Thursday, September 8, 2016

“Rise of the Guardians” (ROTG) | Film Review

Ever wondered what the Boogeyman really looked like? What accent the Easter bunny has? How sandman’s powers worked? This film reveals all of the childhood wonders you had of these mythical creatures that parents told you about at night, and more. The Boogeyman has come back to seek havoc, scare the children and make them not believe that their precious guardians: Santa, the Tooth fairy, Sandman, Easter bunny and now the new edition of Jack Frost has joined but Jack doesn’t think he’s all “hard work and deadlines”, he’s more of “snowballs and fun times”. Now he has to save the children from Pitch’s nightmares. How will Jack find out why he’s suited to become a guardian when he doesn’t even know of his past? Will the guardians be ready to fight Pitch (the Boogeyman). Watch the film or find out in this review.
Director: Peter Ramsey
Art Department (27 credits)| Actor (4)| Assistant Director (2)
But he’s most known for his storyboards on: ‘Penguins of Madagascar’ (2014); ‘Shark Tale’ (2004); ‘Panic Room’ (2002); ‘How the Grinch stole Christmas’ (2000); ‘Fight Club’ (1999); ‘Godzilla’ (1998); ‘Men in Black (1997); ‘Independence Day’ (1996); ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child’ (1989). He’s only been assistant director twice which doesn’t make him very experienced but I still think he done an awesome job of ROTG.
The Pleasure of Viewing a Film
It’s pleasing to see a wonderful film, it can have quotes/characters that inspire you, like when you see how invisible Jack Frost is to the children but no matter what he still tries to be seen and in the end, he’s seen. I love the scene when Jack is finally seen by “the last light”, it never fails to make me smile when he realises Jamie can actually see him and then he jumps around the room like a child. There’s better visuals, clearer picture, better sound in the cinemas (they have all the equipment needed, they even go to turning the lights off so you can feel a part of the film and maybe even feel chills when it gets to the snowy scenes).
Word Of Mouth – Pre and Post-viewing experiences
Cinema experience: I went with my mum to go see this film, I know, pretty childish but it still felt weird to go alone, especially considering she would be dropping me off there in the first place, so why not?  Anyway, watching this film in the cinema for the first time was almost like a dream, except when I got to the middle of the film and parents with their too-easily-bored children started walking out. I wanted to scream “YOU’RE MISSING OUT” at them. I stayed quiet but I still gave them the evil death glare, which probably looked a little something like
this. I only had a little clue of what I was going to see from this film but I was definitely speechless when it started, close to questioning why it was written off as just a child’s film when a fifteen-year-old me loved it all the same. I hid my tears when the first sad scene came to screen, amazed that they were allowed to kill off a secondary character so easily. I had just witnessed one of the myths I was told as a child die before my very own eyes. I just couldn’t believe it, then I cried again as well as giving the film a standing ovation at the end. This only gave mum more reason to believe I was mad.
Home experience
The disapproval Santa and Bunny give in to Jack in this picture, it’s like Santa and Bunny are on the side of watching it in the cinema whilst Jack is like “see ya guys, I’m waiting for the DVD to watch in MY OWN HOME.” Of course I still smile at scenes watching it at home but I still haven’t cried again since the first time. At home, there was no one to walk out during the film, just me, myself and I who even had the chance to pause the film when needed so I could go grab more snacks.  I’m still able to relate and love the characters as dearly as I did when watching it in the cinema. At home, it’s a lot harder to get even near as immersed as you did at the cinema.
Genre – Animation, Adventure, Family
Now with animation, it is usually assumed to be for children but this film was trying to appeal to the parents too: that would be taking their children to go see the film so they wouldn’t just be sitting there, bored. Adventure usually comes along with animation as a duo to make the film exciting, possibly add why the magic was being used and where they would need a hero (Jack Frost) to save the day. Family sets the boundaries of how the film plays out and how the script is written. There can’t be any swearing, nudity, or just anything that wouldn’t be child-friendly and this film has definitely stuck to that.

Mise en scene

Lighting: bright lighting as a sign of hope, there’s still hope left in the world. Except when it goes to the scenes with Pitch, it gets darker like hope is lost.
Performance: (mentioned later on in celebrity profiles).
Setting: present, this helped to make it more believable as well as relatable for 2012’s generation.
Dialogue: you can tell that they’ve added the comedic aspect to this film to make the children laugh, even when Pitch is on screen and the guardians just don’t seem to have it cut out for them, there would be jokes to stop them being scared. The dialogue can appeal to both the children and parents but the main reason is for humour.
Props: weapons, Jack has a staff, Santa has these swords, Bunny has a boomerang, Sandman uses his own powers and none of these except the swords are menacing, something children would be afraid of. Santa has toys and Bunny has Easter eggs, for their own holidays.
Costumes: clothing that would suit the mythical creature. For example, the Easter bunny has no clothes, because he’s a bunny and it’s never been told where the Easter bunny was wearing clothes.
– Non-linear: for the moment Jack has a flashback of his past, the baby teeth that are collected hold the dearest memories of childhood that Jack had forgotten, so when baby tooth showed him these memories, a flashback occurred which made him realise why Manny (Man in the Moon) made him a guardian.
– Restricted narrative: it stays to Jack’s point of view and we follow his journey of becoming a guardian whilst also keeping the children believing.
– Open narrative: it’s still all about Jack and the adventures he’s faced with, sometimes he messes up like when he was distracted by Pitch’s diversion to follow the voice of his sister, whilst the nightmares destroyed all the Easter eggs with no time to make more for Easter the next day.

