Rise of the Guardians is a half-hearted attempt to innovate the holiday-themed film territory, wasting away any originality it may have had. Who doesn’t want Santa and the Easter Bunny joining the Avengers team? For the most part, that’s what you get – plenty of fast-paced fight scenes. It’s the narrative that takes the back seat in Santa’s sleigh. The story just isn’t that interesting.
While slyly poking fun at 80’s slasher films, ParaNorman really capitalizes on the recent zombie craze. There’s a clever duality of cute and disgusting themes constantly running, which works surprisingly well in a childrens film. But somewhere in the middle the film loses its way, choosing to ditch it’s Sixth Sense inspirations, and opting to mirror the plot after The Grudge. A poor choice, in that the film loses its charming creepiness and instead gets full-on frightening and annoying. The sum is a muddied anti-bullying campaign. An increasingly alarming problem in today’s society, but weak execution here results in a message that completely flew by unnoticed. My son does want those zombie slippers and toothbrush though.
Unexpected Journey is the first of three films chronicling the adventures of Bilbo Baggins. Peter Jackson intends to bring every bit of Tolkien’s novel to life in his movie trilogy. It’s very faithful, it’s extremely long winded. This segment in Tolkien’s fantasy-adventure leads Bilbo to encounter a trio of trolls, giant wolves, a goblin king and a chance encounter with the creature Gollum (and his “precious”).