Rise of the Guardians has been described as a sort of children’s equivalent of The Avengers, what with its similar premise of mythical heroes coming together to defend the world against a dastardly villain. But despite the beautifully rendered animation and some impressive voice work, the film feels bloated from packing in too many things at once, and simply doesn’t offer compelling enough characters to make the journey with.
Based on William Joyce’s popular book series, Guardians of Childhood, this good vs evil story sees Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and a mute Sandman, train reluctant recruit Jack Frost to fight alongside them when the nasty bogeyman (aka Pitch) threatens to put nightmares and fear in the heads of little children around the world, thereby making them forget these much-loved heroes.
The story mostly focuses on Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine), a white-haired loner with icy superpowers, who feels underappreciated by humans and insecure about his place in the world, until he’s approached to team up with the rest of the guardians against their common enemy. But the film, unfortunately, appears to suffer from an identity crisis: Jack’s depressing back-story sits uneasily with the laughs provided by our sword-wielding Santa (Alec Baldwin) and an aggressive Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman). Creepiest of them all is the hummingbird-like Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and her dozens of minions who go on and on about…what else but teeth! It’s the film’s cloaked-in-black bad guy Pitch who leaves a lasting impression, thanks to the silky-voiced performance of Jude Law.
Rise of the Guardians is stunningly animated, but the storyline feels convoluted and eventually feeble, despite the frantically-paced action. Some moments are sheer genius, but it’s never consistently engaging.
I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for Rise of the Guardians. You’ll enjoy it in portions; in some parts you’ll struggle to stay awake.