Rise of the Guardians - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Rise of the Guardians Reviews

Page 1 of 220
Super Reviewer
July 12, 2015
When this first came out in theaters I skipped it as it didn't look as if it were my cup of tea: the animation was wrong, the concept stilted, I simply wasn't buying it. I hate it when I'm wrong. Beginning with the opening shots of Jack Frost zinging around a pond somewhere, freezing it over, this is simply an entrancing film, DESTINED TO BE A CLASSIC, hitting all the marks for truly enveloping a child's fantasy world while simultaneously reminding adults of that very same. The voice acting too is inspired. A not-to-be-missed tale of the power of dreams.
Super Reviewer
½ September 10, 2012
Beautifully animated adventure aiming more for a younger audience than some other genre films. On the other hand there are plenty of pretty frightening scenes for the little ones. The beautiful worlds, lovable characters and fast-paced action scenes should make for a real favorite among the target audience's films.
Super Reviewer
December 31, 2014
Although the animation was good and the story was certainly out of the box, I found its portrayals of beloved figures rather disconcerting. Who can warm up to a grumpy Russian Santa Claus who beats up the competition? Or a nasty, iconoclastic Easter bunny? It's just not a "fun" holiday film in my eyes, and seems to try too hard at being edgy.
Super Reviewer
½ November 26, 2012
Hopefully this will become a child's classic, because it has all the makings to be one. Fun for both adults and children, this film will remain as a steadfast children's film, simply based on the fact that the makers seriously cared that they were making a film for children. The concept is fanciful, death is handled sensibly and carefully, there's minimal violence, and the characters are all linked to traditions and mythology that still lives on in the minds of children everywhere. The action is also handled well, and the color scheme is breathtaking. The choices for the casting of this were also really interesting: Hugh Jackman as a boomerang throwing accented Easter bunny with serious attitude. Alec Baldwin as a Russian, tough guy Santa Claus. They work so well. The story even felt original, which is hard to do with characters that have been adapted and depicted in various media. This is just the best kind of children's film, sweet, simple, and lovable.
Super Reviewer
½ June 25, 2013
Beautifully done. Stunning visuals. Funny. Enjoyable. Absolutely wonderful!...
Super Reviewer
½ May 11, 2013
Eternal teenager Jack Frost reluctantly joins the legendary Guardians (including Santa, the Easter Bunny, etc.) who protect the world's children from the Boogeyman. It has a few issues, and some of the action scenes look like pitches for theme park rides, but any movie that depicts Santa Claus as a tatted-up saber-wielding Cossack with an army of Yetis is at least willing to take chances.
Super Reviewer
½ October 23, 2012
When darkness falls, the Guardians will rise.

Decent movie but not great! The plot is heavily about the idea of believing. We are told to believe in Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, The Sandman and Jack Frost. Yet there's an underlying issue that goes unresolved. Two of the heroes - Santa and The Easter Bunny - are attached to holidays with religious themes, specifically the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. The Bunny comes close to explaining the meaning of his holiday by reminding Jack that "Easter is about new beginnings", but he stops short of getting deeper than that. It seems rather cheap to ask kids to hold on to their faith in Santa and The Tooth Fairy but makes no mention of God. What's the message there? Give us chases and fight scenes, but don't ask us for anything more. That seems rather false. Now the million dollar question: will kids enjoy it? Likely, but it will probably appeal more to the kids than to the parents. It is a fun movie with lots of bright colors and colorful characters and fun chase scenes. The villain meets an inevitable fate and the heroes are united as one. All your basic stuff. It's a good movie, an entertaining movie, but not one that is likely to be handed down through the generations. Although, be warned, The Easter Bunny sports a boomerang and your kids may want one for Christmas.

When an evil spirit known as Pitch lays down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs, and imaginations of children all over the world.
Super Reviewer
March 3, 2013
Another children's storybook is adapted for the movies, I never knew there were so many popular children's books! one after another every year. I have never heard of the author and I've never heard of the book/s but I was intrigued by the 'Avengers' like team up of well known fabled holiday characters.

