Rise of the Guardians: The Good, the bad and the ugly

Jerald Uy

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Critics call it the 'perfect holiday family movie'

'WARM' WINTER WELCOME. Bunnymund, Sandy, North and Tooth welcome Jack Frost. Image from the movie's Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – Call Rise of the Guardians an Avengers movie for kids and parents who want to be reminded why they need to leave a penny for every tooth, dress up as Santa Claus on Christmas Eve and paint colorful eggs on Easter Sunday.

This is a family movie with character dynamics that are at par with what we saw in the Joss Whedon superhero film.

In the movie, the Guardians — North, the kick-ass Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin); Tooth, the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher); Sandy, the sleepwalking Sandman; and Bunnymund, the Easter Bunny with an Australian accent (Hugh Jackman) — welcome their newest member, the fun-loving Jack Frost (Chris Pine), chosen by the mysterious Man on the Moon to defeat Pitch Black, the Boogeyman (Jude Law).

The good

THE WAY WE KNOW HIM. Santa Claus is not just a gift-giver; he is a Christmas hero. Image from the movie's Facebook page

Some of the things I enjoyed in the movie were:

1) The references that boomerang expert Easter Bunny is Australian. Jack calls him a “kangaroo” because of his accent, a reference to voice actor Hugh Jackman’s nationality.

2) Sandy’s visual “sand language.” This is a good way to show children the struggles of people who cannot speak.

3) That Christmas elf who only wants to blow his horn but Frost always seems to disrupt the ceremonies.

4) The Yeti who always needs to start everything again because of unforeseen circumstances.

5) The Sandman vs. the Boogeyman scene. The swirling yellow and black sand and the dark demonic horses turning into golden ponies are visual delights.

Watch the trailer here:

The bad

SAD BAD GUY. The Boogeyman may be evil, but he's also quite lonely. Image from the movie's Facebook page

Some questions the film left unanswered were:

1) Why is Sandy mute?

I could only guess that the Sandman could not talk to represent his power (silence) to put children to sleep. 

2) How come Jack Frost can’t remember his past life but the other Guardians can?

My take is that if Sandy cannot speak, Jack’s amnesia is the weakness that comes with his power to summon the cold weather. This was not clearly presented in the movie, though.

The ugly

SANTA'S ELVES. The film is filled with imagery that will get you excited about Christmas again — like a kid. Image from the movie's Facebook page

The movie fell short of developing the flawed character, Pitch Black: the one who decided to put out the lights representing children’s hopes and dreams because he felt left out when the Guardians came and left him no spot.

We saw this plot in the recent Wreck-it Ralph where an envious Turbo decided to take over and manipulate other racing games. 

The antagonist was “flat”; he could have been allowed redemption by the Guardians, but it seemed like for a character gone astray, there was no hope of positive change, no one gave him that chance.

Final thoughts

PIXIE LIKE. The Tooth Fairy is birdlike, feathers and all. Image from the movie's Facebook page

The film manages to appeal to its younger target audience with the amazing visuals. But if the filmmakers’ intention was to create a family movie, they should have not left the more cerebral adults with questions.

Despite these, you won’t feel shortchanged after watching Rise of the Guardians. Beyond the visuals that may not work in a live action flick, the movie’s message is for every viewer to find his or her “center.”

It asks everyone to look for their place in the world, to never stop dreaming and to overcome fear in the face of seemingly insurmountable difficulty.

Of course, it also motivates kids to go to bed on time. – Rappler.com


‘Rise of the Guardians’ is now screening in Philippine cinemas.

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