Wonder Woman 1984

Vampire Owl: It has been too long since we wanted to watch Wonder Woman.

Vampire Bat: I thought that we wanted to watch Black Widow more.

Vampire Owl: Yes, that too, but this is a sequel, and we will end up forgetting the first film.

Vampire Bat: Well, it is like we have almost completely forgotten Avengers too.

Vampire Owl: Nobody forgets the Avengers.

Vampire Bat: Everybody forgets everyone, not just Avengers. It is only a matter of time.

Vampire Owl: Vampires have their memories towards eternity.

Vampire Bat: Not at all vampires. There are levels.

Vampire Owl: Levels like in Super Mario?

Vampire Bat: Not exactly. But existence for a long period of time matters.

[Gets some french fries and three cups of grape juice].

What is the movie about? :: In 1984, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) works at the Smithsonian Group in Washington DC, and in a flashback, we see that when she was little, she had taken a shortcut to win a tournament among the Amazons. There, Antiope (Robin Wright), the general of the Amazon Army had told her there are no shortcuts, and everything has to achieved with honesty, and her mother, Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), the queen of Themyscira had agreed on the same. Even though Diana is doing the usual kind of job in the 1980s, she is also going through the superhero stuff. In the same city, Barbara Minverva (Kristen Wiig) lives, and as a new recruit to The Smithsonian, meets Diana. Barbara is not popular at all, and she feels that nobody likes her. People usually walk around her as if she doesn’t exist, and she is highly disappointed about that kind of treatment with even her name being forgotten.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Barbara becomes friends with Diana very soon, and they notice one item, a stone that contains a Latin inscription which claimed to grant the holder one wish. Barbara wishes that she becomes as good as Diana in all ways, while Diana wishes that Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) comes back to her. They see both wishes being fulfilled very soon, as Barbara finds herself stronger and sharper, as well as liked by everyone around her – she finds out that even her body structure has undergone some change, and she is no longer the clumsy person she used to be, along with finding herself able to lift heavy objects. At the same time, Steve has returned as his soul has possessed another man (Kristoffer Polaha) whose original form can be seen in the mirror reflections. The confusion of entering a new world is with Steve, but with Maxwell Lorenzano (Pedro Pascal) trying to get that stone, it will be the least of their problems.

The defence of Wonder Woman 1984 :: We do feel that the original essence of Wonder Woman is maintained up to an extent, even though it is indeed faded when do a comparison with the previous film. There are some fine action sequences, even though we should have had more grandeur. The best fight is the one in the White House, and showing the helplessness of superheroes making connection with the audience works most of the time. It manages to keep its level high enough among the other DC movies if we make more comparisons with more. The characters in the film are nicely linked with the tale’s progress, and how it finally sets things well for a possible sequel later. There is the message that goes against selfish motive, and going for your desire without thinking about others – against those people who are completely into their ambitions as if people around them do not matter. The setting of 1980s also work really well, and there is a lot of background here that works nicely.

The claws of flaw :: A movie on Wonder Woman can always be better, and there is no doubt about it, for we know what happened in the first film. There could have been more fight scenes around here, and the action could have been bigger. The last fight with the two characters in strange costumes makes things rather weird instead of making everything better in quality. Cheetah should have been a case of terror much earlier as the only character worthy of giving a fight, and should have really had a costume to go with the villainy. The fun that superhero movies usually have, and the dark side that the DC films have had, are not here to make the impact on both sides. The film only gets more and more predictable in its run, and its more and more so by the end. There are moments when CGI doesn’t look that good, especially when the protagonist in the air. There are moments when the movie also feels stretched, and this time even the cameo between credits feel unnecessary.

Performers of the soul :: Gal Gadot, as we always know does remain the strength of the movie, even though there is the feeling of tiredness here in comparison to original Wonder Woman and Justice League. She manages this role very well, as we would expect her too, and the feeling that Wonder Woman brings is different from Marvel’s Captain Marvel – a feeling which is not always easy to manage, but is done really well here. Among these lady superheroes, the gap between Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel is rather too high, with latter as a character is not the person we love. Kristen Wiig does make a pretty good villain character as she handles the spirit, but not much of a Cheetah that we had expected, despite the first half of the movie had her nicely set, even though in a predictable manner. Pedro Pascal does well as the villain who causes the big trouble. Chris Pine returns, but despite everyone having needed the same, this is short-lived.

