Three Films of Christmas have made my season bright so far, and now it’s time for a fourth! As for this one, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m a sucker for great children’s films. There’s something about really spectacular animation paired with an uplifting storyline that just gets me. I remember this film as one of those that I wasn’t particularly interested in when I first saw the trailer, but the more positive feedback I heard, the more I wanted to check it out. It easily became one of my favorite animated films of last year. I might be cheating a little classifying this as a Christmas film (it’s actually set during Easter), but I think there’s enough snow and Santa and all-around cheer to qualify it for the season. So, for the fourth film of Christmas my local library gave to me…Rise of the Guardians!
Rise of the Guardians (2012)
Synopsis: “When the evil spirit Pitch launches an assault on Earth, the Immortal Guardians team up to protect the innocence of children all around the world.” –www.imdb.com
The Holly Jolly:
- The animation. It is imaginative and gorgeous. Golden sand floating through the sky, frost sprouting across windows, moonlight making everything all silvery…In short, SO MUCH PRETTY.
- This film is like Avengers for little tykes. Santa (Alec Baldwin) is a tattooed, saber-wielding Russian, the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) is a huge Aussie rabbit with a fondness for boomerangs, the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) is like a lovely, giant hummingbird with an army of adorable helpers, and Jack Frost (Chris Pine) has a staff that basically makes him Iceman. They’re all very fun, tough-guy reimaginings of classic characters.
- Jack Frost as the focus of the story. I can only think of a handful of holiday films that address Jack Frost (he so often takes a backseat to Santa), but he’s our hero in this tale, and he’s a very likeable one at that. He’s confused and lonely, but the Guardians help him understand who he wants to be. He also has a very touching and bittersweet backstory that might make you sniffle.
- Jude Law as the villainous Pitch, who is kind of like an inverted Jack Frost (neither can be seen by children, but while Jack wants to play with kids, Pitch wants to terrify them). I think Law makes a pretty great villain in this, and you can tell he has a lot of fun with it.
- The message—the power of belief! It’s a clichéd theme, I know, but I think it’s portrayed in a manner that kids (and adults) can really enjoy. In a time when it seems like everybody’s a realist, it’s refreshing to revert back to good, old-fashioned magic.
The Lumps of Coal:
- Though we basically understand Jack’s past, we don’t get to delve into the backstories of any other Guardians. They’re all interesting characters, and it would be great to at least get a hint of who they were before they became the legends we know so well. But alas—we get nothing.
- Apparently, nearly all the children in the world can lose faith in Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy in a matter of days. Seems a little too easy, no? And likewise…
- A solution comes about with the help of only a handful of kids. I realize this is me being one of the grumpy realists that I often frown upon, but shouldn’t our heroes have to work harder than that? Five or six kids can be the start, but maybe we could get a glimpse of the Guardians inspiring other children across the globe to rediscover magic?
- At one point, everything seems to fall apart because of one fight Jack misses. Why couldn’t the other tough Guardians handle it? Are they that helpless without him?
- After a battle with Pitch, one character seems to perish, yet this character is somehow revived later. If there were an explanation for the sudden reappearance, it’d be fine, but no such explanation is offered up. I guess we’re just supposed to accept that the character is back and not ask questions? Um…okay.
In a Nutcracker’s Nutshell: I’ll be the first to admit that the plot of this film is fairly thin and most of the characters are underdeveloped. But you know what? That doesn’t really bother me so much. The animation is gorgeous, the main theme is heartfelt, the Guardians are fun, and I really enjoy this film. Great for kids and nice for families, too.
My Glad Tidings: B+
December is already flying by! I keep thinking I’m making good progress with this series until I remember that Christmas is two weeks from Wednesday and I’ve got a lot of shopping left to do…Anyway, I hope this post finds you in good cheer (even on a Monday) and I hope you didn’t have to go dashing through the snow to get to work (like I’m about to…wish me luck)! I’m sure I’ll be back with another Christmas film soon!