Rise of the Guardians Review

If Frank Peretti wrote the premise for This Present Darkness with our childhood fantasy characters, it would sound a lot like Rise of the Guardians. This is more than just a heart pumping action movie with cool CGI; it's also a deep movie with Sunday School elements. Don't believe me? Then, let's take a look.

The story centers around Jack Frost (Chris Pine) (which is weird as 3/4 the advertising wasn't), who for hundreds of years hasn't been able to be seen or heard by humans. Why? Because they don't believe that he exists; we quickly learn that it's the belief of human children that they exist that gives these mythical persons their powers. We also learn that an old evil is arising: Pitch Black, a.k.a. the Boogeyman (Jude Law), who is determined to make the children of the world believe in and fear him rather than our heroes. So, Santa Clause (Alec Baldwin) rallies the rest of the Guardians, the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), and the Sandman (he doesn't talk), whose job is to protect the hopes and dreams of kids. Pitch is apparently so strong, though, that the Man in the Moon (just go with it) informs them that a new Guardian is needed and chooses Jack. The problem is, Jack doesn't want to be a Guardian, preferring to stay free to roam and cause mischief. He finds out though, that he had a past life before he was Jack Frost and that his memories are stored inside his teeth, that the Tooth Fairy possessed before Pitch stole them. Now, it's a desperate fight to stop Pitch as he grows stronger, keep the belief in the Guardians alive in the hearts of the world and find Jack's memories of his old life.

As usual with Dreamworks movies, the film is a lot of fun to look at and has quite a few heart-thumping action scenes. And, again, this studio manages to take an element that has been used before and make it into something completely new; taking classic characters and adding a twist on them is nothing ground-breaking, but I believe this is the first time we've seen these particular characters get this treatment. Also, this spin is more of making them total bosses than anything comedic or really clever (it's still awesome, though). The writing staff also bothered to give each character an individual identity. It could be really easy for the writers to just give them all really generic personalities, but they take the time and effort to make them their own individuals.

And now, the This Present Darkness elements come in to play. This film deals with Christian-esq themes like individual purpose and belief in what you can't see. I couldn't help but notice spiritual warfare elements, too. I know it sounds more than a little ridiculous, but I couldn't help but connect the conflict between the Guardians and Pitch to the battle between angels and demons. I get that all villains are supposed to be evil, but the way that Pitch works reminds me of how I think the devil operates. He's trying to destroy in the kids what the devil tries to destroy in us: belief. And, in a way, the Guardians are kind of like the angels working for God, as they're defending the kids from their own disbelief. Another point that I'd like to bring up is that Jack was created by the Man in the Moon and hasn't been talked to for a long time. And, the way he reacts kind of reminds me of how humans react to God; he asks why he's never been given an answer, he gets angry at the Moon when it's not the answer he was expecting. Little touches like that are neat and I really enjoy them. I'm not trying to sound like a preacher, it's just quite a few things that I noticed.

I think the only thing I didn't like about this movie is the ending. It's not that it was wrapped up poorly, it's that they throw in this really confusing moral that really wasn't necessary. Other than that, I got no complaints.

Synopsis: This is a film that has something for everybody. It has action, comedy, and really deep themes. It is definitely worth watching.

Score: 9/10


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