How it finishes :: This version of Wonder Woman doesn’t match up to the original, and that point is made clear very early into the movie itself. Well, we are sure that it is not possible to match the skill of Marvel here, but we did expect an exception in this case, which didn’t happen though. There was the chance of making some great action sequences here, but they are limited, and Cheetah itself could have been further grand. When we consider the grand scheme about the last movie, this one surely trails behind. But with the entertainment that the movie provides, it is always nice to have another superhero during these times of trouble. The film also has its moments, and we get this on Amazon Prime Video at a time when we are in lockdown. During these times of COVID-19, stay at home, and thus stay safe. After all, entertainment keeps more people at home than anything else. At the same time, let us hope for a better tomorrow.

Release date: 16th December 2020 (United Kingdom), 25th December 2020 (United States), 15th May 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 151 minutes
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig, Chris Pine, Pedro Pascal, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Hollywood review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Wonder Woman

Vampire Owl: I see that humans have come up with another one with superpowers. They are never short of heroes who don’t exist.

Vampire Bat: The superheroes have also grown up with their civilizations along with the myths.

Vampire Owl: I do wonder how they manage to remember the names of this many superheroes. Maybe they have a list.

Vampire Bat: Well, there are the very famous ones, and then there are those which come in the next level of popularity. They remember only those whom they want to.

Vampire Owl: I had once known only Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and He-Man.

Vampire Bat: And there was also The Phantom and Mandrake, plus we knew some X-Men beginning with the Wolverine.

Vampire Owl: The rest certainly came late except for those who had regular access to DC and Marvel Comics.

Vampire Bat: And we are having a lot extra of the same now; remember there was even Doctor Strange who seemed like Mandrake to us.

Vampire Owl: DC and Marvel should be in a battle for more.

Vampire Bat: I am actually tired counting these superheroes, but there are some who needs more attention due to the variety.

[Gets the tickets with masala tea and cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Diana Prince a.k.a. the Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) receives an old photograph from Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman (Ben Affleck) after the events in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice which seemingly lead to the death of Superman (Henry Cavill) in the hands of the monster known as Doomsday. This image open a flashback to when Diana was a child and was training with the Amazons in the island of Themyscira, a place hidden from the outside world. Looked after carefully by her mother Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright), she has a fascination to fighting, which they reluctantly agrees to have her go through. With a fear of war always in their heads, the Amazons are always ready for battle, with their combat training, in which Diana excels. But they know, and keep telling her that there is more to her than what meets the eye, and they understand that she is not really one of them by birth.

So, what happens next? :: Diana rescues a pilot named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) after his plane manages to get through the fog and enter the coast of Themyscira. The Amazons kill the German soldiers chasing him with their arrows, but Antiope dies protecting Diana. It is revealed that Steve has been working as a spy for the Allies during World War I and has stolen valuable information from a weapons facility in the Ottoman Empire. With the help of the Turks, the German General Erich Ludendorff (Danny Huston) is having his sadistic scientist Doctor Maru a.k.a. Doctor Poison (Elena Anaya) produce a new kind of gas which could deviate the war in their direction. Learning that millions could die if the German general has his way, Diana decides to leave the island with Steve and her weapons. She intends to find the God of War, Ares, and stop this war to end all wars. Despite their doubts, the Amazons decide not to stop her.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Their arrival at the city of London has Diana in doubts, but she goes along with his plans hoping to find the God of War and finish him off to save humanity. Despite providing the officials with his information, Steve is told to hold off any act against the Germans as an armstice is being discussed. But knowing that General Erich Ludendorff will not hold off his plan to release the gas, Steve decides to the frontlines, arranging a small team including a spy and language expert, Sameer (Said Taghmaoui), expert sniper Charlie (Ewen Bremner), and a smuggler Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) who helps them to get to the front. With no hope of getting through the lines, Diana decides that she has to take this to the next level. But how far can she go in search of the God of War, and how far will it lead her team of five through the First World War?

