of who he was before he was Jack Frost and named as such by the Man in the Moon.
Soon the nightmarish specter, Pitch Black (Law) or the Boogeyman, then returns to threaten the children and put a stop to the Guardians by making children think they no longer exist. As such, Jack Frost is chosen to be the new Guardian and join with the others to stop Pitch Black. Jack of course is a lone wolf and doesn’t feel the need to join up, but when he learns he used to be a human from Tooth and Pitch has stolen his old teeth that carry his memories, Jack decides to help.
Now don’t get me wrong, the movie is very cheesy at times, but not in such a bad way. Despite the concept being a little cheesy, it’s also incredibly imaginative, fun, and charming. The Guardians are a fun, ragtag group and interesting reinterpretations of childhood favorites. I specifically enjoyed Jackman’s short-tempered, alpha version of the Easter Bunny. Alec Baldwin is fantastic as North, a jolly yet fearless warrior version of Santa Claus who sports some Russian style ink. I think my only caveat with the voice work is while Pine does solid work as Jack Frost, his rather deep voice coming out of Jack Frost’s body sounds a little odd. Noting Jack Frost’s look and behavior, it sounds like the voice should probably be a bit more juvenile and youthful.
Visually, this movie intense and fantastic. The character designs are great. The visual depth is very well done. It’s a vibrant and appealing world that animator Peter Ramsey has pulled off with his directorial debut. Ramsey executes some incredibly fluid and kinetic camera work which adds to the sensational imagery. What’s especially neat is that the Guardians are not unlike a comic book superhero team, and Ramsey has no problem evoking that similar type of imagery with the Guardians compared to say the Avengers A.K.A. Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
The 411: Rise of the Guardians is a great movie to see with an audience especially with kids. That reason being is because you can sense their energy and it uplifts the entire experience, besides that the movie brings out your inner-kid as well. Rise of the Guardians I believe is legitimately the first time I think Dreamworks Animation a run for their money for this year alone. This is a great movie for the family and holiday season.
“A sort of “Avengers Meets How To Train Your Dragon” for the elementary school set, critics say “Rise of the Guardians” is stylish and briskly paced, but it’s only so-so in the storytelling department. When a nightmare king named Pitch attempts to spread darkness all over the world, it’s up to such unlikely heroes as Santa Claus, Jack Frost, and the Easter Bunny to save the children from misery and despair. “Rise of the Guardians” is Certified Fresh at 77 percent on the Tomatometer; here’s what some of the critics say:
Fresh: “The busy, 3-D animation relies a bit too much on madcap flight sequences and vast, vaulted spaces, but the character design has real warmth, and the animation is frequently witty and sometimes mesmerizing.” — A.O. Scott, New York Times Fresh: “This spirited enough yarn is sincere and heartening in its belief that our devotion to these youthful myths is healthy for our sense of wonderment.” — Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine Fresh: “‘Rise of the Guardians’ is enjoyable as a stand-alone adventure — not groundbreaking animation but a solidly entertaining 90 minutes for older children and adults.” — James Berardinelli, ReelViews Rotten: “Even tots may emerge feeling slightly browbeaten by this colorful, strenuous and hyperactive fantasy, which has moments of charm and beauty but often resembles an exploding toy factory rather than a work of honest enchantment.” — Justin Chang, Variety
Pre-release buzz for Rise of the Guardians, the latest film from DreamWorks Animation, has drawn a wide-variety of reactions due primarily to the film’s silly but, at the same time, intriguing premise – a team of universally beloved folkloric legends tasked with protecting the children of Earth from evil threats. Before the movie’s helmer, Peter Ramsey, came onboard (with only Monsters vs Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space and second-unit directorial credits to his name), Rise of the Guardians was the brainchild of fan-favorite writer and production designer, William Joyce (Meet the Robinsons and Robots) – who is also publishing a standalone Guardians of Childhood book series that traces the origins of each character depicted in the film.
Rise of the Guardians takes place several hundred years after the books but, despite dropping “Childhood” from the movie title, the final film still spends a lot of time servicing the juice box crowd. As a result, should adult viewers and cautiously optimistic animation fans pass on Rise of the Guardians or does the movie offer a healthy balance of humor and heart (plus holiday fun) for all ages?
