I can't say I expected much from this movie. I had to cringe, thinking of all the cash I spent on other Dream Works
movies that seemed more about money than a good story. The first trailer, and the release date, made me think it was yet another "Santa - with a spin!" tale that rarely ever ends up fulfilling.
And yet, I found myself pleasantly surprised. It's a pretty good movie. Fantastic? Maybe not, but worth your time, definitely. The plot's no great shakes, I must admit. Parts of it seem rushed, or jumbled. But the movie's got some great visuals (That battle in the clouds comes to mind) And the world's far better than what I expect from a kid's movie, with a lot of little details and references to flesh it out. Having glanced at the Guardians of Childhood page, I can guess where that all came from, and where future sequels may get some material. (And here's hoping for future sequels)
I have to say that my favorite part by far had to have been the characters. The movie does succeed in giving fairy tales a new vitality, and while there's a strong message of faith and belief, it's balanced out with the moral of facing your fears and finding yourself. A refreshing break from holiday tales with a cheek-pinching Santa Claus that seems to almost talk down to the audience. Santa's character managed to be the jolly guy we all know, but with a bit of cockiness and grit in the mix. The Easter Bunny was much the same. Pitch has got to be the smarmiest children's villain since Hades, and I'd certainly prefer him over any King Candy or Charles Muntz.
And Jack Frost was the main attraction, of course. I don't get attached to characters easily - I can only name six that I'd consider favorites, and one of them happens to be in this movie - but something about this one drew me. Equal parts light-hearted trickster and bitterly lost soul, I always felt sorry for Jack without ever wanting to reach in and smack him for whining so much. He's fun and up-beat, but with a bit more conflict and moral gray areas than I'd expect from a kid's movie. Still solidly a hero, but not entirely pure about it. His legion of fan girls is well deserved, in my opinion.
Kung Fu Panda, How To Train Your Dragon, and now Rise of the Guardians. It's heartening, to see Dream Works
finally come into it's own. Now if only they could pick better release dates...