Rise of the Guardians
Rise of the Guardians is a 2012 American computer-animated, fantasy film based on William Joyce's The Guardians of Childhood book series and The Man in the Moon short film. Peter Ramsey directed the film, while Joyce and Guillermo del Toro were executive producers with voice acting by Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, and Jude Law. Produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures, it was released on November 21, 2012.
Jack Frost awakens from a frozen pond with amnesia. Upon realizing no one can see or hear him, he disappears. Three hundred years later, Jack, as the young Spirit of Winter, enjoys delivering snow days to school kids, but resents that they do not believe in him. At the North Pole, the Man in the Moon warns Nicholas St. North that Pitch Black is threatening the children of the world with his nightmares. He calls E. Aster Bunnymund, Sandy, and Tooth, to arms. They are then told that Jack Frost has been chosen to be a new Guardian.
Visiting Tooth's world, Jack learns that each and every baby toothcontains childhood memories of the children who lost it, Jack's teeth included. However, Pitch raids Tooth's home, kidnapping all of her subordinate tooth fairies except Baby Tooth and stealing all the teeth, thus preventing Tooth from sharing Jack's memories and weakening children's belief in Tooth. In order to thwart Pitch's plan, the group decides to collect children's teeth. During their journey, a quarrel between North and Bunnymund awakens a boy, Jamie. Since he still believes, he can see everybody except for Jack. Pitch's nightmares then attack, provoking Sandy as the Guardian of Dreams. Jack tries to intervene, but Sandy is overwhelmed and killed by Pitch.
As Easter approaches, the dejected Guardians gather in Bunnymund's home. With the unexpected aid of Jamie's little sister, Sophie, they begin the process of painting eggs for Easter. After Jack takes Sophie home, he is lured to Pitch's lair by a voice. Pitch taunts him with his memories and fear of non-belief, distracting him long enough for Pitch to destroy the eggs, causing children to stop believing in Easter and Bunnymund. Losing his trust in the Guardians, Jack isolates himself in Antarctica, where Pitch tries to convince him to join his side. When Jack refuses, Pitch threatens to kill Baby Tooth unless Jack gives him his staff, the source of his magic. He agrees, but Pitch breaks Jack's staff and throws him down a chasm. Unlocking his memories, he learns that he was a mortal teenager who fell into ice while saving his younger sister. Inspired, Jack repairs his staff and returns to the lair to rescue the kidnapped baby fairies.
Due to Pitch, every child in the world except Jamie disbelieves, drastically weakening the Guardians. Finding Jamie's belief wavering, Jack makes it snow in his room, renewing Jamie's belief and letting him see Jack. Jack and Jamie gather the boy's friends, whose renewed belief bolsters their fight against Pitch. Pitch threatens them, but their dreams prove stronger than his nightmares, resulting in Sandy's resurrection. Defeated and disbelieved in, Pitch tries to retreat, but his nightmares, sensing his own fears, turn on him and trap him in his lair. Afterward, Jamie and his friends bid goodbye to the Guardians as Jack accepts his place as the Guardian of Fun.
Why it Rocks
- Rise of the Guardians has an incredible distinct and unique plot: having childhood urban legends teaming up in the style of 2012's The Avengers.
- This film is one of the most beautiful and visually pleasing of the year, most notably the scenes with Sandman.
- Alec Baldwin did play nicely as Santa Claus.
- The film's story and tone is surprisingly heartfelt, though the often predictable, narrative about the power of belief and the importance of companionship.
- A very solid voice cast with Chris Pine (Jack), Alec Baldwin (North), Hugh Jackman (Bunnymund), Isla Fisher (Tooth), and Jude Law (Pitch).
- The film's lack of pop-culture jokes, which represents the post-Shrek direction of DreamWorks well enough.
- While mostly comedic, the movie still has intense and emotional moments with a general theme of childhood, memories, and believing.
- Rise was a major box office bomb, while the film did gross more than double of its $145 million budget, it still did not turn a profit for DreamWorks due to its high production and marketing costs, forcing the studio to take an $83 million write-down.
Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film three-and-a-half out of four stars and found the film's characters to have "a primal familiarity, as though they were developed by a tag team of Maurice Sendak and Walt Disney." Olly Richards of Empire wrote, "It's gorgeously designed, deftly written and frequently laugh-out-loud funny. For child or adult, this is a fantasy to get lost in." The Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan also gave the film a positive review and said, "Thoughts become things. That's the message of Rise of the Guardians, a charming if slightly dark and cobwebbed animated feature about how believing in something makes it real, or real enough."
Based on 148 reviews, the film holds a rating of 74% on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 6.5/10, based on 151 reviews. Its critical consensus reads: "A sort of Avengers for the elementary school set, Rise of the Guardians is wonderfully animated and briskly paced, but it's only so-so in the storytelling department."
- This was the last DreamWorks Animation film to be distributed by Paramount Pictures before Fox would distribute DreamWorks’ later films from 2013 to 2017.