Rise of the Guardians follows Jack Frost, a boy who is granted supernatural abilities and meets other seasonal icons, including a sword-wielding Santa Claus, the cute Tooth Fairy, a mute but expressive Sandman, and an inexplicably Australian Easter Bunny.
These seasonal superheroes find themselves fighting the Boogeyman and his nightmares to defend the hopes and dreams of children everywhere. Sure, we’ve seen all of the elements before, but how they’re represented and mixed is a feast for the eyes. In terms of computer animation, I’d put Rise of the Guardians very close to Disney/Pixar’s Brave (its rival for awards), as well as to the How to Train Your Dragon franchise.
The voice casting is pretty good, with Star Trek‘s Chris Pine as Jack Frost, The Shadow‘s Alec Baldwin as Santa, Isla Fisher as the lead Tooth Fairy, X-Men‘s Hugh Jackman as the Easter Bunny, and Jude Law as Pitch Black, the Boogeyman.
Rise of the Guardians is based on a series of children’s books that William Joyce wrote for his late daughter. Guillermo del Toro was one of the producers, and the movie does have some of his love of the fantastical.
Dreamworks’ decidedly non-denominational film appropriates Christian and pagan iconography, most of which will go over the heads of most viewers. It reminded me of L. Frank Baum’s Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, which was one of the more eccentric adaptations done by Rankin-Bass.
While it’s no Lincoln, I’d give Rise of the Guardians, which is rated PG for some violence, about a B+, three out of five stars, or a 7.5 out of 10. Of the previews we saw, Jack the Giant Slayer looks like what I’d call a classic fantasy gamer flick. Josh, Sara, Janice, and I later enjoyed lunch at The Restaurant in Woburn, Mass. Next up: The Hobbit [Part 1 of 3]: An Unexpected Journey!