Rise of the Guardians is an excellent film, for families or otherwise. Each of the main characters was well developed and established, and I really liked the premise of the Guardians: children have to believe in them in order for them to exist and been seen. Jack Frost, the protagonist, is a mischievous but good-hearted being who controls snowstorms, frost, and ice. He doesn’t remember his past, knowing only that the Man in the Moon created him without ever explaining why. Jack is invited to become a Guardian, one who protects the children of the world. The other Guardians include North (otherwise known as Santa Claus), the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Sandy (the Sandman).
The visuals in the film are simply stunning, with color and light being used to great effect throughout without going over the top. You can see how Dreamworks is really taking the details in the animation to a new level with the feather and hair/fur effects, and I’m really glad to see that CGI animation is getting to a point where the artistry can really go beyond it being just CGI.
As a long-time fan of animation in all its forms, I look for whether the skill and style of the artist speaks louder rather than it being simply “cool” CGI or other animation. This is definitely the case here as you can see that it’s a Dreamworks film, but the style of the original character designs by children’s book author and artist William Joyce still shows through nicely (Disney adapted another of his works to its 2007 Meet the Robinsons film, and Fox Animation is releasing the upcoming 2013 film Epic, based on the book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs).
The story in Guardians is solid, as well. While there are some slow moments, they are used effectively and don’t drag down the plot. I especially enjoyed the journey Jack made within himself as he came to find his “center” and then tapped into his center to help resolve the conflict with Pitch (the Bogeyman). I highly recommend this film to everyone.
Release Date: November 21, 2012 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Violence: 3 (some mild fantasy violence)