At the Movies: Rise of the Guardians

We’re knee-deep in the holidays now so I thought I’d use a couple of days to get caught up on Christmas-related entertainment. Yes, I know this movie’s been out for a while but between work and buying a Christmas tree and getting out the Christmas decorations and addressing Christmas cards and keeping up with TV shows and trying to watch dozens of movies before awards voting and reading Pete Townshend’s autobiography and enjoying unseasonably warm weather and, well, you can see how a man can get behind.

1348481540_poster“Rise of the Guardians” appears to be this year’s holiday film even though it’s not about Christmas and Santa Claus is just an ensemble character rather than the star. Take what you can get, I guess.

The movie hasn’t been setting the box office on fire. At first I figured that was because I hadn’t reviewed it yet and everyone was waiting for my word. Then I saw it and figured that maybe people had already found out it isn’t that great. Either way, if you were waiting for my advice, go see “Wreck-It Ralph.”

“Rise of the Guardians” has decent but not spectacular animation. It’s a bit too dark at times. I liked the characters for the most part — I liked the idea that Yetis were the ones doing all the real work at the North Pole and found them entertaining.

It’s the story that I found lacking. The Boogeyman (Jude Law) has come out of hiding and is trying to destroy children’s faith in Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), the Sandman, the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman). That way kids will believe in him again and he can terrorize them. I think. I don’t understand why it’s OK for kids to believe in Santa and company (aka The Guardians) but not the Boogeyman. Can’t they co-exist? Aren’t nightmares as much a part of childhood as colored eggs with candy?

The film’s other plot involves Jack Frost (Chris Pine), a relative newbie in the business who children don’t believe in for some reason. He needs to find his center, Santa tells him, and the kids will believe. Jack has been recruited to join the Guardians by Nick Fury, I mean The Man In The Moon, who silently runs things from his base on the moon. Jack’s story is predictable and uninspired.

Based on “The Guardians of Childhood” book series by William Joyce and his “The Man in the Moon” short film, “Rise of the Guardians” is OK but there are better choices out there this holiday season. If you’re looking for a superhero team-up movie, watch “The Avengers” again.


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