As adults, it’s hard to see the world through the eyes of a child, and how magical the world can be. Growing up hardens us, and magic plays a distant second fiddle to harsher realities, causing us to forget the wonders of our youth.
Rise of the Guardians gives a rare opportunity to relive our childhoods, and make us remember the simplicity and innocence we once had. Though the film does go a little dark for a kids’ film (it was executive produced by Guillermo del Toro, so it’s not surprising), Guardians will touch your hearts, and is remarkable for the young and the young at heart.
For the last 300 years, Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine) has brought snowy fun for the kids, which is great for him because he loves having fun all the time. However, the kids don’t know he’s real, and Jack often wonders why he even exists. Jack abruptly gets his answer when he is called upon by Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin) to join the ranks of the Guardians — which consist of Santa, a silent Sandman, the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), and the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) — when Pitch (Jude Law), the notorious Boogey Man, returns to make fear a permanent state of mind, diminishing the hope and light brought on by the Guardians. Now, Jack needs to extinguish his own self-doubt and step up to protect the children he has given so much joy to before it’s too late.
Director Peter Ramsey (storyboard artist for Fight Club) makes his stunning feature film directorial debut here, and, with the help of Pulitzer Prize-winning screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire (Inkheart), brings the world of author William Joyce’s story to life. With amazing visuals, sweeping landscapes, and abnormally mature writing for a children’s movie, the film manages to be a powerful movie that is magical enough for younger audiences, but compelling enough for adults as well, including the interesting origin story of Jack Frost, as well as fun twists on the classical myths of the other Guardians.
Given that the Boogey Man is the villain, a darker tone is almost to be expected from Rise of the Guardians. Producer Guillermo del Toro is known for doing darker films like Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy, and Dreamworks Animation usually won’t bat an eye to make a film that’s darker than their competitors at Pixar. But parents, don’t let that scare you away. There is still many bright and colorful moments in the film, and will certainly bring a lot of joy and wonderment to your child’s heart, as well as your own.
For an added treat, I do encourage you to see the film in 3D, but, once again, make sure that it’s either the Real D or the Master Image 3D (clear lenses) for the ultimate experience. The Dolby Digital 3D (different color lenses) does not use the same technology, and will make the film seem discolored rather than eye-popping. Before going, check Fandango.com or call your local theater, for they will know which type of 3D they offer.
FINAL VERDICT: Rise of the Guardians brings the joy of the Christmas season early with a film that can be fully enjoyed by both children and adults. The wonderful script and vivid, eye-catching visuals make this a stunning treat for all ages, which will touch the heart and make you feel like a kid again.