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“Rise of the Guardians” Puts New Spin on Old Faves

Did you know Santa is Russian? And that the Easter Bunny is Australian? And there are like a cagillion tooth fairies?

Mind. Blown.

Rise of the Guardians” puts a whole new spin on all the classic characters you thought you knew. The Man in the Moon has selected a choice few individuals to be Guardians. They are charged with protecting the innocence of all the children across the globe. When Pitch Black, a.k.a. the Boogeyman (Jude Law), reappears and starts dreams to nightmares, Man in the Moon appoints a new Guardian.

Jack Frost (Chris Pine) is selected to join North (Alec Baldwin), Sandy, Bunny (Hugh Jackman), and Tooth (Isla Fisher). He’s resistant at first; Jack is all about the fun and being a Guardian seems like a bit too much responsibility for him. Once he remembers who he is and why Man in the Moon chose him he joins the team and takes on Pitch and his nightmares.

This movie wasn’t perfect; but the good outweighs the bad. This was a brand new take on characters we already know. Santa, Sandman, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost … they’re kind of like the first Avengers. They’re out there, doing what they do, then one man brings them all together to take down the ultimate evil.

Each character is packed with personality and the voices match perfectly. Pine exudes mischievous charm and confidence which is perfect for perpetual trouble-maker Jack Frost.

Baldwin’s Santa is Russian which makes a lot of sense to me for some reason. He’s a tattooed badass who carries swords and hangs out with yeti’s. Elves are kind of useless.  I know, who knew?!

Bunny is very angry and Jackman is a perfect fit for that hostility. Fisher, as the head tooth fairy, is super sweet and adorable. And the rich, velvety voice of Law is the perfect villain.

The animation of “Guardians” is beautiful. From the very beginning, one of the first things I noticed was how pretty everything looked. The detail is incredible and the colors are bright and vivid and it was a world I wanted to see more of. Watching the battle scenes between the sandman’s dreams versus Pitch’s nightmares maybe you want to believe in magic.

“Guardians” is not a light-hearted family comedy I was expecting. It’s much darker than that. Pitch is scary. There are some laughs but it doesn’t strike the balance between fun and heartfelt like similar animated features.

The end of the film is very touching and heartwarming and I may or may not have cried.

There is one pretty big … not plot hole so much as a plot skip … that really bothers me. It’s probably my biggest gripe with the movie. It’s just missing one scene. Not even a whole scene, just one line of explanation and I’d be happy.

Also, a name change I think. While “Rise of the Guardians” does sound epic, it’s a horrible title.

Setting these minor problems aside, I really enjoyed “Rise of the Guardians,” much more than I expected to. I love these characters and this world that was created. It’s definitely worth a watch.

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