As you may know, I’m not a fanatical fan of Dreamworks Animation films; but I still have seen almost all of them and for the most part, enjoy what I see. But I’ve never been ecstatic or pumped up to see any one of their films….that is, until “Rise of the Guardians”!
When I saw the trailer for this film and the gorgeous animation/animated effects, I was mesmerized in a way that I’ve never been before in regards to a Dreamworks Animation film! And being a guy who doesn’t really go to the cinemas to see films; I was anxiously awaiting the DVD release of this film so that I could finally see it! And then, when this film didn’t do as well as the company had hoped for; I was shocked and that further fueled my desire to see this film!
Well, I finally watched it! So, what do I think? Well, let’s see!
Let’s talk about the story, first!
As many people have pointed out before me, this film is like “The Avengers” except with childhood mythological/fictional characters. The story is that North (Santa Claus), Tooth (The Tooth Fairy), E. Aster Bunnymund (The Easter Bunny), and Sandy (The Sandman) are part of a group called, “The Guardians”. Their job is to take care and protect kids by doing what they’re supposed to do, i.e. give gifts, take teeth, give money, grant dreams, give eggs, etc. And as long as children believe in them, the Guardians appear visible to the children, and all is well in the world.
But, Pitch Black (The Boogeyman) is tired of being not believed in (i.e. people saying that there’s no such thing as the Boogeyman), and hence tired of being unseen. So, he becomes the villain of our story and tries to get the children to disbelieve in the Guardians and hence believe (and fear) him alone, thereby making him the only visible character to the children.
The Guardians then have to swear in a new guardian to help them battle Pitch and stop his evil plan. And the new guardian is Jack Frost, a supposedly 18 y/o fun-loving mischief-making…icemaker!
And the rest of the film is them getting over their personal differences with each other and stopping Pitch in his tracks!
Ok, so what do I think of the story? Well, I think it holds up pretty well. It’s not overly complicated, and not extremely simplistic as well. It delves into many themes like teamwork, having an identity, crises of faith, and even belief in God Almighty! So for that, I quite adore the story and commend it.
Next, let’s talk about the voice acting. Here is where it disappoints me a bit. The voice acting seems to fall into a spectrum of adjectives: from amazing all the way to miscast.
In terms of the amazing voice actors, only one fits in this category, in my opinion. And that is Jude Law as the villain, Pitch!
He is surprisingly amazing! His voice just has that evil feeling in it as well as that misunderstood feeling in it. Even his grunts seem credible! Now I see why he was nominated for the “Annie Award for Voice Acting in a Feature Presentation”! I don’t say this often, but Jude Law is a celebrity that I’m kinda hoping would do more voice roles in the future.
Then, you have Alec Baldwin as the Russian Santa Claus, North. He falls into the “pretty good” category. You don’t even know that it’s Alec Baldwin, but it falls short (not by much, though) of being amazing and in the same category as Jude Law.
Also, Dakota Goyo, voices a kid named Jamie, and he’s surprisingly pretty good as well and hence fits into this category.
Then, there’s Isla Fisher and Hugh Jackman as The Tooth Fairy and The Easter Bunny, respectively, and they’re…tolerable; let’s leave it at that.
And then finally, we come to the miscast voice, in my opinion, and that’s Chris Pine as Jack Frost! What’s the biggest problem? Chris Pine is 32 and Jack Frost is 18! That’s where the voice doesn’t work at all! It stands out even more than Zac Efron did in “The Lorax”!
Then finally, we come to the animation and animated effects. I just have one word to describe that: Superb!
Now do I consider this film absolutely perfect? Well, no, there are two main problems I have with the film. The first is the voice actors that aren’t amazing, as I’ve mentioned before. And the other is that although I like the story, there are scenes in the movie that I feel are just pointless and filler and just taking up unnecessary time. Those are the two downfalls with the movie for me, but they’re rather grave, nonetheless.
I considered “How to Train Your Dragon” to be my favorite Dreamworks Animation film (well technically, my favorite is “Flushed Away”, but I see that as more an Aardman production rather than a Dreamworks film) and I had hoped that this film would take over as my favorite. And…it did 🙂 !