Fortunately, thanks to a solid mix of clever twists on familiar mythological beings, both the script (penned by Oz: The Great and Powerful contributor David Lindsay-Abaire) and visual aesthetic (Guillermo del Toro serves as a producer) offer plenty for older moviegoers to enjoy. As an example, instead of the typically jolly grandfather portrayal of Santa, Guardians paints the legendary character as sword-wielding, tattooed, brawler North – the Guardian of Wonder (voiced by Alec Baldwin). Rise of the Guardians falls short of serving the more mature and thought-provoking thematic material as well as ambitious storytelling depicted in other genre-blurring animated offerings, such as Pixar’s Up and Toy Story 3 or Nickelodeon’s Rango; however, the film’s likable roster of main characters, and some smart supporting additions (such as North’s yetis and elves), deliver plenty of enjoyable moments and even a few impactful (albeit familiar) dramatic beats
The core storyline follows Jack Frost (Chris Pine), a reckless and lonely “legend” invisible to everyone around him. With no friends of his own, and lacking any memory of his pre-Frost life, he moves from town to town thanklessly providing snow days to the children of the Earth. Then, one day, an ancient evil is reawakened. When Nightmare King, Pitch (Jude Law), begins poisoning the dreams of children around the world with fear, the Moon summons Jack to join an elite group of “Guardians,” North, Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth (Isla Fisher), and Sandy, charged with protecting Earth’s children. Unsure of his own abilities, it’s up to Jack to take down Pitch before the Nightmare King can snuff out his fellow guardians – replacing the light of childhood “belief” with darkness and terror.
In the wrong hands, the fundamental premise might have been a cheesy and convoluted mess but Rise of the Guardians presents a surprisingly heartfelt, though often predictable, narrative about the power of belief – and the importance of companionship. Some viewers will, no doubt, scoff at the belief “message” – since, for anyone who no longer believes in Santa, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, or Sandman, the core message loses some of its magic. That said, even if the various story beats are centered around a thin moral and a fairly traditional coming of age tale, the characters flesh out the experience with an enjoyable group dynamic – and an especially charming mix of rivalry and camaraderie. One scene in particular, which sees the Guardians join forces to assist Tooth in collecting teeth, serves as a sharp example of how the filmmakers expanded on a goofy concept with solid writing and slick art design – delivering a batch of memorable characters that blend kick butt exploits with lighthearted hijinks (along with tongue-in-cheek riffs on long-standing mythology).
Frost is an entertaining lead protagonist and offers an enjoyable “newcomer” perspective that helps to educate viewers on the cheeky setup. Similarly, characters like the Sandman (Sandy), who does not “speak” the entire film, are surprisingly impactful in spite of their folklore roots. Though, the juxtaposition of Pitch and Frost is often on-the-nose – clearly intended to exemplify how characters that have experienced the pain of neglect and isolation can ultimately choose very different paths for their futures – one of inspiration, the other of fear. As a result, the primary conflict relies on a lot of standard good versus evil tropes and, subsequently, execution that’s short on surprises
As mentioned, Rise of the Guardians isn’t likely to challenge older moviegoers with opportunities for post-viewing introspection but that doesn’t mean that, moment-to-moment, post-adolescent viewers won’t be swept up in the onscreen story beats. The movie offers a number of smart set pieces that take full advantage of the reimagined heroes – each one providing insight into the larger Guardians world (with peeks into Santa’s workshop, Bunny’s egg sanctuary, etc). The film can also be surprisingly somber at times and a few plot developments will be heartbreaking, regardless of age. That said, none of the darker developments are outright manipulative; instead, they serve as important turning points in the “power of belief” concept.
Rise of the Guardians is playing in 3D theaters and the value of the premium up-charge is debatable. There’s no doubt that, like a lot of animated films, the visuals are enhanced by the added 3D depth. Certain character designs and environments look great in 3D but action is often frantic and the effect can have a negative impact on fast-moving sequences – lost in a blur of flashy colors and quick motions.
