MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

By Mike Wilmington

Wilmington on Movies: Rise of the Guardians




RISE OF THE GUARDIANS (Two and a Half Stars)

U.S.: Terry Ramsey, 2012

Movies just get curiouser and curiouser, as Alice might say, after striking another exclusive deal with The March Hare and Tim Burton.

In the new DreamWorks animated lollapalooza, Rise of the Guardians (one of the more peculiar new super-hero action movies), the rock-‘em-sock’em team The Guardians — the heroic defenders of childhood myths originally assembled for the “Guardians of Children” book series by author William Joyce and consisting of Jack Frost, Sandy (short for the Sandman), Tooth (short for Tooth Fairy), Bunny (short for the Easter Bunny), and Santa Claus (who has a Russian accent and calls himself “North”) — band together to fight against the nefarious Pitch (short, I guess, for Pitch Black). Pitch is a Boogey Man, a sort of WalMart version of Voldemort, who commands a herd of galloping nightmares, and aims to bring back bad dreams to all the world’s children. (Why doesn’t he just buy a movie studio?)

The star of the group, the part originally slotted for Leonardo DiCaprio, is Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine after DiCaprio “ankled“). He‘s an energetic but somewhat neurotic kid, who’s upset that children can’t see him and that he doesn’t have his own special Jack Frost Day, and he also suffers from the after-effects of a traumatic incident that took place some centuries past in The Land of Flashback. The rest of the childhood fantasy crew try to enlist Jack and supply support and therapy. And funny voices.

Pitch is voiced, or sneered, by Jude Law, and the Guardians are played (quite well) by Pine, by Alec Baldwin (as North, who seems to be prepping for old Akim Tamiroff or Oscar Homolka roles), Hugh Jackman (who adds Easter Bunnies to Wolverines in his gallery of super-hero animals), Isla Fisher as the toothsome Tooth, and the late Marcel Marceau, who is said to have dubbed the wordless role of the Sandman. (Just kidding) There are some human kids too, frolicking merrily in the snow, with whom Jack tries to bond (the kids, not the snow), led by cute little animated frolicker Jamie Bennett (voiced by Dakota Goyo).

All in all, they’re a pretty colorful bunch, but for the first half or so of the movie, despite a rousing Alexandre Desplat score behind them, the movie tended (except for Baldwin) to bore me stiff. It failed to connect with me, or I failed to connect with them, or I was waiting for Martin Short or Michael Keaton to show up, or something. Perhaps it’s a matter of temperament. Rise of the Guardians, directed by Peter Ramsey (in his theatrical feature debut), boasts really beautiful visualization. But, for a while, the show was just too frenetic and violent, especially for the kind of gentle, empathetic feelings and ideas for which screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire (Pulitzer Prize winning playwright of Rabbit Hole), is aiming.

I realize that many contemporary cartoon features are somewhat hyper-active, and the capturing the hyper-active audience is crucial to modern demographic thinking and various marketing plans. But, good and occasionally dazzling as the technique and visuals are here, I still prefer animated films that let you see and savor the animation, like most of Pixar and classic Disney — not that those films don‘t have their hyper-active moments too.

There‘s actually a lot to savor here, including glacially pretty near North Pole backgrounds , adorable little tooth-things and Easter Egg battalions, and lots of swooping aerial shots, full of swooping aerial sights and sounds, including, by Santa‘s beard, a sleigh with reindeer. But the movie seems too intent for too longish a while on blasting us out of our seats, in a manner better suited to Die Hard Naughty or Nice or Spider-Man Vs. Santa Clause. It needed to linger, linger, a bit more…something Ramsey might consider next time out.

I finally settled in to Rise of the Guardians, and enjoyed part of the last part,


though I don’t believe in Santa Clause, or 3D…


…and I saw it at home, with a screener, and without 3D glasses. which means, I guess, that kids — particularly hyper-active kids — will disagree with me and have themselves a ball, in theatres if not on DVD. By the way, just to allay possible confusion, the late Marcel Marceau had nothing to do with this movie, nor does he endorse any of the philosophies espoused in it, with a Russian accent, by Alec Baldwin. Nor does he believe in Alec Baldwin, though he did believe in Santa Claus at one time, or in Pere Noel, or at least in their elves. All of whom have 3D glasses.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.


awesome stuff. OK I would like to contribute as well by sharing this awesome link, that personally helped me get some amazing and easy to modify. check it out at All custom premade files, many of them totally free to get. Also, check out Dow on: Wilmington on DVDs: How to Train Your Dragon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Darjeeling Limited, The Films of Nikita Mikhalkov, The Hangover, The Human Centipede and more ...

cool post. OK I would like to contribute too by sharing this awesome link, that personally helped me get some amazing and easy to customize. check it out at All custom templates, many of them dirt cheap or free to get. Also, check out Downlo on: Wilmington on Movies: I'm Still Here, Soul Kitchen and Bran Nue Dae

awesome post. Now I would like to contribute too by sharing this awesome link, that personally helped me get some beautiful and easy to modify. take a look at All custom premade files, many of them free to get. Also, check out DownloadSoho.c on: MW on Movies: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Paranormal Activity 2, and CIFF Wrap-Up

Carrie Mulligan on: Wilmington on DVDs: The Great Gatsby

isa50 on: Wilmington on DVDs: Gladiator; Hell's Half Acre; The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Rory on: Wilmington on Movies: Snow White and the Huntsman

Andrew Coyle on: Wilmington On Movies: Paterson

tamzap on: Wilmington on DVDs: The Magnificent Seven, Date Night, Little Women, Chicago and more …

rdecker5 on: Wilmington on DVDs: Ivan's Childhood

Ray Pride on: Wilmington on Movies: The Purge: Election Year

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon