By Forrest Hartman
Rise of the Guardians
Rated PG for thematic elements and some mildly scary action
Available on: DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D and on demand
One of the most noteworthy snubs of the 2013 Academy Awards was the absence of “Rise of the Guardians” in the best animated film category. The clever, fantasy-based feature is arguably better written than the Oscar winner, “Brave,” and it deserved a nomination.
The story is based on novelist William Joyce’s Guardians of Childhood book series, and it focuses on the exploits of characters we all grow up loving, most notably Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman. As depicted on screen, these magical beings not only delight children with gifts, they protect them by battling the forces of evil. Collectively, they are known as the Guardians.
The movie is set during troubling times because the dangerous Bogeyman, known as Pitch Black, is threatening to steal the innocence of every child. As they always have, the Guardians rise up against Pitch. But this time, they do so with the help of a newly selected member, the insecure and playful Jack Frost.
Screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire approached “Rise of the Guardians” both as a standard adventure story and a coming-of-age tale from the perspective of Jack. Because it works on both levels, children can latch onto whichever storyline speaks most directly to them. Director Peter Ramsey keeps the plot moving at an ideal pace, and the visuals that he and his crew deliver are the most impressive of any 2012 animated film.
“Rise of the Guardians” also deserves praise for its well-crafted 3D sequences. Too often, 3D technology does little to better the movie experience, but Ramsey uses the added depth to draw viewers into the work. Because of that, the Blu-ray 3D version is recommended for anyone with the equipment to view it.
DVD and Blu-ray extras include a making-of feature, an interactive guide where Sandy the Sandman helps you interpret your dreams and a filmmakers’ audio commentary.