Western Animation: Rise of the Guardians
Rise of the Guardians
is a 2012 animated action-fantasy film from DreamWorks Animation
. The film acts as a sequel (albeit in Broad Strokes
) to William Joyce
's The Guardians of Childhood
series, and feature many of its characters (albeit with altered designs). As in the books, popular mythological characters such as Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Sandman and Jack Frost co-exist with the real world, having sworn under the Man in the Moon to protect childhood around the globe. However, as Pitch Black, also known as the Boogeyman, threatens to spread the power of his evil nightmares, the Guardians must unite and fight against their greatest threat.
The film grossed over $300 million world wide, resulting in a box office failure (Though critics and audiences were captivated by the film). In a March 2013 interview, William Joyce
stated that he's currently in talks with DreamWorks Animation
about a possible sequel.
Not to be confused with Legend Of The Guardians The Owls Of Ga Hoole
Rise of the Guardians provides examples of the following tropes:
- Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: While it was considered that Bunnymund be given a coat to match his appearance in the books, the production team ultimately decided to have him be this.
- Adaptational Badass
- Which character doesn't get this treatment? Santa is a dual blade wielding Russian and the Easter Bunny is a six-foot one inch tall Australian fighting rabbit.
- Somewhat inverted with Tooth, who used to be a dual-wielding Stoic and a Deadpan Snarker. Though this was probably to make her more appealing to younger viewers.
- Adult Fear: Your children go out ice-skating, and one of them drowns.
- The Boogeyman is real, and he wants nothing more than to destroy some of the best parts of your kids' childhood, on top of making sure they have nightmares every time they go to bed.
- All Myths Are True: Early in the film, the big four talk of other potential guardians. The Leprechaun and the Groundhog are specifically mentioned. They even acknowledge the Tooth Mouse, the Tooth Fairy equivalent in a number of European countries (in this case, it seems to be French variant).
Tooth: *catching one of her fairies tangling with the mouse* He's one of ours! Part of the European Division.
- In the Mexican dub the line is changed to "He is from the Latin-American Division." Quite fitting, as it goes with the fable, known through all of Latin-America, that it's a little mouse who gives a gift for a fallen tooth.
- All There in the Manual: The back-stories of the Guardians can be found in the novels and picture books written by William Joyce himself.
- All There in the Script: Pippa, Monty, and Claude's twin brother Caleb are only named in the script and credits, not in the movie proper. This led to some early confusion in the fandom, as Pippa's actress also voices Jack's unnamed little sister, leading some people to attach the name to the wrong character. Onyx, Cupcake's once-unicorn dream and Pitch's right hand Nightmare, is also only given a name in the script.
- And This Is for...: When Tooth punches out one of Pitch's teeth after giving him a quarter.
Tooth: And that's for my fairies.
- Anti-Hero: Jack falls under Type 2; brave and heroic at heart, but also an incorrigible trickster.
Jack: Am I on the naughty list?
North: On naughty list? You hold record.
- As Long as There Is One Man: The entire world has lost belief, but there's one child out there who clings to hope, and that's all good needs to make a comeback.
- As Long as There Is Evil: Pitch boasts that they'll never truly defeat him since fear will always persist. The Guardians retort that they'll be around to beat him every time.
- Audience Surrogate: Jack Frost, and Jamie to a lesser extent.
- Avengers Assemble
- Award Bait Song: Still Dream by Renee Fleming.
- Awesome Aussie: Bunnymund; keeping with the books giving him the backstory of constructing Australia when resculpting parts of the planet in ancient times, he's given a rather prominent Australian brogue in the film, courtesy of Hugh Jackman. Lampshaded when Jack calls him "the Easter Kangaroo."
Bunnymund: It's the accent, isn't it?
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
- Badass Adorable: Sandman, Tooth Fairy, and Jack may look small and helpless, but can definitely put up a fight. Also, Bunnymund, who is cute and fuzzy no matter how fierce and surly he tries to be. It's even worse when the children stop believing, because then he's cute, fuzzy, and tiny.
- Badass Boast:
- Badass Santa: Addressed by his last name, "North".
- Bag of Kidnapping: How Jack is "recruited" by the others. It was North's idea though Bunny is more than happy to go through with it.
- Beware the Nice Ones: All of the guardians are pretty much nice guys, although a couple of them have more of a hardened streak to them. Threaten a child in any way though, and well... let's just say you better not threaten a child.
- Sandman is the shortest, plumpest, and easily the most overtly friendly of the Guardians. Then he goes up against Pitch one on one, and completely wrecks him.
- Big Bad: Pitch Black, the original childhood Big Bad, "the Boogeyman".
- Big Brother Instinct:
- The moment that caused Jack to become a guardian was sacrificing himself to save his little sister. Also, even without his memory, he basically acts very much like an older brother to the children around him.
- Bunnymund seems to have shades of this towards Jack.
Pitch: (to Jack) I'm going to ignore you. But you must be used to that by now.
Bunny: (leaping at Pitch, ready to attack him) Pitch! You shadow-sneaking ratbag! Come here!
- And then some when he sees Pitch behind Jack in the climax and tries to knock Pitch's scythe out of his hands with his boomerang.
