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Movie Review

Rise of the Guardians also known as “El origen de los guardianes,” “Origem dos Guardiões”

MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements and some mildly scary action.

Reviewed by: Cassandra Hsiao
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family
Genre:
Animation Fantasy Adventure Family Comedy Drama 3D
Length:
1 hr. 37 min.
Year of Release:
2012
USA Release:
November 21, 2012 (wide—3,500+ theaters)
DVD: March 12, 2013
Copyright, Paramount Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Paramount Pictures

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

What is the true meaning of CHRISTMAS?
What is the TRUE meaning of Christmas? Answers for skeptics. Plus carols, games, coloring pages, reviews of Christmas movies, and more.
True meaning of Easter

Why do we celebrate Easter? Answer

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ—questions and answers

The story of the resurrection—God’s Story: From Creation to Eternity

What is the origin of Easter? Answer

Easter—WebBible Encyclopedia

Is Easter mentioned in the Bible? Answer


being a hero

humility versus pride

How did Jesus greatly humble himself for us? Answer

truth

childhood story characters

  • The Boogeyman—an evil spirit
  • Santa Claus
  • Easter Bunny
  • Tooth Fairy
  • Jack Frost
  • Sandman

books: The Guardians of Childhood series by William Joyce

Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Featuring: Chris PineJack Frost (voice)
Alec BaldwinNorth (voice)
Hugh JackmanE. Aster Bunnymund (voice)
Isla FisherTooth (voice)
Jude LawPitch (voice)
Dakota Goyo … Jamie (voice)
Khamani Griffin … Caleb
Dominique Grund … CupCake (voice)
Director: Peter Ramsey
Producer: DreamWorks Animation
Nancy Bernstein … producer
more »
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

“Legends unite.”

“Rise of the Guardians” is simply magical. It takes a very different view of the legends that we have all grown up with, bringing back nostalgia for adults and magic for kids. It attempts to truly make you believe in the childhood fables with its hair-raising battles, lovable characters, and spectacular wonders of lands beyond us.

The myths of the holidays come together with the four immortal Guardians—the jolly yet tough Santa Claus, the warrior-like Easter Bunny, the entrancing Tooth Fairy, and the silent but adorable Sandman. It is their job to protect and bring joy to children all around the world. When evil Pitch (the Boogeyman) threatens to overtake the world with fear, teenager legend Jack Frost is appointed as a new Guardian. The Guardians must learn to work together as a team and get children to believe in them before it is too late. Jack embarks on his own personal journey, as well, finding his purpose in being a Guardian. It’s the “Rise of the Avengers” from our childhoods, and in a good way, too.

“Rise of the Guardians” is visually stunning, especially in 3D. The sight of legends at work will make everyone believers once more. There are a lot of laughs and more heart than I expected. The poignant moments are expressive, especially when Jack bonds with the only boy, Jamie, who still believes in the Guardians. This is a movie for the entire family to enjoy without any innuendos, because the mere idea of legends uniting and epic battles in the night sky will make your jaw drop, cracking even the hardest of critics with its playful nostalgia. It also puts a fun twist on the characters, as well, bringing each one to life with a very distinct personality.

The film portrays Jack as a fun-loving, mischievous teenage rascal who first rejects his new title as a Guardian, frustrated by centuries of disbelief in him. For three hundred years, he feels unwanted because no children believe in him—and therefore can’t see him. He declines the responsibility that comes with being a Guardian because he doesn’t understand why he’s chosen. When he asks, “Why me?” Santa tells him, “You have something very special inside, and we can’t do it without you.” Jack discovers that he has the makings of a true hero—selfless, courageous, and, surprisingly, kindness.

The movie has two heartwarming messages. The first is about how everyone has a different role to play and a special “center”. Santa’s center is to bring wonder to the children, and Jack Frost must find his own center. God has also put “centers” into our own heart, things that we are passionate about and love to do. Just like Jack faces questions about his past and purpose, we also must deal with questions like “Who am I? Why am I here?” We can only find our purpose and destiny in God, who is the Creator of all. The Bible says in Colossians 1:16,

“For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.”

