With The Nightmare Before Christmas, Disney succeeded in extending the holiday film season from the beginning of November to the end of the year. Now, DreamWorks has upped the ante with Rise of the Guardians, a CG animated, 3D fantasy that not only has a burly, Slavic Santa (Alec Baldwin) heading up a team of dedicated fantasy icons charged with protecting the innocence and wonder of children, but also extends the market into spring by adding the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) to the corps, and then covers the gaps with Jack Frost (Chris Pine), the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), and a mute, but adorable, Sandman.
The film has an impressive pedigree, with Guillermo del Toro as producer and a scenario loosely based on William Joyce's Guardians of Childhood chapter books. To discover how loosely, we invited beabetterbooktalker.com's Andrea Lipinski to give us background on the movie's literary roots, and to join Cinefantastique Online's Steve Biodrowski and I in determining if Rise rises (see what we did there?) to its self-imposed mission as champion of all that's wonderful in genre film.
Then: Steve delivers his capsule review of the the-Commies-are-coming, domestic warfare fantasy Red Dawn; plus, what's coming to theaters next week.