- Ironically, in earlier versions of the movie, Pitch was intended to be this toward Jack. In some others official artworks and fanarts, (mostly drawn by rufftoon), Pitch and Jack have a classic Aloof Big Brother and Annoying Younger Sibling relationship, or Odd Couple one.
- Big Damn Heroes: The Sandman, after he recovers from his Disney Death.
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Santa employs yeti to make toys. Jamie also has a book on them.
- Big Fun: Yeah, did you forget one of the characters was Santa Claus?
- Big Good: Man in the Moon, who bestows guardians their powers and when the time is right, officially brings them into the fold
- Big "NO!": Jack yells this when Sandy is shot by an arrow of Nightmare Sand and then again after Sandy is killed.
- Bilingual Bonus: In Shanghai, the billboard that the Tooth Fairy flies into is an advertisement for toothpaste, in Chinese. Also, when the sleigh crashes, Santa calls after his fleeing reindeer "Moi deti!" ("my children!").
- Bizarrchitecture: Pitch's lair; it pretty much looks like a straight up M. C. Escher painting. According to the art book, it's based on Pompeii.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Sophie, Cupcake, and Pippa at the end.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Pitch breaks Jack's staff, effectively rendering him powerless, then blasts him into a ravine. He then tosses the broken staff in the same ravine, allowing Jack to fix it and get back in the fight.
- Book Ends: The film begins and ends at the frozen pond Jack Frost was first seen in.
- Borrowed Catchphrase: The only character who ever says "Ho ho ho" is Bunny - twice.
- Break Them by Talking: Pitch to Jack, about his fear of never being believed in by children or accepted by the Guardians.
- Brick Joke:
- Early on, Pitch doesn't feel very threatened by the Tooth Fairy and makes a sarcastic remark about her putting a quarter under his pillow. Later, she does give him one. Right before she socks him hard enough to knock out a tooth.
- One of Jamie's friends mocks him for his beliefs. Asking him if he also believes in Bigfoot. Turns out, Bigfoot does exist; he's one of North's yetis, only his real name is Phil. He is seen earlier when Jack first looks around North's workshop, greeting Phil by name because Jack tried to break into the workshop many times.
- Phil actually appears In The Stinger. He actually signs Jamie's book under the Bigfoot entry.
- When Jack tries to put Sophie in bed, she falls on the floor, and he leaves her there, dropping a blanket and stuffed animal on her. In The Stinger, the same sequence happens when the elves try to put her in bed.
- A small one happens with Jamie's sled ride interrupting a moving truck at the beginning. The sofa that fell out of the truck knocks him over.
- When North first takes them all riding in his sleigh, he tells them to "buckle up", only to reveal when Bunny asks where the seat belts are, that that was "just expression". Later, when they have to go to the Easter Warren, Bunny turns those words back on North. His response when they land is simply a good-natured "Buckle up...very good!"
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: All of the Guardians are a little dysfunctional (and one of them, of course, has actual bunny ears). Santa AKA North is probably the worst offender.
- Burning with Anger: Sandy makes "steam" come out of his ears when the other guardians finally notice him pointing at the Man in the Moon and wonder why he didn't say so earlier.
- Butt Monkey: While he's still a badass in his own right, Bunnymund does find himself as the butt of many of the gags in the film, almost like Daffy Duck.
- Call Back:
- When Jamie's playing in the snow with his friends, his mom first mentions Jack Frost by saying "Don't let Jack Frost come nipping at your nose." Later, when Jack tries to get Jamie to believe in the Easter Bunny again, it snows in his house, and a snowflake falls on his nose. This is how he comes to see Jack.
- Cheerful Child: Jamie and Sophie.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: How much power a Guardian has depends on how much the children believe in them. Belief in a Guardian can cause them to become more powerful and bring them back from the dead, while disbelief causes them to degenerate in power and appearance and become Invisible to Normals.
- The Chessmaster: The Man in the Moon is some sort of benevolent, child-loving deity who operates by making sure the Guardians and Jack end up in the right places at the right time, rather than directly interfering himself.
- Children Are Innocent
- Christmas Elves: In the books they were the members of North's outlaw band, with names like Gregor of the Mighty Stink (who became Gregor of the Mighty Smile). Here they're given a bit of a twist, they in fact do not build the toys. North lets them believe that for kicks, the yetis are the ones doing the grunt work. Looking closely though, they can be almost taken as sort of "product/quality testers" and their mischief makes sure the toys that make it out are toys that work and take the beating.
- Circling Monologue: Pitch seems to like this a lot.
- City of Adventure: Action happens in many different locations in the movie, but for one reason or another they always find themselves back in Jamie’s home town of Burgess.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Tooth Fairy is like this when it comes to her love of teeth.
- Color-Coded Characters: Each character has a distinct color and identifying shape. Both Bunnymund and Tooth are interesting cases, because while the art book gives their symbols as thus, in advertisements, and in the movie proper, Bunnymund is often associated with green, and Tooth purple. (Look at both of their respective headquarters.)
- North is a red square.
- Bunny is a light purple triangle (pointing downwards).
- Sandy is a yellow circle.
- Tooth is a green diamond.
