Hero Development – A review of Rise of the Guardians
Summary: An entertaining look at the making of a hero, in an animated adventure about myths and fairy tales that guard the safety of children’s hopes and dreams.
Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy and The Sand Man. What do they have in common?
According to this tale, they’re Guardians – spirits tasked with protecting children and nurturing their hopes and fantasies until they reach adulthood. At that point, when they stop believing, they live on in the hopes of the next generation.
Well, they do, that is, until the Boogeyman comes along to take over the dreams and turn them into nightmares. Then, they must recruit a new member, Jack Frost (Chris Pine) to aid in the fight to save the dreams.
Pine is becoming quite the household name, what with his rise to fame with the Star Trek reboot in 2009. Since then, he’s been on a roller coaster ride with many of his films doing well (Unstoppable) and others tanking at the box office (does anyone even remember People Like Us?)
The voice talent in this movie is a real boon to bringing the characters to life. Hugh Jackman, in full Aussie mode, steals a good chunk of the movie playing the mercenary bunny and Alec Baldwin throws a Russian spin into North, the tattooed and grizzled incarnation of the beloved chimney climber.
And Jude Law is chillingly sinister as the voice of the Boogeyman. He has a history of playing good guys and bad guys, but with this portrayal, he engraves a notch on the bad guy meter that won’t be easy to forget.
The pacing, though, is a little off. At points, the movie slows down almost to a crawl and might strain the patience of both little ones and adults alike, But when the story jumps back into action, it will keep your attention riveted to the end.
The elven hijinx might be a little much to take. They’re no “minions”, but at times, they seem to try too hard to be like their animated “Despicable Me” counterparts. However, they do occasionally charm a laugh out of the audience, both young and old.
This could indeed become a big screen (or small screen) franchise, but if they do a sequel, the producers will need to carefully consider their next step. This take of these characters could easily deteriorate into the ludicrous, which is not where this idea deserves to go. Thoughtful development, though, could easily add another fun installment to this franchise.
Hopefully, we’ll get to see more of these characters. I give Rise of the Guardians 4 out of 5 stars.
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