Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine) is lost--and he has been for the past three hundred years. Ever since he woke up in a pond and the Man in the Moon told him his name, Jack has been searching for his purpose and hoping that one day someone could see him. Jack finally get his chance when he is picked to help the Guardians--Santa (voiced by Alec Baldwin), the Tooth Fairy (voiced by Isla Fisher), the Easter Bunny (voiced by Hugh Jackman), and the Sandman--fend off the Boogieman (voiced by Jude Law) as he tries to regain the power he lost after the end of the Dark Ages.
Rise of the Guardians is animated eye candy--the character design, the scenery, everything is visual perfection. No fault can be found in any of the animation. Even going beyond the visual designs, each of the Guardians has a unique twist that sets them apart from other interpretations. Santa is a tough burly Russian with tattoos. The Easter Bunny is boomerang wielding Australian. The Toothy Fairy has feathers and countless mini-fairies to help her with her work. And the Sandman is the short and silent type. Although the comparison has been made it warrants repeating, this movie is animated Avengers for the little kid in everyone who still believes in magic. This rag-tag group of people come together, despite their differences, for the greater good--to save the world's children from a world of fear.
Warning to parents about to take their kids to see this: although this film is only rated PG, there are moments in it that are surprisingly dark for a movie aimed at such a young age group. Also be wary because this film tries and fails to reach a level of Pixar-like magic with a great chunk of the film dedicated to moments that are obviously meant to be tear-jerkers. Based on my experience, many of the younger children [four or younger] lost interest in the film half-way through. But while they may not appreciate it now, they will as they watch every year as they grow up. Because there is no denying that in a few years time Rise of the Guardians will be a Christmas staple--joining the ranks of other holiday themed classics in ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas and other programs like it. There will be no escaping this infectious and funny film. And I see no reason why you would want to. There have been rumors that there are plans to make a sequel--hopefully this is true and hopefully the sequel will be as original and exciting as the first.
Rise of the Guardians will surely be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature but it will certainly lose to Wreck-It Ralph. Not for lack of trying but most certainly because Rise of the Guardians tried so hard to enchant and endear that it its efforts feels forced--even, dare I say it, formulaic. But as last remark I must as why was Chris Pine casted to voice a teenage boy? He does his best but he can't help but sound a bit old coming from the mouth of a boy who doesn't seem to have completed puberty.