Average User Score: 7.3Dec 25, 2012Rise of the Guardians has a lovely concept about these imaginary childhood legends. It tells a fascinating new mythology about them. It setsRise of the Guardians has a lovely concept about these imaginary childhood legends. It tells a fascinating new mythology about them. It sets out to be highly imaginative and thoroughly heartfelt. With these people making this film, there is no surprise that they succeeded to execute those ambitions. Though, the storytelling is a bit messy with endless action set pieces. Despite of those flaws, it's still whimsically magical and heartwarming.
The story centers a childhood guardian, Jack Frost. Among the guardians, he's the least known and believed by the children. It's pretty interesting since most of us only know very little about him, we intend to intrigue about his story. When it goes to the famous legends, it gets bigger and quicker with plenty of humor. The film is also an action movie. The action scenes are amazingly done and eye candy, but they somehow get excessive causing a bit mess to the storyline. It's charming when they go to their relationship with the children, and it's appealing when it explores to their worlds.
The characters are wonderful enough. The voice performances are great. Chris Pine's performance is charming enough to keep Jack Frost pretty endearing. Alec Baldwin brings plenty of joy to his character. Hugh Jackman uses his Australian accent to the Easter Bunny which really fits to the character. The rest are unexpectedly delightful.
The visuals are undeniably astonishing. Every scene of the film is spectacular and beautiful to look at, making the experience very magical. The 3D enhances the experience more or less. The character designs are inspired. I bet many would love the Sandman's that looks so lovable. And the music score adds sweetness to the sequences.
Rise of the Guardians is a little bit disappointing but also a bit satisfying. It has the heart in a right amount but only the half of the film. The rest is all action and having fun, but it's not a bad thing. They just could have moderated the craziness and get a bit of focus to the storyline. The film is still worth watching. It can be a classic if it has a better storytelling but if you don't care then that won't be a problem. Overall, it's filled with excitement and beautiful animation. Rise of the Guardians can be considered one of the great films of the year.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.1Dec 16, 2012An unexpected disappointment. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson's return to the world of JRR Tolkien. It's a line that clearlyAn unexpected disappointment. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson's return to the world of JRR Tolkien. It's a line that clearly outlines Jackson and his co-writers' intentions, yet it comes off as a veiled apology, as if the film-making team knew that what they have created is going to be problematic for die-hard Middle Earth fans. Sadly, Jackson's new film doesn't come close to silencing the skeptics like his Lord of the Rings films did, and is actually more ill-conceived than expected.
Things that do work well for the most part in The Hobbit are sequences that come directly from the source novel. Iconic scenes, such as the arrival of the dwarfs at Bag End or the encounter with the trolls are handled pretty well, despite being padded out to unnecessary lengths with lame gags and pointless alteration of the original events in the book. Juggling such a massive primary cast is obviously a challenge, and as such the film's best moments involve only one or two characters, with Bilbo's (Martin Freeman) meeting of Gollum (Andy Serkis) and the finding of the ring being a particular stand-out sequence, the only one that seemed like it could have used more time.
However, all of the good work that Jackson & Co do with the direct source material is swamped by the content they felt they had to develop themselves. The great achievement of the LOTR films is how they managed to distill the huge source novels to their most important story beats, only hinting at most of the wider story in a way that brought incredible richness to the world in which they take place. With The Hobbit though, Jackson only has a 300 page novel to start with, and the decision to make three lengthy films, I assume to parallel the first trilogy, is precisely why this first film doesn't work.
The Hobbit should be allowed to stand alone as its own film, but it is structured in such a way, almost identically to the first LOTR entry The Fellowship of the Ring, that it's all but impossible not to compare them. As a side-effect, the much lighter tone will be jarring for a lot of established franchise fans, the very people the film seems to be primarily aimed at. The chase sequence in the goblin tunnels for example is little more than an updated version of the Moria scenes from LOTR. It's exciting enough, but much of the action feels in service of the film- making technology on display rather than the story, and as such none of the stakes of the earlier films are built here.
Where the LOTR films had to keep moving at such a pace to fit everything in, The Hobbit dwells on unnecessary moments which had only the briefest of mentions in the novel to reach its 2 hour 49 minute runtime. Most damaging are the call backs linking the previous trilogy, setting up what is likely to be an almost completely new story bridge between the two trilogies in the third film due in 2014. There is absolutely no reason for Frodo (Elijah Wood), Saruman (Christopher Lee), and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) to appear in this story, yet here they are, taking us away from a perfectly good narrative about a quest to fight a dragon. It reeks of cynical franchise care, and arguably disrespectful to the carefully crafted world that Tolkien created.
There's a good movie somewhere in The Hobbit, and had Jackson shown more restraint we might have seen it. The film could easily lose at least 45 minutes, but it feels as if director feels so beholden to his previous work that he needs to deliver an epic on the scale of LOTR. But that's not what this book is, and we're left with an uneasy balance - the lighter tone to distinguish this as a separate story but a strict adherence to the LOTR structure - but ultimately doesn't fulfill either side.… Expand