It sounded a bit whimsical and babyish at first but the animation looked so good I gave it a go. First impressions were 'holy Buzz Lightyear!!', the visuals in this film are fudging excellent!!. This film looks sharp and crisp believe me, its a feast for the eyes on every level and in every sequence. Either when the atmosphere is fun and joyous or when it dark, brooding and nightmarish, it all looks tremendous.

Not only are the colours beautiful and animation slick, the characters all look good too! and that includes the human characters which often aren't as exciting as the fantasy ones. There is almost a Disney look about the humans here, the big clear eyes, smooth faces, plus 'The Boogeyman' looks very much like 'Hades' from 'Disney's Hercules'. Not only do all the characters look good but their facial expressions are really well done too, right down to the smallest change depending on the emotion eg. raising an eyebrow or shaking of the head. I think what they have managed to do is get the voices synced precisely with changing facial expressions, this is why it looks so flawless, very impressed.

The odd thing about this film is the legendary characters, I dunno if they are like this in the book but there are some strange ideas here. While 'Jack Frost' is imagined nicely, almost like a winter elf of sorts, the others are...curious. Good old Santa or 'North' is made out as a huge bearded old fella as expected but he's...Russian??. A thick Russian accent, carries Russian swords into battle, wears a thick black traditional Russian hat (Cossack Cap hat I think) and his traditional Santa suit of red n white trim now has thick black furry trim giving that Soviet military feel. But I gotta admit it lends well to the cold, snowy, frozen image of his background. Oh and one more thing...he has tattoo's on his forearms, yep you read that correctly, 'naughty' and 'nice' tattoo's on each forearm that look like they are part of sleeves actually!.

Next up is the Easter Bunny or 'E. Aster Bunnymund'. Now this guy also has some kind of tribal markings on his fur in various places, dresses like a 'wookie', has an Australian accent and carries two boomerangs into battle. The Tooth Fairy 'Tooth', looks a bit like a mermaid crossed with a hummingbird and is very colourful, she has hundreds of little baby Tooth Fairies that assist her. Lastly we have the Sandman 'Sandy', a short tubby little fellow who is completely sandy in colour and communicates via sand images that he conjures above his head.

A weird set of ideas for traditional characters of lore but this is what I liked about the film to be honest. Yes the plot is completely mundane and has not one inch of originality in its run time, the good guys team together to beat the bad guy, high points, low points, high points once more for the finale, good guys win, the end.

Nothing remotely surprising or unpredictable so don't think otherwise. Its the spectacle and characters that are the winner for me, some lovely moments that will make you smile or put a lump in you're throat. As said the way the characters have been approached are bizarre but original (only original thing here), the tiny little jingle bell hat wearing elves that help Santa are great for a giggle, the yeti's that also help Santa are a fun touch too. Must also gives kudos for the voice casting which really combines to make the characters well rounded, haven't heard such good voice work for ages. Jackman manages his Aussie accent again whilst Baldwin is really good as a Russian Santa (didn't even realise it was him!).

Total feel good film with grade A standard animation from Dreamworks (one in the eye for Pixar). I mean really, if you didn't like this then you gotta be a bit cold inside, sure its a soppy kids film but the crack team of elite holiday guardians put a smile on my face. I really wanted to see more guardians but to be honest I struggled to think of anymore, a Leprechaun was mentioned for St Patrick's Day, I presume...maybe a red dragon for St George's Day? I'm sure there are some other good foreign ones. But yeah, totally 'The Avengers' for the very young, I like it.
Super Reviewer
January 30, 2013
Very thrilling tale about the origin of Jack Frost. The narrative is a bit long and meandering in parts, but all the characters are cute and silly. Like Thomas in "Pocahontas," Jack Frost is too sexy to be a cartoon character :~/
Super Reviewer
½ September 11, 2012
Fresh, funny, yet amazing animated movie based on children's belief about their guardian.. Dreamworks has did it again for making a movie that not only came from a fresh idea but also make the audiences stunned with the effects they had in here.. North (Santa Claus), Bunny (Easter Bunny), Tooth (Tooth Fairy), and Sandman with the help of a new guardian Jack Frost must save the world from the danger of Pitch the Boogeyman.. Even the voices of those character came from famous actors such as Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Chris Pine, and Isla Fisher, a truly Dreamworks trademark.. But I must be honest that some scenes of this movie seems flat and got me a little bored at the middle of the movie even though the stunning animation they had in here.. But overall, I must say that Dreamworks did a quite great job with this movie and I'm really curious if they're gonna make a sequel of this movie or not..
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2012
'Rise of the Guardians'. A very clever re-imagining of childhood legends, and the best animated feature of the year.