- Jack is a blue hexagon.
- Pitch is a black hexagon (although his hexagon is shaped to resemble a coffin).
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Sandy vs Pitch, when they first meet one-on-one. And when they last meet one-on-one.
Jack: Remind me never to get on your bad side...
- Cute Bruiser: Cupcake. She's significantly bigger than the other kids and at first they seem afraid of her, but she has posters of unicorns everywhere in her room and later is seen having fun with the others.
- Dark Age Europe: Although not called out specifically as being in Europe, Pitch spoke very fondly of this time period as that when he was at his most powerful.
- Dark Is Evil: Pitch is a textbook example.
- Darkest Hour: Sandy is dead, the Guardians are losing their powers, and Pitch has estranged Jack from the rest and snapped his staff in two while Jack lies in despair at the bottom of a ravine... until Baby Tooth goes into his pocket and pulls out the memories that can give him hope.
- Deadpan Snarker: Seems so for Jack Frost, Bunnymund, and Pitch.
- Death Activated Superpower: Jack was originally a mischievous human boy who drowned in a frozen-over lake while saving his sister and was made into Jack Frost by the man in the moon after his death.
- Death by Irony: In then end Pitch is driven away by his own nightmares.
- Winter killed its future spirit. Justified in that Man in Moon may have given him such ironic powers on purpose.
- Defiant to the End: When Sandman was consumed by the nightmares, he simply throws a glare at Pitch.
- Did Not Do the Bloody Research: Bunny says "bloody" repeatedly throughout the film. In the US, this is fine, but the film is completely unedited in the UK, where bloody is considered much ruder. (It still received a PG certificate.)
- On the other hand, it's about the most inobloodyffensive curse word there is in Australia, and Bunny's use of it works perfectly with his bloody accent, mate.
- On another hand, bloody is an incredibly minor bloody swearword in the UK any way, making the entire bloody point moot.
- Disney Death: The Sandman.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Because Jack had his shoes off when he saved his sister, leading to his own death, as an Immortal and then Guardian he does not wear shoes, even though his powers relate to freezing things. But since Jack appeared to be from a very poor family, he probably never wore shoes in the first place, and due to his powers, he doesn't seem to feel the cold anyway.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The way Bunnymund argues with Jack (as well as with North about the topic "Easter or Christmas?") is similar to the way two brothers argue with each other. Furthermore, the Bunnymund's Big Brother Instinct behavior toward Jack is very present during all the story.
- The Guardians are really behaving like a family in every sense, where everyone has a role in: North is the father, Toothiana is the mother figure, Sandy could be like an uncle, Bunnymund and Jack are the siblings.
- Pitch's reaction to Jack's rejection could be interpreted like a possessive friend or a jealous lover who just had been dumped. This is even pushed further when he threats Baby Tooth in front of Jack, and doesn't let her go despite having given his word.
Jack: Now let her go.
Pitch: You said you wanted to be alone. So be alone!
- Drives Like Crazy: North in the sleigh (to the terror of Bunnymund and amusement of Sandy and Jack).
North: Everyone, to the sleigh! Buckle up!
Bunnymund: Where are the bloody seat belts?!
North: *laughs* That was just expression!
- Dual Wielding: North dual-wields swords, Sandy wields golden whips made of his sand, and Bunny wields two boomerangs.
- Elemental Powers:
- Escalating War: When the Guardians start collecting teeth together, Bunny and Jack start challenging each other, but North is the one who really turns it into a race. In their mad dash to get to the teeth first, they start pulling all kinds of tricks on each other (occasionally to Comedic Sociopathy levels), and generally trying to constantly one-up each other.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In rufftoon comic, Pitch doesn't attack North during the Christmas Truce of 1914, and even shares a moment with him although he doesn't like it.
- Evil Brit: Jude Law gives Pitch an insanely smarmy voice, which isn't that far off from his regular vocals.
- Evil Counterpart:
- Pitch is one to the Sandman. Pitch delivers fear and bad dreams, Sandman gives hope and good dreams. They even use dust which reflects their color-schemes. This is probably why Pitch's attack affects Sandman so adversely, temporarily killing him, and why Sandman's return creates a huge advantage for the Guardians near the end of the movie.
- Jack and Pitch. Both simply want to be believed in, seen, acknowledged for what they do. This is even used in a sort of Sympathy for the Devil fashion in the later part of the movie when Pitch tries to get Jack to come to his side, reasoning that they both want to be acknowledged and seen and heard. But while Jack's purpose (and thus his method of getting recognition) is to spread fun and joy, Pitch's is to spread fear and darkness.
- Evil Is Deathly Cold:
- Inverted. North and Jack are associated with cold temperatures.
- Pitch does try to invoke this in a sense when he tries to tempt Jack, saying that dark and cold go very well together.
- Evil Slinks: Pitch, being almost a Living Shadow, slinks naturally, and gets better at it the more fear he senses around him.
- Exact Words: The reason (other than being a Manipulative Bastard) that Pitch refuses to give back Baby Tooth: "You said you wanted to be alone? Then be alone!"
- The suggestion of genuine hurt feelings as a result of Jack's refusal probably contribute to Pitch enforcing this trope so nastily.
