tek's rating: ¾

Rise of the Guardians (PG)
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This came out, I guess, around Thanksgiving 2012. I first watched it around Valentine's Day 2014. (I knew there were a couple holidays represented in the film, Christmas and Easter, and Jack Frost is a major character in it, so I thought I should watch it sometime in winter, but not on a holiday that was represented in it. But if you want to watch it closer to one of the two holidays, I'd suggest Easter. I guess.) The movie is based on a book series that I've never read. I think the movie did moderately well financially and critically, but at a certain level, movies like this can be considered failures if they don't do insanely well financially and critically, which I think is ludicrous. Anyway, I expected to like the movie, but I wasn't sure how much I'd like it. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that I love it. You know, not as much as I love some movies, but still... I thought it was pretty damn good.

It begins with Jack Frost (Chris Pine) waking up in a frozen pond, apparently having just spontaneously sprung into existence. He has no memories, and no idea what the point of his existence might be, but he soon finds a staff that gives him icy powers. And he can fly (or ride the wind, or whatever). He says the moon told him his name, but nothing else. (We never actually hear the moon speak, but it becomes apparent that the Man in the Moon is pretty important.) The movie then flashes forward 300 years, apparently to the present. It's three days before Easter, but the main character we see is Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), at the North Pole. (But he isn't called Santa, he's called "North." And he has a Russian accent.) There are a bunch of tiny elves and large yetis who help North out, but none of them seem to talk. Anyway, North has a big globe with lights all over it that represent children who believe, all around the world. You know, believe in things like Santa Claus. But some black sand starts covering the globe, and North gets concerned, so uses the northern lights to call a meeting of his fellow Guardians.

The Guardians include North, the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), the Sandman (who doesn't speak), and the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher). North tells the others that the Bogeyman, aka Pitch Black (Jude Law), has returned, after having been banished by the Guardians centuries ago. And we learn that the Guardians were all appointed to their positions by the Man in the Moon, who has chosen a new Guardian to join their ranks: Jack Frost. So, the Guardians bring him to the North Pole to induct him, though at first he isn't interested in the position. Bunny doesn't want him to be a Guardian, either. The two of them seem to have an unfriendly history. It's also worth noting that only beings like the Guardians (and their assistants) can see and hear Jack. He's invisible to normal humans, which is something that bothers him; that, and the fact that children don't believe in him, the way they do the other Guardians.

Anyway, after North has an informative chat with Jack, they get word that the Tooth Fairy's palace has been attacked, so they all go to help. It turns out all of Tooth's hummingbird-like assistants (except one who was rescued by Jack) have been kidnapped by Pitch, who has also stolen all the teeth. After that, Tooth explains to Jack the point of collecting the teeth, which I don't want to spoil. But it ties into a very important reason for Jack to decide to join the Guardians in their battle against Pitch.

And I don't want to reveal any more of the plot. But I liked all the characters, and Pitch was a pretty decent villain. And there are some children who play an important role in the story, mainly a boy named Jamie, and his little sister, Sophie. And, um... well, the animation's really good, and I dug the whole reimagining of familiar mythical figures, and there were bits that I found genuinely touching, and there was a lot of decent humor, and a lot of cool action. And stuff. I dunno what else to say, except that it's just the kind of movie you should be able to really appreciate if you're young or young at heart. (And since I'll always be a kid at heart... I appreciated it.)


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