Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rise of the Guardians

Yeah, I watched that tonight.  Rise of the Guardians was actually somewhat better than I was expecting.  I vaguely remember seeing the trailer in theatres.  I don't remember my exact reaction, but I remember being pretty unimpressed and convinced that it was a must-miss.  I gave in today after a few friends recommended it, and I was pleasantly surprised.  It wasn't mind-blowingly amazing, but it was okay.  And that's way better than I thought it would be.

I'm not gonna go into any detail explaining the plot here, by the way.  I can't be bothered, really.  It was a good plot, so there's no fun to be had in really mocking it, but it wasn't an incredible plot so there's not a lot of gushing I could do either.  So if you're curious, either watch the movie yourself, look it up on Wikipedia or resign yourself to a life of never knowing.  I really don't care.  This isn't a review, all I'm doing is rambling about a few of the reactions I had during the movie.

First off: the character designs.  Some of them were really cool.  Santa was awesome.  The Tooth Fairy was really neat as well.  I loved Santa's Naughty and Nice arm tattoos, and his very Russian-badass portrayal.  His outfits were way cooler than the traditional red-with-white-trim santa suit -- the red-with-black-trim coat was quite striking, actually -- and I liked how he wasn't really fat, just big.  It was an interesting portrayal of a very classic, iconic character.  The Tooth Fairy was adorable, really birdlike and enthusiastic, and she had just the prettiest eyes.  Her little fairy helpers were cute too!

I didn't realize until after the movie was over and I was discussing it with my sister exactly how offensive the Easter Bunny was.  During the movie all I thought was "Oh, he's....not very interesting.  Kind of boring, really."  And then later on I'm like, "Holy shit, was that racist?  Or something?  Is there a world like racist that refers to countries and cultures rather than race, or does it all fall under racism?"  But yeah, it was something, all right.  The Easter Bunny had an Australian accent, and tribal tattoos or something, and, you know, he's a rabbit.  That super-invasive species that ruined everything in Australia and is still causing hella problems.  Man, that was a bad choice, Dreamworks.  Shame on you.  Think better next time.

Jack Frost's design was...ehhhh?  Overall I guess I liked it -- I mean, I liked his face and his staff and mostly I liked his movements, even if they weren't always as creative as I would have liked.  But his outfit...ugh.  So boring.  He starts out with an interesting enough outfit, right in the beginning -- it's like a cloak that reflects light rather interestingly in the moonlight, and reminded me of frost.  Clever!  But then fast forward a few hundred years and he's running around in...a hoodie.  Okay, fine, a hoodie with frost on it, but still.  How dull can you get?  That's part of the reason I never liked the trailer, I think, the character just looked too bland to be interesting, and his outfit was too modern and casual to make any impression about his personality.

And the Boogeyman, or Pitch Black.  Wait that's a terrible name, I'll just stick with Boogeyman.  His character design was baaaaaaad.  Like, really bad.  Well, more like really boring, but for a villain that's baaaaaaad.  Come on! The guy is darkness itself, he moves through shadows and controls nightmares -- you could have had so much fun with that!  Like the evil lady in Sinbad, that was a kind of dull movie but she was just so cool, her movements and actions and everything, it was just wow, you know?  You could have channeled some of that for the boogeyman here.  His body could have shifted with the shadows, changing shape and size, slipping away one minute then towering above everyone the next.  Or he could have stayed perfectly still most of the time and the scenery would move around him, how neat would that look?  And even without the change in movements, he looks so dull.  Just a plain black robe, plain black hair, nothing distinctive about him.  Why not clad him in shadows, so his robe melts into the scenery around him, or make his facial features subtly change depending on who he's talking to and what he wants?  He could have been made so much more creepy than he turned out to be.  I find that usually it's the villain that makes a film for me, and the Boogeyman being such a let-down was really part of why I found Rise of the Guardians a little lacking.

Another thing that bugged me during the film was how the children's belief in the Guardians worked.  As a kid I never really believed in Santa or the Tooth Fairy or anything, and if I ever did it would have been when I was very young, too young to remember.  But it seems to me that a child who really believed wouldn't immediately dismiss those beliefs as soon as one little thing happened.  One night of teeth not being picked up led to the Tooth Fairy immediately losing her powers -- what?  Wouldn't the kids' initial reaction be more "What, why didn't she come, what happened, why?" rather than "Oh, no quarter, guess she was never real!"  Or no eggs in an egghunt, or no presents at Christmas.  Either the non-believing parents would have put out at least a few eggs or presents of their own, so the kids wouldn't immediately lose faith, or the parents would realize that eggs and presents and tooth money shows up without fail and thus the Guardians are kind of undeniably real.  Also, a single night of bad dreams led to children everywhere losing all their faith in the Guardians?  My god, what sort of idyllic fantasy world is this?  Oh no, I had a nightmare last night!  Time for an existential crisis.  IS THERE NO GOD?!?!?!

And finally, the barefoot thing.  Jack Frost is barefoot through the whole movie, even in the parts that show his life as a normal human.  At one point some kids run outside in the middle of the night, stopping to grab coats and hats but for some reason not shoes -- the one thing you really, really need when you're running out into the snow.  What is the deal?  Movie, why do you not understand cold?  Well, maybe not.  Early on it shows kids celebrating a "snow day" when there's maybe a light sprinkling of snow -- not even enough to cover the grass!  If a city thinks that less than an inch of snow is significant enough to shut down schools, why would the kids have sleds?  They clearly don't get enough snow to use them. You are weird, movie.  All of this?  This is why you are only pretty good instead of awesome.  Try better next time, okay?


  1. Omg..you are so...your the boringness itself if you didnt liked that movie..

    1. Actually, I did like the movie. I said it was good a couple of times in this post and tagged it under "good things are okay." But that's not going to stop me from pointing out flaws I find in it. It would be way more "boringness" to pretend that all movies I like are completely beyond criticism just because I like them.