Rise of the Guardians: Movie Review
Vocal cast: Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, Isla Fisher, Jude Law
Director: Peter Ramsey
It must be summer time as we're suddenly awash with animated fare.
The latest to hit the big screen is computer generated animation, Rise of The Guardians.
Starring Star Trek's Chris Pine as Jack Frost, it's the tale of a threat to the world from the evil Pitch (played by Jude Law).
When the collective group known as the Guardians - Santa (Baldwin), the Easter Bunny, (Jackman) The Sandman (doesn't speak throughout) and the Tooth Fairy (Fisher) - find children are stopping believing in them, they realise they're facing a danger bigger than they could have imagined.
It turns out that threat is Pitch, a nightmarish character / Boogeyman (played by Jude Law) who is sick of lurking in the shadows and being ignored. So, The Guardians decide to recruit Jack Frost, the lone boy whom no-one sees to help them save the day.
Rise of the Guardians is a curious beast.
On one hand, the story is a relatively novel one, a kind of Avengers of the imaginary world unite.
But on the other, there's not quite enough to keep it going or enough knowing story subtext to engage the adult audience.
Visually, it looks - in places - stunning, painting in FX that are lush, subtle and gorgeous to behold. But then, it's almost as if the animators get carried away by how clever they feel they are and end up swamping the screen with so much unnecessary animation or, worse than that, throw in FX shots for no real reason other than because they can.
Also, it's a strange mix of story as well - these aren't the traditional characters as you'd come to expect. This Santa is a Russian accented, tattooed heavy who employs Yetis rather than the traditional elves; the Bunny is a gruff on-the-edge Aussie, and the lack of real recognition may mean some are put off in this slightly skewed tale.
But there are themes of belonging and belief melting through the Avengers recruitment feel of the film - and while it's not a bad mix overall, it's just neither fish nor fowl unfortunately. It's a film that's a little lacking in story, a little too ready to show off its animation and a little too dark to appeal to a mass audience of kids.