Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Movie Review - Rise of the Guardians


The sequel wouldn't be Fall of the Guardians, would it?
 
   Holidays are a part of every child's life. It's something to look forward to every year or month or so. Sure, we lose touch of what they mean as we grow older but then there will always be children who will remember for us. That is what the Rise of the Guardians is about, well, not quite. See, it's not about holidays. Those are the ones that are remembered the most. But there are other sources of wonder out there. Some not always remembered or known about. Some are still powerful like the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman. Then there's the ones who are ignored, like Jack Frost.

   The world is being threatened by a malevolent force and the Guardians, those who safeguard the children's innocence, call upon the assistance of Jack Frost. Jack is a mischievous entity still trying to find out where he belongs but as the Guardians fall one by one,he must overcome his own doubts to prove his worth.

   The story isn't new as variations of the existence of embodiments of abstract concepts happens in movies, cartoons and TV shows.  Finding your place in the world is a common lesson, as is the power of children and dreams.  The theme has tweaks into the culture, which is appreciated because at least it tries to bring something new to the table.  The execution of the Guardians is something to behold though.  The character designs are fantastic enough but seeing them animated is something else.  Jack Frost's sky flights and sledding slides are pure joy and the bogeyman's nightmarish army is suitably frightening.  The action scenes are quick and slick, including chase scenes over the roofs and into houses, and the skirmishes are whip sharp, especially when it comes to the Sandman. The moments of wonder are bright and colorful enough to capture the imagination, from the Easter island to Santa's workshop.  CGI only keeps on getting better and better.

   There are inconsistencies with the theme that one should just overlook. Stuff like how Santa is arguably the strongest of the Guardians but doesn't display enough raw power. The Easter Bunny's religious origins are not touched upon (and really, what do bunnies have to do with eggs anyway?). The tooth fairy is re-imagined as a feathered bird-like Pixie and the Sandman doesn't really have a classic iconic look to be familiar with. Of course, having no snow in our locale, we have no concept of Jack Frost nipping at our noses. And what does the Man in the Moon really symbolize?

   But these questions are to be ignored. This is a kid's movie, so just watch the spectacular action, marvel at the special effects and enjoy the humor for which the film is packed with. Rise of the Guardians does capture the spirit of wonder, which is what they were aiming for.


And hope the kids watching aren't clued into the true nature of Santa, the eater Bunnie and the tooth fairy. Of course, the sandman and the boogey man totally exist...

SPOILERS!!!  Don't look or lest Santa put you on the naughty list!
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   The whole bit about wanting to be noticed and appreciated is the same as Wreck It Ralph. Pitch Black and Jack Frost were in the same boat but Pitch was proactive in a different way. Jack eventually found the right way to go.

   There was a part that was unclear near the ending. What did the kids do? In the final confrontation, the boy suddenly said "c mon, I know what to do" then he called upon the other kids and they left the battle area. Then later on, the Sandman was reborn. What did they do? This was after they realized they could turn the nightmares into sand again but there was no scene where the kids got together and did whatever it is they probably did to bring back the Sandman.

   This is outside the story but the Bogeyman is embodiment of Halloween and he should be the strongest right after Christmas. Easter wouldn't figure into it as much And the Tooth Fairy doesn't have any reinforcement after the child loses all his teeth, unlike the others who have yearly celebrations. The Sandman visits every night but he is like Jack Frost and is not universally recognized around the globe. It really depends on the culture.

  Santa should have done more powerful stuff.  Jack Frost might have ice powers but Santa still has Christmas trees, Christmas lights, candy canes, a bag of holding, flight, mist, wrapping abilities etc.  Where do the swords fit into his mythology?

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