The exhilarating movement that's produced time and time again is a ball to watch!
Super Reviewer
½ September 16, 2012
Good animation with an interesting storyline. Children's guardians - Santa, tooth fairy, Jack Frost, Easter bunny and sandman rise up against the boogeyman. Famous voices - Chris Pine, Jude Law, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin.
Super Reviewer
½ December 11, 2012
Essentially a family-friendly holiday version of The Avengers, Rise of the Guardians is a lot of fun. It's about time a movie not only gives Jack Frost a name, but actually portrays him as a fully dimensional character. Santa, the Easter Bunny, Sandman, and the Tooth Fairy are great supporting heroes who have unique personalities that pair together with great chemistry and a lot of humour. The world they inhabit is a colourful, beautifully rendered one. There's enough here that will entertain young kids as well as parents. It's a got a kind heart, a nasty villain, and a fast pace that rarely slows down. This is a welcome alternative to the majority of Oscar-bait and late season blockbusters playing at every cinema near you.
Super Reviewer
½ December 9, 2012
Rise of the Guardians is fundamentally simplistic. From it's formulaic story to it's reluctant hero archetype with a "dark mysterious past" there just isn't much wiggle room for imagination in that department.

A lot of the dialogue also comes out heavy handed, which makes the movie feel like it was written by a couple of whining depressed teenagers, patronizing the older audiences.

But lets take a moment to forget all that because... sometimes formulas/archetypes work. (Paranorman) Sometimes simple storylines are there for purity and can resonate when a film makes a huge enough effort to fill it with little bits and pieces that create it's own voice.

So despite the shit dialogue and trite story, RotG was a beautifully designed, fast pace animated action adventure full of epic magical battles. If I was 12 and saw this I'd think it was freaking awesome and would want to be Jack Frost immediately.\

As a 24 year old man I see an action adventure with some of the most amazing character designs, set pieces and well choreographed battles ever from Dreamworks. Also congrats on them for moving away from excessive pop-culture reference jokes in a modern premise, really.

Earlier I mentioned "little things" that give RoTG it's own voice. THERE WERE SO MANY THINGS that did it for me! The way the Tooth fairies were designed, the way each tooth-case opened up with a person's memories, how Santa was a dual sword wielding badass Russian or how his workers were yetis instead of the elves, how they had a "European division" cameo of the tooth mouse, the Easter island/egg type juggernaut walking around... etc. etc. The list can go on.

Granted... I thought Pitch's design was very unimaginative and boring or like how every nightmare was a evil horse. Or that Jack was just wearing a lame blue hoodie and is essentially created to be the biggest Bishonen lady-killer ever.

