Movie Review: “Rise of the Guardians” – Avengerz R Us

Written by Travis Pulchinski December 01, 2012


Rise of the Guardians movie review

“Rise of the Guardians” is a 3D animated adventure movie that features the figures of holiday-themed mythos teaming up to counter the forces of evil.  This league of ‘Guardians’ includes North (or Santa Claus), The Easter Bunny, The Sandman, The Tooth Fairy and the rebellious wild card Jack Frost, who serves as the film’s central protagonist.  As the threat of being plunged into a realm of fear and chaos arises by Pitch Black (The Boogeyman); Santa Thor, Captain Ameribunny, The Sand-Hulk, The Black Tooth and the rebellious wildcard Tony Stark must band together in order to overthrow Loki and his army of aliens… I mean nightmares…

Okay, so all subtlety out the window, this movie is clearly looking to capitalize on the massive success of “The Avengers” this past summer by re-packaging the idea into a cuddlier, more kid-friendly format.  That all being said, it’s actually pretty darn good.

Go Toddler-Titans GO!

The biggest relief right off the bat is that the 3D in “Rise of the Guardians” is the good kind of 3D, where it actually adds to the experience rather than just giving you a migrane.  And from an aesthetic standpoint, the animation and presentation of the film give you lots to look at.  The film makes full use of its cast of iconic characters by moving the action from each of their signature seasonally styled set pieces, all of which can’t help but induce glee in the child viewers and nostalgic warm fuzzy feeling in any adults along for the ride.

Rise of the Guardians Jack Frost Movie Review

At the heart of the story is the journey of Jack Frost, as he attempts to overcome his lack of purpose as a mystical being who doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the Guardians.  His personal conflict and eventual emergence as a hero serve as a solid tent pole for the rest of the narrative, and his character arc concludes with a fairly emotional resolution.  The same cannot be said for the main plot however, as it builds up a big head of steam before shuddering to a dull and disappointing stop at the film’s climax.  Essentially, by the time the Avengers-inspired epic battle for mankind begins, the fight has already been won by the Guardians, who have convinced the kids of small-town America to believe in the spirit of Christmas or Easter… or teeth or whatnot, and it’s just a matter of mopping up the bad guys.  At the point when the stakes should be highest, the fight feels empty and without any tension.  This is quite a shame, as the rest of the film actually did an admirable job with the action scenes, pulling off some “Dragonball-Z”-like super powered brawls that got pretty intense for a kids movie.

Rise of the Guardians Movie Review - Pitch Black

His holiday cheer level is over 9000!!

 

That rabbit kind of sounds like Wolverine…

Another imperfect aspect of the film was the voice acting.  While Jack’s story was compelling, it sounded strange having the voice of an obviously grown man in Chris Pine emerging from a 15-year-old boy.  Alec Baldwin is another questionable casting choice as Santa Claus, as he puts on a pretty phony sounding Russian accent that lacks the badass gravitas Santa’s persona seems to require.  Hugh Jackman shows off his goofy side as the Easter Bunny and Jude Law is decent as the sinister but somewhat uninspired villain, but otherwise there aren’t many standouts. Suffice it to say, the most memorable character is a mute.

Rise of the Guardians Movie Review - North

Try it yourself: Put on a thick Russian accent and say “Pitch” repeatedly in a theatre full of children. BAD Santa!

In summation, “Rise of the Guardians” is a surprisingly novel concept that has the flash and flair of a classic, but the hum-drum plot of a production-line project that ultimately pulls just a few too many punches to knock anybody’s stockings off.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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