Review: Rise of the Guardians

So what do you get when you put Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and Jack Frost all together in a movie? Well, I’m still not entirely sure, but it’s entirely possible that you’ll end up with something approaching Rise of the Guardians.

Overall, I think that the movie was definitely more intended for children than for adults (or even just younger children rather than children-at-heart), although there are a few parts that I expect would be frightening to the younger ground. I was actually pleasantly surprised though on how they did a lot of the action scenes, with big battles between the four / five Guardians and the film’s antagonist Pitch Black aka the Boogeyman.

One thing that I particularly like was the way that they took the core of each of the well known characters and twisted them somewhat, all without really losing said core. So Santa is very Russian and has tattoos, but as the film says, at his core he’s really all about a sense of wonder. The Easter Bunny as very Australian (boomerangs and all) was highly amusing, even if that didn’t make sense (and they completely skipped out on any religious components of any of the holidays, for better or for worse).

The Tooth Fairy had an interesting twist where children’s memories were wrapped up in how they lost their teeth, although I think her relationship with Jack Frost was a bit strange at best. I think she (and her tiny toothy fairy minions) had something of a crush on him, although there really wasn’t much reason given. And even though Jack Frost is apparently several hundred years old, he still feels like an immortal child, so that makes it even stranger.

Sandman was easily the coolest of the five, despite never actually speaking a line. You could just feel a sense of frustration from him at not being able to speak too, but not an angry sort of frustration as he seemed an all around chill guy, very Buddhist. And I really think that if it really came down to it, he’s by far the most powerful of the Guardians, a fact which I appreciated. He has the full power of dreams made real after all.

On the flip side though, there were a number of hard to believe moments in the movie. For example, the Guardians have a sort of monitoring system for who still believes in them. The Boogeyman does his thing and suddenly the number of believers plummets. Then the Guardians fight back and the number starts rising again. It just all seems too fast. People’s beliefs just don’t grow and fade that quickly (although I guess in real life belief in Santa etc might fade pretty quickly indeed).

Overall though, it was a really fun movie. Among it’s kin in (animated) kid’s movies this year, it definitely outranks Hotel Transylvania and even Brave, although it falls somewhat shy of Wreck-It Ralph just for the higher kid-focus. Overall, I think I’m going to put it right above Brave in a nicely respectable 7th place. I would definitely suggest going to see it if you have the time, although I might check trailers or the like before taking younger children.