What do you get when you combine the world’s most fantastical characters to unite against a great evil? No, not Avengers Assemble (although there are some quite obvious parallels), this is Rise of the Guardians. This animated adventure tells the tale of Jack Frost (Chris Pine, Star Trek, This Means War), the fun loving controller of the cold, who is called upon by the Moon to join the Guardians, a team of childhood legends who protect the wonder of children. They include North- Father Christmas (Alec Baldwin, The Hunt for Red October, The Departed), Bunnymund- the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman, X-Men, Australia), Tooth- the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher, Rango, Burke and Hare) and Sandy- the Sandman. The reason for this is the rise of Pitch- the Bogeyman (Jude Law, Sherlock Holmes, Gattaca), who uses his army of nightmares to steal the Tooth Fairy’s teeth, spreading fear and causing the world’s children to stop believing in the Guardians.
Despite it being a child’s film, Rise of the Guardians is a surprisingly decent film. But at just over the 90 minutes long, it feels a bit short and the ending feels a little rushed. This is probably to stop the kids getting bored if it drags on for too long. Also, at times the plot can feel a little loose and vague at times. But that isn’t to say that is underdeveloped on a whole, it gives a strong origin story for Jack Frost and the other characters feel fully fleshed out, yet leaving enough gaps in their mythology for any potential sequels. This is helped by the stellar voice cast: Baldwin gives North a unique Russian accent, and Jackman goes his native Australian to give the Easter Bunny a nice twist. But the stars of the show are Sandy and Pitch. The former is a mute character who only expresses his feelings via “sand drawings” above his head; a true homage to silent cinema. The latter is brought to life by Law, whose dulcet tones sinisterly echo around the theatre through the use of surround sound.
Pitch is a dark, yet quite sympathetic, villain who draws immediate comparisons with Loki, the antagonist from this year’s summer blockbuster. And the similarities don’t end there. The responsibility- shirking personality of Jack Frost who steps up to the plate when needed echoes Tony Stark/ Iron Man, and the witty dialogue exchanged between the Guardians is reminiscent of the superhero banter. This brings me on to the tone of the film. Despite the elements of humour (frequently provided by Santa’s helpers: the elves and the yetis), Rise of the Guardians is more of an adventure film than a comedy.
Rise of the Guardians was an unpredictably good film. In spite of the fact that it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Pixar quality, it is a fantastic, family friendly film that is a great start to the festive season.