Target Audience
Family, children and their parents – this film appeals to the audience by it being child-friendly. It does make you question why it was just aimed at children: on bits where Jack is dealing with disbelief, being ignored by everyone which children can slightly relate to with school but earlier on, unless their parents are always busy, they don’t have a chance of understanding. With parents, the older audience there are jokes that only they would get, and when Jack has the identity crisis then finds himself from the memories of his past, only the older audience would understand this fully.
Soon after the film was released, many fanfictions of Jack and Tooth were made since they came so close to kissing in the film, and there was even fanfictions made on Jack and Bunny out of the rivalry they had where it would go from worst enemies to lovers. When the DVDs came out in 2013, over 3.2 million were sold worldwide which proved it to being “the highest box office to DVD conversion ratio among major releases” (Seeking Alpha). In 2014 when ‘Frozen’ came out, the fandom started comparing the animation graphics of Jack’s ice powers to Elsa’s and hate the fact that ‘Frozen’ did SO MUCH better than ROTG. I’ve read the whole rant with GIFs included that showed the differences in ice magic animation, they’ve compared it to say that ‘Frozen’ just looks like it was made in paint compared to the amazing ice graphics in ROTG.

How the film did:Budget: £99,294,550
Opening weekend: £16,279,831(USA)
Profit lost (Budget – Opening Weekend): £83,041,719
All media sales: £210,216,525
Opening weekend didn’t do so well, it didn’t earn near as much as they paid for the budget. The only way I found out about this film coming out was from seeing the one or two trailers on YouTube. As mentioned with the Social Media, they could’ve done much more. It’s just disappointing to see how much money was put into this film, and only after the DVDs came out did they get more than double the amount back. Hence why so many of the fans were glum to hear that there’s almost no chance for a sequel; even when they need to carry on the stories that this film was based from.
Preferred Readings
DreamWorks Animation love to do these, I’ve always noticed that they love making sure each character has something to do when in shot, try spotting it out the next time you see characters in the background of a DreamWorks film.
– Sandy (Sandman) – the producers have said that Sandy never speaks throughout the whole film, due to an old belief that if he talked, he could wake up a child so they made sure to keep Sandman to only using body expression and hand signals, never saying a word.
– There’s this theory that Jamie isn’t the last believer of the guardians, like he’s told to be at the end. There’s still his little sister, Sophie. It’s said that the lights on the globe actually represent a house that still contains believer(s) of the guardians. This is all due to the scene where you can see Jack carrying Sophie to bed, he wouldn’t be able to carry her if Sophie didn’t believe in him. He would be invisible. It could’ve also been because she was asleep (and the dreaming counted as believing for a moment), or the animators just wanting this cute scene but it’s a cool thought for the audience to notice these little fragments.
– Except from the Guardians and Pitch, none of the adults’ faces are clearly seen. Perhaps to emphasise that they need children to believe in the guardians, they need to save the children from Pitch and his nightmares, the children help out the guardians, so you can see it’s based around the children. Considering, adults are much harder to convince that children’s beliefs are real.
– This is Jack Frost’s sister, (the obvious observation since Jack says “I have a sister” when remembering her but you start to see more when you watch the film more times). Mary Overland Frost that was used to portray William Joyce’s daughter, Mary Katherine Joyce, just before the film starts, it is dedicated in her memory, she died from a brain tumour. It is said that Jack and Mary’s relationship is used to correspond the relationship to William’s children. Jack’s full name is Jackson Overland Frost whereas William’s son is named Jackson Edward Joyce.
Social Media
This is where DreamWorks failed in advertising this film, you can’t even tell that the one on Twitter is the real one. Facebook was easy to find, but what doesn’t have a Facebook page? They just used DreamWorks’ normal YouTube for trailers when they could’ve made its own channel with bonus like behind-the-scenes; interviews; TV spots and film reels.
The film was originally based from the children’s book series, ‘The Guardians of the Children’, written and illustrated by William Joyce. His other works include ‘George Shrinks’ (remade to a Canadian TV show by PBS); ‘Santa Calls’; ‘A Day With Wilbur Robinson’ (remade into a film, ‘Meet the Robinsons’ by Disney). Joyce has even helped to make films like ‘Toy Story’ and ‘Robots’. The film only follows Jack’s experience to becoming a guardian, a restricted narrative.
When you first see pictures of Jack Frost, you may assume that he is a strong, strangely good-looking (even though it’s animation) character, but when watching the film we see his bad side, how he struggled when Pitch made the children stop believing in the guardians which made them fade away as the beliefs decreased. Part of the agreement with becoming a guardian was that “if enough kids stop believing, everything your friends protect – wonder, hopes and dreams, it all goes away. And, little by little, so do they.” This was just one of the things that scared Jack into believing he wasn’t cut out to become a guardian. There’s always the argument that the books are always better, I agree since you can imagine everything and your mind is unlimited to the imagination, a book gives you the colours and instructions but you hold the paintbrush to imagine how the story’s told in your own mind. Whereas with films, it’s all there on a screen for you, for the lazy dreamers. With films, you can see how the director purposely asked the writer of the book how they wanted it all to look, for the readers to see if what they had in mind from reading the books would be any similar to what played on the screen. Would it be portrayed the exact same or would they have to miss out bits of the story to have a shorter viewing time for those who got bored easily?

