Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Review: "Rise of the Guardians"

I apologize for this being a day late, but I am now in my last few weeks of the semester and entering the time when I have more work than time or sanity. So, today, instead of pondering what makes good writing good, I'm going to review a movie I saw over the Thanksgiving holiday: Dreamworks' Rise of the Guardians.

I feel like this isn't as lazy as it could have been, since the movie is based on a book series by William Joyce, who also helped make the movie. The books are good, and you all should read them, but I'm going to talk about the movie.

Short response: I thoroughly enjoyed it.

By now, you should know that I reward "awesomeness" highly, which might not be my best trait. The movie was awesome, kind of an Avengers for children. I also really enjoy mythology of all kinds, so it was interesting to me to see how the mythological figures of Santa, Sandman, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and Jack Frost would interact, and what they would see as their purpose. Why deliver toys? Why take teeth and leave coins?

I was impressed by the depth they put into the protagonist, Jack Frost. From the trailers, it seems like Jack is not a central part of the story, that he's a wild, rebellious kid with no cares in the world, but that's not true. He has anxieties and fears that make him a fairly interesting character, and also allow for a fascinating (at least to me) parallel between him and the antagonist, Pitch. This film is actually a good example, I think, of the shadow: a character that is similar to the hero in many ways, but has fallen. A perfect example from the world of superheroes is Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Eddie Brock/Venom.

It makes it cooler to my English-major brain that the "shadow" in Rise of the Guardians is literally a shadow, namely, Pitch Black, the Nightmare King.

Other things I liked: the movie has a character who doesn't speak, who is still dynamic and compelling. I love characters who manage to have a strong presence without much dialogue. I also liked the bright colors, very imaginative and dreamlike, that sparked memories of childhood and the wonder, hope, and dreams that came with it. Also, I have never wanted to go ice skating or have a snowball fight so bad in my life.

Do I think it was as good as How to Train Your Dragon? No, I do not. The characters weren't as compelling, and the dialogue didn't sparkle as much. But I also think what we have here is a new story, with its own place in the world. It was a cute movie, and I would definitely see it again while it's still in theaters.

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