Another message is about hope versus fear. Sandman and Pitch (the Boogeyman) are the exact opposites of each other—one brings sweet dreams, while the other overtakes the minds of children with nightmares. Pitch declares, “It’s time for fear to rule the world.” In the end, even though the children acknowledge Pitch’s existence, they declare that they are not afraid of him because they have the Guardians by their side. As Christians, we should not be afraid, because we have God on our side. Psalm 118:6 says,

“The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

Objectionable Content

There is mild name-calling between the Guardians, such as words like “bloody” and “coward”. Families can also talk about the worldly portrayal of Christian holidays. Christmas is supposed to be when we celebrate the birth of Christ, while Easter is when we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, but the secular view turns it into a mishmash of Santa, Christmas trees, the Easter Bunny and Easter eggs. Also, the Guardians look up to the mythical deity-like “Man on the Moon” for direction and guidance, instead of God. Another warning to parents is that younger children may be frightened by the idea that Pitch spreads fear through dreams and some battle scenes may be too intense for them.

I would recommend this movie to any family looking for a whimsical, slightly quirky, magical movie. The voice-overs are commendable and the movie’s feel-good, keep believin’ tenors will draw the entire family into a world of hope, joy, and child-like innocence. All in all, this movie was a joy to watch. The uplifting morals will find their way to not only your heart, but to your dreams as well.

Violence: Heavy (for the genre) / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—My husband and I both saw this movie last night. I was prepared to enjoy a simple holiday movie, but was very surprised by the moviemaking quality and depth of characters that were portrayed. I would recommend that parents be cautious when bringing younger children, due to several scary scenes. Parents could also use this movie as a way to talk to their children regarding their own beliefs and fears which could lead to a good discussion about faith.

I usually do not write a review, but feel that this Web site has helped me so much to discern what movies to watch. Biblically, this movie does involve the mention of spirits, which could lead to deeper discussions with adults and children of what the Bible says about evil and Jesus” victory over death and fear. The movie quality deserves some recognition, and my husband wants to see it again, it had so much action and humor. Thanks for letting us post.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Holly, age 41 (USA)
Positive—An excellent film! I love that the film so greatly encourages faith in God. The “man in the moon” is a metaphor for God’s existence, and the film is about accepting the call that God has given one in life. Satan is greatly personified in the “boogeyman,” who is presented as Jack Frost’s, and therefore our, personal adversary. A great film for the whole family!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Aaron Ploof, age 24 (USA)
Positive—If you look for the spiritual message that you can apply to your life from a Christian perspective, this is a great movie. Its the battle between good and evil, and I loved how they stood up to the evil and told them they were not afraid of it (sure you can only do that with the power of God, and they weren’t, but I looked at it that way). It talks about your destiny, fulfilling why you were put here and to get in touch with that. Again, they do it from superficial methods, it is not a Christian film, but if you can apply your faith and belief when watching it, its really good.

Don’t think I would want a young kid watching this, the dark, evil parts are kind of scary for kids and I was surprised there was so much of it. However, if you have a child mature enough to talk about the things above and the difference between where Christians get this power and direction compared to the world, it could be a great conversation starter. And no I don’t like all the sorcery stuff, however that is every “hero” movie. The graphics are some of the best I have seen in an animated film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Samantha, age 38 (USA)
Positive—I rated this movie as good, but offensive; the reason I did this is because the movie is a good tool to teach your children about the enemy. It is very offensive towards Christ, because He is completely omitted, although that’s how Satan works, to remove Jesus from the world so people won’t look to Him. But you can take this movie and reverse what Satan sold and show Jesus throughout this movie. You can give a solid teaching to your kids, if you flip the movie… Here are some examples: more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Tariq Haque, age 32 (Canada)
Positive—First, I will say that the reincarnation theme strongly bothered me. As Tooth says, “we were all somebody before we were Guardians.” And we saw Jack resurrected from the lake in his new role. That was really my only objection to the movie.

I love the theme of protecting the children as the world’s most precious treasures. I found Pitch and his schemes a very appropriate parallel to the devil, whose strongest weapons are fear and lack of faith on the part of God’s children. I could see God in the Man in the Moon, but you do have to rather be looking for such things.

The movie wasn’t quite as good as I had expected it to be, but I find myself wanting to go back and watch it over and over, nevertheless. If one is to be bothered by the secular reference to Christmas and Easter, I would expect that person not to bother to see the movie in the first place. I mean, the whole basis of the movie is mythology and legend, after all. What do you expect from Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny? I was beyond delighted with the unusual take on Santa, and I couldn’t help but adore the Easter Bunny and Sandman. (Tooth was kind of take-her-or-leave-her.)

