The Flickering Myth writing team countdown to Christmas by discussing their favourite festive movies; next up is Jackson Ball with Rise of the Guardians…
Christmas can be a dreadfully nostalgic beast: it’s always better when you’re small, the old songs are the best and a Christmas film isn’t a ‘classic’ unless it predates the 90’s.
It is this blind nostalgia that can often lead to unjust snobbery when it comes to family films. You could know literally nothing about a film, but because it is new, any likenesses drawn with your favourites will put you on the defensive: “It’s just a rip off of Gremlins” or “It’s no Home Alone”. Well, Rise of the Guardians is a ‘new’ film, and I would strongly argue it deserves a spot amongst the cream of the festive crop.
The concept is reassuringly simple: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman and the Tooth Fairy team up to save Christmas. Sure, it’s a little gimmicky, but it’s executed so well you barely have time to notice.
The secret lies in the creativity and innovation of such well known characters. Santa is now a well-built Russian with ‘naughty’ & ‘nice’ tattoos on his forearms. The Easter Bunny is a boomerang-wielding Aussie with a noticeable, if understandable, inferiority complex. It’s this sort of re-imagine that keeps the basic concept fresh and endearing.
The audiences window to the story is that of a young Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine), who bares all the hallmarks of a misunderstood teen. After a hard life, Frost has resigned himself to crippling loneliness and disappointment, only to have his magical companions show him his true self-worth. Yes, that is the plot of It’s a Wonderful Life.
Visually, RotG is in a league of its own. All the technological wizardry we’ve come to expect from DreamWorks lends itself perfectly to the magical backdrop of Christmas. The film’s spectacular finale explodes off the screen, with a climactic battle between good and evil.
Rise of the Guardians is irrefutable proof that great Christmas films are still being made. It’s fun, festive and everything you could you hope for from a Christmas ‘classic’. So the next time you’re looking for a great film this Yuletide, you might not have to look so far into the past.
Jackson Ball – follow me on Twitter.