Writer finds movie to provide family-friendly experience


Have you ever wondered what all of your childhood heroes would sound like? I must admit, until now, I never really gave it much thought. It wasn’t until I saw “Rise of the Guardians” that I wondered what Santa Claus, Jack Frost, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and Jack Frost would sound like, especially interacting together. Others may have made that connection through the inspiration for the film, the “Guardians of Childhood” by William Joyce and his book series.

In the film there is a villain, an evil spirit named Pitch, voiced by Jude Law, who seems at odds with the world as well as with himself. He is envisioned as all darkness, as in “pitch” dark. He wants to take over the world by inspiring fear in hearts of kids everywhere. The immortal guardians, however, band together to protect the hopes, dreams, beliefs and imaginations of kids all over the world.

Alec Baldwin, who voices Santa, sports a distinctive Russian accent. While maybe not inappropriate for its proximity of that country to his workshop, I would have preferred him to speak in English without an accent as I have come to appreciate him over the years. Equally entertaining were the hummingbird-like Tooth Fairy, voiced by Isla Fisher, and the Easter Bunny, voiced by Hugh Jackman.

Chris Pine voices Jack Frost who, although literally invisible in the film, seems a bit curt for my liking. I thought he might have been portrayed as a kinder, gentler hero with less of an edge. He does redeem himself for me when he leads the resistance, becomes visible, and achieves a personal victory.

The Man in the Moon is another interesting addition. He functions as a symbolic god of nature who shines brightly in the sky and watches over everyone.

The film serves as great entertainment in this action comedy, a DreamWorks Animation that comes to life in 3-D screening. The film is crisp, colorful and filled with fantasy. With an 89 minutes running time, the film is probably just long enough for parents, older siblings and students like me.

There is a definite audience for this film. I didn’t realize it until now that I am part of that demographic. I was inspired by the magical ability of the heroes to fly, of their superhuman ability to conquer evil and their inspiration to make me believe in all things good.

Director Peter Ramsey makes a great directorial debut. He and his art team have attractively designed both the characters and the settings.

There were a few times when the movie felt like a sharper-edged children’s cartoon, but the gorgeous action scenes and impressive vocal performances really held the audience’s attention.

Despite the film’s minor shortcomings, “Rise of the Guardians” is creative, exciting and inspirational and well worth the time.