CG animated adventure from DreamWorks about a group of Holiday legends - Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Toothy Fairy and Jack Frost - who set out to stop Pitch the Boogeyman, who is hellbent on sending the world into "eternal darkness". In cinemas January 3rd. Also playing in 3D.
Making iconic children’s characters ‘hip’ and ‘edgy’ has sometimes lead to some hilariously embarrassing results (see: Loonatics Unleashed). While Rise of the Guardians isn’t the greatest festive-smashing animated film of all time (that honour stays with The Nightmare Before Christmas), it still delivers an entertaining twist on the fabricated mascots that kids will enjoy.
Each Guardian is given their moments to show off their powers and personality quirks, though the Easter Bunny is two BBQ’ed shrimps away from being a complete Aussie caricature and I was surprised not to see Sergei Claus spontaneously break out into a Cossack dance. Luckily, Hugh Jackman and Alec Baldwin engulf those roles tremendously well, as does Jude Law, distilling his Britishly Britishness into a slickly refined an awesomely vile Boogyman.
However, it’s our central character Jack Frost that is the standout. His adventurous, carefree nature gives him an instant likeability while some of the visual highlights come from him joyously flying through the streets via the winter winds.
It’s a shame that Guardians never quite knows what message it wants you to take home, waving back and forth between parental themes and the importance of self-belief. There’s plenty of inconsistency with its universe, too. This unfocused nature makes the film feel as if it’s making some parts up as it goes along.
Nevertheless, DreamWorks has provided a visually entertaining family holiday feature that adds to the studio’s reputation for delivering top-tier CGI animation and a masterful understanding of 3D. But on a storytelling font, it’s no How to Train Your Dragon.