The defence of Wonder Woman :: There are many names which have come in favour of being the Wonder Woman, but Gal Gadot surely steals the show this one. Known the most for her work in the Fast and Furious series, that is surely going to change now, if it hadn’t with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. If you don’t watch this movie or ban it because she is in there, it is your loss – we have heard about people boycotting movies over the beliefs of one person, as they cruelly did with Ender’s Game, and also the nationality or other work is no reflection of the movie that he or she acts in – the irritating fans could be a better reason. She is brilliant in this one, with so many shades of a superhero being present here. Chris Pine also brings a fine, controlled performance here, even though he will always be remembered for Star Trek and its sequels more than any other. There is also that wonderful world in 3D, especially that of the Amazons, and we also have the explosions with all the shooting and all the rest that goes on in a superhero movie.

Positives and negatives :: The movie has some of the most memorable battle scenes, first one with the Amazon warriors battling the Germans on the beach and the second one with Wonder Woman making her way through the No Man’s Land. The final battle is not that much, with too much darkness on the screen at times, and at other times having too many explosions – the idea of the God of War could have also been left as it was expected to be, as we know humans and the evil that they bring to their world. I wouldn’t depend that much on the villains either, and even that twist feels rather unwanted – humans could have been left their right to be the villains in their own tale. The first half is also superior to the second, with the nice humour and the Amazon world becoming the highlights. There is also some balance here, without the overdose of heroism, except for what comes in the end. It is still a case of surprise seeing not many multiplexes showing this movie, and not many people wishing to watch it even on a holiday – there were like ten to fifteen people when I watched the same.

How it finishes :: Wonder Woman makes sure that the battle between Marvel and DC is on, and with Justice League coming up, we are sure to have them bringing the battle to Avengers. With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice not being an assurance, and Suicide squad despite being an excellent one not working for those who decided not to embrace its poetic beauty on the screen, DC was to be left with those Dark Knight movies and up-to an extent, Man of Steel. But that won’t be the case from now on, and Wonder Woman begins that programme of resurrection. Well, with the shield and their ideas about the world, Wonder Woman can be DC’s own Captain America, but what one has to remember is that Avengers did it first, and Justice League is only following – with Marvel having the advantage, the question remains if DC can come up as strong as its competitor, without Christopher Nolan? The answer is to come late, but until then, we can enjoy Wonder Woman.

Release date: 2nd June 2017
Running time: 141 minutes
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Eugene Brave Rock, Lucy Davis, Ewen Bremner, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Saïd Taghmaoui, Madeleine Vall Beijner, Ann Wolfe, Mayling Ng, Florence Kasumba

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Star Trek Beyond

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Vampire Owl: So where does it go beyond?

Vampire Bat: How can I know? I have only seen enough to know that it is Star Trek.

Vampire Owl: Can it be beyond the gates of hell?

Vampire Bat: Yes, it is indeed possible.

Vampire Owl: Do you know that there are many other interesting gates which can lead to better places?

Vampire Bat: Yes, but everyone makes their own choices about movies, and we do go for this one!

Vampire Owl: And we do make some wise choices.

Vampire Bat: We made such choices for the previous movies of this franchise.

Vampire Owl: This should be the chance to make three out of three.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see why not.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with jackfruit chips].

What is the movie about? :: As the USS Enterprise arrives at the space station known as Yorktown, Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) has applied for a position as Vice Admiral because he can find no meaning to what he has been doing with the spaceship with endless journeys which had stopped making sense to him. Spock (Zachary Quinto) is to be the new captain of the ship according to him, but the man from Vulcan is also not without his problems as he wishes to continue the work of his own future self as the person has died. His relationship with Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana) had become too strained that it no longer exists. Kalara (Lydia Wilson) who comes out of an uncharted nebula to Yorktown, seeks help to reclaim her stranded ship along with its crew. The Enterprise volunteers to be of use and is immediately sent on a rescue mission.

So, what happens next? :: The only place where USS Enterprise reaches is right into trouble, as an ambush awaits them led by an enemy called Krall (Idris Elba) who seems to be some kind of mutated alien creature from unknown space. Krall and his army search for a relic called the Abronath which the crew had as part of an unsuccessful diplomatic mission. As his search turns out to be unsuccessful, he takes most of the crew as prisoners instead, and the ship is destroyed. Only a few of them including Kirk and Spock manage to be free on the new planet. There, they would come across Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), an alien scavenger and with Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban) and Montgomery Scott (Simon Pegg), prepare plans to save their crew members and try to stop the dangerous villain from finding that relic to use it as a weapon which could destroy life on more than one planet.

