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“Rise of the Guardians” – Early Review (POSITIVE)

November 17, 2012

A team of powerful key players joins forces to stop a dark evil, hell-bent on total power and control; if you’re thinking of “Marvel’s The Avengers”…I can probably understand why you’d think that now.

Nevertheless, a new group of ‘superheroes’ have arrived this holiday season, they are: Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), Sandman, and Jack Frost (Chris Pine). “Rise of the Guardians” maybe too familiar for general audiences, just coming off the success of this summer’s  “Avengers” phenomenon, but the movie does successfully capture the wonder of kids and adults all in the matter of 90 minutes, backed with a well developed story and likeable characters.

Santa delivers toys, the Tooth Fairy gives quarters, the Easter Bunny lays colorful eggs, the Sandman provides glorious dreams, and Jack creates chaotic snowy amusement. Jack doesn’t remember his life before he became the Frost-master, but 300 years after his ‘rebirth’ the ancient man of the moon has chosen him to become a Guardian. The Guardians are responsible for all the children in the world, protecting them from any sort of danger, and that danger has finally resurfaced. Pitch (Jude Law) aka. The Boogeyman, is on a mission to cover the world’s children in darkness, feeding them nightmares, making sure they believe in him again, only the Guardians and Jack himself have the power to stop him before the final light of belief burns out.

This was an animated movie that wasn’t really on the top of my list for most anticipated of the year; going into this movie with extremely low expectations worked in my favor by the time the end credits rolled. My friend Christine, who joined me at todays screening, stated that 3D animation continues to improve every time a film like this is released. While aesthetically this is true, DreamWorks and Pixar still remain interesting rivals in the storytelling department. Pixar has been known to create such powerful stories, while DreamWorks provides escapist fun, it wasn’t until “How to Train Your Dragon” that studio decided to really branch out in telling an emotionally dramatic story on a Pixar level and I think they somewhat recaptured that magic here in “Rise…”.

The movies strength comes from it’s theme in belief, we’ve seen movies that feature Santa Claus and a few tooth fairies here and an Easter Bunny there, but the thing about these legendary holiday figures is that they’re powered by the belief of a child. Children believe in these creatures, they’re story characters that give them something to anticipate for in their adolescent years, and when the mature into adulthood the torch is passed along to their children. We see in the film that these mythological figures are powered by a child’s belief, something that can easily be used against them. In the case of Jack, children do not believe in his existence, hence he’s invisible to them. This dichotomy is shared in a similar fashion with the character of Pitch, yet he holds the non-belief against the children of the world in a more personal fashion. Pitch and Jack are very similar characters, which makes their head-to-head issues all the more invigorating.

3D is a grey area in my opinion, on the one hand it can be utilized in a perfect physical depth sense (“Life of Pi”), it can be satirized for it’s own personal gain and vice versa (“A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas”), or it’s used as a last minute tool to attract box office attention (“The Green Hornet”). Animation 3D is a hit or miss, before “Rise…” the best 3D animated film was DreamWorks “Madagascar 3”. It was used for pure fun and was attention grabbing every frame. “Rise…” accomplishes the same thing, it utilizes the environment it’s set in and finds a way to give it great depth, even in the dark/shadowy settings, which in our case for the films villain, is a plus. A few of the characters do make questionable decisions, like when Pitch traps Jack, he leaves him his broken source of power, and it’s quite obvious that Jack will be able to mend that item. Again, there are a few elements like that sprinkled throughout the film, but all in all, the movie does make leap to throw a few surprises here and there to throw off the predictable outcome.

3D GRADE: A

MOVIE GRADE: B+

FINAL GRADE: A-

Special thanks to Christine Labonté for attending the advance screening and sharing her input

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2012 9:45 am

    Well I haven’t seen the movie as yet but through the commercials it has entice me as well as the inna child in me to see this movie. I am 19 years and I still enjoy watching these types of films for they tend to be very interesting as they did years ago can’t wait to see it in the cinema

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