I just saw Rise of the Guardians a couple of hours ago. I knew I’d like it the moment I saw its trailer some months ago. It’s artful, digitally mastered and the hero, Jack Frost, was beautifully drawn. The kid in me was so happy that at some point in the movie I think I squealed like a five-year-old who was having her first crush. The fangirl awakens and there’s no stopping her now.
But putting the fangirl aside (even if she’s still excitedly squealing inside my head) the movie was really a great story magnificently told and shown in the most artistic way. Please take note that I didn’t use the word children in the phrase “great story”. Tell you honestly, there was not a single kid in the movie house I went in to see the movie. Most watchers were teens and young professionals who were to this day nurturing the little kids inside them. But don’t get me wrong, the story is really for kids but adults like me loved it. It’s a great movie to watch with your loved ones. I recommend it with two thumbs up.
So what is it about? Let me tell you why I love Rise of the Guardians and how this movie awakened the slumbering fangirl in me. [SPOILERS ahead!]
The storyline is basically about finding your center, your inner self that makes you unique and remarkably strong. It’s also about how your beliefs, memories and fears make you rise to certain occasions as a courageous hero, or in this case, a Guardian.
The movie started as our hero was rising up from the deep freezing river water. When he opened his eyes, he saw the moon and it told him his name, Jack Frost. He didn’t know why he was there or what was he to do but he was given a staff and a remarkable power that he used to spend time having fun all by himself and doing mischief to those who cannot see him.
Jack was particularly fond of children, taking them along to his exciting rides in the frosting pavements of parks and streets – making sure that the kid was having fun along with him. Sometimes he starts snowball fights among friends. However, each and every time, his presence was not recognized. For three hundred years, it was like that until he was summoned by the Guardians: North, Bunny, Tooth and Sandy.
Nicholas St. North is the new age Santa Claus. He is big and muscular compared to the traditional stout old man we all know. His grey hair was short but his grey beard and moustache were long making it seem that his hair was just as long. He has tattoos in both arms; one has naughty and the other nice and even with a new look North still has the same set of eyes – the big and kind crystal blue eyes that could see all the wonder there is in the world and humankind.
In his palace was a globe with twinkling lights that represent children around the world who believe about the guardians. While creating a train toy made out of ice, one of his yetis came and told him of a mysterious and troubling thing that was happening to the globe. When he came into the room where the globe was set, the twinkling lights suddenly went out, one by one and then a fearful shadow engulfed the globe, spreading black crystalline dusts. Before the premonition ends, a shadow of a man with evil profile appeared, causing North to sound the alarm and call upon the other guardians.
Toothiana or Tooth is the tooth fairy. She’s half-human, half humming bird and her palace is full of little tooth fairy humming birds working 24/7, collecting teeth under children’s pillows all around the world and in return giving them a quarter for each tooth collected. Tooth and her minions collect and guard children’s teeth because these hold the most cherished memories of children, which Tooth gives back when any of the kids face difficulties and has to be reminded of a happy time in their lives and help them move forward.
E. Aster Bunnymund or Bunny is the total opposite of what every little kid thought of the easter bunny. He is a giant rabbit with a belt across his chest and a boomerang in his hand. He has an Australian accent, the reason why Jack teases him and calls him kangaroo. He is proud and he believes that the season that he represents outweighs Christmas. “Easter comes after the cold winter and along with it is spring and new hope.” He bickers about that reasoning with North, making him look somewhat arrogant. But beneath Bunny’s brusque personality is an unequal kindness to kids and fellow guardians.
The Sandman or Sandy is a little golden fellow with dreamy kind eyes. He speaks no words but can articulate with the use of magical sand shapes popping above his head. His powers were incredible and he makes the kids safe during sleep, giving them wonderful dreams filled with happiness, courage and hope.
Upon the arrival of the three in North’s palace, the latter told them about the troubling premonition that happened to the globe and who was behind it – Pitch. He is nightmare personified. Pitch is like the guardians – a spirit, immortal and powerful. But unlike the guardians, Pitch is about darkness, cold and fear. He wishes to be acknowledged but not because of love or admiration. He wishes to rule and dictate.
