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Friday, April 24, 2015

Movie (DVD) Review : Rise of the Guardians 2012

Yes, I'm 2 ½ years behind the times. I just got around to seeing Rise of the Guardians for the first time. I saw it on DVD and loved it. I was sad to have missed it in the theater on the big screen in 3D. I bet it was a visual feast. There was so much going on our little screen that we couldn't take it all in.

I was familiar with the book versions of this story, The Guardians of Childhood Series, by William Joyce: Nicholas St. North and the Battle of the Nightmare King, E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth's Core, Toothiana: Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies, and Sandman and the War of Dreams. This was a creative series using iconic heroes from early childhood but giving them an alternate ego with a historical feel.

The movie takes place 300 years after the series in the time frame of the story with a simplified cast of characters. Also, each guardian is now closer to their traditional iconic versions. The addition of the character of Jack Frost does an excellent job of pulling the diverse personalities of the previous four guardians together.

I think Peter Ramsey the director of the film did a wonderful job bringing a funny, action packed, family oriented movie to life. I was surprised when I did a little research to find out that the movie is considered a flop by the industry because it didn't make as much money as was anticipated. There doesn't seem to be any possibility of a sequel, despite fan interest and a YouTube fan fiction sequel trailer.

You can read here a review about why the movie flopped.

The reasons I think it flopped are:
  1. Poor Advertising – Being familiar with the books, interested in the modern mythological figures, interested in children's literature in general and having kids in the target audience range, I was their target audience and I was only vaguely aware that the movie even existed until 2 years after it's release.
  2. Bad Timing - its release was around the same time as too many other family friendly SF/fantasy/mythology movies. I was only vaguely aware of this movie because it was released in December (a massively busy time) around the same time as one of the Hobbit movies, which of course takes full stage in our house. It was also released around the same as Guardians of the Galaxy, also popular at our house (I still haven't gotten around to seeing this movie.)
  3. This leads to my third point. I think it would have done much better if the name weren't so similar to Guardians of the Galaxy. How many titles with the word “guardian” in them can one be expected to keep track of seeing at Christmas time? (They were a little limited by the original book series title in this choice, but again, timing was bad.)
  4. And my final reason is that the subject matter was a little controversial. A movie that discusses the disbelief in Santa Claus and company right before Christmas and really celebrates more Easter than Christmas is confusing for many parents. Belief is a tricky subject as this movie shows full awareness of for its plot. Many parents are hesitant to throw doubt on Santa Claus right before Christmas for younger kids even if the doubt is then removed. (Miracle on 34th Street is a little different since it is live action and the doubt is never fully accepted by the young child since it Santa Claus is so real for them right there on the screen and it's the adults that doubt not the kids so much, but in a cartoon the doubt is easier to accept, and in Rise of the Guardians, it's the kids that doubt.) For the older kids, the story is less controversial because most of them no longer believe that these characters are real and it is actually uncool among friends to have much interest in these characters, since it is considered babyish to believe and/or like them. (My own kids never had a problem with this because I did a mostly “spirit of” kind of explanation and they played along with the fun of the game of belief in these characters fully aware that it was a game. They had no betrayal of their belief that could lead to feeling bitter and jaded when they found out that these characters weren't real. They weren't duped, so there was no reason to think these characters were a lie that only babies believed. But each parent has to decide for themselves how to present the “magic” of holidays and these characters to their kids.)
So all in all, I think the timing for the release of this movie on the big screen was poorly thought out, but I thought it was an excellent movie and was greatly saddened to learn that there probably won't be a sequel.

I highly recommend this movie in a DVD for anyone, like me, that is 2 ½ years behind the times.

Have you seen it? What were your thoughts on the movie, the books, the possibility or desire for a sequel or just the whole belief in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy?

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