- Fanfare: The elves try to give Jack one as he announced as a guardian, but he cuts them off. Even at the end of the movie, they are still clearly annoyed by that.
- Fangirls: Tooth and her fairy helpers openly swoon over Jack at various points, though they soon prove less interested in his looks than in his teeth.
- Finger Wag: Toward the end, when Sandy comes back, Sandy issues one to Pitch before proceeding to royally own him again.
- Five-Man Band
- North (The Leader)
- Bunnymund (The Lancer)
- Jack (The Smart Guy)
- Sandy (The Big Guy) While technically not big, he's obviously the most powerful, being able to take on Pitch's army of nightmares on his own and later sending Pitch flying with one uppercut
- Tooth (The Chick)
- Follow the Leader: 'Santa's Elves' act more like the Minions in the trailers.
- Foreshadowing: Pitch, upon being repelled by Jack in their first encounter, remarks that he's finally found someone who knows how to have a little fun.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Guardians original lineup before the Man in the Moon decided it was time for an expansion. Pitch called them "the Big Four".
- North is Sanguine.
- Bunnymund is Choleric.
- Tooth is Melancholic.
- Sandy is Phlegmatic.
- Friend to All Children:
- Fun Personified: Jack. This turns out to be his purpose as a Guardian.
- Funny Background Event
- When the Guardians first meet up and North jokes at the importance of Easter, Sandy is chugging eggnog.
- During North and Bunnymund's argument over the importance of Christmas and Easter, Tooth is giving orders to her fairies in the background. She gives a particularly long order, and just as North interrupts her, she cries, "Is that all in one house?!"
- Jack angrily blasts ice and air at the first Guardian ceremony. North and Bunnymund slightly stumble from it. Tooth is blown off-screen from the force.
- When Jamie's sled first starts going haywire (via Jack), his friends panic. Cupcake, however, nods with a slightly crazed smile.
- Generation Xerox: They aren't related, but Jamie looks remarkably like how Jack looked when he was a human.
- Gentle Giant:
- Affable North and his yeti shop workers.
- Cupcake as well. She's clearly angry (at first) about being hit by a snowball early on in the film, but otherwise seems to friends with the other children despite her intimidating appearance.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Dreamworks actually managed to hide a Precision F-Strike on Santa's globe behind the Fictionary, as explained here.
- Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: Jack has a fairly benign version of this trope, allowing him to inspire happiness in those who come into contact with his snowflakes.
- The Ghost: The Man in the Moon, despite being the leader of the Guardians, is not shown in the film. The only indication of his presence are the various shots of the moon in the night sky.
- Ghost Amnesia: A major plot point for Jack, despite not actually being a ghost.
- Give Me a Sign:
- Jamie asks this of his toy stuffed bunny, having met the real Easter Bunny previously, after Easter inexplicably failed to happen. He almost gives up, but Jack steps in at the last moment. While this actually proves a more effective sign for Jack's own existence than that of Bunnymund, Jack confirms the existence of the others once Jamie can see him.
- Jack himself has a moment like this early in the film, pleading with the Man in the Moon to give him a sign as to why he is the way he is. He figures it out by the end of the movie.
- Green Lantern Ring:
- Sandy's control over his dream sand works this way, and he can make any physical construct he can imagine with it, as well as use it to put people to sleep.
- Pitch's nightmare sand also works this way, as he copied the power from Sandy. Unfortunately, he only uses it to make a gigantic scythe, and his nightmares (the horses, not bad dreams).
- His horses ARE bad dreams! note
- Guardians Need Belief Badly:
- The exact details vary though. Straight examples for North, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Jack is at full power with none and gains only visibility from belief (though a few kids may not be much of a power boost). Sandman never seems to get any weaker (although he was missing at the lowest point so this isn't quite clear), and his powers actually let him generate belief through dream manipulation. Pitch gains belief and power by default as the others grow weaker.
- The movie explains this as being the catch to becoming a Guardian. Once they settle in to their roles as Guardians, their power starts to depend on belief.
- It could also be explained in the fact that North's, Bunnymund's and Tooth's events (Christmas, Easter, and exchanging teeth for money) would cease to exist if people stopped believing in them, whereas Jack's event (winter) will always exist, regardless of whether or not people don't believe in his existence.
- Hates Being Alone: Jack and Pitch are the most obvious examples in the movie. Jack manages to earn a happy ending at last. Pitch however...
- Headdesk: North tells a yeti to change the color of the soldiers to red, and after the yeti sees the big pile of toys he's painted blue, he groans and does this. Then again later...
- Held Gaze: Between Tooth and Jack at the end until they're interrupted by Baby Tooth. Jack and Bunnymund also had this at the Warren and when Bunnymund turned into a little bunny... kitten.
- Hellish Horse:
- Pitch's Nightmares.
- Their naming qualifies as a Visual Pun as well.
- He's Back:
- Bunnymund in the climatic battle where he's still in his bunny kitten form being chased into a confined space, but is dragged out in his full size and power, ready to kick ass.
- Sandy as well, who straight up comes back to life.