The defence of Star Trek Beyond :: The movie looks really good, and the visuals effects keep saving the day again and again. We know that there are so many worlds, and this one makes use of such presence to bring some visual splendour on the screen. There are also some interesting action sequences to go with it, or rather a lot of them. We cannot question this movie’s skills as an action movie, as Star Trek Beyond excels right there, even though one might feel that it happens at the expense of other factors of the flick. With evil trying to destroy the whole world and our heroes trying to save it again, the thrills are there as expected too. There is also the message about unity in diversity, if you want to look at it that way. We also have all out interesting characters continuing to be here, except for the one played by Alice Eve, which is surely a bad miss.

The claws of flaw :: For some reason, this third movie of the franchise doesn’t make the best use of all those which are available. It had the opportunity to make us explore a new world with the protagonists, but they just choose to go normal, which is not that appropriate considering the kind of scope this franchise has. The villain is also not that powerful as the antagonists of the previous movies – we feel that he is stronger in the beginning, but as things progress towards the end, he becomes part of that twist which is not that effective. It is a lot like the ideas getting limited for no reason. There was so much scope with how things were going, but all of a sudden, people seems to be afraid to try anymore, and even when they have managed to keep this one enjoyable, we are always looking for more with a Star Trek movie – it is supposed to get better and cross frontiers to go beyond without being repetitive!

Performers of the soul :: This movie’s entertainment is surely not that much dependent on its performers who don’t get to do that much as they did in the previous movies, as the movie provides less chance with going for the visual effects and action instead of concentrating enough on the characters. The one person who impresses more though, is Karl Urban who gets to bring more fun to us than in the previous flicks. There is also Sofia Boutella playing an alien scavenger, and even though her character is more cliche and without providing us with the surprises, she is really good there – we had to get a good character in here, and here is one. Even with Idris Elba playing the villain, they just couldn’t get enough of that ‘evil creature trying to destroying the world’ idea. We surely had it working better in the previous two movies. Zoe Saldana does mostly nothing, and Chris Pine as well as Zachary Quinto are not that much fun as in earlier movies with the crisis in their characters’ minds.

How it finishes :: One does feel that the makers shouldn’t take this much time to come up with a sequel, as we know that three years is too much of a gap between movies in a franchise like this – they did the same with the first two movies too, but this time, the time period between the two feels even more. I have to say that even though this movie is not as good as its predecessors, it is still an enjoyable flick, and we can look forward to another movie in the series with better ideas. There is still one thing that I would hope for – for the space ship in this movie to not be destroyed partially or completely, and I would also make a humble request not to make the action take the centre stage – it should not get to become Fast and Furious or XXX in space, because Star Trek should always be more than that. We trust the franchise enough to hope for that.

Release date: 22nd July 2016
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Chris Pine, Karl Urban, John Cho, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, Sofia Boutella, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Lydia Wilson, Sara Maria Forsberg, Deep Roy, Joe Taslim, Melissa Roxburgh, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Greg Grunberg, Danny Pudi, Kim Kold, Anita Brown, Doug Jung, Dan Payne, Shea Whigham

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Star Trek II

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Star Trek might be one of the most popular franchises based on its theme, but this surely is my first encounter with it. But the situation seems to be all set to change, as this movie surely seems to have increased its fan base by one on this day. Still, throughout the ages, Star Wars had been a favourite – but I had to miss this one at that time. Now, I am surely into this series, and its main aim, that is exploration and not invasion, destruction or colonization. There is the need to watch the Original Series, and it would add to my list. For now, this movie has come early to this part of the world, compared to its United States release. Even as it is the twelfth Star Trek movie and works as the sequel to the movie Star Trek which was released in 2009, this one still works well as a stand-alone version, with not much questions remaining unanswered. This could have have been the first movie of the series and might have still worked here, and that was evident from the reactions of the people in the theatre hall, and there is no visible doubt about the fact that it was their first Star Trek experience, and they clearly enjoyed it. This one might not do as good as Iron Man III or The Dark Knight Rises, but is still a formidable force in a world which is not used to such an environment in a movie.

