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“Rise of the Guardians” arrives on a two-disc set containing this 2012 animated film’s Blu-ray, DVD, and digital copies.
This package brings together some of the world’s most famous childhood heroes and mythical creatures in an inventive story about the power of belief, faith, and the values of the universe. These legendary characters collectively known as the Guardians have powers that come from the children believing in them. A muscular and tattooed Santa leads the team that also includes the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Sand Man. When the evil Pitch Black, also known as the Bogeyman, learns how to turn dreams into nightmares, the Guardians enlist the solitary Jack Frost to stop the enemy from waging war on the belief of children and engulfing the entire world in darkness.
This computer-animated fantasy-adventure piece is based on William Joyce’s “The Guardians of Childhood” book series and “The Man in the Moon” short film by Joyce and Reel FX. Peter Ramsey helmed this feature offering, while Joyce and Guillermo del Toro worked as executive producers. Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin, Isla Fisher, Chris Pine, Jude Law, and Dakota Goyo lent their voices for this family-oriented tale.
The interesting storyline definitely inspires the film’s gloriously stylized CG animation. The picture’s incredible amount of detail is nothing short of overwhelming. The various palettes bring the characters and places to life through a series of fun-filled and magical elements. The resplendent shots certainly dazzle the home theater and the images don’t have visually dull or bland moments. Except for some very minor and passable quibbles, there are no serious flaws to report anywhere in the presentation.
The film features a seven-channel surround mix, as well as alternative five-channel mixes in Spanish and French. The busy and complicated track hosts a thick layer of aural components, yet they never yield to becoming superfluous in any way. The impressive range of sound aptly saturates the entire soundscape with sonic bliss. The speakers always carry genuinely seamless and completely immersive elements.
From the faintest ambient elements to the loudest musical strokes, the mix offers sheer competence. The track is full of big orchestral swells, sleigh bells, and nice tinkling music, but the tunes are not of the pop variety to encourage singing along with the beat — which is not necessarily a bad thing. Speaking lines in the front center have unbeatable clarity.
This combo pack allows disc owners to dig into a lot of good stuff, including the games “Jack Frost Snowball Showdown!” and “Rock, Paper, Scissors with Sandy,” the four-part making-of documentary “Behind the Magic,” the William Joyce featurette “The Man Behind the Guardians,” the voice featurette “Dreamers & Believers,” the interactive dream interpreter called “Sandy’s Dream Guide,” the track “Filmmakers’ Commentary: Director Peter Ramsey and Producers Christina Steinberg and Nancy Bernstein,” previews of additional DreamWorks titles, and a promotional video for some successful DreamWorks animation projects. Subtitle options are available in English, English SDH, Spanish, and French.
Interestingly, “Rise of the Guardians” is a strong and fairly original family movie that borrows plot points from existing children’s tales. Although not perfect in its storytelling, it still works as a delightful piece of commercial cinema with the way it transcends itself from the holiday flick pigeonhole. Aside from being an audio-visual stunner, it gently weaves a form of child-like wonder for its audience, while also gratifyingly adding a pinch of naughty and nice details to its proceedings.