Sunday, 16 December 2012

Guest Review: Rise of the Guardians

By Damien.

Who Am I?
A Weird Rise of the Guardians Guest Review.

Maybe I'm a visionary genius. Or maybe I'm the biggest idiot on Earth... Just look at one of my comments on this very blog, talking about Rise of the Guardians a few months ago :
"I'm somewhat excited for this film, but I think it's not gonna be a huge hit internationally, with the differences in popular cultures.
Basically, in France :
- Santa Claus : Okay, "le Père Noël" is pretty much the same thing. Exactly even.
- Easter Bunny : Replaced by Bells. Yes. Bells bring the eggs.
- Tooth Fairy : Replaced by a small mouse : "la petite souris".
- Jack Frost : Who is this ???"

I am the biggest idiot on Earth.

My reasoning here was that the Guardians would not have the same impact throughout the whole world. And I was wrong. In a way, the biggest strength of the movie is its characters.
Not the mythical figures that we know and grew up with - or didn't grow up with, for that matter. But the unique characters that exist within the world created by DreamWorks and William Joyce.
Let's start with Santa - or rather North - as I did back then. What a fun character. Not your usual Santa Claus. Here he's a tattooed swordsman. He can be very intimidating, but he's really a big kid at heart.
Then there's the Easter Bunny. I expected him to be my favorite Guardian, and he did not disappoint. One of the best things about him is what he goes through towards the end of the movie; big laughs guaranteed.
The Tooth Fairy is a sweet character, who brings a lot of fun too. And by the way, you get to meet the French tooth fairy I mentioned earlier, la petite souris, with a nice touch by French composer Alexandre Desplat, who hints at his national anthem in the score when you see the mouse.
And I entirely forgot to mention the Sandman in that comment, which proves once again what a fool I am. Sandy is a brave little guy, and you care about him. You know you love him, because when he's not there, you miss him.
Add to that the Yetis, including Phil, the Elves, Jamie, and Pitch the Boogeyman as a scary villain, and you have a pretty solid cast of characters. That's even without mentioning the hero.

I am a visionary genius.

Let's focus on Jack Frost now. After all, he's the heart of the movie. It starts with him, and you see the whole story through Jack's eyes. And now is the time where I quote myself again:
"- Jack Frost : Who is this ???"
BAM! That's the whole movie condensed into five words, right there: throughout the entire story, Jack Frost is trying to figure out who he is. Am I a genius for predicting this completely at random, months before the film was released? I'm tempted to say yes.
Anyway, the main theme of the film is finding out who you are. So in the end, it's actually better if you don't know who Jack Frost is when you see Rise of the Guardians. It makes you connect with the character even more. You don't know about him anymore than he does.
And here the film delivers a simple truth, using a matryoshka doll as a visual metaphor. You're not only what people see you as; there are layers beneath, each one adding a little more to who you are. And at the heart of the doll is your center. It's what you are about, ultimately. Truly. And it's not always easy to find out.
So am I the biggest idiot on Earth or a visionary genius? Maybe a bit of both. But that's not everything I am...

I am also a sucker for pretty things.

Let's face it: Rise of the Guardians looks amazing. Not only are the characters and set designs brilliant and full of nice colors, but from a technical point of view, the film is absolutely flawless. I would definitely recommend the 3D, as it's really well done. And it pays off during the breathtaking action scenes.
Now, what's the next layer in my matryoshka doll?

I am a nitpicker.

Everything is not perfect in Rise of the Guardians. There were some aspects of the story that I didn't find satisfying. Or that didn't make sense at all, even. Sometimes you can get over it, and it doesn't trouble you. But here, I'm still scratching my head over some of the plot points.
Another thing bothering me was that the film had a tough time finding its ending. I thought, all of a sudden, there was a pace problem, in an otherwise pace problem-free movie.
Yes, I am a nitpicker, but really, I think it's an amazing film.

The Center.

Rise of the Guardians is about who you are. And this movie is a lot of things: it has lovable characters. It's moving. It's beautifully crafted. It has great action scenes. It also has some story problems. But those are not the center of the film. No. Actually, the center of Rise of the Guardians is the same as its main character, as it should be.
It's fun.

As for my own center, I won't tell you. You've already learned far too much about me.


Here at A113Animation, we love hearing from you, our readers. Be it by Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, email or whatever else, we like hearing your thoughts! If, like Damien or Munir, you feel passionately about a subject or a film, then why not shoot us a review or editorial? You can send us your ideas at

Thanks to Damien for this great review, we look forward to sharing future reviews of his with you (including a Wreck-It Ralph one in the near future). Be sure to follow him on Twitter, and thanks, as always, for visiting A113Animation!

Related posts: Check out our review of Rise of the Guardians here.

1 comment:

  1. I heard many positive reviews about this movie. I like the animation movies a lot. So, am very eager to watch this weekend.