Animators, assemble – Rise of the Guardians review

Rise of the GuardiansFeaturing the voices of Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, and Chris Pine. Directed by Peter Ramsey. Rated PG. By Jess Lomas.

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’twas several nights before Easter when all through the land, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and Sandman gathered to make a plan. Children had stopped believing as the Bogeyman turned day to night, and with the help of one boy this group of guardians wasn’t going down without a fight.

Rise of the Guardians, director Peter Ramsey’s feature debut, is an archetypal family holiday film that plays out much like a child-friendly version of The Avengers, in which the greatest mythical creatures of childhood – North (Alec Baldwin), Tooth (Isla Fisher), Bunny (Hugh Jackman), and the mute Sandman – all come together. Upon learning of the return of Pitch (Jude Law), who’s come to turn children’s dreams into nightmares, the man in the moon recruits a new Guardian, Jack Frost (Chris Pine). This band of misfits, kept alive by the strength of our imaginations, must save their very existence, all with the help of the last child who believes, Jamie (Dakota Goyo).

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The story, from screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire and based on the novel by William Joyce, soars on the strong ensemble of voice actors. Fisher as the flirtatious and ditzy Tooth Fairy, and Law as the evil bogeyman who wants nothing more than to be believed in, are the definite highlights. Each of the Guardians is an extreme stereotype of what we’ve come to expect of these characters, with North taking on a thick Russian accent, burly physique and Naughty and Nice tattoos, and Bunny being a True Blue Aussie, complete with boomerangs and attitude.

Where the movie comes loose is with all of the travelling between magical lands, from Santa’s workshop in the North Pole to the Easter Bunny’s vibrant green pastures, and the Tooth Fairy’s home, where baby teeth are stored to preserve the memories within them. The short run time crams a lot of material in and may leave the audience feeling entertained but not emotionally moved. The animation is beautiful and detailed, the 3-D largely unnecessary yet sporadically delightful, and the take home message for kids is positive and empowering; Rise of the Guardians is a witty family adventure that awakens the child within. Though it’s hot and sunny outside the cinema, children can escape into a winter wonderland with this delightful, if at times preachy, flick, that would even put Scrooge in the holiday spirit.

3.5/5

Rise of the Guardians is now showing in Australian cinemas.

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