I think we can all identify with Jack, and how he wants to know his purpose and call, but, when he finds it, hesitates to accept it, then realizes he will never be truly happy until he does. Such is the case with those of us who initially doubt God’s call on our lives.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Jessica, age 25 (USA)
Positive— 1) God (the moon) sees something within us before we ever see it in ourselves, and He raises us up for that purpose.

2) Not even five minutes into the movie, it’s said that “It is our job to watch over the children of the world and keep them safe; to bring wonder, hope, and dreams.” Backed up by Ephesians 6:18 which says: “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Joshua H., age 29 (USA)
Positive—This was an excellent movie. I watched it with my husband and 8 year old daughter and 10 year old son. We had a very deep discussion about the parallels of the movie to the Christian Faith. We talked about how the Word of God had 365 verses about fear, enough for every day of the year. We discussed how the enemy uses fear against believers all of the time. The imagery of the “darkness” Pitch Black tries to use to overtake everything is how the enemy is trying to snuff out the lights of believers everywhere. At one point, Pitch Black evens mentions being “Cast Out” and this, of course, makes one think of how Lucifer was cast out and wants to bring everyone down with him.

I love when at the end of the movie Jack Frost points out to the little boy how he doesn’t stop believing the sun will come out just because it is nighttime and all he sees is the moon. This is a wonderful parallel to faith and how we must always believe, even when we can’t see God at work, He is. I also loved how when the Sandman touches the evil horses with his light they turn into something beautiful just as when the Holy Spirit is at work in someone’s life and turns their ugliness around for His good. While it is all under the guise of fairytale creatures, really powerful lessons can be drawn from it. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Lissette, age 39 (USA)
Positive—I have been studying the different fruits of the Spirit and parts of the armor of God, and I saw the Guardian characters to be metaphorical representations of these. The man in the moon was a direct representation of God who gives all His children purpose and all who acccept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior the “inheritance of the saints” (Santa Claus aka Saint Nicholas explained well to children in VeggieTales about why he places gifts in stockings and goes down chimney, etc.).

Santa Claus (actually known as North in the movie because Our Father “guards” us from all sides north, south, east and west) is the first to see Pitch Black aka The Boogeyman, and he says he feels it in his belly, as if it is the Holy Spirit speaking through his “center.” He wields two swords when fighting, which reminds me of the Sword of Spirit or Word of God, because it is written that the Word of God is: “quick, powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword able to cut between soul and spirit”. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Magan Luzzi, age 25 (USA)
Positive—Let me say up front that we have never led our children to believe in mythical creatures. They’ve known from birth that Santa, etc. aren’t real, and that it’s not good to lie, even in something like this. With that said, we (kids and all) loved this movie! It was scarier than I expected (and my youngest was afraid of the dark for a couple of nights… but nothing that sleeping with a glow stick couldn’t fix). This movie took me back to the magic of my own childhood, when I DID believe in these creatures. I’d recommend this movie for children over about 6-10, depending on their own comfort level with dark creatures. It was a fun movie, and Jack ended up being my favorite of all the characters… which is pretty cool, since I’d never heard of him when I was a kid, either!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Chrystal, age 37 (USA)
Positive—“Rise of the Guardians” was an enjoyable, expertly animated movie. Each of the Guardians (the Russian Santa, the Easter Bunny, Sandman, the Tooth Fairy, and Jack Frost) were reimagined with a unique take. I feel this movie has a message particularly for people who are no longer children, as audiences follow the characters who are hundreds of years old trying to protect the hopes and dreams of children.