It's a good movie maybe even great, for sure. But to say it's amazing or has something for everyone? Nah. Only if you're a sucker for great character/environment design and epic magic battles which I am :]
Super Reviewer
½ December 9, 2012
A re-imagination of well-loved childhood beliefs, Rise of the Guardians (2012, USA) is innocent and benevolent suitable for children and adults alike.
Super Reviewer
December 8, 2012
When I first saw previews for this I was pretty underwhelmed and imagined it would be a bad, cheesy kids movie. It's always a good thing to have low expectations and be wrong. This is a smart, touching take on classic characters that all kids know and believe in. The premise is about a group known as the Guardians. They consists of Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman, and they get a new member in Jack Frost. Upon Frost's arrival an evil figure known as Pitch(aka the Boogeyman) who threatens to turn the children of the world's love into fear, and destroy the Guardians. May sound a little odd and cheesy, but it's really not. It's very well made with some of the best animation of the year. I didn't see this in 3D, but I can say I will definitely be getting this in 3D blu ray, because I'm sure the 3D is awesome. I can see this being the beginning of a franchise as the material could easily spawn a couple more flicks. Good movies that will bring out the kid in you.
Super Reviewer
½ December 1, 2012
A mediocre first half elevated by a very entertaining and surprisingly heartfelt second half.
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
November 30, 2012
Dreamworks animation has long existed in the mighty shadow of Pixar, but as of late the studios might at a creative crossroads. After the excellent Kung Fu Panda films and How to Train Your Dragon, suddenly Dreamworks animated movies matured beyond feverish, pop-culture explosions and into character-driven, colorful, and genuinely heartfelt family films. I don't think we'll be getting something as dismal as Shark Tale again with the current path the studio is blazing. Rise of the Guardians looks like the pilot for a new lucrative Dreamworks family franchise. It's easy to see the appeal for a superhero assembly of fantasy figures, though is every region going to have working knowledge of the Tooth Fairy? The movie just looked too silly to function for me, but I was optimistic after raves from a few trusted friends. Perhaps my own childlike sense of wonder is permanently replaced with a heart of stone, but I found Rise of the Guardians to be a somewhat entertaining but mostly stilted, intellectual and emotional, journey.

The guardians are an ancient group of holiday-themed characters entrusted with keeping the sense of wonder alive in children. There's Santa Claus, a.k.a. North (voiced by Alec Baldwin), and his army of yetti workers, the tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), and her own collection agency of tooth-gathering fairies, the Sandman, in charge of the sweet dreams of children, and the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), an Australian jack rabbit with a bit of a chip on his bunny shoulder. The world is threatened by Pitch (Jude Law), a bogeyman who desperately desires children to fear him again, because belief is what powers the Guardians. To stop Pitch and his array of nightmare creatures, the Guardians must add another member to their outlet, Jack Frost (Chris Pine). Except Jack has no interest in joining this fuddy-duddy group and would rather do his own thing, which usually involves wrecking havoc. Jack's desperate to find out his past and figure out why he was chosen for his immortal role and what it will take to make kids believe in him.

Ultimately, I just couldn't really get into this movie. It's set up like an Avengers team of children's fantasy figures, but I felt like the movie failed to make me emotionally connect with their plights. The Jack Frost protagonist was another tired variation on the selfish, plays-by-his-own-rules cowboy character that needs to learn a dash of personal responsibility and putting others first. But his goal is essentially to be... seen. He's worried kids will never see him because they won't ever believe in him. That's a fairly abstract existential crisis for your main character to have, and one that I found too odd to care about. The entire core of the movie revolves around children's sense of belief, and unless you're twisting this into some general statement about the purpose of faith (the Man in the Moon = God?), then I find it all to be silly considering we're talking about the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny. I mean, the main kid has to be eight or nine years old and still fervently believes in these mythical creatures, to the point that he is literally the only person on the planet who believes at one dour point (sheesh, talk about how easily disillusioned kids can get these days). We're celebrating a kid going into adolescence believing in these things. That just smacks me as a little weird if you stop and think about the film's implications. This kid is going to grow up socially warped. Then again his beliefs are proven right, so maybe it's just the rest of us cynical bastards out there who need to adapt. I guess I'm going to go accept my fate and be a crotchety old man now.

