Let me start off with this, I am all about putting a new twist on old characters (except Star Wars episodes I-III, that’s right Lucas, I’m looking at you) especially when it comes to fables. Robin McKinley’s brilliantly written Beauty, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, is fantastic. Disney more recently made us fall in love with Rapunzel in their traditional rags-to-princess style in Tangled (even the Mr liked that one). So when Dreamworks announced their Rise of the Guardians trailer, my spidey sense started tingling. Santa, with sleeve tattoos? An Easter bunny with an attitude? Jack Frost? Count me in.
Of course we saw it in 3D. DUH.
Anyways, on with the story. Jack Frost has no idea where he’s come from, the Man in the Moon (whom we never see), has picked him to become a Guardian. Also there’s Pitch-Black, the boogey man, who wants to make the world live in fear, and believe in him. Person with with most beliefs = most powerful, you with me? Ok.
Also, Santa (They call him North in the movie) has sleeves. SLEEVES. I cant get over it. Mr said “Best Santa ever”
So as bad guys do, Pitch starts causing all the trouble, taking the Tooth fairy’s teeth, causing children not to believe in them, taking all the Sandman’s power, that sort of thing. In the end, Jack Frost finds his “center”, his purpose, and with the help of children who actually believe in him, he defeats Pitch. Well, the kids really defeat Pitch. Also the Sandman helps. Oh my word the Sandman. He is my favorite. He’s adorable. Also he doesnt talk. interesting.
Hang on, let me pull my brain together and talk about the characters and why I like this interpretation of them. Let’s start with Santa.
As you’ll notice in the picture above, this Santa is definitely not the one we remember from the coca cola commercials. He still has a pleasant expression on his face, but there is something darker about this Santa, more menacing even. For one there’s the tattoos, “Naughty”, and “Nice”, brilliant. This Santa loves children, he loves them, but, he also has to protect them. No longer is he the fat guy who delivers toys, his a protector of what the world holds dear, children.
And then there’s Sandy. Or the Sandman.
He’s my favorite. Sandy doesnt have the ability to talk, but uses his sand to create animations to illustrate his thoughts. Mostly he’s adorable, but dont make him angry.
The Tooth Fairy is this weird, bird-fairy-human character. Like the rest of the Guardians, her role is bigger than normal. Not only does she collect teeth but through the collecting of the teeth, she collects memories. You lose a tooth, it holds your childhood memories, and when you need to, the Tooth fairy helps you remember.
Jack is pretty much self-explanatory. He’s trying to figure out what his purpose is. He becomes Guardian but doesnt know why, and spends most of the movie trying to find out. Jack is more personal with children than Santa or the any of the otehr Guardians. Instead of seeing them once a year, or while their sleeping, or whatever, Jack helps them have snowball fights. Gives them snow days, and lets them have ridiculously impossible sledding adventures. He knows their names, and their dogs, and is basically one of them.
This is the Easter bunny. Voiced by Hugh Jackman. He’s over six feet tall and has an attitude. And Hugh Jackman. That’s basically all you need to know about the Easter bunny.
The story of Guardians is not overly-complicated, but I dont think I would take anyone under six to see it. Because there are some semi-scary images of Black bad-dream horses, and there’s even death that’s personal to the Guardians, but he comes back to life. Also, I think that for the under six crowd, its a bit much of a story to unpack. I happen to know a certain four-year-old who would be scared in certain scenes, but she also would look at me at the end with a puzzled expression on her face. Then she’d probably ask to watch “Cinderella”, or whatever. The movie has its funny moments of course, competitions, and life lessons. Its most definitely a coming-of-age story, which we see through Jack Frost, well, more a like becoming-who-you-are story.
Overall I thought Rise was a good movie. Will I watch it a second time in theaters? Nope. Will I buy it on DVD next Christmas? Maybe. Recommend it? Sure, of you want a pleasant cinema experience. I didnt say this earlier, but the animation is really good. I think Dreamworks might be stepping up their game (except for “The Croods” trailer, I mean, Nicholas Cage as a caveman? what?)
Peace, Love, and Boomerangs
P.s. The Hobbit is coming
P.P.S. THE HOBBIT IS COMING
P.P.S.S. MARTIN FREEMAN:
SO MUCH HAPPINESS.