Written by / 11/24/2012 / No comments / , , ,

RISE OF THE GUARDIANS

year: 2012 voices: Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin rating: **1/2
The true meaning and/or reasons behind every holiday are one thing, but those mythological mascots we’ve become accustomed to are all that matters in RISE OF THE GUARDIANS. Thanks to the Man on the Moon (God with a face), the Guardians were given the chance to bring happiness to children – protecting them from that terrible thing called Fear. But we’re skipping ahead. First let's introduce the characters at hand... Santa Claus we all know; but you’ve never seen him like this. Big, boisterous and tattooed, this Russian Chris Kringle seems like a tavern bouncer and he’s the leader of the pack, mainly because of his strength and girth, but he’s got the vehicle to get everyone around. The reindeer-driven sled is something of a bionic jalopy with a hyper-drive option.

The Easter Bunny, more of a jackrabbit on steroids... with an Australian accent and the bravado of an intrepid mercenary... has a lot more guts than brains and thinks too highly of his Egg-painted holiday, which everyone knows – including himself, deep down – pales to a White Christmas.

There’s the Tooth Fairy, a pointy nosed Tinkerbell dressed like a lizard imitating a colorful bird, with plenty of tiny fairy soldiers, who not only collect teeth in exchange for money but those teeth hold every child’s inner thoughts and dreams, or something weird like that.  

Then the Sandman: a cute fat little guy whose small size is made up for in strength and purpose: He’s the one who puts kids to sleep with sweet dreams... But not all dreams are sweet...

Enter the villain, Pitch, a tall shadowy dude wielding literal Night Mares (ominous black horses) to scare the wits out of children worldwide. He wants to rule the world for no other reason than the story needing a formidable antagonist to get the group together.

And now for the main character, and how the story begins...

A teenager (resembling Peter Pan with white hair), floating up through a dark freezing lake,  rises onto the surface and realizes his frolicking power is to turn everything into ice and snow. His name is Jack Frost and no one can see him, nor do they believe in him (let's just say kids take the weather for granite).

But Jack is the key here and the only hope to save the world. His backstory is something we wait for, providing him an edge over the others: he  becomes the hero going up against the Nightmare Machine practically on his own... At least for a little while.  

The main problem with RISE OF THE GUARDIANS is how long it takes for what turns out a very simple battle – the Guardians verses Pitch – to occur. There’s so much expository dialog about the characters and their purpose for each holiday and/or ritual thereof, kids in the audience might need their own Cliff’s Notes to understand exactly what’s going on.

It takes a few action sequences, like the sled taking off from the North Pole in a freestyle toboggan slope, to make up for over-explaining the basic theme: children needing "imaginary" heroes to fight their fears, without which there’s little hope. 

If anything, the actual RISE itself isn’t all that important. It takes too long to happen and can be downright tedious, especially with a villain lacking substantial purpose or motivation.

The inevitable fight against that dark foe is what really matters, but make sure your kids are prepared because the depiction of nightmares possibly taking over the world may cause real ones. 
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