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Rise of the Guardians | 2012 | PG | - 1.3.2

Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine) is reluctant to join the squad of traditional guardians of children that include Santa (Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), the Sandman (does not speak) and the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher). However, he joins them temporarily to combat the fear-flinging bogeyman Pitch Black (Jude Law) and to learn about his past human life, with unexpected help from the children of the world. Also with the voice of Dakota Goyo. Directed by Peter Ramsey. [1:37]

SEX/NUDITY 1 - An elf kisses another elf on the cheek after a bogeyman is defeated and the second elf punches the first one throwing him off screen.
 A few baby female fairies buzz around Jack Frost and giggle, seeming to have a crush on him; the Tooth Fairy tells them to behave.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - The Sandman fights with a bogeyman and ends up disintegrated when his golden sand changes to black dust; both fighters throw up streams of either black or gold dust among sparks until the bogeyman is able to touch the Sandman with a black finger to change him to black sand. In two fight sequences between Jack Frost and the bogeyman, we see a screen full of alternating white light/lightning and black dust/sand clouds as both characters repeatedly fall down: both characters shout and scream and Jack kicks the bogeyman away (neither shows any injury when they get up) and one of these scenes finishes with a camera scan of a giant black and white pointy sculpture as the bogeyman says that Jack and he are both lonely and should join forces to give children only darkness and the cold. Several scenes feature one or more of the holiday characters fighting the bogeyman, swinging or throwing a weapon and missing him, but disintegrating several nightmares each time.
 A young man floats at the bottom of a cold pond at night, rising up slowly to break the ice on its surface; when he awakens he picks up a staff that glows and creates its own ice crystals on everything it touches and in a voiceover, he says he was scared until he saw the moon, and later he speaks to the moon several times without an answer. In a flashback, we see a young man floating in a cold pond and we hear that he had saved his sister from drowning while ice skating on thin ice (we see the little girl stumbling in ice skates as the ice cracks); the young man uses a staff to push her to a safe place, the ice breaks beneath him and he goes to the bottom of the pond.
 A bogeyman appears beside a child's bed at night and changes golden dreams above the child's head into a black cloud and later many children complain of nightmares.
 At the North Pole, tendrils of dusty black sand encapsulate a kid-tracking globe and swirl off to become nightmare horses; a bogeyman appears in shadows and then appears as a tall man dressed in black, with glowing pale eyes and he announces to assembled holiday characters that he is going to replace holidays and joy with fear, and then flies away with the nightmares. In several scenes, a large swarm of nightmares stampedes toward the audience and around the world. We see a large, evil-looking flying monkey doll hung in a corner of one bedroom.
 Children on Earth run through Jack Frost as if he is an invisible ghost and this makes him sad; later the kids run through the bogeyman in similar fashion, no longer fearing or recognizing him and he runs away, shouts and gets caught up in a stampede of nightmare horses (he is carried down a dark hole in the ground to a black cave).
 Santa goes down a chimney and the Easter Bunny sets the fireplace on fire by remote control, but Santa is unharmed. Several holiday characters slide down a rabbit hole to an underground cave where Easter Eggs hatch from flower blossoms; an elf falls into a pond of dye and becomes multicolored, but is unharmed while giant green eggs stand guard and later fight with a bogeyman and roll over him as he grimaces (we see no blood).
 Jack Frost hears a female voice repeatedly and follows it to a vacant well shaft: climbing down, he finds a dim corridor and a cave filled with cages of baby Tooth Fairies that were captured by a bogeyman, and Jack encounters the bogeyman and endures an argument as we see his grimacing face until the bogeyman says that he will return one baby fairy to Jack in exchange for breaking the magic shepherd's staff; the bogeyman keeps the fairy and breaks the staff, then throws Jack into a pit, tossing the baby fairy in after him (they are unhurt) where the fairy convinces Jack to repair his staff, which he does.
 We hear that a herd of nightmares broke all the Easter Eggs on Easter; three holiday characters argue about the disaster and one leaves in sadness, returns later to help stop the nightmares when the Easter Bunny shrinks and becomes a baby bunny until the nightmares are stopped (as a baby bunny, he puts up his fists to fight a bogeyman). A group of nightmares back Jack Frost and Santa into a dead-end alley with some children that say they are scared; Jack starts a snowball fight to make them laugh and a group of small boys and girls put their fists up to fight the bogeyman along with a bunny, the kids laugh and the bogeyman becomes frightened and begins to run as the Tooth Fairy punches the evil character in the mouth (he shouts, but we see no blood) and the Sandman appears and whips the bogeyman with long cords of golden sand.