Given the childhood-centric plot, Rise of the Guardians is going to be underwhelming for older moviegoers hoping for an especially unique animated film experience. However, while the project relies heavily on very standard plot developments, the lively and entertaining characters, coupled with a rich art style, definitely expand the film’s appeal and onscreen value. Rise of the Guardians isn’t as memorable as some of its contemporaries, and the overarching message will be hard to translate for non-believing adults, but the film still offers a worthwhile dose of harmless fun and worthwhile heart.
As it is the beginning of the American Thanksgiving Holiday, this is one of those rare days when a Friday becomes a Wednesday at theatres all across the land are filling up with a slew of brand new releases as people head out on an extended holiday for some turkey, time with family and friends and most importantly to start their Christmas shopping. Open today from our friends at Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation is a brand new 3D adventure that tells the tale of some legendary characters joining together to save the world as they know it. It’s time for the “Rise of the Guardians”.
.Don't worry they get along eventually
Photo credit: guardian.co.uk ..“Rise of the Guardians” is an epic and magical adventure that tells the story of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and Jack Frost; legendary characters with previously unknown extraordinary abilities. When an evil spirit known as Pitch (aka The Boogeyman) lays down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces to protect the hopes, beliefs and imagination of children everywhere.
For a first time feature director with the safety net of ‘from Executive Producer Guillermo del Toro’ there is admittedly pressure but at least you’ve got backup. Director Peter Ramsay whose background has mostly been as an illustrator with some second unit work has crafted a highly enjoyable animated romp based on the novel by William Joyce but throughout the break neck speed of the proceedings which were entertaining to say the least, it lacked any of the emotional depth of the Disney/Pixar entries into the genre, even some of the earlier DreamWorks Animation had better stories to lean on then this. There was great action along with the occasional gag to delight the young and the old, but it ultimately felt very shallow. It was a nice effort in promoting the message of preserving childhood wonder and despite the hectic pace will undoubtedly delight all audiences, but one can’t help but get the feeling that the filmmakers could have gone much deeper with these characters of the Guardians and still held the core kid demographic as it felt that in many ways the story only scratched the surface of what was told, and we felt very aware that it was adapted from a novel.
In spite of some all-star talent in the ensemble voice cast, it never felt like the story cared about any genuine character development in what was ostensibly the lead role of Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine). With the likes of Alec Baldwin playing a swarthy Russian Santa Claus and Hugh Jackman as a rough and tumble Australian Easter Bunny, there were plenty of quips and one-liners in the entire film to make anyone laugh, but as a film telling a story if felt more than a little empty on more than one occasion.
Ultimately, “Rise of the Guardians” is a fun popcorn movie thrill ride that can be enjoyed by all ages and more than worth a look on the big screen in 3D, just don’t look for too much under the surface because that was left on the cutting room. Without a doubt, it’s the kids ‘popcorn’ movie of the fall season.
3 out of 5 stars. “Rise of the Guardians” is now playing at theatres all across the country; check with your local listings for show times. Don’t forget to subscribe to my feed above or follow me on Facebook and Twitter as the Pop Culture Poet for all the latest and greatest news and reviews from the world of entertainment
CastChris Pine as Jack Frost, the spirit of winter and the Guardian of Fun. Frost is a teenage hellion who has no interest in being bound by rules or obligations and just wants to use his staff to spread his winter magic for the sake of personal amusement.
Jude Law as Pitch (The Boogeyman), the essence of fear and the Nightmare King.
Alec Baldwin as North (Santa Claus), the leader of the guardians, and the Guardian of Wonder. He lives at the North Pole, in the Ice Castle, and is served by loyal North Pole natives, Yetis, who built the castle and workshop. He carries a Russian accent/culture persona.
Hugh Jackman as Bunnymund (Easter Bunny), the fabled keeper and bringer of Easter eggs and the Guardian of Hope, and has an Australian accent.*
Isla Fisher as Tooth (Tooth Fairy), the mythical tooth collector and the Guardian of Memories. Tooth is part human and part hummingbird. Assisted by mini fairies, she collects the children's teeth, which hold their most precious memories. Tooth stores them in her palace and returns memories when they are needed the most.
Sandy (The Sandman), the Guardian of Dreams, is the oldest of the Guardians, and the first Guardian chosen by Man in the Moon. He does not speak, but communicates through sand images that he conjures above his head.
Dakota Goyo as Jamie, a child who has not given up on believing in the guardians