The perfect Christmas movie with all the trimmings of the Santa franchise comes gift wrapped in RISE OF THE GAURDIANS (PG).
When Pitch, the master of dark materials and trainer of nightmares, a kind of Bart Cummings of the fright night fillies, threatens to destroy children’s belief in wonder and rent them asunder with fear, the Guardians of the infantile, Santa, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fair and the Sandman amalgamate to ward off Pitch’s insidious abomination.
The quad is joined by Jack Frost, a dictate from the man in the moon, who obviously has some sway with these childhood chimeras.
It’s a mission that not only pits the forces of capitalism, commercialism, and consumerism against a foul fiddler of kiddie fantasies but allows Jack to find his “centre”, which turns out to be “fun”. Fun is generated by frigid fooling – snowball fights the prime mover in frosty laugharamas.
Shot in 3D, this DreamWorks animation is beautifully presented – Roger Deakins (Skyfall) was the visual consultant – and is snazzily scripted by screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire, and boasts an amazing array of voice performances.
As Santa, known as North to his mates, Alec Baldwin presents Saint Nick in pronounced Slavic accent and expletives of famous Russian composers. This Cossack Father Christmas has a Naughty and Nice list tattooed on his arms, an indelibility that one would think a liability for any Noel nicety for any child deemed naughty.
Hugh Jackman voices the Easter Bunny, a sinewy six footer sensitive to Santa’s suggestion that Yuletide is bigger than Easter. He defends the egg fest with a statement that recognises its religious antecedence. It’s fleeting though, as much of this mythic movie strains to be secular.
Isla Fisher voices The Tooth Fairy in a manner so sweet one fears that she promotes dental decay, although a scene where she terrifies a kid with a bloody gummed molar goes some way in cutting the saccharine.
Scary to the max is Jude Law’s linguistics as Pitch, a pitch perfect purr, an arch annunciation of pure malevolence.
(c) Richard Cotter
10th December, 2012
Tags- Sydney Movie Reviews- RISE OF THE GUARDIANS, Roger Deakins, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, Sydney Arts Guide, Richard Cotter