Reviews: Rise Of The Guardians

An old story, told in a new way.

It has been said that there are no new stories - that all plots are repetitive, and can be traced back to ancient times. The only difference is the way in which the story is told. Rise of the Guardians proves to be a delight to watch despite this.

The music by Alexandre Desplat underscores each moment perfectly, even though at times you'd be hard pressed to point it out instantly as being from Rise of the Guardians.It has moments that aren't as recognizable as "Swan Lake" or "The Nutcracker", but it does its job, and can tell the story just as easily despite that.

The story, while a treat, does suffer a little. For a newcomer, you would be wondering "why does Santa have yetis make the toys?" or "why is the Man in the Moon so important?". A definite point of contention is "why does everyone call Santa 'North'?". The story is hard to get fully into if you haven't read the books, but is a real treat if you have. In a way, the movie tries to market the books to the general public. It also suffers from being short - only an hour and a half long. This restrains the story, and it ends up having action without padding in places, making things a jumbled mess.

Another problem the movie has is it's release date. It has to contend with Twilight (insanely popular series that makes little sense), James Bond (little to be said there) and Life of Pi (based on the bestselling book of the same name). With all the big names, few people are concerned about going to see an animated film about fairytales. Due to executive decisions, movie that do poorly at the box office, especially opening week, rarely get sequels, which is bad since Del Toro wants to adapt the tale of North. Which would be awesome.

Finally, there's the idea of going to see it solely to dissect it and its ideals and themes. As an aspiring author, I can say that I prefer telling a story and crafting a world more than I like making something with ideas that will stand time's passing. And I look for an enjoyable story when I go to see a movie. If I like the story and the way it's told, then I like the movie. Some people aren't like that, and I think that they're missing out.

The art is great. A little plastic as times, but good. You can even see the veins on the characters, so they tried.

Story - 7/10 Music - 8/10 Art - 9/10 Presentation - 6/10

Total: 7.5/10


I came back from the movie excited and full of theories and ideas, like a usual knee-jerk reaction to something I found 'really cool!' and 'awesome!' I scribbled the main character everywhere and wrote down blurbs about his history and stuff to keep track of it, tried to mimic some of the worlds and lands I got from the movie. I just especially loved the idea of Jack Frost, and the way the movie was animated- super flowy and dynamic. Expressions were amazing.

Then I read some internet reviews. Nothing kills enthusiasm quite as quickly as some snarky critic giving something you genuinely enjoyed a 0/4 on rotten tomatoes. It wasn't even good snark. Just a lot of things about 'cliches' and 'empty stories' and 'very shallow lessons' and 'i don't know who the sandman is kids dont either.'

Wow. I just have to agree to disagree. The amount of backstory and worldbuilding effort that was apparent just from one watch through indicates at least some level of depth, and the final line 'believe in the guardians' doesn't exactly mean cruelly commanding innocent tykes to put faith in imaginary badass russian santa claus. Because it is a story and not an aesop, there does not have to be an aesop, this does not mean it is consumerism. Objectively, (give me a break here, ok) the story could have been told better, and I didn't think this was the most amazing movie I'd seen, but it was solid, and plenty fascinating. I just wanted to start a bit of a discussion. Was it because I was imagining a couple of scenarios at any given time as soon as I started getting a grip on the direction of the story? I genuinely don't know, but I feel like all the official critics missed something essential, especially if they got no enjoyment at all. At what point does cynicism become blinding? Also objectively: they should have focused more on character development instead of frenetically jumping scenes and places, but I just didn't care. This has been a review. <— mild facepalm

Actually Pretty Good

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...