This holiday season presents many a fine movie for family entertainment, but one of the most popular so far is The Rise of The Guardians in 3D.

A cinematic achievement of the filmmaker’s art, no doubt, but I had issues with this film that I’ll go into in a bit.  The three-dimensional effects, with the glasses were astounding, heart-warming, scary and emotionally delightful.  Most assuredly, 3D has made  incredible progress in bringing the quality of this amazing art form to us.   Simple things like snowflakes seem to linger in space, right in front of us, not on the screen, but in the cinema chamber.  One feels so close as to reach out and feel the chill of its icy arms.

The story’s a good one, full of depth, love, warmth and affection.  But in contrast, it also presents incredible fear, loathing, hatred and anxiety, which are some of the bits I wasn’t too happy with.   Starting with the Russian, tattooed Santa, the Australian Easter Bunny with a real attitude problem and mysterious creatures heretofore never seen or heard of in any Christmas tale, Rise of The Guardians isn’t really for small children.

While the visual effects and some parts of the story are wonderful for them, I don’t think they’ll understand the implications of Yetis as Santa’s helpers or conical, comical elves, compared to those they’ve seen in television shows.  Perhaps I’m spoiled by growing up watching Rankin-Bass shows like Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer,  but I don’t know how any parent is going to explain the idea of Santa having “Naughty” and “Nice” tattooed on his arms, or using swords.   Santa using weapons? In battle? Really?

Does every movie today need to have some titanic battle of good versus evil? Can’t we just have a wonderful story of nice things for Christmas and Chanukah season?  I suppose this is too much to ask.

The story of Jack Frost is endearing, and his love of children is brought to life not only visually through the magic of 3-D, but in this heart-wrenching tale.  Yes, I left the theatre with a tear in my cynical old eye.

The depiction of “The Boogey Man” was, to say the least, frightening to children, and I heard three little girls scream in fear in the row behind me when he loomed upon the Guardians.  So, parents… be prepared to see this movie and take your children to the nearest therapist.  No amount of buttered popcorn is going to massage their psyches after that blunt-force attack.

Still, for children seven and up, it’s a fine film with many, wonderful qualities.

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