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RISE OF THE GUARDIANS 3D

SYNOPSIS:
The iconic Guardians - Santa Claus (voice of Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (voice of Hugh Jackman), the Tooth Fairy (voice of Isla Fisher) and the Sandman - are joined by Jack Frost (voice of Chris Pine), who is recruited by The Moon to help nurture the hopes and dreams of the children of the world. When the wicked bogeyman Pitch (voice of Jude Law) tries to bring fear and dark shadows to destroy these dreams, action has to be taken.

Review by Louise Keller:
Believe in hopes, wishes and dreams is the simple message of this colourful 3D children's animation in which the existence of Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman is threatened when the Bogeyman casts the dark shadows of doubt. Based on a book by William Joyce, youngsters will enjoy the diversion with the film's cute characters and creative visuals although there is a frenetic feel about the action that tends to overwhelm the story on an emotional level. As a result, there is little heart that resonates.

One of the problems is that there is no central character with whom to connect - our attentions are scattered over 7 fantasy characters. Jack Frost (voice of Chris Pine), is newly appointed by The Moon as a Guardian to watch over the children of the world, giving them hope and nurturing their dreams. Jack is a tall skinny fellow with teeth as white as snow, a shock of silver hair and the ability to create beautifully patterned frost on inanimate objects with the touch of his crooked cane. Fun is his middle name. He's a likeable enough character and although much of the film involves Jack's insecurities concerning his purpose and his past as he joins the iconic Guardians living at the North Pole, there is nothing especially endearing about him.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the visuals is the fact that Santa (voice of Alec Baldwin) is a burly Russian complete with Slav accent and fur hat and that the Pole is a fantasy version of Moscow's Red Square. The mignons are cute with big ears, pointy red caps on which hang a bell and which chime like church bells. Travel takes place through magic portals located in a snow dome. Hugh Jackman, who voices an oversized Tai-Chi expert Easter Bunny with an Australian accent, provides some of the humour, Isla Fisher voices the dainty Tooth Fairy, who flutters elegantly in her peacock coloured attire and I rather like the mute Sandman, who looks like a golden troll and 'speaks' by visualising his 'sweet dream' objects above his spiky head.

Intent on permanently quashing dreams and the Guardians who promote them, the villain of the piece is the imposing, jet black bogeyman (voice of Jude Law), who commands nightmares, striking black stallions with yellow eyes and long back ribbon-like strands that fly behind them as they gallop through the mist.

There are some lovely visual sequences including an army of Easter eggs on two legs who are decorated in purple rivers and coloured spray from the nectar of flowers. The fluid rays of gold sent through the sky by the Sandman are magical and the Tooth Fairy's little helpers, pretty in aqua and blue are ultra cute.

This is storyboard artist Peter Ramsay's debut feature which provides solid family entertainment for the whole family.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

RISE OF THE GUARDIANS 3D (PG)
(US, 2012)

VOICES: Hugh Jackman, Jude Law, Chris Pine, Isla Fisher, Alec Baldwin, Dakota Goyo

PRODUCER: Nancy Bernstein, Christina Steinberg

DIRECTOR: Peter Ramsey

SCRIPT: David Lindsay-Abaire (book by William Joyce)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: n/a Visual Consultant: Roger Deakins

EDITOR: Not credited

MUSIC: Alexandre Desplat

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Patrick Hanenberger

RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 13, 2012







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