Celebrity Profiles, all-star film –
 (which just makes it even more surprising how it didn’t do so greatly in Box Offices).
Chris Pine as Jack Frost
6 wins & 16 nominations.
Actor (42 credits)| Soundtrack (2)| Writer (1) | Producer (1)
Known for: ‘Star Trek’, ROTG even refers back to Pine’s past with ‘Star Trek’ on Baldwin’s (Santa’s) line “walk with me” You may also recognise his face from ‘Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement’. I found rumours that Leonardo DiCaprio was originally called out for this role but pulled out during preproduction, personally I prefer Pine’s performance of Jack, I love DiCaprio’s works but the character just felt more suited to Pine’s voice, he brought the animation to life. Sure DiCaprio would’ve brought a bigger audience and I probably would’ve loved the film anyway, but it just wouldn’t have the same feelings that Pine brought along. Animators have stated that Jack was 18 in the film, yet Chris was 32 at the time but I think he nailed the voice of just-gone-through-puberty.
Hugh Jackman as Bunny
Born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia (his Australian accent is referred to in the film when Jack calls Bunny a Kangaroo “it’s the accent, isn’t it?”).
20 wins & 71 nominations.
Actor (53)| Soundtrack (16)| Producer (9)
Known for: ‘X-Men’; ‘Real Steel’; ‘Les Misérables’; ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’; ‘Pan’; ‘Prisoners’ and ‘Broadway 4D’. I love Jackman’s performance of Bunny, especially when the producers let him use his own Australian accent and then mention it in the script. I still find myself laughing at all his jokes when re-watching the film, you just never would’ve thought that no one could’ve played a better Easter kangaroo than Jackman.
Isla Fisher as Tooth
Actress (43)| Producer (no credits available) | Soundtrack (1).
4 wins & 10 nominations.
Known for: ‘Home and Away’(TV series, 1988); ‘Now You See Me’ (2013); ‘Rango’ (2011); ‘Wedding Crashes’ (2005); ‘The Great Gatsby’ (2013); ‘Horton Hears a Who’ (2008); ‘Scooby-Doo’ (2002); Oliver Twist (TV series, 1999). I knew Fisher from ‘Rango’ and I’ll admit at first when watching ROTG, I wasn’t so sure but that was mainly because she was making moves on Jack (the dreamy-but-he’s-animated guy). After I grew to terms with that, I grew to love her voice and see how well it suited the character of a tooth fairy, I may be repeating myself with how well the celebrity suited their character but it does seem that’s how well DreamWorks went to cast these celebrities.

Alec Baldwin as Santa/North
Actor (115)| Producer (15)| Soundtrack (4) and one Director Credit.
41 wins & 87 nominations.
Known for: ‘The Departed’ (2006); ‘Beetle Juice’ (1988); ’30 Rock’ (2006); ‘The Hunt for Red October’ (1990); ‘Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation’ (2015); ‘Madagascar 2, Escape to Africa’ (2008); ‘SpongeBob SquarePants movie (2004); Cats & Dogs (2001) Baldwin definitely succeeded with finally giving a voice to one of the well-known children’s tales, I always had this feeling when watching other Santas that you could hear the voice was put on, like they were only doing it to keep the brats happy although with Baldwin, you could actually hear the resemblance to him and the character of North (Santa).

Jude Law as Pitch

Actor (60), Soundtrack (4), Producer (2) and once a Director. 
16 Wins & 50 nominations. 

Known for: ‘Sherlock Holmes’ (2009); ‘Spy’ (2015); ‘Enemy at the Gates’ (2001); ‘Hugo’ (2011). Earlier, I found this article that claimed Pitch was the best villain DreamWorks had ever made, Law definitely brought chills to playing as Pitch. He may’ve even scared some of the children in the cinema. He was no Voldemort but he was definitely a thing of nightmares.

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