Movie Review: Rise of the Guardians

As I’ve said in other posts, I have certain psychological issues that flare up every once in a while that make it difficult for me to concentrate when I go see movies (or read books). It’s been happening again lately, but I must maintain my blog. Anyway, I saw “Rise of the Guardians” a couple of days ago, doing my best to ignore the psychological difficulties. I enjoyed it. It was a good children’s movie with only a few shortcomings.


The main character in the movie is Jack Frost (yes, that Jack Frost who nips at your nose). Jack Frost is basically a supernatural creature who has the ability to summon snow and frost and turn every day into a fun-filled snowball fight. He carries a special wooden staff around with him which seems to be a conduit of his power. There is a catch though. Nobody believes he exists. Hence, no one can see him or hear him (except other supernatural creatures—I say supernatural, but I mean like Holiday creatures).


There are five other characters of import in the story: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Mister Sandman, and the bad guy, Pitch Black, a.k.a. the Boogey Man. The basic plot is that the Boogey Man is intent on destroying the other characters in the story, his power is on the rise, and he’s taking over the world bringing nightmares and darkness. It is up to the four Holiday characters to stop him, because that is their primary task as Guardians: to protect the children of the world. However, this time, Pitch Black is so strong they are going to need to recruit a fifth Guardian, namely, Jack Frost. In the beginning, Jack Frost is very much against the idea for a number of reasons, but he eventually comes around after several less than cordial encounters with Pitch Black, who is a really bad guy.


The resulting tale is a classic good versus evil tale with Jack Frost serving as the reluctant hero, although in the end, it is not Jack Frost alone who saves the day, but the children of the world who refuse to be afraid of Pitch Black. Overall, I would say the movie provides good family fun with one small caveat. Very, very young children might be a little frightened by Pitch Black.


I’ve had this complaint about other children’s movies by Disney or whoever. They have a tendency to forget their target audience and wind up making the movies a tad too scary for the very young. This may not be entirely their fault. Part of the problem may be the improvement of special effects that has occurred through the years. In the old days, Disney pumped out cartoons with sinister dragons and evil witches, but the cartoonish quality was so far removed from reality and the dark ambience created by these creatures was so clearly identifiable as fictitious that even the very young could handle the story. I mean, I saw Snow White and Sleeping Beauty as a kid. I don’t remember being terrified. But some of things Pitch Black does, and the whole visual impact he and his minions have as a result of improved technology might be a little overwhelming for a small child.


Regardless, I think it was a good movie and I’ll give it four stars out of five.

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About atoasttodragons

The author, Matthew D. Ryan, lives in northern New York on the shores of Lake Champlain, one of the largest lakes in the continental United States, famous for the Battle of Plattsburgh and the ever-elusive Lake Champlain Monster, a beastie more commonly referred to as Champy. Matthew has studied philosophy, mathematics, and computer science in the academic world. He has earned a black belt in martial arts.

2 responses to “Movie Review: Rise of the Guardians”

  1. Katinka says :

    Del Toro also made Pan’s Labyrinth and Kung Fu Panda. The “darkness” is a signature of his craft. Here’s what he said about Rise of the Guardians @

    What’s the biggest mistake people make in telling stories about children, or for children?

    “Well, I think that one of the things is to actually try and create a sense of darkness in the tale. A lot of people just make this sanitized super happy-go-lucky, “bright sunshine and clouds” type of childhood movies. And you really need an element of the dark in it…

    And I think that people don’t acknowledge that kids have all these sides. Kids are neurotic, kids deal with fear, kids are confronted by really hostile impulses from the adults around them and the other kids, and you know, movies should acknowledge all this and create these fables that help them deal with those things.”

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