- Heroic BSOD:
- Heroic Sacrifice: As a human, while on a frozen lake, Jack used his staff to swap his position with his sister's on thin ice in order to get her out of danger of falling into the lake through the cracks, which caused him to fall into it himself and drown.
- The Hero's Journey: The story follows this for Jack pretty closely. Including but not limited to a textbook Belly of the Whale moment in the ice chasm.
- Hidden Depths: Despite his blatant badassery, Bunnymund is heartbroken when Easter is ruined, mentioning it as being a time of hope and rebirth, and much more important than just being about eggs.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Pitch is dragged into his own lair by his own nightmares when they smell his fear. This trope is mentioned during that sequence in the audio commentary.
- Hostage for MacGuffin: Pitch barters Baby Tooth for Jack's staff, as it is what channels Jack's powers.
- How Can Santa Deliver All Those Toys?: The movie reveals how not only North, but also Bunny and Tooth get around the world to do their jobs. North has magical snow globes that open portals to whatever location appears inside it (by saying the name) and can seemingly teleport between chimneys at will, Bunny has a series of tunnels that allows him to appear anywhere on Earth, and Tooth has millions of fairies to collect her teeth along with Tooth Mice from the European Division.
- Husky Russkie: North.
- Hypocritical Heartwarming: Bunnymund has no qualms mocking Jack about his lack of believers, but when Pitch does the same Bunny immediately tries to attack him for it.
- I Am Not Weasel
Jack: "And the Easter kangaroo."
Bunnymund: "I'm a bunny."
- I Know What You Fear: Pitch, being the Boogeyman, has this power.
Jack: I'm not afraid of you.
Pitch: Maybe not. But you are afraid of something.
Jack: You think so, huh?
Pitch: I know so. It's the one thing I always know. People's greatest fears. Yours is that no one will ever believe in you.
- I Lied: Pitch does not give back Baby Tooth when Jack gives him his staff as promised.
- Invisible to Normals: Any mythical manifestation who does not have active believers, such as Jack, is invisible and intangible to humans. Jack loses this status late in the story.
- I Surrender, Suckers: right after Sandy curbstomps Pitch the first time:
Pitch: It was stupid of me to mess with your dreams, so I'll tell you what. You can have them back. [sends nightmares at Sandy]
- Ironic Echo: When the Guardians save Tooth first bravely get on North's sleigh, North tells them to "buckle up." Bunnymund nervously asks where they are and finds out there aren't actually any seat belts. Later, when they go to the underground warren to prepare for Easter, Bunnymund first warns everyone to buckle up.
North: [after a ride through a tunnel] Buckle up... That's very funny.
- Irony: When Jack asks why the guardians don't know how to act around children (like Toothiana showing teeth with blood still on them), North say's they've been too busy protecting children to actually be with them, and the irony dawns on him as he says that.
- It's Always Spring: Averted. While it is near Easter and technically the first day of spring, the ground is still half-covered with snow.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Bunnymund comes across as a blatant complainer and constantly angry and conceited, yet he genuinely cares about Easter and the hopes of children, and he's more than ready to take on Pitch hand to hand when he sees him for the first time. And not to mention how angry he gets when Pitch insults Jack and how well he takes care of Sophie when she wanders into his base.
- Kidnapped by an Ally: Happens to Jack as North's way of getting him to the North Pole. The method? Bag of Kidnapping.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Jack is far from mean-spirited, but prefers himself as a free agent than bear any responsibility of being a hero.
- Knight of Cerebus: There is absolutely nothing funny about Pitch. When he appears, the humor starts to disappear.
- Lack of Empathy: Averted and subverted somehow with Pitch. According to the scene of Antarctica, he seems to show empathy at least a bit toward Jack, as the two were alone for a long time. However, it doesn't prevent him to try to emotionally torture him, and doing great lenghts in order to get him at his side..
- Large and In Charge: North.
- Large Ham: Pitch, before he tries to attack Jamie again.
"You dare have fun in my presence! I am the Boogeyman! And you will fee-ah me!"
- Le Parkour: Jack has uses some smooth moves combined with his air control abilities to get around.
- Light Is Good: The characters associated with light (Like Sandman) are good, opposed to Pitch Black.
- Locked into Strangeness: Though we never get to see what the other Guardians looked like as humans, Jack gets pale skin, blue eyes and white hair out of the transformation.
- Logo Joke: Jack takes the place of the boy in the DreamWorks logo.
- Magic Map: The globe at the North Pole, which shows believing children as points of light.
- Magic Staff: Jack wields one, through which he channels his frost powers. It's a staff that he carried around while he was a human, which he used to save his sister from falling through cracks in thin ice but swapped his position with hers, causing him to fall through and drown. If he loses it, he can't use his powers. Pitch exploits this by forcing Jack to give up his staff for Baby Tooth, then breaking the staff to keep Jack out of the fight. Jack is able to reforge the staff after some effort.
- Magitek: Santa's sleigh has been upgraded.
Jack: There is no way that I'm riding in some rickety, old... *sees sleigh*...sleigh. *pause* Okay, one ride, but that's it.
- Mama Bear: Tooth, to her fairies and the kids of the world.
