Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Rated PG. Our ratings: V -3; L -0; S/N -1. Running time: 1 hour 37 min.

And he did not do many deeds of power there,
because of their unbelief.
Matthew 13.58

Immediately the father of the child cried out,* ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’ Mark 9.24

The President spent many hours talking with the man who once looked down upon him, William Seward, now his
Secretary of Sate and confidante.

2012 DreamWorks Pictures

Another 3-D animated tale based on a children’s series, Director Peter Ramsey’s fast-paced tale introduces us to a children’s Fantastic Four headed by the Russian-accented Santa Clause (Alec Baldwin) known in this film as North. The group includes the boomerang toting Easter Bunny—Bunny (Hugh Jackman)—the elfin Tooth fairy—Tooth (Isla Fisher)—and the sand-sculpture Sandman (no voice as he communicates North describes their role, “We go by many names, and take many forms. We bring wonder and hope, we bring joy and dreams. We are the Sandman and the Tooth Fairy, we are the Easter Bunny, and Santa. And our powers are greater than you ever imagine…” The mischievous character who will rise to become a member of the group is Jack Frost (Chris Pine), somewhat despondent because no one seems to know or think about him. When he tries to talk with someone on the street, the person walks right through him, totally unaware of his existence. This changes when the Man in the Moon sends him to the North Pole where a crisis has developed. Pitch, better known as the Boogeyman, has been invading the dreams of children in his desire to rule the world by fear.

North points out as the Guardians look at the huge globe in his workshop that as long as the children of the world believe in them, the Guardians will prevail. However, due to Pitch, belief is diminishing, as can be seen on the large globe where the lights indicating clusters of believers are going out. Can Jack and the other Guardians save the day?

Although I found the mythology involving a Deist-type god (the Man in the Moon) somewhat offsetting, the film as a whole was very enjoyable, filled with both action and humor. The sled ride on which Jack conducts a little boy named Jimmy, last of the believers, is delightful, and an example of the humor is the scene in which Jack, asking North who has tattooed on his two arms “Naughty” and “Nice,” if he is on the Naughty list, is told, “Naughty list. You hold record!” The theme of the necessity of belief will, of course, remind one and all of the plea for the life of Tinker Bell in Peter Pan. The dilemma of the Guardians possibly losing their power as children stop believing will remind believers of the stories of Jesus in which he also met with unbelief.

I suspect that this film is mainly for younger children, but as with most savvily made animated films these days, there is plenty in the film to keep adults interested as well. And do not allow the little ones who might be with you to leave as soon as “The End” appears on the screen, lest they miss some truly funny gags that come with the end credits.

For reflection Discussion

1. Why does Jack Frost feel so badly when we first meet him? Have you felt that way when people took no notice of you, treating you like you were invisible?

2. How does being given a task help Jack? Maybe he forgets himself in trying to help others?

3. What do you think the way the famous characters are shown a little different than in the nursery rhymes more fun?

4. What do you think was the funniest part of the film? The scariest?

5. How is the Boogeyman or Pitch trying to rule the world? How is fear a good way to control another person? How can belief or faith overcome fear?

6. North says, “It is our job to protect the children of the world. For as long as they believe in us, we will guard them with our lives.” Why is belief in a Guardian important? Can even Jesus do much for someone who does not believe in him?

7. How did you feel at the end of the film?