In Rise of the Guardians, DreamWorks takes another look at familiar legends and shows them in an all new light. In a battle that spans the globe, Santa Claus a.k.a. North (Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), the Sandman, Jack Frost (Chris Pine) and even the bogeyman Pitch (Jude Law) are all wrapped up in the same world and fighting for the belief and attentions of the children of today.
After many months of hearing about this film, I was doubtful if it would be good. I didn’t like the character designs from the posters because I didn’t want to give up my vision of these icons. Tattooed Santa, giant Easter Bunny, feathery Tooth Fairy…I’m a traditionalist and that just scared me. Interestingly enough, when put into the context of this story, I was pleasantly surprised to have really enjoyed myself.
The film dives into more detail on the mythos behind this group of legends as a whole and individually. Particularly the movie focuses on Jack Frost and his mysterious origins. I found myself believing it all and cheering on my favorites. While many of the films in the DreamWorks canon support themselves mostly on silliness, slapstick comedy, and then followed up by a plethora of sequels, ‘Rise of the Guardians’ really does draw you in and makes you a part of the action.
The animation was crisp and stunning. It seems almost photoreal at times (there was a scene where the minion-like elves offered a plate of cookies and I could have sworn it was real). DreamWorks really has outdone themselves and presented the world with a wonderful and beautiful animated film.
3D notes: I personally enjoyed the 3D. Only twice or so did they use it to give the “close enough to touch” feel that enchants children, but so often gives me headaches. It was used classily and added a rich depth to the animation.
Final thoughts: Watch it. This movie is in close contention for the best animated film of the year!