Follow us on

Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Rise of the Guardians

March 12th, 2013

Rise of the Guardians - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray Combo Pack, or 3D Combo Pack

Rise of the Guardians is a family friendly film that came out right around Thanksgiving. That's a recipe for box office success. It didn't bomb, but it also didn't live up to expectations, while it will need a little help from the home market to break even. Did it struggle for a reason? Or will the Blu-ray sales push it over the top into profitability?

The Movie

In the beginning, we witness the "birth" of Jack Frost. He can't tell us much about what he is or why he came to be, because he doesn't know. All he knows is his name.

We flash forward 300 years to the North Pole during the modern day. Santa Claus is busy making a ice sculpture of a working train set when one of his Yetis interrupts him. Something is happening and they are not sure what. The Globe, which keeps track of all the naughty and nice kids, is acting up. While Santa Claus watches, a dark cloud moves over the Globe. This is a bad omen. He must act quickly and call the other Guardians. First is the Tooth Fairy, then the Sandman, and finally the Easter Bunny. Santa explains that Pitch Black, a.k.a., the Bogeyman, has returned. When he admits he didn't actually see Pitch, but merely felt his presence, in his belly, the others are upset that he dragged them there. However, the Man in the Moon confirms Pitch is back and that they will need help from a new Guardian to defeat him. The new Guardian the Man in the Moon has chosen is Jack Frost.

This is not a popular choice, especially with Easter Bunny. He doesn't think Jack Frost protects children like the others do. In fact, he's a menace, freezing pipes and making people slip on ice. Granted, he also helps kids see the magic of wintertime, but I'm not sure that makes up for all the chaos he causes. Jack is summoned to the North Pole, or to be more accurate, Santa sends the Easter Bunny and a couple Yetis to kidnap him. At first Jack doesn't want anything to do with the Guardians. Santa Claus explains to him that if the Man in the Moon chose him, there must be a reason. There must be something special about Jack.

Before Santa can convince Jack to join the Guardians, Pitch attacks the Tooth Fairy directly, kidnapping all of her little faeries and stealing all of the teeth. The rest of the Guardians show up to help, but it's too late. Pitch taunts them a bit, explaining his plan. If enough children stop believing in a Guardian, like the Tooth Fairy, they cease to be. Afterward, Jack learns the true reason for the Tooth Fairy. She is the keeper of the children's most precious memories, which are stored in the teeth. Pitch stole them to control those memories. These memories include Jack's life before he became Jack Frost. Jack didn't even know he had a life before he became Jack Frost. He is determined to learn about his life before becoming Jack Frost, but in order to do that, he must get his teeth back from Pitch. In order to do that, he must become a Guardian.

I'm of two minds when it comes to this film. The basic storyline is nothing new. It is about a young man, in this case Jack Frost, learning who he is and reaching his full potential. This is the basic plot of just about every movie ever made and every story ever told. Additionally, it is not original to combine holidays in this way. One of my favorite movies of all time, The Nightmare Before Christmas, does something very similar. There are plenty of films that look at the behind-the-scenes of holidays and myths. This film needed something to make it stand out, but I'm not sure it got there.

I do like how some of the mythical figures were given a different look and feel. Alec Baldwin was fun as the tougher version of Santa Claus. Jude Law was good as the bad guy. There are some good action scenes and there is a sense of importance to the overall story. You do get the sense the stakes are real here. However, throughout the movie I was waiting for the moment when the movie would gel together. It never really happened. It was a good movie for kids, but never rose to the level I was expecting.

The Extras

Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track with the director, Peter Ramsey, and two of the producers, Christina Steinberg and Nancy Bernstein. There is also a multi-part, 28-minute making of featurette. The Man Behind the Guardians is a six-minute look at William Joyce, who wrote the original book, and his inspirations. Dreamers and Believers is an 11-minute featurette on the cast from the movie. Finally there's Sandy's Dream Guide, an interactive guide to interpreting your dreams.

The Blu-ray has all of these extras, plus two games: Jack Frost Snowball Showdown and Rock, Paper, Scissors with Sandy.

Like most digitally animated films, this one looks amazing on high definition. There are incredible levels of details, which is important, especially when it comes to Jack Frost's intricate frost designs of the Sandman's and Pitch's sand creations. A lot of the film takes place at night, which allows for the transfer to show off deep blacks and there's never an issue of the shadows swallowing the details. The audio features an immersive 7.1 track that has great dynamic and direction effects, along with ambient sounds coming from all speakers.

I do not have the 3D film to review.

The DVD costs $15, which is good for a kids film. The Blu-ray Combo Pack costs $19, or $4 / 27% more than the DVD, which is better than most first-run releases. Finally, the 3D Combo Pack costs $25, or $6 / 32% more than the Blu-ray, which is right in line with expectations.

The Verdict

Rise of the Guardians is a good kids movie and if you have children that love Christmas and Easter, as well as the others; the Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost, etc. then it is worth picking up. I don't think it will appeal to adults as much as some of other animated films from 2012 I was able to review. All three formats, DVD, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and 3D Combo Pack, are worth picking up, depending on what your home theater setup is like.

- Submitted by:

Filed under: Video Review, Rise of the Guardians, Jude Law, Alec Baldwin, Isla Fisher, Hugh Jackman, Chris Pine, Peter Ramsey, William Joyce, Christina Steinberg, Nancy Bernstein