January 20, 2018

For Kids Who Still Believe, “Rise Of The Guardians” Spoils The Wonder

rise of the guardiansBy Julie Samrick

“Christmas will never be as magical until you have children of your own,” my mother told me sadly after I declared there was no such thing as Santa Claus.  When another little girl spilled the news to me at school, first putting any doubt in my head, I quickly lumped the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy in with Santa. 


My mom was right.  Three of my four children still faithfully believe in these guardians of childhood, as they’re also positioned in the new Dreamworks film Rise of the Guardians.  Unfortunately, as much as the film is imaginative it also raises doubts for kids who still believe.  As we left the theatre, the first thing my 6-year-old asked: “Is Santa Claus real?”


Santa Claus summons The Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, The Sandman (keeper of dreams), and Jack Frost to the North Pole with an important mission.  The Boogeyman (aka the keeper of nightmares) is threatening to destroy little boys’ and girls’ beliefs in them, therefore dashing all that these characters symbolize. “It is our job to watch the children of the world and keep them safe, but the children are in danger,” Santa says, setting off a mission where the five legends work together to keep children across the globe still believing.


The effects are wonderful in the film, and the imagination is fun especially when the guardians show where they live and how they do their work- e.g. How does Santa coordinate all those good little boy and girl wish lists? How does the Easter Bunny color all those eggs?  Where does the Tooth Fairy keep all those teeth and why is her role important? Is Jack Frost really as bad as he’s made out to be? 


For imagination, much of the movie soars.  However, as my 4-year-old said, “I liked the beginning and the end, but not the middle,” as much of the middle is a fight between good and evil.  My 6-year-old said, “I didn’t really understand it.”  She did understand enough to ask me for the first time, though, if Santa is real.


Except for Sandman and the Tooth Fairy, the other guardians are cynical, reminiscent of the characters in last year’s Arthur Christmas (see Kid Focused review).  Santa is a sword-wielding, reindeer whipping, tattoo covered, tough guy.  No pink cheeks or jubilant “ho-ho-hos.” The Easter Bunny isn’t cute and cuddly, but demeaning and always looking for a fight until the guardians finally begin working together.


The film is rated PG for its fast-pace, mild violence, and for frequent loud and scary music.  There are also several scenes with the Boogeyman and his “nightmares” that will frighten most young children.


Unless your children are beyond the age of innocence and wonder, don’t risk it by taking them to see Rise of the Guardians.


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Running Time: 1 hour 37 minutes

Starring: Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman

2/4 stars


  1. noneestoknow says:

    well, hey, I guess this is not for young children who still holds there innocence and wonder.

    Perhaps it’s for, say, teens and adult who still holds their believe?

    I’m in my 20s, and I still do, to this day, believes in them. All, of, them.

    Hey, I belive in dragons as well. But do we truly know what dragons look like? What about Easter bunny? Our mind made the word. Dictionary may hold definition, but science is a word that is based on faith. Had we not believe in science, we cannot evet start to tale that leap of faith and acheive it.

    The power of believe, why does children have the most power?

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