Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the Guardians Reviw

Rise of the Guardians is an animated family fantasy film from DreamWorks Animation with the voice work from Alec Baldwin, Chris Pine and Hugh Jackman. This is one of the company’s biggest surprises and one of their better films.

It is about the holiday fantasy characters enlisting Jack Frost together to fight against darkness and protect the children of the world. I enjoyed the story very much and although it had its problems, it mostly delivered. It is overall quite engaging despite its problematic pacing and structure, but it is above all entertaining and really sweet. The flashbacks are handled surprisingly well here to the point of being the highlights of the entire film as they wonderfully flesh out the story and the main character. I did enjoy the beginning a lot as it was incredibly intriguing and just hooks you in instantly. I liked the ending as well, but the middle section had some problems.

The action is overwhelming. It is executed well and is interesting to watch at times, but it is also often present too much and is in the way of the story. I also found it problematic as the fights were never believable as nobody could see the characters and their powers, though visually appealing, are underwhelming and inflict no real damage. And the stakes are just never felt to be as high as the movie makes it out to be which is unfortunate.

But the characters are absolutely great, well for the most part. Jack Frost is such a good protagonist that is treated phenomenally for once as he is well developed and his backstory is so well realized along with his interaction with the rest of the crew. I did enjoy Santa and although too edgy, he was still charming and fun. Tooth Fairy wasn’t as well developed as the rest and her endless fascination with teeth got on my nerves a bit, but Easter Bunny is really funny and the relationship between him and Frost is superb. The Sandman is cute, but I strongly disliked the choice to revive him after being killed as it was typical and it robbed the movie of some mature themes and really strong heartbreaking moments. Jamie is endearing, but I did not care for Pitch Black as he is such a clichéd villain with a typical soothing voice, expected interaction with the main character and overall quite weak powers as he posed no real threat whatsoever.

The voice acting in this movie is polarizing to me. Some did great, but others, although good, are just not fitting for the character. I am talking about Chris Pine who is such an awful choice on the part of the casting director because his manly voice never suits this teen/adolescent boy with the most gentle looks. He did a good job, but I never bought him here and it was very distracting and it took me a while to adapt. But Hugh Jackman did fit and I absolutely loved his work here and he brought a lot of humor to the film. Alec Baldwin is also really good and I did enjoy Jude Law’s performance as well and he fits this villainous role perfectly.

Rise of the Guardians has quite good animation that isn’t great, but is visually appealing and quite satisfying. This is the kind of darker film that I enjoyed as the colors are well utilized, especially blue and yellow. It has some really well animated pieces, but the character design I wasn’t such a big fan. I liked some of them, but Easter Bunny is too exaggerated, North is too edgy and Jack Frost is definitely too modern and overly sexy. But Pitch is interesting and Sandman is also intriguing. But I just wish that they went with the more classic look to these characters.

I wanted them to be more classic, because this is overall quite traditional despite their trying to be new and cool. But I liked that it was old-fashioned as it was so incredibly heartwarming. Yes, it can be too saccharine to some people, but I really liked that approach here as it lead to some honestly beautiful moments. The whole sequence with Jack and the kid and when he finally sees him is just so wonderful to behold and I loved every second of it. The children are so well utilized and I loved its theme of believing and how important that is. Yes, that theme is typical for animated films, but it is still done surprisingly well here and I loved how emotional, heartwarming and just likable the whole film is.

Rise of the Guardians has very bad pacing that is all over the place. It is at times rushed and certainly too action-oriented. But the score caught me off guard as it was so immensely beautiful and for once memorable. But the whole movie is not like that as it is a bit forgettable when you think about it. The tone is also all over the place and the film tries to be mature too hard instead of focusing on being a children’s film as it clearly is that and a good family film at that. The humor has its moments, but it was mostly expected and forced, although some lines are funny. The emotion is present and the dialogue is okay, but could have been better. And the film isn’t as original as it thinks it is and that superhero edge it desperately strives for was the most annoying aspect here. But it is still such a good and even underappreciated film that is easily one of the better DreamWorks films.

Rise of the Guardians has such an endearing approach to it, solid animation, engaging story with excellent flashbacks, quite well developed characters, superb beginning and moving ending. It does try too hard to be mature and the action and humor are overwhelming, but the film is still so incredibly heartwarming and at times even beautiful that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My Rating – 4

Posted in Action, Animated, Family, Fantasy, MOVIE REVIEWS and tagged , , , , , , .

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