Rise of the Guardians
|Rise of the Guardians is a 2012 American 3D computer-animated fantasy-adventure film based on William Joyce’s The Guardians of Childhood book series and The Man in the Moon short film by Joyce and Reel FX. Peter Ramsey directed the film, while Joyce and Guillermo del Toro were executive producers. Produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures, it was released on November 21, 2012 and received mixed to positive reviews, but was disappointing financially, contributing to a studio writedown of $83 million for the quarter and the layoffs of 350 employees.
Set about 200 years after the book series, the film tells a story about the Guardians (North or Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Bunnymund or the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman), who enlist Jack Frost to stop Pitch Black from engulfing the world in darkness. It features the voices of Chris Pine (Jack Frost), Alec Baldwin (Santa Claus), Hugh Jackman (the Easter Bunny), Isla Fisher (the Tooth Fairy) and Jude Law (Pitch). The film was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film.
The spirit of winter, Jack Frost (Chris Pine), describes how he came to be hundreds of years ago, lifted from the depths of a frozen pond by the Man in the Moon, and has been invisible ever since because people don’t believe in him. 300 years later, at the North Pole, Nicholas St. North, better known as Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), is alerted that Pitch Black, the Bogeyman (Jude Law) has returned and is threatening childhood with fear. After summoning fellow Guardians the Tooth Fairy/Tooth (Isla Fisher), the Easter Bunny/E. Aster Bunnymund (Hugh Jackman) and the Sandman/Sandy, North learns from the Man in the Moon that they are to induct Jack as their new member. Jack is brought to North’s headquarters and they attempt to swear him in. Jack, frustrated by centuries of isolation caused by children’s disbelief in him, declines to join. Regardless, North persuades him to cooperate for now by explaining their mission and the looming threat of Pitch.
At Tooth’s palace, the team discovers that Pitch has attacked, taken all the children’s teeth, the childhood memories stored in them, and all but one of Tooth’s baby fairies, Baby Tooth, whom Jack saves. Pitch declares his intention to destroy children’s faith in the Guardians in revenge for his own disbelieved-in state, beginning with Tooth, who immediately begins weakening as children stop believing in her. To avert this, the Guardians perform her teeth-collection themselves for the interim, with a promise to find Jack’s teeth to recover his previous life’s memories. A young boy named Jamie (Dakota Goyo) is delighted to discover them in his room, as he believes in all of them except Jack, which renders Jack still invisible. Pitch learns of the Guardians’ resistance and attacks Jack and Sandy; despite Jack’s great efforts to save him, Sandy is overwhelmed by Pitch and seemingly destroyed.
The dejected Guardians next rally by helping Bunnymund prepare his eggs for Easter to keep children’s belief strong. Although slightly complicated by the intrusion of Jamie’s toddler sister, Sophie, the operation goes smoothly through to the distribution stage. Jack takes Sophie home, and discovers the entrance to Pitch’s headquarters under a bed, where Tooth’s baby fairies and the teeth are being held. Pitch urges him to step aside as a neutral party with the promise of his teeth’s memories. Jack refuses, and Pitch attacks Bunnymund’s domain, ruining the Easter-egg distribution and shattering children’s faith in the Easter Bunny.
The Guardians’ spirit broken, a despondent Jack departs in disgrace to Antarctica. There, Pitch tempts him to join forces, but Jack again refuses, as he wants to be loved, not feared. In response, Pitch reveals he has Baby-Tooth and threatens to kill her unless Jack relinquishes the source of his power, his staff. Jack submits, but Pitch reneges and the resulting fight leaves Jack trapped in a crevasse with Baby-Tooth while Pitch breaks his staff. To counter Jack’s despair, Baby-Tooth convinces Jack to unlock his memories, which reveal that he was once a mortal teenager who died saving his little sister from falling through the thin ice of the lake and, because of that sacrifice, was changed into a winter spirit and chosen as a Guardian by the Man in the Moon.
Inspired at this revelation, Jack restores his staff and his power. The Guardians and Pitch learn there is only one believing child left: Jamie. Jack races to the boy first and not only confirms Jamie’s faith in the Guardians, but also instills a belief in Jack Frost, enabling Jamie to finally see him, to Jack’s own delighted surprise. The diminished and weakened Guardians arrive to join him as they confront Pitch, while Jamie gathers his friends to support them. Pitch’s seemingly overwhelming power of nightmare proves no match against the children’s faith, which restores the Guardians’ full power to battle the Bogeyman. Sandman is resurrected by this belief, and joins the fight, leaving Pitch defeated and children’s faith restored, as well as in Jack Frost. Pitch is taken down by his own fear and is dragged back under the bed.
At this victory, Jack finally accepts his responsibilities as a Guardian and resolves to protect the world’s children with his new friends.