Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the Guardians would make a fine family double-feature with Life of Pi if you were keen on your kids being spooned giant heaps of anti-rationalist bullshit: it doesn’t matter what’s real, what’s true, or what makes sense, what matters is what you believe, or better yet, what you prefer. Pi, at least, has a coherent (if somewhat odious) philosophy; Guardians, a drab, video-gamey CG adventure in which Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, the Easter Bunny, and a weird manchild version of Jack Frost battle for the souls of kids seized by an epidemic of reasonableness, is just making shit up.

For some reason the film is obsessed with the notion of whether the children of the world continue to believe in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, etc. (all of whom clearly exist, so who cares?), or whether they let “wonder” get replaced with “fear” of a nightmare-dwelling baddie named Pitch Black. It’s a dumb, blandly sloganeering love letter to blind faith and willful denial, refusing to acknowledge that fear is a healthy part of growing up, or that facing up to real-life challenges isn’t simply a matter of stamping one’s feet and insisting that one (a) doesn’t believe in them; or (b) isn’t afraid of them. Cloying celebrity voices and hyperactive, whiz-bang action will keep the youngest kids engaged, but in the age of Pixar and Wreck-It Ralph, do we really need movies like this?

-- Eugene Novikov

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Screening Log

Snitch

Ric Roman Waugh, 2013

Score: C

Side Effects

Steven Soderbergh, 2013

Score: C+

10 Years

Jamie Linden, 2012

Score: B-

The Place Beyond the Pines

Derek Cianfrance, 2013

Score: B+

Warm Bodies

Jonathan Levine, 2013

Score: C

Beautiful Creatures

Richard LaGravanese, 2013

Score: B-

The Window

Ted Tetzlaff, 1949

Score: B+

The Chase

Arthur Ripley, 1946

Score: B

Street of Chance

Jack Hively, 1942

Score: C

The Taste of Money

Im Sang-Soo, 2013

Score: C+

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