Rise of the Guardians – 3.5/5 stars

Christmas has always been a time for fantasy and innocence,  making it ideal for new animated movies.
So, when you have a movie that features the ultimates of make-believe as child guardians, you can’t help but get swept up in the idea of it all.

Rise of the Guardians (2012, written by David Lindsay-Abaire, directed by Peter Ramsey)

Rise of the Guardians tells the story of The Guardians – Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), The Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and The Sandman – a special group of characters who protect the children of the world as their lives are dependent on the belief they actually exist. When Pitch Black aka The Bogeyman (Jude Law) threatens to instil fear and disbelief into the children, The Guardians need to bring in a new recruit to help them take Pitch down; the mischievous and reluctant Jack Frost (Chris Pine), who is suffering a slight existential crisis.

Adapted by William Joyce’s “The Guardians of Childhood“, Rise of the Guardians represents a vicious cycle; as long as children believe that Santa and the Easter Bunny exist, they in turn continue to make children happy.  It may sound like a reality check in some ways (saying that these characters are not real so you stop believing in them), but invokes a charm and sweetness that is different to other animated films out there.
Director Peter Ramsey makes effective use of the 3D visual effects to recreate sweeping landscapes with stunning animation, rivalling fellow Dreamworks film How to Train Your Dragon in terms of losing yourself in the sheer beauty of the film.

The cast itself is varied and well-suited, from Pine’s perma-child Frost to Law’s sinister Pitch.  Certain characters, namely The Tooth Fairy and Sandman, only have a handful of jovial moments in comparison to Baldwin and Jackman, who relishes the opportunity of playing an Aussie Easter Bunny.  It just seems like a shame that the dialogue, written by 2010 drama Rabbit Hole writer David Lindsay-Abaire, is unfortunately not as finely tuned as the animation itself, depending on the cliché jokes and visual gags to keep the the magic going.

Okay, you might not call Rise of the Guardians a Christmas film but with its sweet charm and innocence, it’s hard to avoid the fuzzy feeling that swells inside while watching this film.

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