Rise of the Guardians

Out Now On-Demand

Legends unite.

Animated adventure from DreamWorks (Shrek, Kung Fu Panda) about a group of Holiday legends - Santa Claus (voiced by Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), the Toothy Fairy (Isla Fisher) and Jack Frost (Chris Pine) - who set out to stop Pitch the Boogeyman (Jude Law), who is hellbent on sending the world into "eternal darkness".

This is based on a series of books by William Joyce called The Guardians of Childhood. Joyce is also the author of A Day with Wilbur Robinson, which became the 2007 Disney movie Meet the Robinsons.

Trailers

Directed by

Written by

Studio

DreamWorks Animation

Adventure, Animated, Kids & Family

97mins

Rating: PG contains coarse language

USA

Official Site

Making iconic children’s characters ‘hip’ and ‘edgy’ has sometimes lead to some hilariously embarrassing results (see: Loonatics Unleashed). While Rise of the Guardians isn’t the greatest festive-smashing animated film of all time (that honour stays with The Nightmare Before Christmas), it still delivers an entertaining twist on the fabricated mascots that kids will enjoy.

Each Guardian is given their moments to show off their powers and personality quirks, though the Easter Bunny is two BBQ’ed shrimps away from being a complete Aussie caricature and I was surprised not to see Sergei Claus spontaneously break out into a Cossack dance. Luckily, Hugh Jackman and Alec Baldwin engulf those roles tremendously well, as does Jude Law, distilling his Britishly Britishness into a slickly refined an awesomely vile Boogyman.

However, it’s our central character Jack Frost that is the standout. His adventurous, carefree nature gives him an instant likeability while some of the visual highlights come from him joyously flying through the streets via the winter winds.

It’s a shame that Guardians never quite knows what message it wants you to take home, waving back and forth between parental themes and the importance of self-belief. There’s plenty of inconsistency with its universe, too. This unfocused nature makes the film feel as if it’s making some parts up as it goes along.

Nevertheless, DreamWorks has provided a visually entertaining family holiday feature that adds to the studio’s reputation for delivering top-tier CGI animation and a masterful understanding of 3D. But on a storytelling font, it’s no How to Train Your Dragon.

AV Club (USA)

press

Boasts a great deal of visual energy and amounts to a lot of fun ...

Chicago Sun-Times (Roger Ebert)

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A crisp, colorful fantasy world, sharper-edged than many feature-length children's cartoons.

Empire (UK)

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It's gorgeously designed, deftly written and frequently laugh-out-loud funny. For child or adult, this is a fantasy to get lost in.

Guardian (UK)

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Compare this moderate entertainment to, say, Monsters, Inc., and it really looks feeble.

Hollywood Reporter

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A lively and derivative 3D storybook spree for some unlikely action heroes.

Los Angeles Times

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There is a lot to savor, but sometimes too much of a good thing can be exhausting.

New York Times

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The character design has real warmth, and the animation is frequently witty and sometimes mesmerizing.

Total Film (UK)

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So full of yuletide razzmatazz that only true Scrooges will have trouble stomaching it. If only Santa's workshop had given the script more of a tinker...

Variety (USA)

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Even tots may emerge feeling slightly browbeaten by this colorful, strenuous and hyperactive fantasy.

Seen Them All

Okay so this gets an extra star just because it is a Christmas movie and it's hard to find Christmas movies for the kids that they haven't already seen. My children loved it, although 'Wreck it Ralph' came out tops in the kids category of movies for the season, but not by much.

Highly recommend for a 'Getting into the silly season' movie.


Rise of the Guardians

The best way to describe Rise of the Guardians is The Avengers with holiday heroes. There's a lot to love here, but in the end, I was left slightly unsatisfied. The colourful animation and stunning visuals are most likely to amaze. It's well worth your money to see this in 3D, some of the best I've ever seen. Also good voice acting from Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher and Jude Law. But what's missing is the humour. And whenever there is a joke, pretty much all of them fall flat. If you're thinking about going to the movies to see a good family film, I recommend Wreck-It Ralph. I'm not saying this is a bad movie. I was entertained for the most of It. Rise of the Guardians delivers the dazzle, but if the script and storytelling were polished up, this could have been something special.