This oddball animation sees Santa and Jack Frost follow in Iron Man and Thor's footsteps
With a story that brings together Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Sandman, the Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost to do battle with Pitch Black (aka pitch, aka The Boogeyman), Rise of the Guardians is essentially the Avengers Assemble of seasonal movies.
Sadly, underneath the stylish animation and super-powered characters is a predictable family adventure about having faith in yourself and finding your place in the world (a similar problem also affects Disney's Wreck-It Ralph). Which is a real shame, as the cast of characters is excellent and merits a better adventure than this. However, the film's lack of ambition and the fact that it failed to turn a profit means that they'll probably never get the chance to prove it.
Picture: Eye-popping colours, exquisite textures, crystal-clear motion and not a trace of any technical imperfections such as artefacting or aliasing. In other words, the AVC 1.78:1 1080p encode DreamWorks has cooked up for the Blu-ray release of Rise of the Guardians is everything AV-philes have come to expect from big budget CG 'toons in high-definition. Naturally, there are no shortage of AV demo sequences for those who want to show off what their system is capable of – we're particularly fond of the Guardians' spectacular final showdown with Pitch.
Picture rating: 5/5
Audio: Rise of the Guardians hits Blu-ray with an exceptionally rich and powerful Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack that will delight audiophiles.
Every single aspect of the soundtrack – from dynamic range to musical tonality, steering to bass – is brilliantly rendered and jells together seamlessly. And we aren't just talking about pure audio bombast either: check out Jack's encounter with Pitch in Chapter 9 to see how nuanced and controlled the soundtrack is at its very best.
Audio rating: 5/5
Extras: Younger viewers get a couple of basic set-top games to enjoy after the film comes to an end (Jack Frost Snowball Showdown! and Rock, Paper, Scissors with Sandy). Meanwhile, older fans can dig into four short behind-the-scenes featurettes (Dreaming Up the Look, Naughty & Nice: Designing Memorable Characters, Enchanting Effects and Creating an Epic Score), two additional featurettes about the cast (Dreamers & Believers) and the author of the Guardians of Childhood books William Joyce (The Man Behind the Guardians) and a commentary by the director and two of the producers.
This Triple Play set also includes a Rise of the Guardians DVD, plus the code for an iTunes Digital Copy.
Extras rating: 3/5
We say: A rather disappointing animated outing for DreamWorks – although the Blu-ray itself is a real AV miracle
Rise of the Guardians: Triple Play, DreamWorks/Paramount, All-region BD/R2 DVD, £25 Approx
HCC VERDICT: 3/5
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