- The Man in the Moon: Is a rather mysterious force who does not take physical form like the Guardians, and only communicates with them via images. He also seems to be in charge, as he picks who the Guardians are.
- Meaningful Name: Technically all of the Guardians, but Pitch as well- A.K.A. Pitch Black.
- Megaton Punch: Pitch finds himself on the receiving end of one from a freshly revived Sandy
- Melancholy Moon: Jack has a number of moments like this when he questions his existence and demands answers from the Man in the Moon.
- Missing Trailer Scene: Jack's line calling Bunnymund a kangaroo was changed in the final film.
- Moment Killer: Tooth and Jack can't seem to spend more than a minute together before someone interrupts.
- Motive Rant: Pitch gives one to the Guardians in the Tooth Palace.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Being the Boogeyman, Pitch naturally falls into this.
- At one moment, Tooth does this as well... And, seriously now, how could she ever arrive at the conclusion that a small girl would find teeth with blood and gum on them to be fun? It's justified for plot reasons, sure, but still, the Tooth Fairy might very well have scarred that girl for life right there.
- Never Trust a Trailer:
- In the first trailer, we see Toothnote riding in the sleigh with North, Bunnymund and Sandy, when it’s actually Jack.
- In the trailer, Bunny says “You don't wanna race a rabbit mate” while at his warren before hopping into a portal hole. In the movie, he says this when hopping from rooftop to rooftop, in a race between himself, Jack, North, and Sandy to see who can collect the most teeth.
- In the UK trailer, it indicates that Christmas is in jeopardy when it's actually Easter time.
- No Sense of Personal Space: Tooth and North both have a tendency towards this.
- Noodle Incident:
- One is referenced in the following exchange. There is some canon elaboration on it here.
Bunny: Blizzard of '68, I believe? Easter Sunday, wasn't it?
Jack: Bunny! You're not still mad about that, are you?
Bunny: Yes, but this is about something else.
- Also when Jack and Tooth Fairy are talking about the former's memories, we get this exchange in the background
Santa: You should have seen Bunny!
Bunny: I told you never to mention that!
- They were talking about what Bunny looked like pre-guardianship. We eventually find out that he looked like an ordinary rabbit when he ends up powerless.
- Not Quite Flight: Jack. Unlike Tooth, he seems to be controlling the air around him—notice his movements are much less controlled and towards the beginning he even calls the on the wind to take him home.
- Not So Different: Jack and Pitch. It's lampshaded by the latter, who even later mentions how well cold and dark go together.
This is made even more poignant if you've read the books. Kosmotis Pitchiner was lured into opening the prison that held the Nightmares and Fearlings, becoming Pitch Black when they tricked him into hearing his daughter's voice coming from inside. Jack was lured into Pitch's lair by the memory of his sister's voice, which ended with disastrous results for Easter. Both were baited with the voice of a young female loved one, and the consequences led to the end of the Golden Age, and the Darkest Hour mentioned above, respectively.
- The similarity doesn't stop here. There is also the fact that both of them died from their own element. Jack died by drowning in an icy lake while Pitch (if the backstory is true) died eaten alive by the shadows.
- Oh, Crap:
- Jack, North, Bunnymund, and Sandy have a little fun taking teeth from under pillows. When Tooth asks if they remembered to leave gifts, they have this expression.
- He reacts this way when Sandy comes back to life and then owns him.
- And again later when he realizes that the Nightmares are after him now.
- Jack has one when, while prodding a a frozen nightmare, Pitch sneaks up behind him.
- He has another one when, while frantically searching for his tooth box in Pitch's lair, he suddenly hears Pitch's voice. Busted.
- Painting the Frost on Windows: Guess who? Late in the film, he uses this to keep Jamie believing in the Easter Bunny.
- Papa Wolf:
- Jack has shades of this attitude towards Baby Tooth, Jamie and Sophie and the other kids.
- In fact, all the male Guardians are this to children in general.
- According to his backstory, Pitch was one as well. In the movie...not so much.
- Peek-a-Bangs: Sophie's hair covers one eye.
- Petting Zoo People/Funny Animal: Bunnymund.
- Plucky Girl: Baby Tooth- when Pitch holds her hostage against Jack, she responds by stabbing his hand with her beak. Note that Pitch's fist is bigger than her.
- Pintsized Powerhouse:
- Sandy is the smallest Guardian, but can use those whips like a pro aside from being arguably the most powerful of the guardians with the most versatile power and interacting with kids most often (North and Bunny only see kids once a year and Tooth doesn't work in the field anymore, but Sandy gives dreams to every kid every night).
- The fairies might have been captured, but they did put up quite a fight.
- The Powers That Be: The Man in the Moon is basically God. Which presumably makes Pitch this universe's equivalent of Satan...
- The Prankster: Jack Frost. The Guardian of FUN. Full Stop. Borders almost on troll levels.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Jamie gets one in the final battle:
Jack: Looks like it's your fear [the Nightmares] smell.
- Bunny gets one near the end of the movie when he gets pulled out from under the car, now back to his original size.
Bunny: G'day, mate.
- Pre-emptive Declaration: Tooth throws a quarter at Pitch, confusing him for a second, and then punches him in the mouth to knock out a tooth.