In Star Trek: Into Darkness, the spaceship USS Enterprise is sent to explore another planet, but finds a volcano which is very close to going off and wiping out its primitive inhabitants. Nobody is supposed to know anything about it, but as the first officer and good friend Spock’s life is under threat, Commander Kirk is forced to reveal the Enterprise to the planet’s civilization to rescue him leading to the indigenous people worshipping the ship as God as the crew leaves. It was a heavenly object to a group of people who were in such early stage of their civilization that they hadn’t even discovered the wheel – they get to see a space ship instead and be stunned. As a result, Kirk is relieved of command, and Admiral Pike takes over the command of the Enterprise. But, later a meeting is called as the result of a bombing, and a resulting shootout leads to the death of Pike ultimately leading to Admiral Marcus sending Kirk to take out the terrorist who has taken shelter in the homeland of the war-loving Kilgons. The Enterprise is supplied with seventy two long-range photon torpedoes to be fired at the terrorist’s hidden location once they can locate him. As he fails to have enough information, chief engineer Montgomery Scott refuses to take the unidentified weapons aboard the ship and is thus forced to resign. The Admiral’s daughter, scientist Carol Marcus also joins the crew, under a false identity.

But the ship is stuck at the Klingon homeworld as there is malfuncion in the ship’s core, and they are saved by the same man whom they were planning to capture, whom after surrendering, reveals his real identity as Khan, a genetically enhanced superhuman, who has been in cryo-sleep for three hundred years after fighting an unsuccessful destructive war on Earth, and his success could have deprived the Earth or even the whole galaxy of most of its population. When he says “My name is Khan”, I wonder if something comes to the mind for the Bollywood fans – but in this case, there would be no possible second half of that sentence. This man would indeed be another name for terror without any boundary. As Carol and McCoy look into one of the torpedoes, they realize that each of them contain a genetically enhanced superhuman in cryo-sleep, the remaining members of Khan’s diabolical crew. Khan explains to Kirk that Admiral Marcus used Khan to develop advanced weapons to start a war with the Klingons, while keeping his crew as hostages. Kirk understand that they might be in big trouble, as none of the possible solutions might work out, as they are stranded in space.

Chris Pine as Commander James T. Kirk has come up with full power, as the character scores both with its negatives and positives. Each decision he takes seem to change him and lead him to the moment of the ultimate sacrifice. Karl Urban as Lieutenant Commander Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy, the chief medical officer – this could have been a longer role, even as there are some good memorable lines from him, for the Native American Viking of the Pathfinder, as well as the shooter of Doom had never really attached to the minds of the viewers as they never clicked as action movies, even as I have always felt the first one was superior stuff and the second one was quite fine. Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura also has quite a smaller role, even as it is significant. Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock steals show in many ways, as the one who chooses not to feel, but still has the feelings for his best friend, and finds his logic at the right moment, sometimes evoking laughter and sometimes saving lives. As half-Vulcan, half-Human, neither belonging to here nor there, but having the qualities of both, the man is more Vulcan among a group of humans and not really of his own species, thus more of an outsider even when considered more belonging to the group than anybody else.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan makes the perfect augmented villain of another timeline; condemned, frozen and now back in business. He is highly effective in his powerful superhuman role which is threatened only by the fear of the death of his comrades. He makes Peter Weller’s Admiral Marcus a lesser and weaker warmonger, another role which has been done according to the need. Talking about Alice Eve, the name reminded me more of the two superhuman, but gorgeous women – Alice of Resident Evil and Eve of Species; a bond with the T-virus and with the alien DNA respectively, both seemingly having all positive effects on beauty as well as strength and aggression. Both Milla Jovovich and Natasha Henstridge had made their roles memorable enough to make the characters that popular. Leaving the unreal superhuman element aside, one also can’t stop thinking about that 2010 romantic comedy film She’s Out of My League, when a gorgeous Molly McCleish was out of the league of an ordinary Kirk Kettner. Well, here she proves the same by being out of the league with those looks, and there should be a lot more coming for her in a sequel.

Still, I wouldn’t disagree on the fact that there is exaggeration involved here; thinking about that romantic comedy, exaggeration is never out of the equation, and it is time the common movie watcher of this part of the world who rarely checks the names of the leading actresses know a few names other than the usual leads; its time someone other than Megan Fox and Paris Hilton is known to the lesser movie watching world. The best extentions of the procedure of knowing go only from Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman and Meg Ryan, as far as Keira Knightley, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. Further into the movie, it is no surprise that here she no longer does the same with a romantic character, but with her role as Doctor Carol Marcus – and she is surely the eye candy in this movie, but she is not simply that. She is the balance between the evil of her own father and the righteousness of the crew of The Enterprise. It is her help that leads to the discovery that changes the whole situation of being misguided into the abyss and it is her presence that leads to their ship getting an extension of lifeline which is instrumental in the final battle.

