This charming DreamWorks animation about a gang of mythical creatures who band together to save Christmas plays like Avengers Assemble for ankle-biters.
Kids’ movies are ever-present during the (increasingly protracted) run up to Christmas, and while some may foolishly chose to waste their time on trash like Nativity 2, they would do better to turn to DreamWorks latest animated spectacle, Rise of The Guardians. It's a film that creates a 3D wonderland populated with fantastical characters and spins a charming and whimsical – if perfunctory –tale.
Jack Frost, rendered here as an angst-ridden emo Peter Pan, lives a solitary life without a care in the world. His only task is to bring winter to the world. This all changes when Pitch, a modern day twist on the Bogeyman, threatens to take over the world by covering the land in darkness. In an effort to stop Pitch, the Guardians assemble – yes, on some level this is Marvel’s Avengers for nippers.
This includes North (better known as Santa), Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and the always-silent Sandman. They enlist Jack’s help after receiving a mysterious message from the Man in the Moon, who turns out to be their only hope of stopping Pitch’s maniacal plans.
Guillermo del Toro acted as an executive producer, and his hand in crafting this cast of entertaining characters is noticeable North (Alec Baldwin) is a sword-swinging tattooed Soviet who looks fresh from Stalin’s Red Army. Tooth Fairy is a vibrantly painted cutesy pixie with hints of the Far East. The Easter Bunny is now a jabbering Aussie voiced by Hugh Jackman doing his best Russell Crowe impersonation, short temper and all. The silence of the Sandman is a welcome relief in some respects, allowing time to lap up the stunning visuals that perfectly capture the air of magic and enchantment.
There’s not much to the plot, but the rapidly paced action holds up, and its bolstered by some dazzling animation. We are whisked across the heroes’ magical world, including Bunny’s underground warren with its walking stone eggs reminiscent of the monolith sculptures of Easter Island. Meanwhile North’s toy workshop is populated by bumbling yetis and ditzy elves who craft the goodies for the boys and girls of the world.
The voice cast is shrewdly chosen, with Jude Law doing an excellent stint as the British bad guy and imbuing Pitch with a suitable menace. The darker aspects of the film are well balanced, even the origin story of Jack which touches on a sad side of the mythical hero’s past.
Rise Of The Guardians immerses you in world of make believe that you chew down like too many cookies at Christmas conveying the warm-hearted message that imagination is the very essence of childhood.
Santa and the Easter Bunny beating up the Bogey Man sounds a little bit much, but DreamWorks always seem to deliver.
Visuals pop off the screen, the action is absorbing and there are even a few chuckles to be had in this rip roaring modern day fairytale.
A candy cane of a kids' flick which supplies a genuine sense of seasonal cheer.