Sunday, December 23, 2012

Movie Review: Rise of the Guardians

When I initially heard about this project I wasn't that interested in when it was announced, heard a bit more about it and was interested, once it came out I noticed that people were only talking about the art/how dreamy the characters were (which, while not necessarily a bad sign, isn't usually a good sign about the art), and then decided to see it with a friend once I was done with finals. So here I am now, my friend and I were actually the only ones in the theater when we saw this so we were free to snark all we wanted (which turned out to be a good thing since there was a lot of snarking....)

Rise of the Guardians

Summary: Santa Claus (North), the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sandman are the four guardians of childhood but with the Boogeyman (Pitch) growing stronger and stronger the mysterious Man in the Moon tells them that there is now a fifth guardian, Jack Frost. Jack is as confused as the rest of them, he doesn't remember his past and nobody believes in him so nobody can see him, how in the world is he supposed to help save it?

The Good: There was a lot of decent to amusing humor in this film (while it felt like it was a little much at times it didn't feel nearly as forced as say the humor in Brave did) and it was a new and interesting take on characters like the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. The film looked great, more on the later, and if we're calling it a Christmas movie (I'm not sure since it's actually set right around Easter) it's one of the best Christmas movies I've seen, normally I can't stand that little genre. The plot, while not complicated, did have some good bones to it, but it was buried under a lot of not so good stuff....    

The Bad: I saw some people say that if you see this movie you see it for the art not the plot, that I think was the understatement because holey moley, my friend and I were convinced that this movie went through multiple directors because of how all over the place it is (which isn't the case so I'm more confused). The action scenes, while cool looking (I've seen some people call it the kiddie version of The Avengers) go on way too long, some of them probably could have been cut altogether, and the final battle really didn't make that much sense. Afterwards I went online to compare the movie to the original books it was based on (which it turns out are set 200 years earlier) and man I wish they had kept some of the stuff about the characters in there, they had some rather interesting backstories. And speaking of characters, Jack Frost is as flat a main character you can get. I hardly know what his personality is like (other than "mischievous" and really he barely does anything like that), no wonder he's confused about being made a guardian, I'm confused too. Confused sums up my feelings on this whole movie, how in the world was this supposed to work as a cohesive story with so little exposition (either told or shown)?

The Audio: Sooo, my friend and were I debating who had the worse accent, North or the Easter Bunny, and it turns out that Hugh Jackman (an actual Australian) voices the Easter Bunny so I guess my friend won (Alec Baldwin apparently can't do a very good Russian accent, if I didn't know he was supposed to be Russian I wouldn't have been able to guess). Jack sounds much too old but oddly enough I got used to his voice rather fast, Pitch's voice seemed a bit off though (Tooth for the record sounded just fine from the get go). Didn't really pay attention to the soundtrack that much, I was too distracted by the pretty.

The Visuals: Yes this movie looks really great, apparently Dreamworks had to come up with new software for all of the sand special effects (which I think they even released as freeware in hopes that the rest of the industry will use it as well) and honestly the only time I thought it looked weird was North's beard. Specifically, it didn't look like it was growing out of his chin but rather pasted on, and out of an hour and a half long movie that's my only compliant which is rather fantastic.

In the end I give this movie 2.5 stars out of 5 and don't plan on seeing it again (unless it's a fancut where they cut down all the action scenes, god know how short the movie will be at that point then). So, I'm in a bit of an awkward position since the rest of the internet seems to adore this film and it's no secret that it hasn't made nearly the money Dreamworks was banking on and at this point the planned sequels may easily fall through (see, cutting down those action scenes would have helped in multiple ways!). I'm seeing a lot of people saying to see it anyway because of the potential in the film but did I see potential? Potential is what I see in a webcomic where there's one author-artist who may or may not have a critique partner who is fumbling along learning how to write, edit, and illustrated at the same time. But when you have a project with tons of people involved, enough people that no one person has to do all these things and where there are people to say "no this isn't quite right, let's rethink this" then I don't want to see potential, I want to see the actual thing. And I didn't really see potential here, I saw a very confused movie which doesn't quite work and, well, I can't really recommend it, sorry folks. 

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