Rise of the Guardians
The perpetuation of childhood dreams and hopes lies in the care of four guardians—Nicholas St. North (voice by Alec Baldwin), E. Aster Bunnymund (voice by Hugh Jackman), Tooth, the tooth fairy (voice by Isla Fisher) and the mute Sandman. However all that is good is threatened when Pitch, the bogeyman (voice by Jude Law), comes out of the shadows with the intent of instilling fear into nighttime fantasies.
Needing reinforcements against the invading evil, the Man in the Moon chooses a new guardian. Unfortunately, Jack Frost (voice by Chris Pine) is anything but enthusiastic about being selected. Carefree and given to pranks, the reckless Jack just wants to have fun.
Don’t expect a Coca Cola version of jolly Old St. Nicholas or a cuddly type of Easter Bunny in this holiday animation. These characters come with some edge. Tattooed from his wrists to his elbows, Santa sounds like a Russian Cossack and has an unabashed disdain for elves. The Easter Bunny is equally surly with an Australian accent and an ongoing grudge against the playful Jack.
Yet despite their less than personable personalities, the guardians take their duties very seriously. And Jack’s nonchalant attitude toward his new role is both frustrating and infuriating, especially when the impish iceman’s actions put the other characters, and more importantly children’s beliefs, in danger.
From the creators of How To Train Your Dragon, this film’s 3D animation and attention to detail rival anything movie audiences have seen in the recent past. Still, frequent moments of peril, the depiction of a death by drowning and unwarranted punching means this story is better suited for the oldest of children who won’t be disturbed by the dark images of nightmarish characters racing around the rooms of young sleepers.
Pitting good against evil, this plot lacks the light-hearted charm of last year’s holiday release Arthur Christmas. Yet this heroic tale of a sword-wielding Santa and a boomerang-tossing hare promotes the importance of taking responsibility and discovering the inner values that motivate us—both good messages for a rising generation.