Writer: Elaine EweWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
For those who are confused with another computer-animated fantasy-adventure film with the word "Guardians" in its title, this review clarifies that Peter Ramsey's "Rise Of The Guardians" has no relation to Zack Snyder's "Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga'Hoole" whatsoever.
Based on William Joyce's "The Guardians Of Childhood" book series and "The Man In The Moon" short film by Joyce and Reel FX, "Rise Of The Guardians" is seen mainly from the perspective of Jack Frost (Chris Pine), a carefree boy who has no responsibilities in the world aside from bringing winter wherever he goes, but secretly longing to find his connection to the world. Frost's mischievous way of life is brought to an abrupt halt when he is chosen as the next Guardian, one that will help the existing four Guardians - North a.k.a. Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), Bunnymund a.k.a. Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth a.k.a. Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and Sandy a.k.a. Sandman, defeat Pitch (Jude Law), the Boogeyman, who plans to bring fear back into the world.
Lacking the honest charm and the broad comedy strokes of recent animated films such as Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie", Chris Butler and Sam Fell's "ParaNorman" and even fellow DreamWorks Animation film, "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted", what follows is nothing extraordinary - a lonely protagonist, misunderstandings and lessons learned. There are also almost no attempts made to flesh out the background stories of the characters, such as how were the other Guardians elected, what are the cores of the other Guardians aside from North being the Guardian of Wonder, and what happened to Frost's family? The book series, begun in 2011, explains the origins of the characters, but according to Joyce, he chose to set the film 200 years after the books so that the two would not be openly competitive to each other. Conversely, this makes "Rise Of The Guardians" rings a little hollow.
In addition, most animated films are prone to having a deus ex machina in the climax, but this fault is all the more so apparent in "Rise Of The Guardians". It reduces the impact of the antagonist and leaves more adult viewers feeling cheated. The comedy of the film also suffers the same fate where they are just window dressing, except for the running gags involving the yeti and the elfs.
Otherwise, there is a lot to like about most of the cast, despite the whiff of familiarity, especially Chris Pine as Jack Frost. In his usual typecast role as the devil-may-care Frost, Pine proves that this is what he does best - there is a whole lot of heart, spunk and charm to Frost that makes him feel real. The casting directors also seem content to let the rest of the cast be themselves, so you will get to hear Hugh Jackman in his full Australian accent and Jude Law being English posh. The only character that falls short is Isla Fisher as Tooth. It is hardly her fault, and more towards the box-ticking writing that has her creepily remarking on Frost's shining dentals and offering little kids loose teeth and gums for comfort.
Given that it is a 3D computer-animated fantasy-adventure film, the film's visuals and cinematography turn out to be subpar at most. The 3D rendering are perceptively lacking in depth and its effects in execution. Make no mistake, the film is colourful and rarely is the screen free from action, but it would have been nice if we could zoom in or linger on some of the details, such as Tooth's castle, Pitch's lair, and the fight scenes.
Overall, there is hardly anything that stands out about Peter Ramsey's feature film directorial debut, but "Rise Of The Guardians" is still worth a watching chance to just to hear the all-star talent poke fun at and exchange barbs with one other.Cinema Online, 19 November 2012