Rise of the Guardians 3/4: A movie review by James Berardinelli

December 13, 2012 by James Berardinelli - Reelviews
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The summer of 2012 was dismal for animated fare but, with releases like Frankenweenie, Wreck-It Ralph, and Rise of the Guardians, things have taken a turn for the better during the autumn…writes James Berardinelli.

This movie, which is targeted at older children (rather than pre-schoolers), explores the unconventional premise of establishing certain well-known mythical characters as superheroes. So we have a Russian-accented, tattooed, sword wielding Santa Clause (voice of Alec Baldwin), an Australian boomerang-throwing Easter Bunny (voice of Hugh Jackman), a Tooth Fairy (voice of Isla Fisher) who looks like a cross between a woman and a humming bird, and a silent, benevolent Sandman. Sort of a League of Extraordinary Legends. From story to execution, Rise of the Guardians feels like a hybrid of conventional animation and material like The Avengers.

The viewer’s portal of entry into this world is Jack Frost (voice of Chris Pine), the latest addition to the group. Jack is an unwilling hero – he would prefer to roam the world on his own, freezing ponds and causing snow days. The Easter Bunny has a beef with him because of his penchant for wrecking the spring holiday with reminders of winter, but Santa’s okay with his weather-making skills. The Tooth Fairy admires his shiny white teeth. The world’s children are threatened by Pitch (voice of Jude Law), a.k.a. The Boogie Man, who wants to turn dreams into nightmares and banish belief in Santa, Bunny, and Tooth. Jack reluctantly agrees to help and, in the process, discovers the true hero within.

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