Nora: Rise of the Guardians
What it is: A 2012 Dreamworks offering that I, for one, completely missed. Basically, all our favorite holiday characters (Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth Fairy (Ilsa Fisher), and more) are “guardians of wonder” who hide eggs, collect teeth and make toys all to keep a sense of wonder in the children of the world, watched over by the Man in the Moon.
Enter the Boogieman, “Pitch,” who is all angsty that nobody believes in him, and wants to make sure nobody believes in any of the others, either. The Man in the Moon sends Jack Frost (Chris Pine), a new guardian, to help out. Jack is a bit problematic because he’s a bit rambunctious and is also angsty about nobody believing in him. So Pitch tries to ruin all the Easter Egg Hunts and waylay the Tooth Fairy’s tooth collectors, while the guardians try to stop him and Jack finds himself.
My mother taught us from the get-go that the tooth fairy was VERY forgetful, so this would never have worked on ME.
Why you should watch it: Full disclosure, I was recovering from a bit of food poisoning, didn’t have an HDMI chord, and everything else on TV was in Arabic, besides Company of Heroes. As an invalid I couldn’t handle anything heavy, and as long as I was able to look past the super sappy parts and the weird sexual tension between Jack Frost and the Tooth Fairy, this was just the ticket.
The plot is tenuous at best, but it’s not an issue with Guillermo del Toro involved with the concept work. The guardians have distinct nationalities and personalities (‘St. Nick’ has sleeve tattoos and Alec Baldwins best Russian accent), and by far my favorite character is the Sandman, who never speaks but makes glowing, live sculpture out of floating sand. Turns out all the guardians were experiencing some career dissatisfaction because they were too busy guardian-ing to hang out with the kids. This is resolved through a really cute egg-dyeing scene (though nothing beats Disney on that front) and snowballs that make even the town bully laugh and start to dream about unicorns. Other great details include flying frost rabbits, giant egg-shaped totem stones and St. Nick’s yeti army. If you need some silly animated hijinks voiced by a slew of fun folk to get you through some trouble or another, this is the one.