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Rise of the Guardians Review [2]

November 22, 2012 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris

Directed By: Peter Ramsey
Written By: David Lindsay-Abraire and William Joyce
Runtime: 97 minutes
MPAA Rating: Rated PG

Jack Frost – Chris Pine
North/Santa Claus – Alec Baldwin
Tooth/Tooth Fairy – Isla Fisher
Bunnymund – Hugh Jackman
Pitch Black/The Boogeyman – Jude Law
Jamie – Dakota Goyo

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.

The 411Rise 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.
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  9.0   [  Amazing ]  legend

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Jeffrey Harris

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