LOS ANGELES-There are some movies that are able to capture the creative imagination with the slightest of ease. There are some films that make you feel good. Then there are some movies that simply bring you back to a place and time in your life where reminiscing is the best therapeutic medicine one could hope for in recalling the innocence of your childhood.
DreamWorks’ spectacular and moving animated family film, Rise of the Guardians, is what good filmmaking is all about and reminds us that hope, belief and faith are at the core of every individual walking the planet. There is something we all hope for. We all believe in something. And we all have the fortitude to determine our present and our future after we have examined our past.
In the retelling of legendary children heroes-Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the mythic and illustrious Jack Frost, Rise of the Guardians brings these fabled characters together in a much different way than those of us in the 40-and-over crowd would never have imagined. Growing up, you saw the Easter Bunny as the cute, cuddly creature you wanted to run up to and hug.
Santa Clause has always been portrayed as the jolly, lovable giant with a pouch nearly as large as the North Pole. The Tooth Fairy, of course, has always been this mystic being that supernaturally flies around in the middle of the night, dropping treats under the pillow of children in place of their fallen teeth. Jack Frost is the invisible wintery figure who thunders down the snow and cold during the winter months.
This is a vastly different portrayed bunch in Rise of the Guardians, a film magically brought to life by African American director Peter Ramsey.
In Rise of the Guardians, this is a much different Easter Bunny than the smiling hare we have come to know. This Easter Bunny has a chip on his shoulder, a tougher edge to him that is nothing short of a majestic, bow-toting superhero unafraid to mix it up with anyone that crosses his path. His peers are no different.
Santa Clause is more buffed out and has more pecs than Mr. Universe, and looks as if he’s been taken martial arts lessons from Jet Li. The rest of the characters in the morally overtone film, which at times powerfully invokes the childhood in all of us in superlative fashion, are on par with their fur-tailed pal. When you watch Rise of the Guardians, everything about what you believed in during your childhood comes to life.
Many of us grew up believing in the Easter Bunny, the ho-ho bellowing of Santa Claus, putting our missing tooth under our pillow-waiting for the Tooth Fairy to come and deliver something special for us. We whispered about Jack Frost and the wintery weather he heaped upon us, particularly looking forward to seeing a white Christmas.
Rise of the Guardians is the one movie that rises to the occasion in bringing family together and is able to connect us and make all of us think about the happiness we felt when we believed in something when we held on to our childhood exuberance. The genius about Rise of the Guardians is the seamless mixture of excellent storytelling along with the technological eye-popping visual effects that leaves you in complete awe.
In an age where loud explosions, vampires and little storylines encompasses a lot of the market in films today, it is good to know that simple storytelling and a little creativity is still alive and well. The strongest part of Rise of the Guardians is how the movie plays up the part that good and evil and reward and consequences are seen through the eyes of a child, effectively bringing home youthful and fun memories adults are able to dig up instantaneously as they sit in the comfort of their theater seats as they chomp on popcorn and eat candy.
Interesting enough, Rise of the Guardians (Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher and Chris Pine), begins with Jack Frost trying to find his purpose. Jack Frost’s winter theatrics catches the attention of Santa Clause, who has discovered a surge of darkness beginning to take over the world, therefore causing the sleigh king to reach out to his buddies to help try to put an end to the madness.
Santa Clause then calls on Jack Frost to join the Guardians to help put an end to the forces of evil raging to destroy the goodness and hope of children who believe in them. From there, Rise of the Guardians turn into a race of good and evil-with both elements trying to prevail over the other to rule the world.
Rise of the Guardians, which was shown recently at a screening at the Rave Cinemas at Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Plaza in conjunction with The African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), is layered with moral messages that are exceptionally tailored with belly-aching humor with enough real-life dramatizations to make you feel like you’re looking up at your own childhood.
Rise of the Guardians is the type of holiday classic that makes you cry, pull at your heartstring and forces you to stand up and cheer. One of the more important lessons learned from Rise of the Guardians, is that the film teaches us that the only thing that can hinder us from reaching all that we are called to be is fear itself. And once we’re able to overcome that fear, darkness will not be able to hold us hostage.