Star Trek is not just a movie – it is a spectacular environment created by the wonderful special effects and the 3D which works correctly. It works so well, right from those moments in those bright, coloured planet with dazzling red coloured trees and the natives painted white, who throws their spears at our heroes, or rather the viewers, thanks to the 3D. The movie is about authority, and also about personal relationships, as well as the collision between the worlds of emotions and logic. The job is done professionally, and it is evident in the ratings in IMDB as well as the critics ratings. Its background philosophy has also worked out well, and there is no doubt that this ship is heading towards a sequel. This encounter between the different worlds, and the species, not as the usual alien invasion is something which is worth more what The Avengers and The Transformers were worth. This is so much like that one game which I felt more than anything else, which was Mass Effect. Commander Shepard might be Commander James T. Kirk, Garrus Vakarian – Commander Spock, Ashley Williams – Doctor Carol Marcus/Nyota Uhura, Kaidan Alenko – Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy; the Reapers could be Klingons or Romulans – such a connection has helped me in liking the movie even more with relation to my favourite game.

Release date: 10th May 2013
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: J. J. Abrams
Starring: Chris Pine, Alice Eve, Karl Urban, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Cho, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, Bruce Greenwood, Noel Clarke, Peter Weller

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Rise of the Guardians

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There was a movie of the late December 2012 which belonged more to 2013 than 2012, and as the 2013 Movies List does include a movie which was released in the previous year, but was watched in the theatres later, including this story of the wonderful guardians and getting another special, honorary position for it shall do no harm. This might have arrived earlier in the United States, but in India, it came late for good – for Christmas, which made the occasion even better. This animated movie tells a story about the popular characters of the ancient beliefs, here referred to as the Guardians – Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and Sandman, who are forced to enlist a much less interested and not-so-caring about the world, the seemingly selfish Jack Frost due to the advice of the Man in the Moon, to stop Bogeyman from immersing the world in darkness and change all the dreams of children into nightmares, with the first step being the destruction of all sources of belief, faith and hope. The movie is supposed to be based on the American author William Joyce’s The Guardians of Childhood book series and the short film The Man in the Moon by Joyce and Reel FX.

The spirit of winter, Jack Frost is raised from a frozen lake by the Man in the Moon with superpowers, but he is unseen in the world and shall remain so as he is not believed in, and all of his memories from his former life are gone. Only his name is known to the world and to him. Jack Frost has been popularly known to be the personification of frost and cold weather and his roots might be in the Norse or Anglo-Saxon system of beliefs. The most well known presence of Jack in literature might be in L. Frank Baum’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. This work by the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz might be the closest depiction of this character to the one in the movie. The other depictions can be left behind for now, and the stress is to be kept in what he is in the movie. He is a playful spirit who is hidden from the sights of people as he is not believed in, unlike the other guardians. But he plays pranks with the kids and lives as mysterious spirit with control over snow and ice. He is haunted throughout the movie with an identity crisis and his sadness and anger is not just because he is not seen by others, but also because he doesn’t know who he is, or his purpose. It is as if he never existed and never makes a difference.

It is the Man in the Moon who changes that life, for he instructs the Guardians to induct Jack Frost as a new Guardian in order to combat the threat of the powerful Bogeyman. There would be the question who this divine presence might be, and the answer could not be restricted to just one. It is just the moon that is shown, and there is the divine power which never hesitates to show the signs. From raising Jack Frost from the dead, to giving him his extraordinary powers and making the spirit a Guardian – all these is planned by that supreme power. But the person never speaks or make a direct impact on the world below on Earth, and it is with silence that the man speaks, most of the time. He is both the observer and the decision maker. His impact is not temporary, but permanent, and his power is not easily visible, but hidden. He might be one of those images and faces you see on the moon every day. He is surely no Neil Armstrong or Edwin Aldrin. As one finds it easy to believe what the science say about moon and all the details about it without being seen, it is not that hard to believe in a man in the moon – it is simpler and more believable than all the theories of science. May be that round thing you see every night on the sky is not really a natural satellite, but just some random lie invented by science just to make a good fictional story out of a white dot of heaven, and so might be the solar system, galaxies, meteors, comets, planets and whatever they might be.

