"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."
Mostly known for his extensive work as a storyboard artist on movies like Adaptation, AI: Artificial Intelligence, Fight Club and Independence Day, Peter Ramsay teams with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer (David Lindsay-Abaire, Rabbit Hole) to present his big screen directorial debut, the whimsical children's film Rise of the Guardians.
A luminous effort, Rise of the Guardians brings to life the sacred characters that have dwelt in the hearts and minds of kids for as long as anyone can remember--like The Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and even Santa--for a fun look at what goes on behind the scenes of making their dreams come true.
Told through the voice of the spirited but lonely Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine), the movie realizes his story as the festive and fun young soul who sadly no one can see. Not only do we find out how he got his moniker but, even further, we meet the rest of the festive crew who watch over children's dreams in their cold but humble abode in the North Pole (or a place very similar).
Santa, known here as North (Alec Baldwin), is the burly and oddly tattooed (with the words "naughty" and "nice" on either arm) head honcho and comrade of the awesome threesome made up of Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth (Isla Fisher), and the taciturn sandman, Sandy. Constantly bickering and trading wise cracks like a real family, the gang is entertaining to watch but questionably drawn. Why does St. Nick have tattoos? And he's going to represent some sharp-turned take on the character (which isn't quite consistent), why don't the other characters follow suit? What are his tats, which are intentionally shown to the audience upon first meeting him, supposed to represent for the character or this spin on his story? It's a pesky but important question that's never answered in the movie.
Meanwhile, their worst nightmares come true when the ominous Pitch aka The Nightmare King(Jude Law), appearing on the scene like a true Grinch, threatens to darken children's minds and cause them to quit believing in their jubilant heroes. It all leads up to the inevitable battle between good and evil, hope and despair, with even the kids (including little Jamie and his little sister, the adorable Cupcake) getting in on the action.
Children probably won't notice or care about the little things that bug the movie, character development-wise; they'll be too awe-stricken by the realization of their dear imaginary friends and singing along with the heartening score by Alexandre Desplat. But adults will certainly have questions about a few of the characters. But aside from that, the actors who lent their voices all brought their A-game to the project, especially Law, who's holding it down as the only character that was his own team against a pack of legendary protagonists.
Charming, sweet and enchanting, but not without its flaws, Rise of the Guardians is the hopeful, feel-good movie for kids that's fitting for holiday movie watching with the family.