 The Easter Bunny shouts in fear as he boards Santa's supercharged sleigh and they fly over the world. Santa crash-lands his sleigh; the reindeer stagger away in shock and Santa limps while he uses a sword for a cane (his limping is gone in the next scene). A child rides his sled down the main street of the town, avoiding cars and trucks; a truck loses its load of large furniture that slides by the boy, and the sled flies up a ramp to sail through the air before crashing in front of a statue -- the boy is unhurt, but a couch lands on top of him and when he stands, he sees that has lost a loose tooth.
 Santa and the Easter Bunny argue repeatedly about which holiday is more important. In several scenes, a Yeti paints dozens of toys or Easter Eggs and Santa walks by and tells him to change all the colors; each time, the Yeti pounds his head on a table once or shouts "What the..." and is unhurt.
 Holiday legends carry weapons to fight evil, especially a bogeyman and thousands of black nightmares (horses with long black manes and glowing yellow eyes): Santa carries two scimitars, Easter Bunny throws boomerangs, the Sandman makes whips of golden sand and Jack Frost carries a shepherd's staff that creates ice crystals and electricity; a bogeyman carries black sand to make nightmares (please see the Substance Use category for more details) and swings a large sickle without hitting anyone.
 Santa has black curlicue designs tattooed on his entire forearms, surrounding NAUGHTY on one arm and NICE on the other. Two wooden nesting dolls in Santa's office show his likeness growling and snarling in what he says is fearlessness. Many large hairy Yetis make toys in a workshop, speaking in mumbling sounds.
 Characters use brightly colored vortexes in the air and the ground to travel between points on Earth, the North Pole and the Easter Bunny's den. A tiny girl jumps into a vortex and appears at the North Pole, where holiday characters have weapons; when they see her, they quickly hide their weapons and smile.
 One elf kisses another elf on the cheek after a bogeyman is defeated and the second elf punches the first one throwing him off screen. A little girl falls down porch steps and is unhurt. A boy falls off a ladder, unhurt.
 The Tooth Fairy shows a young child a handful of five teeth with tiny red roots and says that the teeth have some blood and gums on them; the child looks horrified and runs away. A child sleeps with his mouth open to show five missing teeth in front. We see hundreds of teeth as holiday characters join forces to collect teeth from pillows and leave coins or other presents in place of the teeth. An elf eats a dog biscuit.
 Several scenes include children crying a little as they stop believing in Santa and other holiday characters and some children become somewhat angry and refuse to come out of their rooms or play; we see a globe full of lights representing children who believe as it darkens, extinguishing to one light as a bogeyman dances on top of it and laughs, and one character says the lights are going out because of fear. Legendary characters set lighted candles around a plaque depicting the Sandman inlaid into the floor as a memoriam and we see a Yeti cry.
 A few scenes show joyful snowball fights in which children knock one another down unharmed with snowballs and ice balls.


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LANGUAGE 2 - 4 very mild obscenities (crikey, rack off, Shostakovich), 3 anatomical references (Santa says he feels ideas in his belly and pats it, three times), name-calling (irresponsible, selfish, clown, kangaroo, ankle biters, Peter Cottontail, bloody show pony, weirdos, stupid, slowpokes, dummy), stereotypical references to children, heroes, holidays, loners, fears, bullies, the bogeyman, "Rack off" is used by an Australian rabbit character and sounds like it means, "Shut up and go away" in context, Russian composers' names were used as expletives by Santa.


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SUBSTANCE USE - The Sandman uses golden sand to put children to sleep to dream of joyful things, the Sandman doses a group of holiday legends with sand and they fall asleep in a child's bedroom, the Sandman forms golden whips of the sand to defend children against evil, the bogeyman uses black sand to bring children exaggerated nightmares, and Jack Frost tosses ice crystals onto kids' faces to bring joy to their expressions.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Childhood legends and holidays, beliefs, good vs. evil, nightmares, teamwork, loyalty, courage, altruism, friendship, intuition, disappointment, making amends, victory over fear, finding one's purpose in life.

MESSAGE - One child can save the world with his continued belief.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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