Rise of the Guardians is imaginative eye candy
Featuring the voices of Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, and Jude Law. Rated G.
Your inner child may at first have difficulty coming to terms with Rise of the Guardians’ messing with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Here, St. Nick has tatties and Joseph Stalin eyebrows with an accent to match, while the holiday rabbit (Hugh Jackman) is a ripped, aggro Aussie. But once you accept the comically warped embellishments of this world, you can sit back and enjoy the imaginative, albeit hyperactive, eye candy.
In a scenario born out of William Joyce’s inspired kids’ books, Santa (named North here and voiced heartily by Alec Baldwin) heads an Avengers-like gang of Guardians that also includes B-list legends Sandman and Tooth Fairy. The unlikely gang’s North Pole hideout is populated by burly Yetis-by-way-of-Minsk bodyguards and an army of troll-toy elves. But the real focus of the movie is on Jack Frost (Chris Pine), a brooding hipster in an ice-flecked hoodie who’s tormented by the fact that he doesn’t have a holiday to hook up with and that kids don’t believe he exists.
He’s ambivalent about joining forces with the Guardians until a menacing bogeyman called Pitch Black (voiced by a hissingly sinister Jude Law) threatens to turn all children’s dreams into nightmares.
From there, good takes on evil. The battle takes you into ingenious little universes, from the bunny’s egg-strewn pastures to Pitch’s Tim Burton–esque subterranean lair, where Tooth’s captured hummingbird helpers buzz in a sea of birdcages. Sometimes the 3-D action panders too much to the video-game set, and Jack’s angsty hipster becomes a bit of a drag on the fun.
But the Guardians has enough heart to make you believe—even in a Santa who cracks his knuckles and has the words “Naughty” inked on one beefy forearm and “Nice” on the other.
Watch the trailer for Rise of the Guardians.