Trouble is brewing. Pitch Black (AKA The Boogieman) is mad because nobody believes in him anymore. So he and his army of Nightmares have decided to take over and bring fear into the world. The only ones who can stop him are the Guardians: Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Sandman, Tooth Fairy and unofficial Guardian elect Jack Frost.
Rise Of The Guardians is kind of magical. The animation is beautiful, the premise is a damn good one, the story is engrossing. I was completely invested in the movie and for the most part I really, really enjoyed it.
But there were some very serious issues.
First of all, they made Jack Frost the lead character. A great deal of the movie deals with his identity crisis, not knowing who he was before he was Jack Frost, and wondering if he really wants to be a Guardian. He's also an uninteresting, whiny, showboating pretty boy and I don't like that kind of character. Any other one of the Guardians would have made for a better lead (Sandman was my favorite but I think Santa would have been the one to best carry a movie).
So there was that.
My other huge issue deals with the ending so IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO HAVE THE ENDING SPOILED STOP READING RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I AM GOING TO GIVE THINGS AWAY!
While Jack Frost has a sort of nothing backstory, Pitch Black is given an incredibly sympathetic backstory. Mainly what it boils down to is loneliness, which is something I deeply relate to, and they really make you feel how sad and alone he is. He's not just evil for the sake of evil, he's evil because it was forced upon him. He brings fear and he was shunned for it. It's kind of heartbreaking.
At the end of the movie, he is defeated. It's a kids movie, of course the villain isn't going to win, but the way he's defeated is so obvious and blatant and unfair. He's dragged back underground (under the bed, where monsters belong) by his own Nightmares, his own fear and loneliness. And the Guardians just kind of smirk and are proud of themselves for winning the day and we the audience are supposed to be happy that Pitch has been vanquished.
I was in tears. There were three parts of the movie that made me cry and this was the one that made me cry the hardest. It isn't fair, it isn't right and he didn't deserve that kind of treatment.
There is a place in the world for fear and it should have ended with Pitch being taught how to use his powers in a way that benefits the world and being brought in as a sort of Guardian in training or something. If they took him in and treated him like a friend and a colleague and taught him how to work with them rather than just condemning him to loneliness, he wouldn't be evil anymore.
It would have been a much better, much happier ending.
OKAY I'M DONE TALKING ABOUT THE ENDING NOW.
But I guess the fact that I care so much about how the movie ended means I was emotionally invested in the story.
I loved Rise Of The Guardians. It wasn't necessarily what I thought it would be, but I didn't really know what I thought it would be, and what it was was fantastic. Beautiful animation, mostly likeable characters, strong story, solid movie. Highly recommended.
End of line.