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Reviews » Theatrical Reviews » Rise of the Guardians
Rise of the Guardians
Paramount // PG // November 21, 2012
Review by Jeff Nelson | posted November 20, 2012 | E-mail the Author
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As soon as Halloween is over, the media instantly turns its attention to Christmas. Most of the TV commercials become all about stores that are having sales. The film industry begins releasing holiday-themed features around this time of year. Paramount's Rise of the Guardians is aimed towards families who are looking for something all age-groups can see and enjoy. However, this film is less for families and more for younger audiences. While this film has its moments, it never manages to be great.

The Immortal Guardians are in a group that protects children around the world and is composed of Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), and the Sandman. Jack Frost (Chris Pine) has been chosen to become a Guardian and help save the world from the boogeyman, Pitch (Jude Law). If the protectors aren't able to defeat him in time, the world will be consumed by darkness and fear without any faith in any of our heroes. Meanwhile, Jack is searching for answers about who he really is at his core. This mission is the only way for him to discover himself.

Writer David Lindsay-Abaire has taken a rather large risk with Rise of the Guardians. Most filmmakers would quickly turn away from the idea of bringing all of these immensely-known myths together into one film. This decision could have been an absolute disaster, but it was a risk well-worth taking. All of these mythological figures have interesting twists to them. For example, Santa Claus is a tough man who has a Russian-accent and has the words "Naughty" and "Nice" tattooed on his forearms. The story follows these characters trying to save each holiday before Pitch ruins the traditions, making children not believe in the Guardians. If the world doesn't believe in our protagonists, then they will lose all of their power. The plot isn't the most original, but it's definitely an entertaining concept that keeps its audiences hooked from start to finish. Even though these are really well-known characters, it's intriguing to see a different perspective.

A wide array of viewers are sure to find the story to succeed, but the same cannot be said about the humor. The comedic element is directly aimed towards kids. While adults will chuckle every now and then, you won't find yourself laughing out loud at all. The dialogue is one of the screenplay's major issues. Some portions of the writing are fine, but some of the more sentimental moments are awkward. We don't get to know very much about them, so the tender moments feel out of place. Moviegoers will find themselves caring about the characters, but not being absorbed by them. Since they aren't very relatable, it left me feeling emotionally detached during the intentionally heartfelt scenes. Jack Frost is the main focus of the Guardians, but he makes multiple irrational decisions that make absolutely no sense.

While many modern animated films pay more attention to the story, the characters, and the dialogue than the big action sequences, Rise of the Guardians does the complete opposite. The script's structure would have greatly benefited from further exploring these characters and their journey. More attention has been given to the feature's style than the substance it could have provided. The twists made to the original myths are great, but there should have been a lot more involvement with these characters. The message made by the end of the running time is sweet, but it doesn't have very much of an impact. David Lindsay-Abaire's script isn't bad, but don't expect anything legendary.

The voice-actors have done a good job with bringing these characters to life. Everybody does what they're supposed to do and the voices all seem to fit in the respected roles. The two most recognizable voices are most certainly Hugh Jackman as the Easter Bunny and Jude Law as Pitch. Jackman speaks with his Australian accent, which works well. Jude Law does an excellent job as Pitch, as he delivers this dark and mysterious. The Sandman has no voice actor, because he doesn't speak a word of dialogue. This decision improved upon the character. Instead of speaking, symbols made out of sand appear above his head, as he tries to convey what he's communicating. All of the voice actors are solid in their roles.

From the opening frame until the final one, this film is absolutely beautiful. The animation is detailed, vibrant, and smooth. Since this movie explores a lot of land, there are so many breathtakingly wonderful environments. It's excellent when a movie is able to look marvelous through both the mellow and chaotic sequences. A lot of thought has gone into the creation of this incredibly detailed world. For those who are interested in the format, this film is being released in theaters in 3D. I'll never be a supporter of this technology, but Rise of the Guardians uses it well. Instead of looking like a pop-up book, there's a decent amount of depth. Even with the 3D glasses, the colors are bright. The audio is just as impressive as the visuals. Each speaker is used to its full potential in the theater. The surrounds are constantly active, delivering even the most subtle of sounds.

This is an entertaining holiday-themed film, but it isn't without its flaws. The action scenes take time away from the characterizations, which most certainly need some work. There are some interesting twists put on these mythological figures, but a lot more could have been done with them. The dialogue comes across as messy, especially when it's trying to be emotional. Since audiences never got the opportunity to get close with any of these characters, it's difficult to create a heartfelt moment with them. Regardless, this picture will be appreciated by its target audience. Rise of the Guardians is visually stunning, but doesn't have a lot to back it up with. Even with its issues, adults will find it to be enjoyable enough, while the younger crowds will have a blast.

Buy tickets to "Rise of the Guardians" now!

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