Ask anyone who they think makes the best animated feature films out there at the moment and 9 times out of 10 you’ll hear the name Pixar, and rightly so. Since 1995 Pixar have and continue to beguile and enchant movie goers of every age with their films, but lately the animation wing of DreamWorks have quietly been creeping up on their Californian counterparts with a string of incredibly slick and impressive movies under their belt, such as Shrek, Madagascar, How To Train Your Dragon and their newest film Rise Of The Guardians follows suit.
2012 has definitely been a year of superheroes, the Avengers have assembled, Nolan’s epic Batman films have come to an end, Spider-Man has been given a brand new makeover and we’ve got plenty more on the way from the likes of Iron Man, Thor, X-men etc. the list goes on. But ROTG offers audiences a different kind of superhero, the kind of superhero who might be real..but then again they might not!
We’re all familiar with Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, the Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost but what if they all worked together as part of a team, united in the fight to preserve the wonder and magic within children across the globe. Well that’s precisely the plot of Rise Of The Guardians! And be prepared, if you think you know what Santa looks like, if you think he’s a fat jolly old man with rosy cherub cheeks then you might be in for a bit of a shock! In this version Santa (Alec Baldwin affecting a reasonably convincing accent) is a hulking great Russian with tattoo’s on his arms, and it’s not just Santa that gets an image change, the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) is the size of a human, throws Boomerangs and has an Ozzy accent, the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) is a sort of Fairy, Hummingbird hybrid and the Sandman is a tubby little man with a shock of sand for hair... well he’s entirely made of sand in fact!
Together they form what is known as the Guardians, who under the watchful eye of the Man in the Moon work together to keep children safe and ensure the magic and light within them never goes out. But of course, things are scuppered when the bogey man turns up aka Pitch Black (Jude Law). Pitch, who years ago had been cast out by the Guardians, has returned stronger than ever and is intent on spreading his special brand of bad dreams upon the children of the world. With the help of the sprightly Jack Frost (Chris Pine) who is called up by the Guardians to help stop Pitch, the team must fight to restore the world's belief in them before they stop believing all together!
The look of the film is every bit as magical as the story, especially the animation which to put it quite simply is sublime. As I mentioned at the start, Pixar are going to seriously need to up their game because ROTG really pushes the envelope for computer animated movies, from the particle effects of the Sandman to the dazzling 3D which actually lends a greater level of immersion into the narrative as opposed to being the gimmick it has sadly become.
Breathtaking is an understatement!
Narratively speaking the film really pushes the audiences to the edge, normally with these kind of movies they follow a typical pattern of obstacle and a resolution you can see coming a mile off but ROTG really convinces you that maybe they can't get out of this one and that maybe the bad guy might win this time but of course what kind of family Christmas movie would that be!? Yet, it's nice to be taken on that kind of ride where any kind of ending is possible.
There are plenty of laughs to be had, and as with all great family animations a lot of the jokes will definitely go over the younger one's heads, but both young and old can enjoy Santa's hilarious Elves, who have a touch of the minions from Despicable Me about them!
I honestly can't think of a better Christmas film, Rise Of The Guardians ticks all the right boxes, and it's an absolute must see come 30th November when the film is released! And no matter how old are you, even if you stopped believing in Santa and the Easter bunny years ago this film will definitely restore a sense of child like wonder within you and possibly even change your mind!