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Marcus Reviews Rise of the Guardians

2 Dec

Synopsis:

When the evil spirit Pitch (The Boogeyman) launches an assault on Earth, the Immortal Guardians (Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy, The Sandman, The Easter Bunny & the newly appointed Jack Frost) team up to protect the innocence of children all around the world.

What I Liked:

This movie is basically The Avengers/The Justice League for the pre-high school generation and it’s awareness of this fact turns out to be it’s greatest strength. The guardians are handled like superheroes; each with their own special powers & individual strengths but, like all superhero team movies, it’s seeing the group interact and fight together that is the true treat.

Visually Dreamworks is usually always playing second fiddle to Pixar & Disney but in the last few years they’ve stepped their game up and this is no exception. From the varied character designs to the surprisingly expansive world to the effects for the powers, Rise is a very attractive movie with an impressive amount of detail put into the visuals.

Plot-wise the movie was pretty by-the-numbers stuff but the overarching themes were pretty interesting. Without giving too much away, once a guardian is chosen they depend on the belief of children to keep them from “disappearing” into nothing more than a myth or an urban legend and I found that to be somewhat fascinating.

While for the most part they don’t have much depth, each of the characters in the movie are engaging in their own way which can be credited to the mostly impressive voice acting. Alec Baldwin showcases an great Russian accent as the hilariously over-the-top Santa Claus (who’s bound to be the kids favorite character), Isla Fisher speaks in double time as the frantic and semi-anal Tooth Fairy, Hugh Jackman goes back to his native accent as the overcompensating Easter Bunny and Jude Law (I kept mistaking for Tom Hiddleston) gets sinister as the very Loki-esque and poorly named Pitch (whenever someone said his name it sounded like they were cursing) aka The Boogeyman. I didn’t mention Sandy aka The Sandman because he didn’t speak a word the entire movie, instead he spoke using gestures and materializing images with his dream sand which was pretty cool and reminded me of The Green Lantern. The human characters were overall forgettable but they ultimately served their purpose.

The movie is briskly paced and while I do wish that they would’ve delved a bit more into the pasts of the Guardians and Pitch, I’m glad that the movie didn’t overstay it’s welcome.

Another way that this movie can be compared to The Avengers is by how high octane and epic that the action set pieces were. There were moments during the fight scenes that I actually got goosebumps from some of the things that I was seeing.

The elves & the yeti that belongs to Santa Claus were outright hilarious. I greatly prefer them to the minions from Despicable Me.

The scoring was nothing special but it was appropriate for the movie.

What I Didn’t Like:

While Jack Frost was pretty interesting and an overall likeable character, I felt like the choice of voice actor was a bit off putting. Even though he’s over a hundred years old, his character model makes him look like a teenager and Chris Pine’s voice sounded a bit too masculine and adult. There were moments where it match but others where it just didn’t sound right. I feel like they would’ve been better off going with a younger guy.

As I noted earlier, the movie goes by pretty quickly and because of this we only really got character development from Jack Frost. Now while I understand that this was basically his movie, I can only hope that there ends up being a sequel because I was left with questions about all of the other characters’ back stories as well as how the “Man on the Moon” thing even works.

Overall:

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again here, in my view the best animated films have something that appeals to both the children and the grown ups in the audience. They have to be able to cater to the kids while still being able to somehow keep the adults engaged and for the most part Rise of The Guardians does just that. While it could’ve used a bit more in the way of character development and there was an odd choice of voice actor, RoTG’s strengths ultimately outweigh its negatives with fun characters, attractive visuals, epic action set pieces and a surprising amount of depth for a movie of this nature. If you’ve already seen Wreck-It-Ralph then I definitely recommend that you grab your siblings, your kids or even some friends and check this one out.

Rating: B