Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the Guardians

If you see one family film this winter, let this one be it!

Every so often, you run across a movie that you were interested in seeing but just didn’t expect the wow factor it would have on you. Interesting plots become magical moments, and you lose count of the number of times you actually feel goose bumps on your skin. Rise of the Guardians is one such movie.

I guess a movie with Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost, the Boogeyman and the Sandman—not to mention Hugh Jackman, am I right?—is bound to be filled with magic and mystery, but the degree of which this movie had both really surprised me. It’s not a predictable kids’ cartoon, but an absolutely epic family movie that you’ll want for years to come.

Sadly, no, this film didn’t pass the Bechdel Test—which is a standard that I now unconsciously use to rate just about every film, especially children’s films, these days. I can’t help it; I’m a girl and I want to see more girls in movies! So does my kiddo, also a girl. Having the main child be a female or giving the Tooth Fairy a more pronounced role (rather than being the first victim) could have really helped this movie.

All of that said, I have absolutely zero complains in the entertainment department. New, plausible (and non-religious!) explanations were given to each of the guardians as a back story, and I am in love with absolutely all of them—especially the surprisingly powerful Sandman and the seemingly tough, yet sometimes cute Easter Bunny. This film has surprises around every turn, and the magical worlds you enter through each character are just amazing. Like the people mourning the end of Avatar, I wanted to visit these worlds and see what it would be like to live in them (well, perhaps not quite as vehemently).

The plot is pretty simple—stop the Boogeyman from taking over the world, pretty much—but it’s so much more than that. And yes, we did have some questions left unanswered at the end—don’t you always with a cartoon?—but the experience was so engaging that we sort of didn’t even care, which proves it’s a darn good movie.

This movie knocked my socks off. I saw it with my family as well as my sister and her husband, and half of us cried. I’m not kidding. We don’t go to 3-D movies (sure, they’re expensive, but my seven-year-old won’t keep the glasses on anyway), but this was one that made me think that I would have loved to experience it in 3-D. Even so, it was so alive and vivid without the additional dimension that I can’t wait to own it on DVD and see it again. And again…