Rise of the Guardians is the story about the icons of our childhood. Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Sandman and Jack Frost. But these aren’t your grandfather’s childhood legends, oh no. They have been revamped and given a new take that is ultimately refreshing and gives us more insight into the working of these various beings.
Santa is now a burly teleporting Russian (accent and all) with an army of toy-making yetis (Shh don’t tell the elves). The Easter Bunny is almost like an Australian commando, the tooth fairy is a frenetic, easily excitable hummingbird followed by her troop of baby fairies and last but not least there’s the Silent Sandman who communicates by creating pictures above his head with gold sand.
The movie opens with a beautifully animated sequence of Jack Frost waking up in a lake, with no recollection of his past. As he comes to he realises that he can manipulate cold weather, and slowly learns to control his powers. Shoot forward 300 years to the present and we find Jack causing mischief and generally having fun with the kids of the town he inhabits. But he feels like there must be more to his life, and ultimately he gets a chance to find out when he is asked to join Santa and his friends to be part of a group called The Guardians. (Think of it like a kid-friendly avengers). And their mission? To stop the boogeyman from removing hope from the children of the world.
The main strength of the movie is it’s animation and its sense of humour. You can see the influence of executive producer Guillermo Del Toro in the style of the animation, and some of the shot choices and camera movements are straight out of a live-action film. The art flows and gives an appropriate feeling of wonder and magic in the more fantastical scenes in the movie. And while there’s magic galore, its the sense of fun in the film that really carries it. Rather than relying on pop culture references a la Shrek and Madagascar, the humour is this movie is built up as the film progresses, using recurring jokes that will surely delight the kids and cause the adults in the audience to chuckle. It got to a point where I couldn’t help but laugh whenever I saw a Yeti or elf come onto the screen.
While not on par with other animated movies like Wreck-It Ralph, Rise of the Guardians is still a great flick to watch with the kids, and it might even take the grown-ups back to a time when a little belief was all they needed to help create a magical world with gifts, Easter eggs and dreams around every corner.
I give ROTG a 7 out of 10.