- Race Lift: The Tooth Fairy is evidently vaguely Asian in the books while in the movie she's white.
- Rage Against the Heavens: Downplayed, but Jack is definitely not happy with being given no answers by the Man in the Moon as to why he was created, what his purpose is, and why he is alone and invisible—and even less so when he finds out he's expected to be The Chosen One, and finds it out by proxy since the Man in the Moon spoke to the other Guardians about it, not him.
- Really 700 Years Old: All of the Guardians and Pitch are said to be immortal.
- Refusal of the Call:
- Partly out of being the isolated, lonely Trickster more interested in mischief and fun than in helping others, but also thanks to feeling ignored by the Man in the Moon without being given a reason for his existence, Jack responds to the offer to become a Guardian this way—until, that is, he starts seeing the real danger Pitch represents through his attacks on the Tooth Palace and on Sandman. The call is finally accepted when he learns he can gain his memories (and thus finally find out why he's the way he is and what his purpose is) if he helps them defeat Pitch, although he isn't truly emotionally The Hero or The Chosen One until he actually views those memories.
- This is shown to have also happened with Pitch.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter:
- What Bunnymund becomes after Pitch deals his operation a body blow. He doesn't take Jamie's calling him "cute" kindly though.
- Baby Tooth, along with the rest of Tooth's helpers also count to an extent.
- Running Gag: The poor Yeti who constantly has to redo the large pile of already-done work next to him and sighs in exasperation.
North: I don't like it; paint it red!
: WHAT THE- *looks at pile of blue robot toys*
- Later at Bunnymund's Warren...
Bunnymund: Too Christmas-y, mate. Better paint it blue.
Yeti: *looks at pile of red Easter eggs and screams in frustration*
- And once more when Pitch tells the Yetis that their services are no long required.
Yeti: *has finally finished painting the robots red when they all start to clatter* WHAAGH!
Pitch: *laughs* You're all free to go! We won't be needing any Christmas toys this year, thank you! Nor ever again!
- Running on All Fours: Bunnymund. He stands and walks on his hind legs though.
- Sacrificial Lion: Sandy is the first and only guardian to be killed by Pitch, though he comes back. He even chooses to Face Death with Dignity.
- Sarcasm Mode: "Oh yeah, I love being stuffed in a sack and tossed through a magic portal." It's followed with a Sarcasm-Blind response — "Oh, good. That was my idea."
- Save Your Guardian: When the Guardians gets depowered because of the whole Gods Need Prayer Badly thing, the kids have to step in and protect them from the villain and his Night-Mares.
- Scare 'Em Straight: According to a backstory comic by one of the film's artists, Pitch was at one time a more or less benevolent proto-Guardian figure with this as his modus operandi. Note that this contradicts the books' version of his backstory, where he's a heroic mortal who was overwhelmed and transformed by nefarious fear spirits.
- Scenery Porn: All over the place, highlights definitely include each bit in one of the Guardian's main base of operations—the first walkthrough of North's workshop, the flight to Tooth's palace, various shots of Bunnymund's warren, and even the first visit to Pitch's lair.
- Serious Business: Children believing in the Guardians. And rightly so; it's their entire reason for existing!
- Ship Tease: Jack and Tooth. And yet the yaoi fangirls are all OVER Jack/Pitch and Jack/Bunnymund.
- "You call that a bag of choppers? Now this is a bag of choppers."
- North's naughty and nice tattoos.
- When little Bunny runs under the car and turns back into his Guardian form, the music score changes to Superman's theme.
- A bit of Jurassic Park's music score is heard with the dream dinosaurs are roaming about.
- In his first scene, North is humming and working to Igor Stavinsky's Firebird Suite.
- The toy UFO thingies from North's workshop makes noises almost exactly like the Mooks' planes from The Incredibles.
- The shot when the Sandman floats upwards after defeating Pitch is reminiscent of the scene in Superman Returns when Superman flies above the clouds.
- For that matter, Jack Frost's early flying scene (right before "Snow day!") is similar to the last flight scene in Superman Returns. Even the music is really Superman-ly. Funnily enough, both scenes involves an orange, dawn-like glow (that makes them similar to the Superman scenes) when it was clearly night in both cases.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Jack, to Pitch, in the beginning of the final fight.
Pitch: So what do you think, Jamie? Do you believe... in the Boogey- (Gets pelted with a snowball.)
- The Silent Bob: Sandman, who communicates mainly through the shapes he sculpts with his magic sand.
- Sinister Scythe: Pitch uses one as one of his attacks.
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Jack Frost is not in the first trailer. However, since his character arc is based on how no one believes in him as much as the other Guardians, it does make sense to have a trailer focused more on the others.
- Slasher Smile: Pitch pulls one off in the climax after Jack tells him he has nowhere to hide and he dissolves into the shadows before appearing behind Jack, about to strike him with his scythe.
- Also pulls one off beforehand in the lair:
Pitch: But that's not the point, Jack...what did "you" do? *cue creepy smile as he vanishes into shadow*
- Sleep Mode Size: When no one believes in him, Bunnymund drops from six-foot one badass to one-foot cute critter. Getting the neighborhood kids to believe again puts him back to normal.
