What if the fantastic beings you once believed in as a child were part of a butt-kicking force, assembled by the Man on the Moon to protect children all over the world?
The innocence and boundless faith of childhood in this film enjoys the company of characters written off as figments of the imagination by those who once shared the fervent belief. In fact, it’s this belief that keeps these magical protectors alive and visible to kids.
The Guardians include that harbinger of sleep the Sandman, his mate the tooth fairy (Fisher), the Santa Claus-like North (Baldwin) and the egg-bearing Easter Bunny. But what can be said of the mischievous personification of winter chills, Jack Frost (voice of Pine)?
Mostly used as a figure of speech, the staff-wielding being is invisible to kids, who don’t know of him. But things take a turn for the unexpected when Frost lends his help in the fight against the nightmarish villain Pitch (Law) with whom he shares a lot in common. Can he step up to the task?
Adapted from William Joyce’s series of books Guardians of Childhood, as the title suggests, this CGI animated film reimagines these childhood favourites are a force to be reckoned with. North is a tattooed Slavic muscleman, the avian tooth fairy has a lovely plumage and the Easter Bunny is a boomerang-flinging, roughhousing Australian outbackman.
Yep, with Santa’s army of yetis and the bunny’s egg-filled subterranean lair, portal hopping and confrontations with the creepy bogey man Pitch, the film is not lacking in visual imagination.
The 3D, though one grows immune to its charms, as bad either. Along with the vibrant art direction that evokes story book illustrations, the prolific Alexandre Desplat’s instrumentation is a treat for the ears, setting the right tone for the holiday film. With all this and the lightning-fast pacing, Rise of the Guardians should be quite riveting for the young ‘uns.
Though the film may be action packed and amusing for kids, it lacks the sly wink-wink humour of Shrek and nuances in storytelling that keep adults hooked as well. The story of the misfit with a murky past who must prove himself isn’t an entirely new one. The clash of personalities in the colourful outfit and inevitable maturing of the character after the trial of fire duly follow.
However, definitely not a lump of coal in your stocking, Rise of the Guardians is one of Dreamworks’ most visually striking films.