Why Rise Of The Guardians Is An Underrated DreamWorks Movie And Everyone Needs To See It
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DreamWorks is a legendary animation studio, so when you hear that name, which movie do you think of? Perhaps the iconic Shrek franchise, or maybe the Kung Fu Panda trilogy (which is apparently getting a fourth movie). Maybe you even think of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, considering that movie has gotten increasingly popular since its release in December 2022.
But I’ll do you one better – I think of Rise of the Guardians.
What is Rise of the Guardians, you may ask? Why, only the best animated film of 2012, telling the story of the Guardians, a group of mythological creatures including Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman. When their world is turned upside down by the ultimate villain, Pitch Black, they look for the help of another spirit – Jack Frost.
This movie has been completely underrated for more than ten years and I am here to tell you the reasons as to why you need to watch it. Let’s get into it.
Jack Frost Is Literally The Best Protagonist
There are so many protagonists from DreamWorks that I have come to love. Puss from Puss in Boots is an obvious one – his swagger and kick-butt moves are unmatched, mixed with that fantastic voice-acting from Antonio Banderas. I could also talk about Shrek, as he’s just a hilarious character all around.
To me, Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine) is and always will be the best protagonist that has come out of DreamWorks, and it’s not even close.
There’s something about him that I just love. From the moment you meet Jack, you can just tell from a mile away that he’s the kind of best friend you would love to have. He’s quirky, fun, and knows how to have a good time while breaking rules and staying relatively safe (aside from some broken sleighs).
As cocky as he can be around the other Guardians, you can tell he has an absolute heart of gold. Without spoiling anything about his backstory, Jack is one of the kindest people out there, despite all his flaws. And, as the movie goes on, that kindness starts to show more and more.
Out of every protagonist I’ve ever seen, Jack pushes himself more when the people he cares about are threatened with their lives, and you only continue to see that heart of gold.
The Voice Cast Is Filled With Stars
Alright, I already mentioned above that Chris Pine voices Jack – and to be honest, it’s perfect casting. Pine has been in so many great movies, including the Star Trek franchise (and the upcoming Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves possibly being on that list soon), but I seriously think he should do more voice work.
Besides Pine, though, the cast list for Rise of the Guardians is massively star-studded. Jude Law voices Pitch Black (otherwise known as the Boogeyman), Hugh Jackman is the Easter Bunny, Isla Fisher portrays the Tooth Fairy (or known as Toothiana), and Alec Baldwin voices Santa, and does an excellent job.
While this particular version of Santa isn’t my absolute favorite (that is reserved for David Harbour’s version in Violent Night), he does great voicing the character. The cast is just stellar, in every way possible.
The World Of The Guardians Is Super Detailed
Now that we talked about the cast for a little bit, let’s talk about the characters and the world of the guardians – because everything is so detailed. This isn’t your average fantasy movie. Whatever you expect the North Pole to look like, or how the Easter Bunny works, put that in the back of your mind, because these stories are unlike any other.
Guardians is so creative in the way it presents the characters by giving them new lore, new stories, and so much more. I have to say that seeing Santa’s workshop and watching his elves work are some of my favorite scenes of the movie, because they’re just so funny but creative at the same time.
The characters themselves are so individualized and different. Toothiana is super sweet and will do anything to protect her friends. Santa is a bit gruff but has a kind heart – and tattoos, if you can believe it. The Easter Bunny is literally the most kick-ass fantasy character who will hunt you down if you mess with his eggs. Yet, their characters meld together so well and create such a fun dynamic.
Even the Sandman – he doesn’t talk during the movie at all, but it’s his interactions and facial expressions that make him so great. Add Jack to that and it’s a win-win.
Pitch Black Is Actually One Of The Scariest Villains In Animation
Villains in DreamWorks have honestly become some of my favorites. They’re freaking terrifying, and I believe some can outdo Disney villains any day (although for villain songs – Disney still beats them in that category). DreamWorks villains are just built differently – and Pitch Black is one of the best.
He is literally fear in one terrifying body. He is darkness incarnate. He is what children fear most and what brings nightmares to your mind when you sleep – how can you not be afraid of him? It’s not even just that, though – it’s the way he manipulates the Guardians through their fears, making even these powerful spirits terrified of what he can do.
He’s an outstanding villain that seriously gives me the chills even years later as an adult, and that’s how you know he’s absolutely fantastic.
The Overall Story Is One Of The Best DreamWorks Has Ever Done
I’ve already talked about how great the characters are, but what about the story? Is it better than every other story from DreamWorks?
Rise of the Guardians doesn’t just have a great story – it’s one of the best ones, and it centers mainly around Jack Frost. The whole story follows this group of Guardians trying to protect kids from nightmares and Pitch Black’s plan to essentially put children in a world of darkness, and it’s up to the Guardians to stop him.
What I really love about the story is that it deals heavily with the idea of what you’re afraid of. That’s the whole point of Pitch Black – he preys on what you fear. Sometimes it’s very superficial things, and other times it’s much deeper fears, such as being alone, or losing the people you love the most.
Through sheer friendship and teamwork, the Guardians find ways around this, despite the fact that Pitch Black is truly terrifying. That’s honestly a dark theme to have in a children’s movie – but one that stuck with me all the same.
While I still feel that Rise of the Guardians is underrated and deserves much more praise, at least now I can show off how much I love it as an adult and get maybe just one more person to watch it – maybe you’ll end up liking it even more than I do (not possible). If you haven’t had the time to see it yet, be sure to check it out.
Rent/Buy Rise of the Guardians on Amazon. (opens in new tab)
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Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!