The plot feels too airy for my liking, too frenetic to get to the next set piece or chase sequence. It doesn't feel like it ever takes the time to settle down and develop its characters or story. As a result, we're left with a fairly middling backstory for Jack Frost that should be easy to figure out, but we're also stuck in a world that doesn't feel like the rules have been sufficiently explained. Case in point: the Tooth Fairy keeps all those baby teeth in one huge archive because, you see, the teeth hold memories. I guess. But then Jack's after his own teeth to retrieve his forgotten past (yes folks, we have an amnesiac protagonist). I'm okay with this so far though it's a tad forced, but when Jack does get those teeth, he's presented with memories at the age of 18. I know people suffered through poor dental hygiene hundreds of years ago, but you cannot expect me to believe that Jack is still losing baby teeth. This is just one example where the movie didn't come across as fully formed. The Guardians all seem to possess different super powers involving space-time travel, but then they don't seem to do anything with these abilities that matters by the final battle. Pitch has the ability to craft nightmare creatures and all he does is end up making wispy evil-looking horses. That seems like a waste. There are not enough payoffs here with all the imaginative possibilities.

Rise of the Guardians has some enjoyable moments but it practically relies upon you to supply all the work as far as character empathy. We're familiar with these magical figures, and so the movie gets by because we put in the emotional connection to Santa and the Easter Bunny, but the characters just don't register on the page, at least with this story. I don't know if David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbithole, Inkheart) was the best candidate for the job, but he doesn't give me enough reasons to engage with the movie. The characters are lackluster, their conflicts feel too abstract, the conclusion feels superfluous, and the world feels poorly defined, developed, and unsatisfying.

I like Chris Pine (Unstoppable) as an actor, but the man brings absolutely nothing to the table when it comes to voice acting. Baldwin (Rock of Ages) and Jackman's (Real Steel) performances are defined by their respective accents. I feel like Hollywood needs some sort of seminal moment to go back to genuine voice artists rather than hiring whatever celebrity. Yes we all enjoyed Robin Williams as the Genie in Aladdin, but are you going to tell me that Pine's vocal work was so exceptional he had to be cast? It's like having celebrities provide the voices for the helium-sounding Chipmunks. The best voice actor in the film is clearly Law (Sherlock Holmes) who does such a good job I felt more sympathy for him than I did Jack Frost. I know it's commonplace in movies for the hero and the villain to have some duality, but I wasn't probably supposed to jump ship as far as loyalty. Maybe I just found the actual kids in the movie to be annoying so I didn't mind a magical creature preying upon their collective childhood fear. It reminded me of the space cloud villain from 2011's Green Lantern flop, where I wondered if this fear-sucking cloud sought out the delicacy of children's fears first.

To top it all off, I found myself left rather cold by the visual aesthetics of the movie. It has this overly androgynous, big-eyed anime feel, and I kept getting the sense that the whole movie looked like an extended video game cut scene. This movie even had Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy) and the brilliant cinematographer Roger Deakens (Skyfall) as producers or visual consultants, so I'm even more baffled at how visually poor I found the movie. The colors are so muddy and the visuals felt so limited for me, especially considering the imaginative parameters of the characters and their respective worlds. I thought Pitch seemed oddly similar in visual approach to Hades in Disney's underrated Hercules. The action sequences had some nice visual panache to them as far as choreography, but I couldn't stop thinking how cruddy and dreary everything looked.

Rise of the Guardians is based upon a series of yet-to-be published books by famed author William Joyce, who won an Oscar himself the previous year for the animated short, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. I feel like that short was a better representation of magic and imagination than this film. The humor, the life lessons, the character development, it all felt so stilted to me. I thought the conflicts were too abstract and hard to care about (oh no, people have stopped believing in the Tooth Fairy!) and the world and rules felt too amorphous, poorly explained and creatively handicapped. If you're going for a fantasy setting with larger-than-life figures, each with certain gifts and powers, hen I want the promise of that setup to be fulfilled. Rise of the Guardians isn't a bad movie by any means but it left me cold and indifferent. It's meant to strike at my childish sense of wonder, but I felt too often like a cynical adult, picking apart the frailties of its storytelling and muddy visual designs. It felt like it was missing the best magic of all: gifted storytelling. You'll probably have more fun than I did, but that's just because I probably have no soul.

Nate's Grade: B-
Page 1 of 220