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Rise of the Guardians Review

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Synopsis

Bewildered and clueless about his birth into the world as an immortal entity, Jack Frost soars with the chilly winds enchanting the weather with snowfall and frozen lakes creating endless fun for children everywhere. However, with little recognition and belief from the children, Jack continually wonders the earth invisible to everyone with a lonely persona. Yet, when Pitch Black seeks to insulate the world into eternal chaos and nightmares, Jack must team up with other fairy tale legends to counter Pitch’s schemes at all costs before children stop entirely believing in these tales and thus, ceasing their existence. Along the epic adventure, Jack also must comprehend why he was chosen to be a Guardian with his magical talents, but there a great divide between being chosen a Guardian and being a Guardian.

Characters

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Jack Frost
An immortally young and supernatural being chosen by the Moon to be a Guardian. Unlike the other Guardians, Jack roams the earth alone relinquishing an abundance of snow and ice to which his magical abilities center around. He personifies the classic rebel without cause, yet is charismatic and witty in nature. Simply trying to find his place in the world, Jack must first attempt to understand his purpose before even taking on the role of a Guardian.

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Nicholas St. North (Santa Claus)
An immense and buff legend who is very well known for sleighing across the night of Christmas Eve delivering presents. North possesses a heart of gold and is skilled in the mastery of swordsmanship. Whether naughty or nice, as long as the child believes in him, North will always be prepared to fight for their sake. As Guardian of Wonder, North indulges in preserving the everlasting curiosity of children.

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E. Aster Bunnymund (Easter Bunny)
Of Pooka descent, Bunnymund is the lone survivor of his race among other 6 foot bunny warriors of philosophical legend. Part sorceror, Part ninja, and entirely brilliant, Bunnymund uses his intricate tunnel system to travel at high speed across the earth. He takes great pride and seriousness in his duty of being a Guardian, and as Guardian of Hope, he yearns to bring about joyful expectations for children to look forward to with his Easter eggs.

Review

Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy all in one film? I never thought the big three would be in the same film any time soon, but looks like it’s here already! To start off, I have to say the interpretation of these classic legends are simply miraculous. Who would have ever thought of Santa Claus having the words “Naughty” and “Nice” tattooed on his forearms or that the Easter Bunny was skilled in boomerangs or that the Tooth Fairy was of hummingbird hybrid? To be completely honest, I had no absolutely clue who the Sandman was before the film. But hey! At least I know now!

Jack Frost is quite the charmer I must say. Even as an animated figure, DreamWorks did a splendid job in molding a handsome rebel that captures the nature of young teens. It truly makes him more admirable as he sees the good in himself throughout the film. The Boogeyman himself was not as terrifying as I visualized him to be as a child. I found his nightmare horses to be more horrific than he himself. I understand that DreamWorks wanted to make it highly suitable for children, but give us older folks here a little scare at least. His animation structure simply depicts a typical man clothed in all black. What’s scary about that?

Onto the story line, I must say the movie started out terribly slow and unpleasing. The movie took a large majority of the introduction to set the stage giving a brief glimpse of each of the Guardians which is indeed necessary, but need not consume so much time. Throughout the film, I was outright confused by the names the characters went by such as Santa Claus going by “North” or the Man in the Moon called “MiM.” Much of my time while watching the film was stuck on who the characters were referring to rather than enjoying the film itself. I also think that by addressing them by their original names would connect with the younger audience more just because it sets out a familiar term that is well known.

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Sandy (Sandman)
Peaceful by nature, Sandy is a truly compassionate and caring friend who values his relationships with the other Guardians and is respected as being the first ever Guardian. As the Guardian of Dreams, Sandy does not speak a single word for fear of waking up children as they dream happily. This leads him to communicate through the usage of his dream sand as it manifests images as if he’s constantly playing charades. However, he is ready to whip off any nightmares endangering the lives of any child.

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Toothiana (Tooth Fairy)
Tooth is a hybrid of part human and part hummingbird and serves as the leaders of her mini-fairy helpers. Her duty lies in collecting baby teeth and leaving behind money. Bubbly, elegant, and even a fierce fighter, Tooth is completely infatuated with Jack and his pearly, glistening teeth. As Guardian of Memory, Tooth’s collection of teeth hold the memories of children and even, the answer to Jack Frost’s origins.

I truly loved the idea that the Tooth Fairy’s collection of teeth hold memories of the children. Even the Guardians’ baby teeth are in her possession. This smoothly paved the way into Jack Frost seeking his own teeth with memories of his past life. And along with this, brings about the common theme that the greatest deeds done need no public recognition. They are great as long as you perceive them to be. And in addition, the teeth memory scene conveys to the audience that even these renowned legends were once human too. It is what they did unseen in their past lives that made them worthy to be immortal Guardians.

The ending of the movie left an unsettling feeling for me. It gave a seriously weird ending message that went something like, “Remember that when the Moon tells you to do something, You do it.” That was completely unexpected and not at all pleasing for an ending. It baffled me that this terribly cliche quote would serve as the ending. If anything, it was horribly worded giving off the notion that if the moon ever tells you to do something, you should seriously do it.

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The Man in the Moon (MiM)
Little is known about this mysterious man except that he is the first Guardian to live on the moon. He is depicted as a silent, but active observer of the events that occur on earth and communicates to the Guardians through the shining of his radiance.

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Pitch Black (The Boogeyman)
As King of Nightmares, Pitch is the arch nemesis of the Guardians who is shunned and unacknowledged by children because of the Guardians’ protections. However, that is all about to change as Pitch unleashes his demonic horses and nightmares upon children to reinforce fear and regain his dominance in the spiritual world.

Overall, a stunning animation that incorporates the wonders of classic fairy tale legends. Though some work could have been done to polish the design and dialogue, it does not stop the film from imposing wonder on us all.

Rating: 8/10

Produced by: DreamWorks Animation

Director: Peter Ramsey

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