Friday, November 23, 2012

Rise of the Guardians

Jack Frost is more than a myth
Santa Claus is more than a legend
The Easter Bunny is more than a fable
The Tooth Fairy is more than a fairy tale
The Sandman is more than a dream 

Truthfully, from the poster alone, initially I had no idea and no interest in the movie. The trailers do not really invoke any interest or excitement (lucky I saw the trailers only AFTER I watched the movie) However, everything changed when I found out that the story features famous fairy tales characters such as Santa Claus, Jack Frost, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and Sandman. My interest shot up higher when I read that it was made by the group which produced How to Train Your Dragon. I remember watching it in the airplane and perhaps it is the only cartoon movie which managed to made me cry thus far.

I was quite embarassed to watch this alone as most of the crowds were children. The adults were mostly parents who accompanied their kids.. Oh well, there is a child within everyone, isn't it? Anyway, I am no longer a kid, and I think it will be unfair to judge the movie based on adults' standards. Oh ya, just a warning: spoilers ahead!

I thought the story is rather shallow, simplistic, and predictable: the goodies (the Guardians) vs the baddie (only one: the Pitch aka the Boogeyman). Children believe in fairy tales and this gives strength to the Guardians. Boogeyman is tired being alone and "invisible" as children do not believe in him. Thus Boogeyman wants to take over these children's heart and make them no longer believe in Santa Claus and friends and the Guardians must prevent that. Now, Jack Frost is the center of the movie. He is carefree, mischievous, and only wants to have fun. He has been chosen to beome a Guardian but he is not interested in having a duty and commitment to protect the kids. Jack's adventure made him realise that he also likes to protect children and eventually fight the Pitch. In the end, he agrees to officially become a Guardian.

The plot, the climax, and the resolution are abrupt and are not really coherent. The action scenes are cool but the action tend to be very quick and all I can follow is just light and bang here and bang there. Sandman, Jack Frost, and Easter Bunny are kinda cool but Santa (with 2 swords) and Tooth Fairy (I don't know how she fights) are kinda lame.

Each character has different personalities which stand out among one another. Although I think it is unfortunate that the only girl character (Tooth Fairy) has the most unmemorable personality. And I personally dislike Santa's personality here as it does not fit into typical Santa fatherly character at all. Jack Frost suits his traits commonly believed in fairy tales and Easter Bunny is the typical strict-on-the-outside-soft-in-the-inside and serves as the comic relief. I thought Sandman is the most memorable one and this is ironic because he is a non-speaking character!! Haha.. He does not speak as he does not want to "wake people up from their dream" and communicates with sand images above his head. His superpower is also the most gorgeous with all the golden streaks against the pitch black sky.

Having said that, the kid in me actually enjoyed the show. They stayed true to the fairy tales with Easter Bunny to paint and distribute Easter Eggs, Santa running the North Pole, Tooth Fairy collecting teeth, Sandman spreading dream sand, and Jack Frost causing snow, frost on the window, and nipping the nose. Having a visualisation of these fairy tales characters is surely a great experience. There are plenty light hearted and funny moments (although I don't find anything particularly moving, touching, or made me cry.. hmm.. an exception will be the scene where Jack gave proof to Jamie that Easter Bunny exists).

And who says cartoon are for kids and useless? I honestly was not familiar with Sandman, Tooth Fairy, and Jack Frost. This movie introduced me to the folk lore about them. Perhaps it is useless information but I value knowing general knowledge like this. And I am not sure whether kids are able to understand some of the jokes such as "Haha.. the ones who build the toys in North Pole are Yetis, not elves as what people believe".

It may not be the best movie but it is still a good movie. I consider this as the box office of 2012 end of the year and 2012 Christmas/Holiday movie. Hmm.. the last time I had cartoon Holiday movie was the Polar Express a few years back.. Perhaps it was my last cartoon movie prior to this too. Well, movies which invoke Christmassy feeling will always tug the strings in my heart ba.. (Haha.. but I still think the Polar Express was more impactful than this). Oh and gosh, the movie really awakens the kid in me. I am now tempted to collect McDonalds' Happy Meal toys and to buy book: the Art of Rise of the Guardians.
Am I on the Naughty List?
Naughty List? You hold the record.

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