Rise of the Guardians Review

Last week we hit a few movies at the theater.  So the next few days I’ll be giving summary reviews of said movies.  The first one in question is the cutesy CGI children’s action/adventure, Rise of the Guardians.  Based on the book series by William Joyce about the guardians of children, Lord North (Santa Claus; Guardian of Wonder), Bunnymund (Easter Bunny; Guardian of Hope), Sandy (The Sandman; Guardian of Dreams), and Toothiana (Tooth Fairy; Guardian of Memories).

Given that I’m not a professional reviewer, I’m going to do this review a little out of sequence from how you might normally find this kind of stuff.  As it is an animated adventure, we’ll start with…the voice dubbing!

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Voice Acting

Alec Baldwin does a really good job of playing Lord North/Santa Claus, I didn’t even recognize his voice.  Although really North should probably be more Danish or Norwegian than Russian, the accent and mannerisms still fit the persona of Santa Claus well.  Hugh Jackman also does well as Bunny, but Isla Fisher outshines him as Toothiana with a combination of girly cuteness and stressed administrative leader.  Jude Law plays a surprisingly good sympathetic villain as Pitch Black, the Lord of Nightmares.

All in all the voice acting is really well performed.

Plot

The plot of the movie is set about 200 years after the book series and opens with the introduction of a new guardian: Jack Frost.  The whole basis of idea is that for any of the guardians to have power, they must be believed in.  This doesn’t necessarily hold true for Jack, it seems, though as he is naturally very powerful even without being believed in.  But power means very little when you’ve spent the past three centuries alone with no one being able to see, hear, or touch you.

Pitch Black, suffering from the same problem as Jack Frost, has developed new powers of his own and created his own lair from which he launches his evil machinations and shenanigans.  I wanted to see the movie because I thought the idea of a bunch of fairytale heroes being badass warrior guardians of children was a pretty nifty idea.  And the idea holds out pretty well, I think.

But what I was surprised by was the great interaction between the guardians, they all have unique personalities that are well acted and maintained.  My only real complaint is that Toothiana falls victim to the ‘powerless female’ trope.  She’s the first to fall victim to Pitch’s shenanigans and has to be rescued by her comrades, her subordinates (portrayed in a feminine fashion) are small and powerless and incapable of saving themselves when engaged in combat, Toothiana’s first real interaction with Jack Frost has her swooning over his handsomeness, and she only engages in actual combat once or twice in the whole movie…using a tiny knife.  By comparison North carries dual cutlasses, Bunnymund carries a few boomerangs which he can throw with deadly accuracy, Jack has a magic staff, and Sandy uses whips made of sand (he reminded me of a child story version of Gaara from Naruto).

The ending left a little something to be desired, especially considering there was definitely a missed opportunity for a redemption story that never came.  But all in all it was a touching kid’s movie with enough good dialogue and acting to keep the adults entertained.

All in all I found it a good movie, with the good banter it wound up being better than I expected it to be.

~RCS

The Guardian of Dickery

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