Jack Frost is quite a character in the animated gem Rise of the Guardians. As envisioned by screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire and director Peter Ramsey, based on William Joyce’s book, he is a lost soul content in making mischief for three centuries before he finds his purpose, and Chris Pine voices him impeccably.
Joyce presents a world where all the childhood icons not only know each other, but work together to ensure the dreams of youth continue to flourish. The group is known as the Guardians and they are led by North, better known as Santa Claus. Alec Baldwin portrays him as a Russian with a thick accent and two forearm tattoos, one that says “Naughty” and one that says “Nice.” His group is filled out by those highlighted in the Rise of the Guardians featurette: Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and The Sandman (he’s silent, but his actions speak volumes).
Ramsey introduces each one of them, beginning with Frost, as we learn that this muse of winter is the key to the Guardians' latest threat. It seems that Pitch (Jude Law) has emerged from his centuries-long slumber to threaten children’s dreams once again. History knows Law’s evildoer better as The Boogie Man and he's the perfect Rise of the Guardians villain.
The Guardians live and breathe due to the “belief” of children in their existence. Fear is the enemy. Pitch has turned dreams that are spun by Sandman -- enhanced by the Christmas fantasy of a jolly man delivering presents to the world, an Australian bunny who delivers eggs and Easter joy, and a pesky fairy who picks up our teeth under our collective pillows -- into nightmares. Their key to their survival is fading.
Our Rise of the Guardians review is most impressed by the message of the film. Frost is recruited to join the keepers of imagination, albeit unwillingly, and it is because of reasons that fate will decide. The film deals remarkably well in the business of finding oneself and how as that is achieved, we all are uplifted. It is a theme that both parents and children can carry together, long after they leave the theater.
The look of the film, with its 3D palette, is mesmerizing. As Fisher echoed in our Rise of the Guardians cast interview, the movie appears to have been painted by hand. Each stroke of color and landscape is a marvel. Overall, when it comes to holiday movie fare, consider Rise of the Guardians a Christmas family miracle. This is one film that warrants a franchise if there ever was one.
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