As we now know that there is no moon as the science describes it, lets go to the next big character, the Bogeyman, also known as Pitch Black – the king of nightmares all set to become the emperor of all dreams, both good and bad. Wasn’t he the one nocturnal creature whom you feared without hesitation during your childhood? Didn’t he force you to look under the bed each and every time you wake up? No it rarely happened to me, as I had chosen to fall on the floor and sleep at times. Meanwhile, our villain is a strong and powerful one who has become better and meaner as he is powered by the fear of the children, and his nightmares cover all the good dreams of the world. His strives not on belief of love, but belief of fear. He feeds on the fear and thus on the souls of his victims, creating better nightmares every time. His aim is to destroy the Guardians one by one, by first getting rid of the faith and belief of children in them. He chooses them one by one and with his ever-increasing power driven by the dark horses of fear, he goes through his mission of darkness and pure evil which was hidden under an underground bed for a long time.

The Easter Bunny is the angry young man of the story and the short-tempered star of the Guardians – in simple words, and in ancient beliefs, that one rabbit bringing Easter eggs. This one is not the cute little one though, as he is a fighter who is always ready for action. He is not that friendly with Jack Frost in the beginning either. Well, he still brings the Easter eggs, and so that should be okay. Our Santa Claus, also referred to as North, is the more likable of characters, with his tattooed arms and funny dialogues. He is more of the leader of Guardians and he lives as a happy old man in his castle in the North Pole with Yetis and Christmas Elves. He has all he needs for Christmas including the flying reindeer driven chariot, and the gifts. He would deliver the presents, including toys and candy to all of the nice children in the world, as long as he can keep the Bogeyman away. As the movie was released just a few days before Christmas in India, the importance of Santa is further more – well, he is the most well-known of the team for sure, and the only one who can claim to be known enough might be the Bogeyman, and Easter Bunny can only claim the third place.

Then comes the Tooth Fairy, the mythical tooth collector. She is half human and half hummingbird and is assisted by a large number of little fairies who are just like herself, only incredibly small. According to the popular beliefs (which I came to know about only a decade ago) when a child loses a baby tooth and places it beneath the bed pillow, the Tooth Fairy will visit while the child sleeps, replacing the lost tooth with a small gift. Here in the movie, she collects the children’s teeth, and they hold their most precious memories during their life on Earth. She also has the role of storing them in her palace to return them when they are needed the most. She and her minions have an instant liking for Jack and his teeth. But her palace is the place which is first attacked by the Bogeyman who finds the memories very interesting. Well, I have always wondered where the dentists keep all those tooth which are taken out. May be they are given to the tooth fairies. I wonder if they keep that half-a-tooth of mine which was broken while eating “Chakka Varuthathu” in a special bottle. The Sandman is the next Guardian – according to the legends, the one who brings good dreams by sprinkling magical sand onto the eyes of children while they sleep. Here he does not speak, but communicates through sand images that appears above his head. He is the exact opposite of Bogeyman, as the master of all good dreams.

These are our five guardians, one villain and the one divine element. Other than destroying evil, what the movie suggests is the importance of belief and saving the magic of childhood, both being destroyed by modernity. It tells the need for the power of wonder, faith, hope and belief in an artificial world where it is slowly, but surely disappearing, and are replaced by a void which can be filled by the wastes of hell, as inferno’s own dumping yard where no recycling of souls or bad deeds takes place. The machinery of the movie is without rust, as the magical 3D and beautiful animation tries the best to keep it working and to make this my favourite animated movie watched in a theatre – no disrespect to Kungfu Panda, but this one hit me better, in a good way. The Polar Express did a good job in re-affirming faith and belief, and Rise of the Guardians have done the same in an even better way. On first look, this might seem to be for kids, and there is no denying the fact that it could be a combination of X-Men and The Avengers for kids, but one can’t also deny that there has never been a more suitable animated family movie which is enjoyable to people of almost any age – not to forget the philosophical undercurrent which has its morality element running.

Release date: 21st November 2012 (USA); 21st December 2012 (India)
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Peter Ramsey
Starring (voice): Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, Jude Law

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.