published: Friday, November 30, 2012
'Rise' doesn't soar
By BOB GARVER
Special to the News-Sun
"Rise of the Guardians" is a humdrum animated film that I'm sure is supposed to be the start of a hot new franchise. The premise is that legendary children's characters, often believed to be imaginary, are in fact real and moonlight as superheroes. I can see where that's a good idea on paper and I won't deny that it's easily marketable.
But the film lacks good ideas beyond this most basic stage and quickly becomes dull and joyless, at least for adults who reluctantly see it with their kids.
The main character is Jack Frost (Chris Pine), an invisible teenager who creates snowstorms. We see him fine, but he's invisible to the children of the film because none of them believe in him. All the parents in the world tell their children that "Jack Frost nipping at your nose" is just an expression. Weird place to draw the line.
Jack is chosen by the unseen Man in the Moon to join The Guardians, who are the world's foremost brings of joy and protectors from harm. The other members are Santa (Alec Baldwin), The Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and the mute Sandman. I'm not sure why The Sandman is supposed to be widely accepted as believable and Jack Frost isn't. I rarely hear anything about him outside of that Metallica song. But the film makes him lighthearted and loveable so I'll let it slide.
The Guardians don't want to let the mischievous Jack join the team, but they need him to combat Pitch aka The Boogeyman (Jude Law). Pitch is trying to get all the children of the world to believe in him and only him.
The movie doesn't really know what to do with its heroes as action stars. It seems like the film can't see fit to give them many powers beyond their mode of transportation
The team's key weapon in the fight against Pitch is Jack's dubious magic stick, which is infused with the power of, let's say, fun. Also, everybody has the ability to be super-sneaky and avoid being seen. The film never bothers to explain why any of the Guardians would need to avoid being seen, and in fact they gain consequence-free believability points whenever they are.
Here's what you do with a bad-but-harmless holiday film like "Rise of the Guardians." You find a relative that says that they don't get to spend enough time with your kids. You let them spend some quality time together at this movie while you enjoy an afternoon off. This way the kids get to see their movie, the relatives get to bond with them, and you get to skip this lame, generic kiddie junk.
One-and-a-half stars out of five. "Rise of the Guardians" is rated PG for thematic elements and some mildly scary action. Its running time is 97 minutes.
Contact Bob Garver at email@example.com
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