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Movie review: 'Rise of the Guardians'

Despite the magical pull of Santa's sleigh, the story based on William Joyce's “The Guardians of Childhood” never reaches the altitude of “How to Train Your Dragon.”
Oklahoman Published: November 21, 2012

Given that premise, it is odd that Joyce and director Peter Ramsey try so hard to make their Santa Claus and Easter Bunny characters so cool — North is a tough, intimidating Russian with full tattoo sleeves covering his arms, and the Bunny has some serious ego and rage issues. In spirit, tinkering with icons of this sort is slightly reminiscent of the botch job Warner Bros. committed on Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck with its mercifully short-lived “Lunatics” series. Santa Claus does not have to be a tough guy to be cool.

“Rise of the Guardians” is beautifully rendered — there are times during Jack Frost's early sequences that look photorealistic — and it shows that the studio is putting real effort into making their flagship animated films pop off the screen, with or without 3-D. But like so many holiday event movies before it, “Rise of the Guardians” misses the mark just slightly, perhaps because competing with the actual dreams of children makes for tough competition. It's not a lump of coal, but it's not an Xbox, either.

George Lang