DreamWorks Review: Rise of the Guardians

DreamWorks Animation's 25th feature film.
DreamWorks Animation’s 25th feature film.

Watch Full Movie ON LINK

I first have to apologize for the delay of this review. I was working on the Turbo review (which took FOREVER), and a bunch of other things I was doing, that I forgot to publish it this week (though I wrote this 2 months ago, but my opinion still stands). Because I do not want to bother anyone on Christmas, I will be posting The Croods review tomorrow, and Turbo on the 24th.

My Opinion right after watching movie

My opinion right after watching the movie is that it is good, though could have been a lot better. The story is pretty good, but the pacing could be better, and the action takes up a lot of the film. It is very likable and beautiful in a lot of ways.

Production

William Joyce has been working on the film since 2005, but sold the rights to DreamWorks Animation in 2008, and had to leave the project for a while soon after because his daughter passed away from a brain tumor. He was still a producer of the film, but was not a director anymore, which was then given to Peter Ramsey, who is now the 1st African-American to direct a big-budget CGI film.

Guillermo del Toro was another big part of the movie, and was there since almost the beginning of the production. He was the one who shifted the movie to a darker, moody tone which is different from the traditional animated film. The animations and stuff were the same that were used in films like Puss in Boots and How to Train Your Dragon.

Apparently, the movie was supposed to be released on November 2nd, 2012, but was pushed back a few weeks to avoid competition from Monsters University (which was then to be released on the same day, before it was moved back and Wreck-it Ralph took its place).

Story

So the movie starts with Jack Frost (Chris Pine) comes out of ice with no memory of his past and what his purpose was. He soon realizes that he can create frost and that the blue moon was calling him. He tries to talk to some of the villagers, but they cannot see and hear him, and can even walk through him. 300 years later, Santa  (Alec Baldwin) sees a shadow of the Boogeyman (Jude Law), and alerts the other guardians the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), Sandman, and the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) about it. When they all meet up, Santa explains why he called the meeting, and the Blue Moon tells them that they need help, and says that Jack Frost is the new addition to the guardians.

I think they are subtely sayign that the Blue Moon is God, which I find a bit weird that people like Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy and such are associated with religion. I kow Christmas is the birth of Jesus, but Santa and all of that is the commercialized christms, nto what it is actually all about, so I like to separate them, makign this a bit weird for me.
I think they are subtly saying that the Blue Moon is God, which I find a bit weird that people like Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy and such are associated with religion. I know Christmas is the birth of Jesus, but Santa and all of that is the commercialized Christmas, not what it is actually all about, so I like to separate them, making this a bit weird for me.

Since they somehow know him, they do not like the idea of him being a guardian. We then see Frost in the current day, who is carefree, causes mischief, does not like responsibility, and likes fun, but he soon reveals that he does this to get attention so people will see him and know he exists. He is taken to the North Pole to be confronted by the guardians, and when they tell him about being the new guardian, he does not believe it and thinks he is unfit, which Bunny (who he has a conflict with) agrees.

I think they should have explained the concept of the guardians and childhood creatures better. They somehow know one another, but it is not explained how they know Jack, and I think there are some answers that could be cleared up.
I think they should have explained the concept of the guardians and childhood creatures better. They somehow know one another, but it is not explained how they know Jack, and I think there are some answers that could be cleared up.

After Santa tells Jack that he needs to find his center to become a true guardian, Easter Bunny tells them of an attack at the Tooth Fairy’s castle and when they get there, all but 1 of the minions are taken, including the teeth which Tooth Fairy reveals conceals childhood memories (I do not know how though), and Jack wants to get his (since guardians have them as well, because they were people before they were guardians). The boogeyman waits around to rub in the fact that he wants to wipe away all hope and such (such subtle religious themes), and all of that.

So they decide to collect the teeth themselves, and ti becomes a competition for all of them exept the Tooth Fairy, who misses actually going out to collect the teeth. A child sees them, and all of them suddenly pass out exceot for jack and Sandman, who ends up dissapearing after Boogyman got rid of all the hope and positivity.
So they decide to collect the teeth themselves, and it becomes a competition for all of them except the Tooth Fairy, who misses actually going out to collect the teeth. A child sees them, and all of them suddenly pass out except for Jack and Sandman, who ends up disappearing after Boogyman got rid of all the hope and positive thoughts.

After the so-called funeral for Sandman, Easter Bunny asks them for help to get the eggs done for Easter which is today, and they all help. They reach to his work area but finds that something is off about it, which is a little girl being there. So they get the eggs done and Jack and Rabbit clear the air about their feud when they realize that the girl needs to go home, and they don’t want Jack to do it, since they need him, but he goes anyways.

Isn't he supposed to be invisible?
Isn’t he supposed to be invisible?

He hears a voice and follows it, which leads him to Boogyman’s lair and after he sees all the captured fairies, he goes to look for his tooth to look at his memory before he became Jack Frost, but the Boogyman arrives revealing he has his tooth., taunting him about his insecurities about not fitting in and all of that, and should be with the others. Frost runs to the surface and finds out that none of the eggs got there cause of Boogyman’s minions.

Them we have to deal with "The Misunderstanding" of them thinking Jack is working for Boogyman because he got his tooth and left Baby Tooth Fairy behind and for not being there, and all that jazz.
Then we have to deal with “The Misunderstanding” of them thinking Jack is working for Boogyman because he got his tooth and left Baby Tooth Fairy behind and for not being there, and all that jazz.

