Rise Of The Guardians REVIEW

Rise Of The Guardians film review: Dream team vs dream scheme

Release Date: 30 November 2012
PG | 97 minutes
Distributor: Paramount
Director: Peter Ramsey
Cast: Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher

Rise Of The Guardians may have the world’s most generic title (see if you can remember it 20 minutes from now without looking) – not an auspicious starting point. It also has a storyline as generic as its title. A syrupy, overwrought love song to Christmas, Easter and the glorious innocence of children, it contains so much saccharine it would make the Sugarplum Fairy puke. Still, forgettable moniker and soppiness aside, it’s not all bad; in fact, at times it’s bloody good fun.

The plot’s a basic good vs evil romp in which Jack Frost (Chris Pine, with a voice disturbingly deep for such a young-looking lad) is recruited by the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Santa (Alec Baldwin) and the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) to save the children of the world from bad dreams spread by Pitch Black (Jude Law, basically Loki from Avengers with a pointy David Boreanaz face). Frost is a bit of a tit at first but warms up nicely – er, not literally, or he’d be crap at his job – while the tone of the film is summed up by panto-villain Pitch when he spouts such cheesiness as “I’d say ‘Sweet dreams’, but there aren’t any left.” Boo, hiss!

It’s clear that Rise Of The Guardians is based (loosely) on a book series (written by William Joyce) because there’s so much info-dumping about the world that it can barely squeeze all the action into its runtime. Smaller kids may be lost, but older ones will appreciate the twists and turns, even if there’s so much going on that the film makes a Doctor Who Christmas episode look sluggish. The characters are truly funny, too. Alec Baldwin’s ludicrously Russian-accented Santa a blast, but the Easter Bunny is the most hilarious as he grumps and thumps his way through the plot. He also produces some some wonderful Aussie swearing (“Rack off!”) which may make up for the fact that the film’s fourth hero, the mute and cute Sandman, could puzzle British kids who haven’t a clue who he is.

Guardians isn’t exactly a damp squib, working hard to make us laugh, gasp and even cry. But it’s a little too crammed for its own good and there’s not much we haven’t seen before.

Jayne Nelson twitter.com/kakapojayne

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