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"Rise of the Guardians": Should You See It?

This animated movie has been dubbed "The Avengers" for the sandbox set.

In "Rise of the Guardians," the myths of childhood -- Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the sandman, the tooth fairy and Jack Frost -- come together as superheroes to battle Pitch Black, the Bogeyman, who is threatening childhood with fear. Here's what the critics are saying:

Based on a kids’ book series by William Joyce, “Guardians” is a hodgepodge of myths and legends that resembles a sweet-toothed version of “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” There’s so much plot that grade-schoolers may need to take notes.
....But as a group, the characters grate. The gruff, tattooed Santa would fit in on “Sons of Anarchy,” and his rivalry with the Easter Bunny is as memorable as a cereal box promotion.
Only the Sandman, with his Harpo Marx-like pantomime, shines, and he’s out of the movie for a chunk of time. Maybe he’s working overtime to assure that “Rise of the Guardians” doesn’t freak kids out – while helping parents doze through this mess. -- Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News

However, also like most modern animation, it seems like not a minute can go by without some frenetic action where characters are flying, jumping, spinning or sliding all over the place. Certainly no child should be expected to sit through My Dinner with Andre, but at times it feels like the caffeinated camera is too easy a crutch, used to distract from an insubstantial script. Taking an objective step or two back, there are one or two big plot holes, but the movie buries them beneath another flurry of activity, hoping you won’t notice.-- Dan Kaufman, Paste

The villain of the piece is a boogeyman named Pitch, as in pitch black; he's voiced with amusing unctuousness by Jude Law. Pitch's push for global dominance is met by an ad hoc alliance of four prominent guardians of children's welfare: a surprising Santa, brawny and tattooed, with Alec Baldwin doing a hilarious Russian accent; an Easter Bunny who's closer to a kangaroo, what with his boomerang and Hugh Jackman's Aussie accent; an iridescent and hummingbird-flighty Tooth Fairy who's given an endearingly earnest voice by Isla Fisher, and shape-shifting Sandman, who's mute—he's the Harpo of the group. A new recruit, Jack Frost (Chris Pine), is a winsome young flake with an identity crisis. -- Joe Morganstern, The Wall Street Journal

I'll be the first one to say that it's easy to be cynical about holiday movies but this one won't let you. This certainly isn't a Judeo-Christian holiday-themed film, as you might imagine. That's what makes it a better than your average Christmastime film. Turning these mythical beings into superheroes is clever. If it does well at the box office, I see a franchise in the making. --

"Rise of the Guardians" runs 90 minutes and is rated PG.  

This post originally appeared on Athens Patch.

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