Starring: Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Khamani Griffin, Kamil McFadden, Georgie Grieve, Jacob Bertrand, Dominique Grund, Rich Dietl, and more.
Directed by: Peter Ramsey Screenplay by: David Lindsay-Abaire Based on the book The Guardians of Childhood by: William Joyce and Based on the short film the Man in The Moon by: Joyce and Reel FX. Original Music by: Alexandre Desplat Art Direction by: Max Boas.
Premise: Jack Frost knows nothing of where he comes from or of his past. Unlike most of the other supernatural beings he knows about, he's the only one not visible to people. Yet this has never stopped him from having fun. But when he's dragged up to the North Pole without being asked, he's told an old evil is on the rise again. This evil is threatening the world's children and must be stopped by the Guardians. And the Man in the Moon has chosen Jack to be one of them. But Jack wants nothing to do with that. (Rated PG)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Great performances all around. Alec Baldwin was a lot of fun as North. Hugh Jackman as the Bunny was hilarious. Chris Pine made Jack Frost a very sympathetic character, who wants to belong despite what he says.
2) Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Dreamworks once again delivers some amazing animation in their newest film. From the very beginning the detail and the beauty of what is being presented shines through. The snowflakes and patterns of frost were gorgeous. I loved the added detail of frost on Jack's pullover shirt. They do some amazing things with the Sandman's (Sandy's) sleeping sand and Pitch's nightmare ones.
A lot of fun visual gags are interspersed throughout the film - the Yeti with the bad color timing, the helper elves that are usually not so much help as hindrance, the Eater Island guard stone eggs with turning expressions. There's a lot to see and take in.
Each of the legends' homes are fun and unique - I especially adored Bunny's place, which was somewhat reminiscent of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." The walking eggs were too cute! And Sophie was utterly adorable.
3) Story - Total Thumbs Up: Though the main story line is what you'd expect from the previews, there are other stories happening simultaneously, which gave the film a lot of emotional depth. Even better, though the characters at first glance appear to be ones we know - Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy - it becomes evident quite quickly that these well known supernatural icons are not as you'd expect. That alone brought half the fun of the film. A Santa Claus with tattoos who's more than willing to get into fights, an Easter Bunny who is lean and tough, Yetis making toys instead of elves - a re-imagining of all those things which we are familiar into something different yet still very much the same.
Like the animation, the story too brings with it all manner of little surprises that add a lot to the experience - Tooth and her fairies and their fan girl sighs over Jack's teeth; Cupcake, a hefty girl others fear but who's real love is for cute, lacy things. There were a lot of ying and yang type comparisons throughout as well - between Sandy and Pitch, Jack and Pitch, what's inside versus the outside wrappings.
Conclusion: "Rise of the Guardians" is a fun film for both kids and adults. Make sure to sit through part of the credits, too! A super cute extra section is tucked away in there. And if you've ever had the slightest inclination of crying at a film, make sure to take a least one set of tissues with you. You might just need them.
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission.)