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Rise of the Guardians - Review

Rise of the Guardians

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

IT’S easy to see why William Joyce’s book series, Rise of the Guardians, made it to the big screen in the current climate of superhero blockbusters.

For while rooted in fairytales and children’s imaginations, it’s also derivative of the Marvel template (at least in screen form) and very definitely a younger version of The Avengers.

That said, it’s a visually lavish and often very amusing piece of work that should definitely leave its target audience dazzled, if not adults as well.

When Pitch Black, aka The Boogeyman (voiced by Jude Law) threatens to invade children’s dreams and turn them into nightmares, thereby stopping little ones from believing in them, the mystical Guardians – Father Christmas (Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) unite to thwart him with the help of eager new member Jack Frost (Chris Pine).

The directorial debut of Peter Ramsey, Rise of the Guardians succeeds because of the wonderful attention to visual style that is employed throughout.

A veteran storyboard artist on films like Independence Day, Ramsey ensures that there’s always plenty going on, creating a fantasy world that’s worth investing in, that’s both funny and scary when it needs to be.

Some of the darker elements may be a little too intense for the youngest viewers (Law’s villain is a wickedly scheming arch-enemy), but equally there are sequences that will leave them wide-eyed with wonder.

And the humour, often involving the mute Sandman, is wonderfully realised, appealing to all ages.

If there are problems, David Lindsay-Abaire’s script is tame and generic, ramming home its messages and lacking any real invention with the characters, while the parallels with superhero blockbusters feel like a lazy attempt to ride on the box office success of those kinds of films.

Hence, Rise of the Guardians lacks the ingenuity of the very best animations.

But it does what it sets out to and comes recommended as a result, not least because of its spellbinding visual palette.

Certificate: PG
Running time: 97mins
UK Release Date: November 30, 2012