So the children do not believe in Easter, and Jack runs away ashamed of himself, with Boogyman showing up to offer Jack to join him since they both relate to one another for being outcasts, wanting to belong, and all of that, but Jack wants to be believed in and not feared, so he refuses. Boogyman breaks his staff, leaving Frost with nothing but Baby Tooth after Boogyman threw her, So he looks at his tooth to show his memory of him and his sister in the 18th century on ice which is about to crack, and he falls in (turning to Jack Frost) after saving his sister.

Rise of the Guardians

So he realizes his inner center which is him saving children and being heroic, realizing that he is a full guardian, so he returns to find out that only the boy who always appears in the movie believes in the Bunny (what about his sister who was in Bunny’s lair?) He sees Frost after he gives him a sign and he convinces his children friends that they exist and altogether, they bring back Sandman, who gives all children their nice dreams back. Jack joins them, and it is happily ever after.

Like I said, the plot is not bad; it is just weirdly paced, not that deep, and just seems a lot less epic than it wants to be. It is still engaging, most things making sense, and has a good message about never giving up on faith and finding your center to be the best you can be.
Like I said, the plot is not bad; it is just weirdly paced, not that deep, and just seems a lot less epic than it wants to be. It is still engaging, most things making sense, and has a good message about never giving up on faith and finding your center to be the best you can be.

Characters

The characters here are likable and work off really well together. They have interesting interactions because they as characters are engaging, though some are less developed than others.

Jack is a great protagonist. We understand every action that he does, has flws, a bit too careless, but has th right heart and automatically does the right thing just by nitution. He just wants ot be heard, but it is not done in a way where he is begging fr us to relate to him, though I think the makers did try to make him too cool at times.
Jack is a great protagonist. We understand every action that he does, has flaws, a bit too careless, but has the right heart and automatically does the right thing just by intuition. He just wants to be heard, but it is not done in a way where he is begging for us to relate to him, though I think the makers did try to make him too cool at times.
Santa is a great character too. He is tough, kickass, sweet, open-hearted, a leader, and optomistic. He gives Santas a nice twist to it, but with familiarity still int he character and archetype.
Santa is a great character too. He is tough, kick-ass, sweet, open-hearted, a leader, and optimistic. He gives Santas a nice twist to it, but with familiarity still in the character and archetype.
Easter Bunny is a cynic, but also can be sympathetic to others. He is likable too.
Easter Bunny is a cynic, but also can be sympathetic to others. He is likable too.
Tooth Fairy is nice......... over-excited about things....... and is likable as well.
Tooth Fairy is nice……… over-excited about things……. and is likable as well.
Sandman is literally all about positivity and dreaming and all of that.
Sandman is literally all about positivity and dreaming and all of that.
He is scary and has more of a character than just being evil. He is sick of being unheard and ignored.
He is scary and has more of a character than just being evil. He is sick of being unheard and ignored.

Animation

The animation is more than stunning. The action scenes are brilliant and fast, the effects are so detailed and colorful, and the background and character designs are good as well. Though some of the designs on the children are extremely awkward. You could tell that they were going for an older audience, just by the way they designed the movie.

Music

The music is not really memorable to me. I guess the score fits, but otherwise…….. yeah. Well, the soundtrack is the first time that a DreamWorks regular is not involved, Alexandre Desplat was the boss of the soundtrack.

Reception at Release

When the film was released on November 21st, 2012, it ended up losing money for the studio. While it did manage to make more than it’s $145 million budget, with $103,412,758 domestically, $200,300,000 overseas, with a total amount of $303,712,758. The reason why it lost money was because of its high marketing and production costs, with the studio reporting an $83 million write-down, putting them in a bad place for the first quarter of 2013, and losing 350 employees. This is the first film since Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas to lose money for the studio. This is also the reason why their distribution deal with Paramount Pictures ended with this film.

Onto lighter news, it received mixed to positive reviews. Critics and people liked it for its animation, action, characters, and pacing, but also said that the storytelling and writing is alright at best, and others hating it for putting animator over storytelling (isn’t that DreamWorks’ memo?).

When it comes to awards, it did not do very well, since there was major competition with Brave, Wreck-It Ralph, and a couple of others, this film was nominated for some Annies, Golden Globes, etc, and only won 7 awards, most being local awards.

Reception Today

Since it has legit been only a year since it’s release, there has not been much that is changed. DreamWorks is embarrassed of the film, as it put them in a bad position for 2013, and caused them to lose their fans, while it is VERY popular amongst fans, and some calling it DreamWorks best.

Final Score

Story = 7/10

Characters = 8/10

Music = 6.5/10

Animation = 9/10

=30.5/40=  76% 

Next Time……

Review: December 24th, 2013
Review: December 23rd, 2013
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11 thoughts on “DreamWorks Review: Rise of the Guardians

    1. I agree…well, of DreamWorks CGI animation. But I watched it this year for Christmas, and I really liked it. Way more than HTTYD. Partly, because I liked Jack Frost way better than Hickup. But mostly, because it is so creative. Aside from the whole misunderstanding thing (which I really think wouldn’t be necessary. I think it worked better if Jack was first more reluctant to help) which I never liked in any movie, the story has a lot of heart. I especially like how they play with the meaning of believing in someone. It’s a little bit ironic, because I bet in any other year, this would have been a big hit. But against all the great movies which were made last year, it was just overlooked.
      I also liked the humour in it. It is so – undreamworksy…..smart, cute and timeless.

      1. I’m not a huge HTTYD fan either, but I am looking forward to the sequel. With this movie, the plot just seemed so weak for me to get that invested in. This is a perfect time in the year to watch the film though. It is sad that this lost DreamWorks a lot of money, as Madagascar was a huge hit. I’ll talk about things like that in the conclusion.

      2. like I said, of the CGI Animation….if you Count traditional Animation, there is always the prince of Egypt as a very strong contender. It has better pacing.

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