With THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, Disney succeeded in extending the holiday film season from the beginning of November to the end of the year. Now, DreamWorks has upped the ante with RISE OF THE GUARDIANS, a CG animated, 3D fantasy that not only has a burly, Slavic Santa (Alec Baldwin) heading up a team of dedicated fantasy icons charged with protecting the innocence and wonder of children, but also extends the market into spring by adding the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) to the corps, and then covers the gaps with Jack Frost (Chris Pine), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), and a mute, but adorable, Sandman.
The film has an impressive pedigree, with Guillermo del Toro as producer and a scenario loosely based on William Joyce’s Guardians of Childhood chapter books. To discover how loosely, we invited beabetterbooktalker.com‘s Andrea Lipinski to give us background on the movie’s literary roots, and to join Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski and Dan Persons in determining if RISE rises (see what we did there?) to its self-imposed mission as champion of all that’s wonderful in genre film.
Then: Steve delivers his capsule review of the the-Commies-are-coming, domestic warfare fantasy RED DAWN; plus, what’s coming to theaters next week.
DreamWorks Animation – which minted a fortune by making animated fantasies that spoof and/or ridicule the traditional fairy tale foundation of the form – finally embrace its inner child, and the result is the company’s greatest film to date, even surpassing the virtues of KUNG FU PANDA and PUSS IN BOOTS. The 3-D animation is beautiful – no surprise there, the company has always had a handle on the technical stuff – what is surprising is that the story (which could have come across like THE AVENGERS – LITE) reaches deep into our collective unconscious to render an archetypal battle between the forces of Light and Darkness that is accessible to young viewers while still resonating with adults. On the simple plot level, RISE OF THE GUARDIANS is about a group of superheroes banding together to fight the bad guy, but the film works on a far more sophisticated level than Joss Whedon’s tongue-in-cheek ode to geekdom: RISE OF THE GUARDIANS is really about protecting our childhood Sense of Wonder; fending off nightmares; resisting fear; nurturing simple joys, and embracing the call to a vocation.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, DreamWorks Animation releases this 3-D computer-animated fantasy film, in which the guardians of seasons and holidays (Santa, Easter Bunny, Jack Frost, Tooth Fairy) band together to defeat an ominous threat. Director: Peter Ramsey. Screenplay: David Lindsay-Abaire, based on the book “The Guardians of Childhood” by William Joyce. Voices: Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, Jude Law, Dakota Goyo. Rated PG. 97 minutes. U.S Release Date: November 21, 2012 IMDB: Click here