Friday, December 28, 2012

No, mate. That's adorable.

If the holidays are a time of family and traditions, I thought it was about time I started my own family tradition. Surprising no one, I decided that we should go to the movies on Christmas Day. Every year. It'll be our thing. My wife countered, Well, us and all the Jewish people. Fine. Whatever.
As we merrily drove to the mall, it was interesting to see how few people were out. All the parking lots, normally full of meandering, elderly shoppers, were completely empty. As we looked out the windows...

My son was thinking, I wish I was home playing with my Skylanders and new Lego sets.

My wife was thinking, I can't believe we're doing this. I need to bake an apple pie for tonight.

And I was thinking, Whoa. Today would the perfect day to shoot a zombie movie. There's no one in front of that Chili's.

Proving Christmas miracles actually exist, we made it to Rise of the Guardians on time. In my head, the theater was going to be chock full of families (all led by wise, flannel-wearing, barrel-chested, like me) so we needed to be there early. Turns out, not so much, A trio of old people and a large family (not in number, but size) were the only others to venture outdoors on Christmas afternoon. Well, let's not forget the poor bastards working the theater.

Anyway, despite not really getting much fanfare this holiday season, Rise is a very entertaining film that I wholeheartedly recommend. This flick takes all of your childhood heroes, some more obscure than others, and throws them together against an evil force threatening the whole world. Basically, this is The Expendables for six-year olds.

As with most holiday films, the core of this one is believing. The big four (Santa, Tooth Fairy, Sandman and the Easter Bunny) don't have any problems in that department, but the new guy, Jack Frost, does. He has been selected to join the ranks, but hesitates as he finds the whole Guardian thing rather pointless. But then things take a nasty turn, as children begin losing faith rapidly. Seems the Boogeyman, Pitch Black, is back on the scene and is dead set on scaring little kids so much that they stop believing in anything but fear. Pitch eventually interferes with the Tooth Fairy's affairs, leaving kids all over the world waking up, finding their teeth where they left them and thinking f--- this noise. And with that, our man Jack has gone from indifferent prankster, to firmly-believing ass kicker.

Much like our spider-infested Christmas tree, holiday movies are no longer welcome around these parts. Let's shimmy down the chimney one last time, with those tinsel covered goofballs, the Yays and Boos.

Everybody loves the sleigh.
  • No surprise in modern animation, but the cast is stellar. Alec Baldwin loses himself in the dagger-wielding awesomeness of North, aka Santa. Hugh Jackman rules, too, as the Easter Bunny.
  • Pitch Black is a scary dude. Nightmares are equal parts beautiful and terrifying. 
  • Okay, I only wish that I had the chance to grow up thinking that frickin' yetis made the toys, instead of lame elves. So much cooler.
  • Now I know whom to thank for snow days. I used to go with the weatherman, that jerk.
  • The little touches. Flowers in cement? Brilliant. European division of the Tooth Fairy? Even better.
  • The Sandman. I hated his mute-ass in the previews, but he turns out to be a very charming guy.
  • Dingle. Even though I want to type it over and over, I'll just do it once.
  • There's a scene where everybody pitches in to help the Tooth Fairy collect teeth around the world and it's soooo great. If you don't smile at least once during this, I hope someone punches you in the mouth.
  • And finally, what a wonderful story this is. Everything is tied together so well and is so inspired and clever - I was shocked. Well done, Dreamworks.
Trust me, these guys rule.
  • Guys, we all gotta start believing in the Easter Bunny again. What happens to him when we don't? It's unfortunately cute. If those two words have ever been used together...
  • Whoa, whoa, whoa. Sure, this is a holiday movie, but it ain't Christmastime. What the??
  • Speaking of, what kind of heartless prick could smash thousands of Easter eggs? 
  • Sure it was cool, but I'm not sure what message it sends when the Tooth Fairy punches a guy in the mouth and of course, knocks his tooth out. Isn't that like, insider trading or something?
  • My son very loudly lost interest in this movie as soon as he was finished with his popcorn. Dad, I want to go play with my Skylanders. Made me feel all warm and tingly inside. With rage.
  • And finally, Dreamworks. This movie is going to bomb financially but it doesn't deserve to. Somebody dropped the ball in the ol' marketing department. Big time.
Rise of the Guardians was the perfect movie to start my holiday tradition of going to the movies on Christmas day. Both were good ideas that were well-executed. But both also failed to please on a grand scale. Oh well. No matter what happened, there was no way my whole family was going to the movies again.

I mean, it's just plain rude to bring a baby.


  1. Good review M. It's a nice movie to take your kids to, but that's just about it. Other than that, it's pretty forgettable and feels like they dropped the ball on actually making a memorable movies with all of your favorite heroes.

    1. Nooo!

      I don't think so, Dan. I felt it was a pretty solid beginning of a series of films (that most likely will never happen), but obviously, the rest of the world sides with you.

      Personally, I thought it was a very touching story that had a lot more heart than I originally expected. But, it was Christmas day - so my judgement could have been a little suspect...

    2. I kinda agree with Dan. I enjoyed it and absolutely loved the idea behind it, but I just felt that final emotional impact wasn't strong enough. It was there, but not as much I would have liked to. But then again, I don't celebrate Christmas - so my judgement could have been a little suspect... or the Boogeyman has been influencing me!

    3. You two have no heart! Jack's backstory had no impact on either of you? C'mon now!

      Scrooges. The both of you.

  2. This doesn't sound at all like my cup of tea, but I'm sure my 8-year-old will want me to watch it with her at some point. *Sigh* Though I've gotta admit -- yetis instead of elves? Pretty cool.

    1. I don't know if the whimsy will fly with an 8 year old, but it definitely has a few things going for it. Some which aren't yeti-related, even.

  3. So, will we be treated to a Two Dollar Cinema top ten movies of 2012 post? (I do love a good countdown!)

  4. I really need to get a kid. I've seen only two animated movies this year - Brave and Frankenweenie - If I had a kid at least I wouldn't be so uninformed when it comes to that genre :D

    And Jackman as Easter Bunny sounds disturbingly interesting :D

    It was always weird to me how Christmas elves are so lame and Tolkien's elves so cool - I mean they travel in style, after all.

  5. Yeah, one of the fringe benefits of fatherhood, is the glut of animation I'm subjected to. Well, willingly subject myself to.

    From the other two up there, clearly I'm in the minority, but this flick had it's high points for me...elves being one them.

    These guys aren't handsome, elk riding albinos. Their just short, mute dudes prone to violence.