Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rise of the Guardians (2012): Mormon Movie Review

 I believe in Santa Claus.  I always have, I always will.  I still get giddy waiting in line for my kids to get their picture taken.  Elf is one of my favorite Christmas Movies.   I can't quite explain it.  My suspension of disbelief is indisputable.  Perhaps it is because growing up the rule was; "if you don't believe, you don't get gifts" or maybe it is just because of everything he represents.  This is one of the major themes of Rise of the Guardians. (now available on Amazon)

   Every holiday is exemplified in some sort of being, St. Patrick's Day has a leprechaun, Valentine's Day has Cupid, and even Groundhog Day has Puxatawny Phil!  The most elite of these immortal beings are chosen to be Guardians. 

 Santa referred to as North (Alec Baldwin) in one scene says, "It is our job to protect the children of the world. For as long as they believe in us, we will guard them with our lives..."  Not only do these Guardians represent their respective holidays, they also represent what they call their "Center."  It is a child like trait that they are tasked preserving in the children of the world.  When an Pitch Black (Jude Law) comes to instill fear in these children a new Guardian is called to support them in the fight.

   It might be my love of Santa, but Baldwin's North was the highlight of the film.  He was Santa with an edge.  His thick Russian accent and dual wielding swords is a bit of a twist on the jolly old Saint Nick we are used to.  It is explained marvelously though when he presents Jack Frost (Chris Pine) with a Santa set of Russian nesting dolls.  Each one representing an aspect of his character.  He is a fierce protector, but is also loving and kind.
  The rest of the cast is well rounded and creates a type of synergy where as a whole they become greater than the sum of their parts.  Each Guardian also has a bit of a twist, to them.  The Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) is a tough talking Aussie.  The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) is a bit of a ditz and looks like a cross between a fairy and a humming bird.  The Sandman is a mute.  And Jack Frost is a young and irresponsible teenager with a knack for mischief.

 After our outing to Wreck-It Ralph I decided I would leave my oldest home and take my super talented friend Tyler (who does artwork for Yo Gabba Gabba and the Aquabats Super Show) and his son with my 4 year old.  The boys had a great time! There is a lot of humor and the plot is constantly moving and keeps you engaged.  The preview screening we went to was in 3D, which I am not personally a fan of.  Rise of the Guardians was a real exception to the rule.  There were a few rough patches, but that might have just been because we were seated very close to the screen.  The theme of Guardians protecting the innocence of children is such a tender topic.  We even got to experience a bit of that innocence while in line.  The animation was done very well, but some of the characters were a little under done, as well as some of the scenery.  I hope if a sequel is made they can incorporate much more of the legends in the story.  Even if it were just for a big climax scene at the end like in Disney's Hercules.  Deamworks isn't Pixar yet, but they are hot on their heels.

 Rise of the Guardians is rated PG and is appropriate for all audiences.  Some scenes may be a bit scary for younger children, but facing and overcoming those fears is a major theme of the movie.  Although I love Santa's style, I was a little disappointed in his forearm tattoos of "Naughty" and "Nice."  They are never mentions or given attention to, but they are visible.  There isn't much mention of the religious meanings behind the holidays of Christmas and Easter, but for a children's movie I don't really expect it.  But each one of the Guardian's "Centers" can easily be denoted as a Christlike attribute as well.

If you have small children this will be a great film for Thanksgiving weekend.  If you do not, you will likely still enjoy it and it is sure to put you in the Holiday Mood. It is in theatres now and there are a few methods you can use to see it free, or pretty cheap!

This post is sponsored by If want to add a great family friendly movie to your DVD library, get your copy at Amazon today! If you already have it; here are some other ways you can help support us and keep the reviews coming!

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