Monday, July 15, 2013

Rise of the Guardians

Directed by Peter Ramsey.
Rated PG, 97 minutes.
Khamani Griffin
Jacob Bertrand
Kamil McFadden
Olivia Mattingly
Dominique Grund

Turns out there really is a slew of mythological beings collectively known as the Guardians watching over our children. As we learn very early on, in this movie if not in real life, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman are all indeed real. They've all been on their jobs since the end of the Dark Ages when they brought hope to the world, overthrowing the rule of the Pitch Back, AKA The Boogeyman (Law). Now, the bad guy is back to reclaim the world. On the advice of The Man in the Moon, The Guardians go outside of their ranks and turn to the reckless and mischievous Jack Frost (Pine) to help them stave off Pitch.

We immediately notice that the design of each character, with the possible exception of the Tooth Fairy, is a bit off from what we’re expecting. This is actually a stroke of genius that adds depth and personality to iconically mysterious figures. It brings them a bit closer to us, enough for us to identify with, as much as that’s possible. As intended, the one we relate to most is Jack. Far more than any of the others, he’s one of us. He’s unsure of himself and longs for attention and approval. That said, the Easter Bunny might be the most fun. He’s wary of Jack, downright dislikes him and lets it be known. Hugh Jackman has a great time voicing the character and it shows.

Character designs not withstanding, the movie has an interesting overall look. It seems to sit somewhere between full-blown CGI and traditional animation. This works nicely. Even better is the contrast between the bright, cheery colors surrounding our heroes and the gray pallet that adorns the villain. It reinforces the notion of good against evil.

Speaking of evil, it’s the bad guy that really makes the movie work. Jude Law is simply amazing. His methodical cadence is symbolic of Pitch’s carefully measured actions. Most of the time he’s also unsettlingly calm. To boot, he exudes confidence that he will be victorious, making him a very formidable foe.

On the surface, things boil down to that good guys/bad guy stuff. That aspect alone is fun, but there’s more to it than that. It plays on our childhood hopes and fears to create both excitement and dread. On an even deeper level, it’s possible to see the entire plot as a test of faith and what happens if we don’t have it. No, this doesn't get preachy and it’s not an advertisement for any religion. However, the theme is present. More than any of this, it’s just plain fun to watch.

MY SCORE: 8/10

No comments:

Post a Comment