I really liked Rise of the Guardians. The movie felt fresh to me, and I appreciated the way superhero tropes were woven into mythology, while maintaining a feeling of fun.
Nobody was more surprised by this than I was; this was a film I fully intended to skip, and it was only when I was invited to a press event that I even bothered to see it. I'm glad I did, because Rise of the Guardians turned me on to the Guardians of Childhood books by William Joyce, which is going to be the book series I feed my niece as she grows up.
While I'm glad I didn't miss the film, I can't say I'm surprised that so many others did. The movie is looking to be Dreamworks Animation's biggest bomb, despite being the film of theirs I like the most. It's almost like audiences are telling the studio "Please get back to fart jokes and Lady Gaga references, thank you very much."
But was it that aspect? Or was it the dismal marketing, starting right from the generic, owl-movie-sounding title? I don't know that the marketing ever captured the whizz-bang fantasy element of the film, and it certainly often made Rise of the Guardians look like some kind of grim, ridiculous piece of junk. Yes, this Santa Claus has naught and nice tattoos, but that doesn't actually define who he is in the film. Perhaps the nuance of the characters - modern designs with classical, light-hearted personalities - was too difficult to establish in the cookie cutter world of movie marketing. The world where you just flood the market with character posters and assume that's enough to get people interested.
Rise of the Guardians is the last Dreamworks film Paramount will release; I'm not saying that this led to the studio half-assing the marketing, but they certainly half-assed the marketing. Maybe Rise of the Guardians isn't an all-timer - it's no Iron Giant or Toy Story 2 - but it is a really well-told, beautifully made, enjoyable spin on some old ideas. I think if more people had seen it they would have actually liked it.
Why didn't you see Rise of the Guardians? Was it the marketing that turned you off? The reviews? Was the basic premise unappealing? For those of you with kids: were your kids interested in this movie at all? I'm curious what it was that really made people avoid this movie so thoroughly.