You know the opening scene to The Nightmare Before Christmas where we briefly glimpse each of the trees that act as a gateway to the different worlds: Easter, Christmas, and so on? Well, it seems Oscar-winning author, illustrator, producer and director William Joyce liked that idea plenty as he adapted into a series of children’s books – The Guardians Of Childhood – which have now become Rise Of The Guardians. Perhaps it’s Joyce’s talent for creating rich characters and detailed worlds that make this animated blockbuster more than a film that just passes the school holiday grade. It follows Jack Frost: a character cleverly designed to have teenage girls crushing on him as they attend with their younger siblings over Christmas. Frost is tipped by The Man In The Moon to join The Guardians: an elite force of mythical season creatures that protect the dreams and hopes of children. They consist of a bikie-esque version of Santa Claus, a ninja-bunny hybrid in the Easter Bunny, Na’vi-chic Tooth Fairy and Sandman – a little guy who doesn’t speak but illustrates his emotions like the Microsoft paperclip. Together they have to unite to fight off Pitch: an evil bad guy with some sort of evil bad guy origin (who looks starngely like the lovechild of Hades from Hercules and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman).
Rise Of The Guardians gets off to a slow start. Too much time is wasted setting up Jack Frost when all of the interest – and most of the humour – comes from the The Guardians. Once you get there, magic happens. Each of The Guardians worlds are beautifully created with mind-blowing visuals that are genuinely wondrous to behold in 3D. The Guardians too are very entertaining and a large portion of the laughs comes from them and their character quirks: namely Santa and his Chewbacca-meets-Totoro ‘Yeti’ helpers and the vaguely creepy marching eggs in Bunny’s burrow.
A who’s who of A-List Hollywood talent lend their pipes to bring the characters to life and although that’s standard for a big budget animated flick, the actors are used to great effect. Hugh Jackman’s Australian accent is accentuated and brings the LOLs throughout, making Bunny one of the most fun in the feature. Jude Law too is brilliant doing his best Tom Hiddleston impression as the strangely sexy villain Pitch. After years of cutting his teeth in the art and animation departments, Rise Of The Guardians is an impressive directorial debut for Peter Ramsey. Whether that’s down to the insanely talented line-up of executive producers in Guillermo del Toro and Joyce, who knows?
What we do know is that Rise Of The Guardians works as an action-packed animated blockbuster that will delight kids. Despite a few plot shortcomings, there’s a surprising amount for adults to enjoy in there too.
Maria Lewis - follow Maria on Twitter here: @moviemazz
Sydney, Australia. Getting her start as a police reporter, her writing on pop culture has appeared in publications such as the New York Post, Guardian, Penthouse, The Daily Mail, Empire Magazine, Gizmodo, Huffington Post, The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, i09, Junkee and many more. Previously seen as a presenter on SBS Viceland’s nightly news program The Feed and as the host of Cleverfan on ABC, she has been a journalist for over 15 years.
Her best-selling debut novel Who's Afraid? was published in 2016, followed by its sequel Who’s Afraid Too? in 2017, which was nominated for Best Horror Novel at the Aurealis Awards in 2018. Who’s Afraid? is being developed for television by the Emmy and BAFTA award-winning Hoodlum Entertainment. Her Young Adult debut, It Came From The Deep, was released globally on October 31, Halloween, 2017 and is a twist on The Little Mermaid meets Creature From The Black Lagoon.
Her fourth book, The Witch Who Courted Death, was released on Halloween, 2018 and nominated for Best Fantasy Novel at the Aurealis Awards in 2019. Her fifth novel set within the share supernatural universe is due for release in October, 2019.