November 24, 2012 -- Don't let the title of this film fool you, it has nothing whatsoever to do with that other animated movie that came out a couple of years ago with Guardians in the title, “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole.” This film is better than that one was. This one is about Santa Claus, Jack Frost, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and the Sandman, fighting the Bogeyman, called Pitch. It is based on the book series by William Joyce, “The Guardians of Childhood” and a short film called “The Man in the Moon.”
Jack Frost is the film's central character. He has no memories of his life before he became Jack Frost. Unlike Santa Claus, children do not believe in him and can't see him. He is invisible to everyone, except to other magical beings like himself, and the Man in the Moon, who was watching over him from his earliest memories. Jack has the ability to create frost, snow and ice anywhere he goes. He can ride the wind at high speed and carries a magic branch, shaped like a shepherd's crook that he uses like a magic wand.
Jack delights in creating “snow days” when children get to stay home from school in the winter. He also likes to start snowball fights and cause all sorts of mischief that children like to do. One day, he is contacted by the Easter Bunny, a rabbit about six feet tall with a short temper and a long memory about a certain Easter day spoiled by Jack Frost's foul weather. During this meeting, two Yetis appear, grab Jack and throw him into a magic portal. He appears at the north pole.
It turns out the Man in the Moon has singled out Jack to be one of the Guardians, along with Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Sandman. They are set to fight the menace of Pitch, the Bogeyman, who is spreading fear among children through nightmares. Jack does not believe he is a guardian and doesn't think this is his fight. But then he finds out that Pitch has in his possession the memories of his former life, he is determined to retrieve them. Although Jack has been around for 300 years, he doesn't know himself, or his full abilities. He is about to learn.
This is a story of light versus darkness. The children of the world who believe in the Guardians represent the light, and courage, while Pitch (as in pitch black) represents darkness, cynicism and fear. The most robust characters are the Easter Bunny (voiced by Hugh Jackman, utilizing his native Australian accent) Jack (Chris Pine of “Star Trek”) North (Santa Claus, voiced by Alec Baldwin of “It's Complicated”) and Pitch (voiced by Jude Law of “Sherlock Holmes”). It turns out that Pitch and Jack have some feelings in common and there is an interesting encounter between them. In the end, however, Pitch is disposed of with no accommodation or sympathy.
The final battle between light and darkness is not a simple one. It involves children whose belief in these characters is of the utmost importance. It is about the strength of belief, kindness, courage, love, self-sacrifice and fun. It is a very nice, positive message. This film rates a B.
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