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Reckless Guardians: The Rise and Fall of Cinematic Responsibility…

I actually quite enjoyed The Rise of the Guardians. It is probably the most visually assured animation from Dreamworks to date, the cast are all having a great time and the plot is simple but effective. However, I just didn’t wind up feeling an emotional connection to the central character, Jack Frost. Jack is an embodiment of an abstract concept – a “guardian” appointed by “the Man in the Moon” (or “Manny” to his friends). The bulk of Rise of the Guardians is about Jack learning to embrace his new position and everything that comes with it – to swallow his insecurity and to accept that he has been chosen to do a kick-ass job.

Still, it remains quite difficult to connect with Jack Frost, and I wonder if it’s the same problem that made Pixar’s much-maligned Cars 2 so difficult to swallow. Rather than learning to temper his unreliable inconsistency, the movie asks an irresponsible character to effectively embrace the flaw completely.

Note: This article contains a few spoilers for Rise of the Guardians.

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Non-Review Review: Cars 2

Cars 2 is a Pixar film that runs on an engine, rather than on heart. Technically, it’s magnificent. It’s well put together, features a winning cast, a lot of quite wonderful jokes and absolutely stunning action movies. However, the movie fails to make even the most basic of emotional connections. We’re always watching a bunch of cool cars doing cool car stuff, but we never feel good or bad about it. Even when a handful of cars meet tragic ends over the course of the movie, we never feel bad about it – we don’t really care about them, so we’re never concerned at the dangers they face. It’s a shame, because it’s a stunningly beautiful piece of animation, it’s just missing that wonderful soul that Pixar seems to install with its movies as standard.

Lightning, cameras, action!

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