Rise of the Guardians

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Short takes

Not suitable under 7; parental guidance to 9 (violence and disturbing scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Rise of the Guardians
  • a review of Rise of the Guardians completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 13 December 2012.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 7 Not suitable due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 7-9 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children 10 and over Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Rise of the Guardians
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild fantasy themes and violence
Length: 97 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Rise of the Guardians opens with a teenage boy floating up through water and breaking through the surface of an ice covered lake. The boy’s name is Jack Frost (voice by Chris Pine), or so the Man in the Moon told him. Jack himself doesn’t have any memories about who he is, where he came from, what his purpose is and why no one can see him. For more than 300 years Jack has been using his magic crook to create snow storms, freeze lakes and window panes and generally create winter fun for children throughout the world. Now darkness in the form of the Boogieman, Pitch Black (Jude Law) has re-entered the world after a long absence. Pitch turns the dreams of the world’s children into nightmares filled with fear and darkness.

For centuries it has been the role of the Guardians, who consist of Father Christmas (voiced by Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (voiced by Hugh Jackman), the Tooth Fairy (voiced by Isla Fisher), and the Sandman to protect the children of the world, give them hope and dreams, and keep them safe from Pitch. Unfortunately Pitch has grow too strong for the Guardians to defeat and the Man in the Moon tells them that the only one capable of defeating Pitch is the seemingly irresponsible and selfish Jack Frost. The Guardians enlist the help of a rather reluctant Frost by promising to return the memories from his past life, an offer Jack can’t refuse.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Fantasy characters, magic, nightmares, good versus evil

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Rise of the Guardians contains some animated action violence, which at times becomes intense, some scenes of people in peril, and occasional reckless behaviour. Examples include:

  • A boy rides his sled recklessly, nearly colliding with cars and trucks. The sled flies through the air and crashes into a statue with a pile of snow landing on top of the boy, when he gets up we can see that one of his front teeth has been knocked out.
  • We see a number of fights between the Boogieman with his shadowy black horses and the Guardians. Jack Frost uses his magic wooden crook to shoot out tendrils of frost that freeze and dissolve horses; Father Christmas wields two scimitars that slice the horses, causing them to dissolve; the Easter Bunny wields two boomerangs that slice through horses; Sandman wields two long golden, magical whips of sand that he uses to lash out at the horses, the whips slicing through and dissolving the horses. The Boogieman wields a giant sickle that he swings around.     
  • Boogieman shoots Sandman in the back with a black tendril-like arrow. A black patch appears on Sandman’s back and it spreads out until it engulfs and kills Sandman in a swirling black mass. Later we see the Guardians standing in a circle holding a remembrance service for Sandman.  
  • One scene depicts hundreds of tiny Tooth Fairies held captive in bird-like cages. In a later scene we see the Boogieman holding a tiny Tooth Fairy in his fist, threatening to crush the tiny creature in his fist unless Jack Frost submits to his will. Jack submits, but the Boogieman doesn’t release the fairy instead he throw it into a ravine; the fairy is uninjured.
  • One scene depicts black shadowy horses chasing the Boogieman. They catch him and drag him into a hole in the ground which then closes.      

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • In a flashback scene we see the Jack standing on the ice-covered pond with his younger sister, who is standing on ice that is cracking around her feet. Jack uses a crook to snare his sister and push her out of danger, but the ice breaks beneath Jack’s feet with Jack falling through into the freezing water.  
  • People walk straight through Jack Frost as though he were a ghost.
  • Father Christmas has large hairy creatures (gentle giants) making toys instead of the customary elves.
  • The Boogieman/Pitch Black appears as a wispy black shadow and then as a tall man dressed in black with pale glowing eyes and a menacing evil voice.
  • Throughout the film we see shadowy, black, smoke-like tendrils that reach out for children and the Guardians, transforming into black shadowy horses with long black flowing manes and glowing yellow eyes. One scene depicts the Boogieman standing beside a child’s bed and sending black smoky tendrils into a dream which transforms into a nightmare; we see a disturbed look on the child’s face.
  • A very young girl gets sucked into a magical portal and disappears, she is later seen uninjured.     

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Jack Frost peppers children’s faces with ice crystals that give the children an instant feeling of happiness. The Sandman sprinkles golden sand onto children to put them to sleep and help them have pleasant dreams. In one scene the Sandman accidentally sprinkles sand on the Guardians putting them to sleep. The Boogieman uses clouds of black dust to cause children to have nightmares. 

Coarse language

Rise of the Guardians contains some low-level coarse language and putdowns that children may imitate. Examples include:

  • bloody, go suck an egg, shut up ratbag, bit of a brumby, stuff a pillow in your mouth, ankle biter, rack off 

In a nutshell

Rise of the Guardians is an animated fantasy adventure suited to older children, adolescents and adults. The film’s plot is inventive and entertaining, with a great cast and animation. The film’s characters are funny and unusual, but the film does contain both scenes and a main villain that are likely to scare under sevens, and may also scare some children up to the age of ten.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Being content with yourself and your life requires finding your centre, or what you are naturally good at.
  • Belief or faith in people is a powerful thing that can overcome insurmountable odds and difficulties.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • selflessness and courage
  • protecting children from harm
  • cooperation

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Parents may wish to discuss with their children the true meaning behind various cultural holidays such as Christmas and Easter. How has commercialism and consumerism changed the meaning of these events?