If I didn’t know any better I would have thought that Rise of the Guardians was made specifically to make me happy. A film featuring some of history’s greatest childhood legends, Rise of the Guardians was a beautifully animated, action-filled, cleverly written film. I will admit that other than my parents, I was the oldest person in the theater but I in no way thought the material was too childish for me, in fact at times it got quite dark.
Though this film features a number of different characters, the main character is Jack Frost (Chris Pine). A young man who awoke one day as Jack Frost with no memory of his past and no sense of his purpose in life. Existing as a legend that nobody believes in, jack Frost can create snow storms and ice but no human can see him. To be seen, Jack must be believed in. The film’s true plot beings with the film’s villain, Pitch Black (Hugh Grant), starting his plot of revenge. Also known as the boogieman, Pitch is tired of being forced to live under beds in the shadows. Spreading fear and terror through nightmares, Pitch means to create a world where he can rule supreme and only one thing stands in his way: the Guardians.
Made up of Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) and the nonverbal Sandman, the Guardians are called together by the Man in the Moon whenever the children of the world are threatened. Pitch poses enough of a threat to not only gather the Guardians but to chose a new one to join their ranks, Jack Frost. Reluctant to join, Jack is pulled into the battle against Pitch when it may lead to some answers about his past and his purpose in life. Even with the added power of Jack Frost, the Guardians struggle against Pitch who has prepared for their intervention. Doing more than just striking fear into the hearts of children, Pitch also attacks each of the Guardians. He attacks them physically but more important mentally, taking great lengths to destroy children’s belief in the Guardians which saps them of their power. To defeat Pitch, Jack must trust himself to be a Guardian and the Guardians must pull their power together to defeat Pitch.
This film was beautifully animated, filled with creative landscapes and incredibly detailed characters. Seeming to be more realistic then cartoony, the expressions and faces on the characters were crafted with exceptional detail and skill. The landscapes mirrored the detail of the characters and overflowed with creativity. The film’s plot traveled to the North Pole, the Tooth Palace and the Easter Bunny’s home. Each new place was a fully developed environment crafted to fit the personality and legend of each guardian. The visuals continued to impress as the film moved into some fairly impressive battle scenes. Santa whirls around with blades while Pitch summons waves of black, nightmare dust. Jack Frost summons waves of ice and snow and the Sandman attacks with an endless supply of golden sand. The battles will leave those that crave action satisfied; especially if a fantasy style of fight floats your boat. Ultimately the visuals are what make this film but the writing and idea is extremely clever as well.
I had high hopes for this film going into the theater and I was more than happy with what I saw. Spectacular visuals accompany a clever story line to create a film that is fun for all ages. With enough comedy to keep children happy, the jokes are not so immature that they overtake the plot of the film. I cannot stress enough how clever this film was, tying together a number of different great characters and genres. My only complaint about the film was that you could tell it was made for 3D. I didn’t see it in 3D but the camera was wild the entire film, constantly moving in an almost dizzying fashion. Other than that I thought this film was stunning and a blast to watch. I give Rise of the Guardians a 7 out of 10 and hope that they will rise again.