Joyce is an author, illustrator, and filmmaker. A quick look at his Wikipedia page will have you wowing all over your keyboard. He is the mind behind Rolie Polie Olie and Meet the Robinsons (both the animated versions and the respective stories that they were based upon), and he provided concept art for Pixar’s Toy Story and A Bug’s Life.
His latest contribution to the world of childhood and the people that love it is the new DreamWorks Animation 3D film Rise of the Guardians, which is based on a book series and a short film, also created by Joyce.
My family and I attended a screening of Rise of the Guardians early last week, and I will admit that I was somewhat reluctant. You see, I have an issue with holiday movies that I will expand upon in a later post, but the gist of it is that Christmas films for families often do more damage than good in terms of establishing the legitimacy of Santa Claus, and I often find myself coughing loudly through DVD viewings of our favorites in a weak attempt to block the sounds of innocence being tinged with doubt.
Rise of the Guardians, where the Guardians in question are some of the biggest names in childhood legends, dreams, and wonder, dances close to the line on that account, but it manages to do so without actually crossing it, and while characters in the film may lose their faith it is never implied that the audience might feel likewise.
Speaking of the characters, the cast is about as star-studded as it gets. Rise of the Guardians is directed by Peter Ramsey and produced by Joyce and Guillermo del Toro. It features the voice talents of Chris Pine (Jack Frost), Alec Baldwin (Santa Claus), Hugh Jackman (Easter Bunny), Isla Fisher (Tooth Fairy), and Jude Law (Bogeyman).
The story centers on Jack Frost, recently appointed to the Guardians (Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and the silent Sandman) by the mysterious Man in the Moon, and his attempt to find himself while saving the world from the terror of nightmares and darkness unleashed by the Bogeyman aka Pitch Black.
It gets a little scary, but good quickly overcomes every turn of evil, and without giving too much away, there will be a Christmas this year. Also, Easter.
The relationship between the Guardians, and the new twists on their traditional personas—particularly Baldwin and Jackman’s take on Santa and the Easter Bunny, respectively, provides a roller coaster of laughs and excitement that had my family (yes, all of us) cheering for the entire wild ride.
“I believe in all five of the Guardians,” said my 6-year-old the second the movie ended, and then he proceeded to explain the dynamics required to replace teeth with currency, and hide eggs in places you would never expect them.
“Besides,” he said, “who else would give kids so many presents?”
William Joyce comes to mind.
Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).