Behind the Scenes at the Cannes Film Festival: RISE OF THE GUARDIANS

By Evy Baehr, Associate Editor

THE RISE OF THE GUARDIANS is a seemingly epic children’s movie. MOVIEGUIDE® got to see some clips from the movie at the Cannes Film Festival.

Though the movie is still in production, it looks like a top quality animation with a very interesting plot line. Santa, the Tooth ferry, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost, the Sandman, and the Man on the Moon are all real in the movie! These characters are now used to protect children and guard them, essentially from the Boogie Man, who instills horrible fears into children. The Boogie Man is a force of evil. Doing everything they can to stop the Boogie Man, the guardians join forces to bring hope and joy to children rather then fear.

Since this movie could instill superstition or serve as a parable to point toward greater Truth, please reserve any decision to take children to see it until you read the MOVIEGUIDE(r) review at

Take a look at what was said by Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Isla Fisher, and Director Peter Ramsey on their passion for the project:

Q: What inspired you?

Peter:  I wasn’t the only person inspired – the whole team [was inspired]. Bill’s [author William Joyce] idea to reinvent these characters and really present them as real people that we all had an emotional attachment to when we were children. So that idea that they were real to us has been the thing that has kind of driven everything. It’s been the central idea to the movie.

Alec:  For me the movie is about making it seem like the characters we play, you know they’re very active, evil is something that they have to fight and they go in and recruit Chris. It’s like the justice league of childhood, this very active squad of people, and my character is like the supervisor.

Isla:  Yeah, we are like an animated avengers.

Alec:  The movie has the world they’re in. This is the beauty of the movie that it all comes together in terms of the characters we play and the personas that they have. I’ve done a bunch of these children’s projects, and none more beautiful than this. This is the most beautiful children’s movie I’ve ever seen in terms of the artwork. It’s gorgeous. It [reminds] you of the old, old animation cells. It’s very pretty and arresting. And, then the world that we’re in. . . it’s a very mechanized kind of world, very simple. I like that. So, my character does a lot of things by hand, he’s a craftsman.

Chris Pine:  The fun of it is that it gets the backdrop of all these fun and crazy characters, Alec the larger then life Santa, and Isla’s kind of wonderful hyperactive tooth ferry. There’s a sensitivity to Jack [Frost] that he masks. He’s the outsider, he’s always been the outsider, he’s never been let into the group. And, at first he’s a blowhard; he doesn’t want to give it up so easily. A lot of his journey is learning how to let down his guard and open up his heart. A great lesson to this movie is this idea [of] selflessness that all these guardians have presented, and really getting to the sensitivity of it. I’m indebted greatly to Peter to constantly enforcing that and trying to get that out of me.

Q:  Peter, how did you work with everyone to bring to life these highly original creatures?

Peter:  Making one of these movies is a coloration, it’s a long process. It takes literally years to develop the story, to kind of hone the ideas, develop the characters. From there, it starts becoming a total team effort we just have to keep the original essence of the idea inside all along and communicate in one way or another to everyone on the team. Everybody here has heard me blab on about belief and childhood. . . it’s a constant dialog between everybody on our creative team.

Q:  What kind of guardians or protectors did you talk about when you were a kid or now?

Alec:  When I was a kid, your parents do a great deal to instill belief in you. I can personally remember money under the pillow, the quarters, the nickels, or the dimes that my parents would leave for the teeth I would lose. When I was a kid every Christmas, I remember waking up and my father would put boot prints as if Santa had come down the chimney. I remember talking to my sister and thinking, My God, how’d he get [down] that chimney. The magic of imagination and the magic of believing in these characters, if you were to call them superheroes, there’s so much joy in it. Our movie shows the joy of imagination. That is a great lesson for children and it’s a great lesson for adults too, that there is incredible joy with the power of our minds and imagination.

Q:  It seems like you’ve created a new bread of superheroes.

Peter:  Very much. Early on we were discussing what kind of movie this was going to be. Is it a fairy tale? I mean, what is it exactly? We kind of landed on [the idea] it’s a superhero movie where the superheroes get their power from belief, from being believed in. So, in that way, it really is.

Alec:  This is a great movie. The people who make this are the top people in the business. I’m very proud to have come here and support.

Q:  Who is the Man in the Moon in the movie because at one point Jack Frost looks up to moon and asks what his purpose is, seemingly almost in a prayer fashion. Later on in the movie we find out that the Man in the Moon gives purpose and meaning to the characters in some way, which could be an interesting metaphor for God. So, can you explain who the Man in the Moon is and why he is superior to the others?

Peter:  He is sort of an advisor to the guardians and his role actually is quite mysterious. I don’t want to spoil too much. But, as you can see already from the very beginning, he plays a pivotal role and it only becomes bigger and more meaningful as the movie goes on.

Chris Pine:  When you grow up, you enter the cynical adult world. The power and the beauty of this movie. . . is that there’s something untouched and wonderful about the childhood imagination. The whole idea of pitch and fear is kind of the encroachment of adulthood and the cynicism, and the kind of unimaginative reality of what that means. These superheroes, these guardians. . . their gift is their power to believe and their desire to make these children believe and do anything in their power to do that.

Editor’s Note:  RISE OF THE GUARDIANS is set to open Nov. 21. Be sure to check for our review of the movie when it comes out.

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