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Review: Rise of the Guardians

Nov. 22, 2012by: JimmyO

PLOT: Tired of being relegated to the shadows, the evil and mischievous villain Pitch plots to rid the world of magic and hope. Thankfully the Immortal Guardians – North, Tooth, Sandman, Bunnymund with the help of Jack Frost – attempt to restore the children’s belief in fairy tales and legends and defeat the darkness.

REVIEW: Who knew that a fanciful tale of Jack Frost, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny could be so infectiously entertaining? In the new feature from DreamWorks Animation RISE OF THE GUARDIANS, the characters created by children’s author William Joyce come to life. Well, obviously the iconic figures that make up the Guardians were not invented by Joyce, yet he successfully reinvented them into modern day folk heroes. His detailed mythology has been translated into a feature film extraordinarily well thanks to director Peter Ramsey and screenwriter David Lindsey-Abaire – also with the help of executive producer Guillermo del Toro.

The story begins with Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine) as he discovers his powers to “freeze” anything and everything with his magical wooden staff – hey, mind out of the gutter folks. Frost’s “birth” is actually quite a beautiful sequence thanks to incredible animation and truly effective 3D. Yet this is only an introduction, since the filmmakers skip ahead 300 years after Jack discovers his powers. Present day, Frost is now a wandering prankster that enjoys starting snowball fights and living vicariously through the kids he inspires – even if they don’t have a clue he exists. However, there is a dark force in the universe, one by the name of Pitch (Jude Law) who – similarly to Frost - is tired of living in the shadows. Yet the villainous baddie has more insidious plans than snowball fights as he has set his sight on world domination with the help of a few “night mares” (shadowy dark horse figures that gallop in the darkness).

Lucky for little ones, we have the “Guardians” who watch over all that is good and right. This includes North aka Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), Tooth aka Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), E. Astor Bunnymund aka the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) and the silent but powerful Sandman. As ridiculously sappy as this may sound, GUARDIANS is a gleefully heartwarming and exciting animated feature. Focusing on a small group of children who still believe in Santa and magic there is a real sense of hope and childhood wonder in this fable. As the film’s protagonist, Jack Frost is an inspired choice that is made a full-fledged and complex character who must choose whether or not to be a hero.

Smartly, the latest DreamWorks animated adventure takes a decidedly different direction than its predecessors and mostly avoids the obvious jokes and pop culture references in lieu of a good story. The ideas of hope, remembrance and acceptance are explored in an entertaining and a universal way. Even Pitch and his rottenness come across as slightly sympathetic, making him a terrific villain. North, Bunnymund and Tooth are all well drawn out and even a little inspiring – Tooth’s tiny helpers are really super adorable. This is a well-structured cinematic journey that is smart enough for adults looking for something for their kids that is not overly cute or obnoxiously crude.

My one complaint is that as original and heartwarming as it is, why on earth did they have to go the cheap route with the elves. Much like the minions in DESPICABLE ME – yet not nearly as successful - Santa’s little helpers are played for laughs. But they aren’t funny. They aren’t lovable. They are just annoying and obvious. They actually look creepy as opposed to cute. In fact they look like scary little demons with Santa hats – maybe related to the little monsters in PHANTASM. If I found one of these little fellas in my house on Christmas Eve, I would be terrified.

Demon elves aside, RISE OF THE GUARDIANS certainly does rise to the occasion as solid storytelling with wonderful animation and impressive 3D. Great characters and a warm and satisfying story make this a true family film worth seeing. I can almost guarantee that years from now GUARDIANS will be watched every holiday season by children and adults alike - a holiday classic in the making.

Source: JoBlo.com

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8:01AM on 11/15/2012
Wow, I thought this would get decent marks but I didnt expect it to be 9/10. Dammit, really dont have time or money to seen another movie
Wow, I thought this would get decent marks but I didnt expect it to be 9/10. Dammit, really dont have time or money to seen another movie
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1:59PM on 11/15/2012
That's awesome, never would have thought.
That's awesome, never would have thought.
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+1
2:20PM on 11/15/2012
This is very surprising. The trailer does make the movie look entertaining, and the fact that it's the same people who did HTTYD had me a bit interested in seeing this, but I never anticipated it would get such top marks. I may very well actually go see this now.
This is very surprising. The trailer does make the movie look entertaining, and the fact that it's the same people who did HTTYD had me a bit interested in seeing this, but I never anticipated it would get such top marks. I may very well actually go see this now.
Your Reply:



