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An interesting take on the myths of Childhood
Rise of the Guardians (DVD)
Member Name: cha97mw
Rise of the Guardians (DVD)
Date: 22/01/13, updated on 23/01/13 (80 review reads)
Advantages: won't date, all original soundtrack, fantastic animation, breaks some of the myths in a fun way.
Disadvantages: a little longer than other kids animated films, and a little over young kids heads at times.
The film like many these days is available to watch in 3D. I did not see it in this format, though as I had watched a 3D film a few days previously to this I was aware of points in the film which were definitely designed to be shown in 3D. For example, the main character Jack Frost moving around by sliding on ice would have been something that would have looked good in this format. I didn't feel that it was detrimental to me to not see this in 3D in any way.
The film features several characters that are instantly recognisable to children by name at least, though some of them felt a little more American to me. The main character is a boy called Jack Frost who enjoys having fun in cold weather. He would like children to see him so they know he is there and can have fun with them, but unfortunately for him, his name is one that is known but not believed in.
Luckily children believe more in the Guardians of childhood - Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman. They protect the innocence of all children as long as they believe. They go around doing the jobs we have always known them for. Father Christmas delivers his Christmas presents. The Easter Bunny prepares eggs and hides them for Easter. The Tooth Fairy is in charge of a team of smaller fairies who collect all of the children in the World's baby teeth - an important job as they store them all in a special box for each child which also preserves their memories. The Sandman helps children have sweet dreams. (Here, this character was someone we knew as adults, but my children didn't have a clue who he was meant to be. This didn't spoil their overall enjoyment of the film as the gist of his job was explained very well.)
Unfortunately for the Guardians, there is an evil presence on Earth, known as Pitch Black. Pitch sabotages the work of the Guardians, and when teeth are not collected and no Easter eggs are found, the children stop believing in these myths. Can Jack Frost and the Guardians work together to get children believing again and restoring the magic to childhood?
This was a film that we enjoyed immensely as a family. There are some pretty big names voicing the characters like Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law and Isla Fisher. I didn't find myself noticing this in particular while watching the film, and I had to look online to see who voiced the roles. I think this is a good thing for me, as when I have watched other animated films, if I recognise the voice and connect it to an actor, I find it can destract me from just enjoying the film as it happens.
The animation is really superb. You feel fully immensed in this world of mythical beings. There is a lot of humour that is visual as well as verbal, and the scenes showing what the North Pole is like and the homes of the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny are pretty inspiring for children especially when they fully believe in them. We all loved the humour of the North Pole being run by Yetis and the elves that we all believe help Father Christmas are actually these little useless creatures who are no use at all, but pretty cute so they are kept. This for me was where a good bit of humour was watching the Yetis at work.
I also liked that the characters were not quite what you imagine them to be from anything else you see. Father Christmas is heavily tattoo'd and rather brisk looking, with a Russian accent and a bit like a mob boss mentality. The Easter Bunny is also quite far from cute and cuddly and is a very Australian character who is an expert with a boomerang. Tooth is like a giant bird or butterfly, and not a little fairy like you would think, though her baby tooth faries are more so. She's certainly less human looking than I imagined. And lastly, the Sandman is very sparkly and looks to be made out of his own magic sand. He is more like some sort of fairy than Tooth in appearance at least.
This is certainly different to any other movie featuring Santa that I have ever seen, and it is an interesting take on it.
Dreamworks film often rely on references to popular culture such as chart songs within their soundtrack and reference to other works. Here, I feel they have avoided falling into the trap of being too current that has happened for me with some of their other films like the original Madagascar and the earlier Shrek films. The soundtrack here is all original composition written specifically for the film composed by Alexandre Despat, and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. I believe this film will have a more timeless quality as a result, especially as the belief in these childhood myths is something that is not going to end anytime soon.
This film is still currently showing in cinemas, and it is a nice one to go and see as a family. However film times are now reduced from what I can see in my own local cinemas. It is due to be released in the UK on DVD on the 25th of March 2013. It is available for £12 as a pre-order on amazons website.
My children enjoyed watching this in the cinema. I did notice however, the run time of 97 minutes was a bit much for some of the younger members of the audience and we also got a lot of questions as we were watching about things happening on screen. I don't think it was all clear to a younger viewer in the same way an adult viewer would see it.
We did enjoy this and I certainly would purchase a copy for our own DVD collection and watch this many more times. I think this is not just a film for Christmas time, it would be ok to watch at any time through the year as the focus was more on the Easter time of year in the story.
This is a high quality film, and likely to become a classic childrens film in my eyes.
Summary: A magical film helping to keep the myths of childhood alive.