- Smooch of Victory: Hilariously, North gives Jack's cheeks in celebration after Jack is formally made a Guardian. Then one elf does this to another elf, who responds by punching him out.
- The Smurfette Principle: The Tooth Fairy is the only female main character.
- Snowball Fight: Jack's specialty. He uses it for pretty much everything, from celebrations and fun-times to delivering the Shut Up, Hannibal! mentioned above.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Sandy pulls a most excellent entrance on Pitch.
- Stealth Pun: Pitch's Nightmares being horses.
- The Stinger: The kids are returned home.
- Synchronization: A mild example. When Pitch breaks Jack's staff, Jack is visibly pained. This gives Pitch the opening needed to cast Jack into the ravine.
- Sympathy for the Devil:
- It's brief, but check out the expressions on the Guardians' faces when Jamie runs right through Pitch at the end, confirming the Boogie Man is no longer feared or believed in. Those aren't expressions of triumph, folks.
- Also note the moment, right after Jack turned down Pitch's We Can Rule Together speech—from the brief look of despair on Pitch's face before he slips back into evil rage, it seems his offer was genuine and he was actually hurt by Jack's rejection.
- That Poor Cat: Lives in a building Jack and Sandy crash through while chasing Nightmares.
- Things That Go Bump in the Night: The Boogieman is upset that this is - at worst - all he is now, when he used to be a powerful fear entity.
- Tongue on the Flagpole: A young boy gets his tongue stuck to the frozen water from a drinking fountain due to Jack Frost freezing various things around town.
- Trailers Always Spoil:
- Remember the scenes with the enormous long-necked dinosaurs note made of dream sand strolling through the city? That’s completely toward the end of the movie, spoiling the fact Sandy comes back from the dead after Pitch killed him earlier on.
- There was a behind the scenes footage released that completely spoiled the fact Pitch kills Sandy. In fact, they showed the viewers Pitch directly aiming the arrow right at him!
- Throughout the movie, Jack can’t be seen by anybody but the four Guardians and Pitch but one scene shows a quick clip of Jamie staring wide eyed at Jack.
- Trickster: Jack is a clear example of this. He is shown in the early part of the movie to enjoy using his powers for pranks, often with no purpose other than pure amusement.
- Undying Loyalty:
- The fairies to Tooth, since she's basically their mother.
- Baby Tooth is also very loyal to Jack- she even tries to take on Pitch to help him!
- Unusual Euphemism: At least twice, North "swears" using the names of Russian composers, specifically (Demitri) Shostakovich and (Nicolai) Rimsky-Korsakov.
- Visual Pun: Pitch's Nightmares take the form of horses.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Jack and Bunnymund. They love to bicker and mock each other but when the chips come down, they will watch each other's backs.
- Vocal Dissonance: Jack's voice is much deeper than what his Pretty Boy design suggests.
- Walking the Earth: Jack is shown to do this, as he has no specific fixed "home," but instead goes where the Wind takes him, spreading frost and ice.
- Was Once a Man: Subverted in the fact that while the Guardians are more supernatural beings than monsters, Tooth implies that they were all mortal before becoming so. Bunnymund apparently was an actual bunny; the books show that Bunnymund was a rather anti-social Pooka who preferred to do things by himself. Tooth herself used to be human, or at least physically so. According to the books, Pitch was a man as well.
- We Can Rule Together: Pitch offers this to Jack. Jack, who wants to be believed in and not feared, refuses.
- Weapon of Choice:
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The only clues we get as to where the town of Burgess is located is when Jamie says Michigan is "super close" and his light on the globe being around the southeast portion of Lake Erie, potentially placing it somewhere in northwest Pennsylvania (confirmed by Word of God in the DVD extras), northeast Ohio, or southwest New York. In Real Life, there is a town called Burgess located in Virginia. As well as in Missouri and South Carolina, and Burgess Township in Illinois.
- Who Names Their Kid Cupcake?: Although it is surely a nickname that is both ironic (due to her intimidating, temperamental nature initially) and fitting (since her mostly-pink bedroom and dreams of unicorns show Hidden Depths).
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Pitch is motivated by the fact that for generations parents have been telling their children not to fear or believe in him. Compare the Guardians who are much beloved world wide. Averted by Jack, who suffers the same fate but doesn't let it alter his morals.
- The Worf Barrage: During the first major battle, Jack suddenly unleashes enough power to beat back Pitch. During the climax, Pitch's increased power (which seems to be inversely proportional to that of the Guardians) lets him shrug off Jack's attacks like nothing, even though Jack is, if anything, more powerful now than when the attack previously worked.
- The World Is Just Awesome: The opening sequence when Jack tests his powers, combined with Scenery Porn make for a fantastic visual.
- Would Hurt a Child: Pitch Black.
- X Meets Y:
- You Can See Me?: Jack says this after restoring Jamie's belief in the Easter Bunny, causing him to believe in Jack as well, consequentially making Jack visible.
- You Said You Would Let Them Go: Pitch holds Baby Tooth hostage in exchange for Jack's staff. When Jack hands it over, he then demands Pitch let Baby Tooth go. Pitch's response? "No."