+2
2:29PM on 11/15/2012

looked fantastic from the trailers and featurettes

and looks like it actually is! I really can't wait to see it now, especially with the word coming from JimmyO! Great review man!!
and looks like it actually is! I really can't wait to see it now, especially with the word coming from JimmyO! Great review man!!
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2:46PM on 11/15/2012
Ever since the trailer this has been on my radar. Looking forward to checking it out this weekend! Late show. No fucking kids running around.
Ever since the trailer this has been on my radar. Looking forward to checking it out this weekend! Late show. No fucking kids running around.
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8:45PM on 11/15/2012
Honestly the idea of Santa, Easter Bunny, and tooth fairy teaming up to fight bad guys seemed awful to me, and just an easy film to see since kids know these characters. It still seems like it's trying to copy the Avengers formula and Dispicable me with the elves, but your review convinced me to give it chance.
Honestly the idea of Santa, Easter Bunny, and tooth fairy teaming up to fight bad guys seemed awful to me, and just an easy film to see since kids know these characters. It still seems like it's trying to copy the Avengers formula and Dispicable me with the elves, but your review convinced me to give it chance.
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11:07PM on 11/17/2012
It definitely has an Avengers formula with Despicable Me thrown in for good measure, but it is so damn entertaining. I've watched it twice and it was just as good the second time.
It definitely has an Avengers formula with Despicable Me thrown in for good measure, but it is so damn entertaining. I've watched it twice and it was just as good the second time.
+2
5:41AM on 11/16/2012
Whoa, I've been pumped to see this since the trailer first came out early in the year but to see a 9 makes me even more excited and from JimmyO none the less?...tickets has been purchased!
Whoa, I've been pumped to see this since the trailer first came out early in the year but to see a 9 makes me even more excited and from JimmyO none the less?...tickets has been purchased!
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10:06PM on 11/16/2012
Glad it got such a high rating from you JimmyO, this looks like it could be surprisingly good - they've got a great voice cast together, it's a fun concept, and the animation looks to be of great quality from the trailer alone.
Glad it got such a high rating from you JimmyO, this looks like it could be surprisingly good - they've got a great voice cast together, it's a fun concept, and the animation looks to be of great quality from the trailer alone.
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7:33PM on 11/21/2012

hell yeeeah

it's so good to see an animated dreamworks movie get good reviews again. back when the studio first started they were really top notch. then they had a dip in recent years, but they're really coming back. disney can have everything else, but they can't have the undisputed animation crown!
it's so good to see an animated dreamworks movie get good reviews again. back when the studio first started they were really top notch. then they had a dip in recent years, but they're really coming back. disney can have everything else, but they can't have the undisputed animation crown!
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5:02AM on 11/22/2012

Cool

I like how all the poster i've seen for it say "From the makers of How To Train Your Dragon"

they dont mention Madagascar or Monsters Vs Aliens. Its like they know that this is a superior film and should be seen as such.
I like how all the poster i've seen for it say "From the makers of How To Train Your Dragon"

they dont mention Madagascar or Monsters Vs Aliens. Its like they know that this is a superior film and should be seen as such.
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11:51AM on 11/22/2012
The movie looks great. Glad it got a great review. The cast is great and I can't wait to see this next week.
The movie looks great. Glad it got a great review. The cast is great and I can't wait to see this next week.
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+1
12:47PM on 11/22/2012

Yeah!!!

I'm glad you guys liked it. My fiancee and I thought the trailer before Wreck-It Ralph looked fantastic!!
I'm glad you guys liked it. My fiancee and I thought the trailer before Wreck-It Ralph looked fantastic!!
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2:00AM on 11/24/2012
really? a 9 out of 10. I didn't think the trailer looked all that good, but I'm always open to check films that have a good buzz about them. Cool!
really? a 9 out of 10. I didn't think the trailer looked all that good, but I'm always open to check films that have a good buzz about them. Cool!
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7:57AM on 11/24/2012

Good Movie

I took my son to see the movie yesterday, he is 6. He and I both really enjoyed the film. They did a fantastic job making you care about these characters. I will pick it up as a holiday movie and I think we'll enjoy it for years to come.
I took my son to see the movie yesterday, he is 6. He and I both really enjoyed the film. They did a fantastic job making you care about these characters. I will pick it up as a holiday movie and I think we'll enjoy it for years to come.
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