Santa doesn’t only deliver presents, the Easter Bunny isn’t just about chocolate eggs and the Tooth Fairy does more than just collect fallen-out teeth in this lusciously animated fable based on the William Joyce book. These three immortal characters – known as North (Baldwin), Bunny (Jackman) and Tooth (Isla Fisher), along with the silent Sandman (best known for giving us lovely dreams) – are actually the Guardians of all the children in the world. And they have to team up to protect every tot’s innocence after a bad spirit named Pitch Black (Law) threatens to turn each child’s dreams into nightmares.
With permanent-teenager Jack Frost (Pine) recruited to help Santa/North and his gang, it’s a classic tale of good versus evil, complete with a hero origin story (Jack doesn’t know how he came over all frosty as his first memory is waking up in an icy lake). And like the best children’s stories, it’s a mix of dark as well as light. While the movie has some very cute moments as impish Jack creates waves of snow for kids to play in, or learns the secrets of North’s North Pole operation, there are also some seriously creepy bits as Pitch’s black figure materialises from smoke and threatens to turn the world dark forever.
This means very little children aren’t the best audience for this but the over-sixes, tweens and adults will love the mix of humour, action, adventure and detailed animation (check out Santa’s sleigh), which more than make up for the lack of real laugh-out loud bits or truly magical moments that would have made this a five star movie.
Is Rise Of The Guardians suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Pitch Black is quite scary (especially with Jude Law doing a super sinister voice) and the under-6s and sensitive children will find him very frightening.
A scene where a little girl dreams of dancing horses and they turn into devilish black stallions will also be scary for younger viewers.
The truth of Jack’s origins may upset sensitive children.
There are various battles with Pitch that very young viewers may find scary.
NOTE: If your child is prone to nightmares, do remember that this movie makes Pitch’s bogeyman just as believable and real as the characters kids love to believe in like Santa and the tooth fairy.