The characters are also very selfless when it comes to protecting children and risk their lives for them. Despite the movie mentioning Christmas and Easter a number of times, there is no mention of Christ. The Guardians get handpicked by the Man in the Moon and can only be seen by children who believe they exist. In one point of the movie a character responds to a child who asks if the Guardians will be there even when they aren’t seen by saying, “You’re telling me you stop believing in the moon when the sun comes up? Okay. Well, do you stop believing in the sun when clouds block it out?” more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—E H, age 23 (USA)
Negative
Negative—The movie felt devoid of anything of substance. There was no spirit, it was just commercialism. The Jack Frost character had a self sacrificing moment, but the message seemed to be torn between “seeing is believing” and “kids keep holidays alive in their heart.” I found it wanting. I should have left a review earlier, because I’m already forgetting it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Trina, age 45 (USA)
Negative—There is such a dark and evil villain in this movie, and [I] do not recommend this movie for kids. I am glad good overcame evil, but had to stop the film soon after we started. Too dark. I finished watching after my kids went to bed and am glad they did not finish it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tricia, age 35 (USA)
Negative—By elevating mythical creatures to the status of saviors of the world, it degrades the status of Jesus Christ as Savior of the world. If you say “Jesus Christ died to save the world from damnation,” a naive viewer of this movie will say, “Yes, but Jack Frost died saving a life, too.” If you say “Jesus Christ walked on water,” they will say, “No big deal. I saw Jack Frost do that by freezing the water under his feet.” If you say, “But Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead!” they can say, “So what? The Man in the Moon resurrected Jack Frost from the dead.” And, as is the case with Jack Frost, like Jesus Christ, we are called upon to believe in him even though we can’t see him.

There is no mention of Jesus Christ in this movie. Instead of an all powerful God, we are asked to believe in an all powerful Man in the Moon???… I am really surprised to see such a big endorsement of this movie…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—J Howard, age 55 (USA)
Negative—Unfortunately, this movie was being shown in my son’s classroom (public school), and the only way I found out was because I happened to walk in the classroom to drop something off for my son while the movie was playing in the background. As soon as I saw it, my spirit rang the alarms and red flags.

The teacher, who claims to be Christian (no judgment on her, since we all happen to be on different levels of conviction, knowledge and maturity with the things of the Lord), justified it as a “great Christmas film” for the kids. I was just listening to her go on and on, but then there was a scene that really really bothered me and screamed overt Paganism/Satanism was when the characters were having a a memorial service for Sandman because he died. They were all standing around a circle of candles holding hands. This scene so much resembled a pagan ritual known as “circle casting.” They use it for casting spells and for rituals. more »
—Heidi, age 38 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—“Rise of the Guardians” was a great movie that I would recommend to everyone. There are a few things that you might not like. Specifically, minor language, some disrespect to God (not like using His name in vain), a few creepy villains, and minor violence. Most of the “profanity” was when the Easter Bunny said “bloody” in a cursing way. Though I heard it two times, I might have missed it one or two times.

In addition, the villain, “Pitch Black” The Bogeyman, told the Easter Bunny to “Go suck an Egg,” which is supposed to be a joke. In this movie, the Guardians (The Tooth Fairy, Santa, The Easter Bunny, Sandman, and in the end Jack Frost) talk about the Man in the Moon like he is God. They show him as all powerful and all knowing. The Bogeyman lives off of fear and is fear. In this story, unless people believe in a mystical character, that character is invisible, and no one even knows that they exist. That is what the main character Jack Frost has to deal with. This is also the problem of The Bogeyman.

Because of the Guardians, after the Dark Ages people stopped believing in The Bogeyman, so he is going to make all the kids not believe in the Guardians by destroying their holidays. Then by scaring the children of the world, he will be seen and feared. The bogeyman invades the kids’ dreams and gains minions. At one point the Sandman is killed and there are suspenseful battles. In another scene, during a flashback, Jack sees himself give his life to save his little sister.

Overall, there were some things not needed. This is an amazing and great movie that you should try your best to see.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—D'artagnan, age 12 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I am tired of this “magical brotherhood” stuff with the mythological figures. I quit the whole Santa and Easter bunny stuff and replaced them with Jesus a long time ago. Does the sandman ever sleep? Somewhere on this planet, there are people falling asleep and waking up EVERY second. What was once a playful pretend thing for kids is starting to become idolatry. If I ever have kids, they will be taught that Jesus gave the greatest gift of all, not this ho ho ho Easter egg stuff that is polluting our kids minds. The true meanings of Christmas and Easter have been disgraced. I’m just glad there are still genuine Christians who remember their true meanings. I also hear they get their powers from a man on the moon, who is their boss; the only reason I can’t say for certain whether or not that’s occult is I can’t tell whether the moon man is a spirit or not. My Lord and Savior’s gift is far greater than the junk this movie promotes.
My Ratings: Moral rating: / Moviemaking quality:
—Peter, age 22 (USA)

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