Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rise of the Guardians - Guest Review

Rise of the Guardians - 97min - PG
by C. L. Cadwallader

This is not a movie I was looking forward to. I had never heard of the books on which it was based, and I had seen only one short trailer. I get nervous when the celebrity voices of an animated kids movie are touted as the primary draw. If I want to see Chris Pine or Hugh Jackman, I'll go see Star Trek or Real Steel. In an animated movie, I want to see the right voice for the part - not big names. But, we needed some good family entertainment, and had already seen Wreck It Ralph, so Guardians was the choice.

It was a good choice. Rise of the Guardians delivers on all fronts. It's one of those rare films that pleased the whole family - from the 10-year-old to the parents and even the sullen teenager who hates everything. I'm giving this one a big green light for all ages.

The movie opens with narration from Jack Frost (Chris Pine). He is remembering how The Man in the Moon chose him as a winter spirit - but he doesn't know why. He has no purpose in life. He spends his time creating snow days for children and playing winter games in a world that doesn't believe he exists. Cut to North, aka Santa Claus (Alec Baldin). While prepping for the next Christmas, he receives a visitation from Pitch (Jude Law) - the spirit of nightmares who was thought defeated hundreds of years ago. North gathers the other Guardians together - Sandman (a mute who communicated with magical sand images), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman). The Man in the Moon informs them they will need to add a new Guardian to their number in order to defeat Pitch - none other than young Jack Frost. What follows is an exciting and heart-warming adventure that touches on the nature of childhood, belief and heroism while not ever descending into the realm of the "After School Special" to deliver its message.

I found this movie to be thoroughly entertaining. It has inspired me to get the Guardians of Childhood books by William Joyce for my own 10-year-old son. (Honestly. They're for the kid. Stop looking at me like that.)

Parents should be aware that for very young children, Pitch might be a bit too scary. I wouldn't say he's any more frightening than Scar in The Lion King or Sid's toys in Toy Story. If your child is old enough to handle that level of darkness, they should be OK in Guardians.

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