Rise of the Guardians

Directed By: Peter Ramsey

Starring: Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, Jude Law, and Dakota Goyo

It's hard to believe that 2012 is coming to a close so quickly.  It seems like just yesterday when some of the year's top flicks were arriving in theaters.  What's even harder to believe is that we've arrived at the final animated film of the year, Peter Ramsey's Rise of the Guardians.  This team-up of fantasy legends is a fitting film to lead us through the holiday season.  In addition, to the humor, the action, and the holiday cheer, it's all about believing in these beloved characters and what they stand for.

Jack Frost (Chris Pine) has been put on this earth by the man in the moon, but he has no idea why.  He has no idea who he is.  For centuries, he's lived as this carefree boy having fun with kids around the world.  The problem is that nobody sees him or even knows that he exists because they have no reason to believe in him.  When Pitch (Jude Law), also known as the Boogeyman or the Nightmare King, seeks to bring fear into the world, the moon decides to give Jack a purpose and help him find his center.

There are several guardians who protect the earth — North/Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), Bunnymund/Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth/Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), and Sandy/Sandman.  All these guardians thrive on the beliefs of the children of the world.  Kids believe in them.  With Pitch bent on bringing fear back into the world through nightmares, the guardians need to stop him for both the kids' sake and their own.  To take on this great challenge, they seek counsel with the moon.  To their surprise, the moon tells them that they're not enough to stop Pitch.  They need a new guardian.  They need Jack Frost.

Rise of the Guardians is a fun animated film for the holiday season.  It's a well-balanced movie with some great characters that get the party started and manage to keep it going.  With Jack Frost and North, you've got the right dose of holiday cheer.  With Bunnymund and Tooth, you've got the right dose of humor.  With Sandy, you've got one bad dude who can bring the thunder.  Finally, Pitch offers an entertaining villain that consistently talks trash with the guardians.

The voice actors in Rise of the Guardians do a good job for the most part.  While Chris Pine basically plays the kid version of the character he always plays on the big screen, he's the right man for the job of Jack Frost.  He's perfect for playing a carefree person with no responsibilities whatsoever.  As North, Alec Baldwin is a little over the top, especially with whatever accent he's using.  I'm sure the kids will love him and all his quintessential holiday themes. 

As Bunnymund, Hugh Jackman is the perfect guy to voice a character with a tough exterior and a boomerang.  At the end of the day though, he's playing a guy who paints Easter eggs for kids.  That may not be tough, but it is pretty funny.  As Tooth, Isla Fisher brings a goofy energy to the film, but it works.  You'll definitely be laughing at her.  Beyond the humor, she brings a warmth to the movie that only a woman can bring.

The real standouts of the film are Sandy and Pitch.  Sandy is my dude.  I had no idea the Sandman could be so rough.  If this team of legends were the Avengers, Sandy would be the Hulk.  He's simply incredible as he whips magical sand through the air.  Sandy is kicking butt and taking names.  As Pitch, Jude Law delivers a surprisingly strong performance.  He's one enjoyable villain with lots of personality.  He brings something for everybody.  He's funny.  He's smooth. He's devilish.  He's everything you'd want in your quintessential animated villain.

I do have a bone or two to pick with Rise of the Guardians.  I must say that the story here is just passable and that the 3D graphics are not impressive at all. At the same time, I have to say that this is a fun film that will leave kids ready to believe in these holiday legends once again. 

Parents, I may have a few minor quips with the film, but you can't.  Rise of the Guardians is your last best hope to get your children out of the house for a few hours during the holiday season.  There's nothing else left for the kiddies until sometime in 2013.  You can choose the North Pole, the Tooth Palace, and Easter, or you can sit at home.  The choice is yours.  Rise of the Guardians gets a 0.06% rating.  A little eggnog will get the job done for this one.