Rise of the Guardians
(G, general release, 97 minutes)
Based on a series of books by William Joyce, Rise of the Guardians pits Father Christmas and a group of supernatural allies against an insidious enemy.
The film's protagonist is Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine), an impish but rather lonely character who causes innocent mischief in the winter time but otherwise lacks purpose until he's buttonholed by the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) and spirited to the North Pole for an urgent conference with the Claus (Alec Baldwin). This Santa's a huge, burly, imposing fellow with a heavy Russian accent and 'naughty' and 'nice' tattoos on each forearm.
He, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) are Guardians of the world's children, appointed by the moon apparently, who says nothing but seems to be running the show.
Their work is now threatened by the rise of the Boogeyman (Jude Law), a bitter character who wants to destroy Christmas and Easter for good. So Santa asks Jack to join the fight.
Rise of the Guardians is splendidly animated and cleverly prevents the schmaltz from overwhelming its story by keeping the jokes coming thick and fast. The idea that Santa, Jack and co derive their power from the children who believe in them is a nice one, and kids under the age of 10 are likely to give this enjoyable film the thumbs up.