Dan's Review: Rise of the Guardians

Dan's Review: Rise of the Guardians

The first great holiday film of the year.
Rise of the Guardians (Dreamworks Animation)

Rated PG for thematic elements and some mildly scary action.

Starring (voices of) Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo.

Written by David Lindsay-Abaire, based in the book by William Joyce.

Directed by Peter Ramsey.



Toys, money, dreams, eggs...these are gifts promised to kids, supposedly delivered by mythical beings that bestow them based on the amount of faith the children have. Some kids may or may not believe, but that doesn't stop a steady stream of annual movies about magical folks. Rise of the Guardians is the latest such film about a league of childhood heroes including Santa, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, and The Sandman as they welcome the newest member of their team, Jack Frost.

Chris Pine voices Jack Frost, anointed by the "Man in the Moon" to join up with the Guardians to combat the Boogeyman (a.k.a Pitch Black, voiced by Jude law) from destroying kids' dreams and allowing the world to succumb to despair and fear. Santa (a.k.a North, voiced by Alec Baldwin) welcomes Jack to the North Pole for initiation, even though the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) doesn't approve. The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) likes the idea as well as The Sandman (a mute character who uses 3D sand-drawn symbols to communicate).

The Boogeyman is successful in capturing all the teeth stored by the tooth fairy (which hold the memories of the children who leave them under their pillows) and replacing all the children's sweet dreams created by the Sandman.

Jack doesn't seem fitted for the "hero" role since he's known for spoiling Easter, but Santa helps him discover his gift for helping kids enjoy the wonder of winter fun along the way.

All seems doomed as Pitch snuffs out all the hopes and dreams of the world's children, until Jack finds one child who refuses to give up his belief in the the Guardians. A battle between the Boogeyman and the Guardians settles the score as Jack discovers his true nature.

Rise of the Guardians is an imaginative film based on the children's stories by William Joyce (who gets an executive producer credit). It's a wonderful story with great characters already loved by kids, and they will love them even more after seeing Rise of the Guardians. There's plenty of humor and childhood wonder to go along with a well-written story. There some unique interactions between the North Pole elves and Yetis, who provide most of the slapstick stuff.

Some of the images created by the Boogeyman might be a little too scary for toddlers, but the story of Jack Frost's ascension into the ranks of the Guardians will keep kids of all ages entertained.

Dreamworks Animation Studios has continued to improve over the years with great success of the Kung Fu Panda series, How to Train Your Dragon and others. Rise of the Guardians will add nicely to their stable of fine animated films.

Note: When you see the film, be sure to stay through the middle of the end credits for a special treat.

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