Isn’t it almost time to be jolly? Shopping centers and retail outlets have now erected their brightly lit Christmas trees and hung up the colorful baubles, garlands or other christmas ornaments to draw in shoppers for the last big shopping opportunity for the year. For Dreamworks, their contribution to this yearend ‘winterfest’ is a 3D computer-animated fantasy-adventure movie based on William Joyce’s The Guardians of Childhood book series and The Man in the Moon short film by Joyce and Reel FX.
Synopsis: Rise of the Guardians is an epic adventure that tells the story of a group of heroes – each with extraordinary abilities. When an evil spirit known as Pitch lays down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs and imagination of children all over the world.
What we thought: The underlying message of the movie as with any feel good family movie is about good triumphing over evil, and keeping the imagination of happy dreams, and the belief of all good things alive. Who protects the children’s wild imagination and sweet dreams? Why they are popular characters of myth and legends which many of us know so well, er, but with a twist – a tattooed Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin) with a Russian accent; a tough-talking Aussie Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman); an orally fixated, fluttering Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher); and a golden, silent Sandman are an unlikely band of hero’s for sure. In this movie, these popular folklore character’s are depicted as an alliance of guardians chosen by the Moon to protect and nurture the young fertile minds of children around the world thus preventing the emptiness of darkness and gloom to overshadow their bright future. When an old foe, a dark-hearted boogeyman called Pitch (a delicious Jude Law), rises from ‘depths of below’ to defeat the guardians and bring nightmares to children’s dreams, Jack Frost (Chris Pine) the mischievious one that brings cold winds and snow, is recruited by the Moon to quash Boogeyman’s evil quest. However, Frost has some of his own gloom to deal with. Suffering from a centuries-old identity crisis — he has no idea where he came from — Jack reluctantly tags along as the group does battle with Pitch, slowly evolving into its greatest weapon.
The film makes great use of 3-D to surround the audience with snow, and take them down the Easter Bunny’s warren. The joy of Peter Ramsey’s clever and well-paced film is how it maintains its focus on the experience of childhood wonder rather than on holiday loot. Jack’s first encounter with a human kid, Jamie, is to take him on a thrill ride through the snow on a sled. That feeling of exhilaration and fun stays with you throughout this perfectly scaled film destined to become a classic.
The story has surprising layers, too. The Bunny’s background comes courtesy of Jackman, but it makes sense as Australia was once seriously overrun with rabbits. And when we see his home, full of almost pagan architecture, it fits, as his legend isn’t rooted so much in Christianity as it is in old fertility symbols.
And why shouldn’t Santa Claus, with his love of winter, huge fur coats and gorgeous sleigh with tiny tinkling bells, hail from Mother Russia? Or Jack Frost, who brings slippery streets and iced-shut locks be a mischievous, kid with impish good looks and platinum blonde hair? Or the Boogeyman’s fearsome nightmares take punning shape as dark horses?
Each folklore character’s unique features have been cleverly woven into the storyline to create a fun and exciting snowy cinematic experience for the young and old. Adults will have a fun time explaining the popular characters experienced from their own childhood to their future heirs.
Rise of the Guardians premiers 21 November 2012 at your local cinema.
Watch the Trailer: