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A friend of mine had mentioned that she’d wanted to go see Rise of the Guardians (RotG), the latest animated feature from Dreamworks. Initially I wasn’t very excited about this movie as I hadn’t heard much about it, but being the animation junky that I am I went with her to go watch it.

I was really pleasantly surprised.

RotG tells the tale of four guardians. These guardians are the Sandman, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny, who are the protectors of children all over the world. Unfortunately for the Guardians a dark force has been growing for hundreds of years, and it now threatens to destroy everything they hold dear. Even their combined strength might not be able to stop the evil that threatens them.

The story in RotG picks up with the introduction of Jack Frost, a mystical spirit who can control the elements that make up winter. Unlike the other guardians, no one believes in Jack Frost, and so the world is blind to his existence. He often wonders who he was before he became Jack, and why was it him that was chosen for this chilly duty. As the story unfolds, Jack will learn that his is a story, hundreds of years in the making!

Let’s get the few problems out of the way first.

RotG has a pretty decent story, but unfortunately there are a few plot holes. They’re nothing major when you’re watching the movie, but when you stop to think about it, there’s some stuff that doesn’t make sense. Yes, I am fully aware this is a movie about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, but they establish certain rules in this universe and it seems that there are a few unexplained loopholes.

Another minor problem is the way some of the characters are fleshed out, or not, as the case may be. Unfortunately some members of the supporting cast are left a little bit underdeveloped. They’re all interesting, but I’d like to have gotten to know them a little bit better.

Also, there’s some stuff that’s… kind of strange. Like someone was on drugs when they were thinking about stuff to put into the movie. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just kind of weird. As Donald Glover says, when we’re kids we’ll accept the weirdest things, without ever questioning them. I have no doubt that most of the kids in the movie didn’t even pick up on the stuff I thought was “weird”.

Now, onto the good stuff.

The animation is amazing! I watched RotG in 2D, and I was still blown away by how good it looked. There’s great ice storms, nightmarish creatures, and fantastic magic that are all brought to life by some amazing animators at Dreamworks.

Tying into the animation are the character designs, which I really loved. Santa is a bad-ass Russian with tatoos and swords! The Sandman is the short silent type, but he’ll grab your attention with his two snapping whips. Each and every character has had a great amount of detail put into their visual designs, even if they’re not one of the main characters.

Jack’s story, if you are willing to overlook a couple of weak points, is otherwise solid. It’s not groundbreaking in any way, but it’s far from boring. There are also nice little touches (like his connection to the villain) that help keep the story interesting..

Movie Rating: RotG is also one of those movies, if you can suspend your feeling of disbelief, which will sweep you off your feet and pull you into a universe filled with wonder. This movie will leave you filled with warm and gooey feelings, without it ever feeling forced or cheesy. It’s got a few problems, but they’re not going to bother you at all while you’re watching the movie.

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