During the meeting of North, Bunny, Tooth and Sandy, the moon came and spoke (well, according to North, it’s Manny – the man in the moon who spoke). Manny chose a new guardian. Bunny was flabbergasted but North accepted it right away. Being the positive thinker of the group, North believed there’s something about the new guardian that would help them defeat Pitch and his nightmares.
And so Bunny went to see Jack, had North’s Yetis bagged the silver haired lad and brought to winter palace. There they announced that Manny, the man in the moon, chose him to be a guardian. Jack could not believe it, how could the moon tell them and not him personally instead? He argued that nobody believes in him, Jack Frost. So how could he be a guardian?
North pulled Jack aside and talked to him, man to lad so to speak. He told the lad to find his center, his inner self that makes him unique. The moon knew something about him that makes him extraordinary – he only has to find it himself.
But Jack was hesitant, how could he be a guardian? How could he look forward to be someone when he could not even remember who he was? The answer to Jack’s question was in the hands of Tooth. So in exchange for his memories, Jack was to help the guardians defeat Pitch. But Pitch already attacked Tooth’s palace and had taken all the little tooth fairy humming birds, the children’s teeth and the precious memories in it.
And so the battle started, Pitch slowly ruined the guardians’ works. He started with Tooth. Without her minions to collect teeth, the children started to not believe of her existence. Next was Sandy. His dreams were turned into nightmares. Pitch duplicated his magical golden sand and turned them to crystalline black dusts turning all the children’s dreams to frightful nightmares. The little golden fellow defeated and blasted to oblivion. One by one Pitch reversed the guardians’ good deeds and slowly the kids started to disbelieve – a guardian’s most fearful nightmare.
Wanting so badly to remember who he was, Jack followed a voice calling unto him, forgetting about his promise to return to Bunny’s underground palace and help in the completion of the Easter Egg hunt and make the children continue on believing. Bunny was so angry that he blamed Jack.
Feeling so guilty and despondent, Jack went to the Arctic (I think). He was feeling sorry and lonely so Pitch came thinking that since the two of them were so similar – loners and unrecognized – it was best for them to join forces and fill the world with darkness. Jack refused. He may be a loner and unrecognized but he never wanted harm to befall on anyone especially the kids. Rejected, Pitch had his final say to the lad, in exchange for his hostage, Baby Tooth (a fairy humming bird), Jack has to surrender his staff and never interfere with his work. Jack surrendered and was pushed over to the cliff.
When all seemed lost and defeated, a small voice deep within always makes one spring back to life – to continue fighting. In this movie, the voice was in Jack’s memory hidden inside his old loose tooth. Upon touching the case, Jack was flooded with memories of his past – how fun he had always been and how loved he was. He had a mother, friends and a sister. His last memory was of his sister so scared to fall in the thin, frozen lake. He was so brave – he made it easier and fun for his sister to move out of harm’s way – even if the ultimate cost was his own safety… his own life!
“I was a saviour. I am a Guardian!” With that realisation, Jack took his broken staff, mended it with the power from within and flew to rescue his friends – Guardians and kids alike.
From then on everything was a miracle. One small voice from Jack’s past and a faithful voice in the present made his resolve even stronger. Even in the darkest of nights, a single light can make a difference. That’s Jamie – he was the only remaining light in the globe, the littlest speck in Pitch’s triumph. Jamie’s unwavering faith in the existence of the guardians, in believing that Jack exists and that acknowledging his nightmares were enough to empower Jack and the other guardians.
“I know who you are,” Jamie said to Pitch. “But I just don’t fear you anymore.” That brave statement made all the difference. Soon as Jamie and his friends stepped forward to protect the guardians from Pitch’s millions of minions, North, Tooth and Bunny found strength. And when Jamie touched the crystalline dust, it transformed back to the sparkling golden dust it used to be and then Sandy returned.
Rise of the Guardians is an amazing story of self discovery and learning one’s purpose to life. Being recognized is just a part of that discovery but it should not be the reason why you do what you ought to do. Your past, your memories, will give you strength but the courage to move forward is just within you. Your fears should not hinder you. Rather fear should be acknowledged and be a constant reminder that you are strong, unique and incredibly brave to move forward even when all is against the odds.