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I found myself on a bus last night coming home from the city.  As is usual with the rail network here, the last weekend of school holidays sees all trains cancelled and buses running in their place.  So, I got on the bus and luckily had a seat to myself, got out the laptop and started watching Rise of the Guardians, which I hadn’t had a chance to watch yet.  It is an animated Dreamworks movie aimed at children, but bear with me as I tell you about it as it is one of the most beautiful, funny and heartwarming movies I’ve seen in ages and I think you would have to have a heart of stone to not like it.

This story revolves around Jack Frost who suddenly, after years of not knowing why he is who he is, gets chosen by the Man in the Moon as a Guardian.  The other guardians are North, (Santa Claus, voiced in a thick Russian accent by Alec Baldwin), The Easter Bunny, hilariously played by Hugh Jackman with a thick Aussie accent, The Tooth Fairy, played by the lovely Isla Fisher and my absolute favorite, the Sandman who doesn’t speak.  They were all chosen hundreds of years before by the Man in the Moon to rid the world of darkness and fear created by the Boogeyman, known as Pitch Black (played by a delightfully sinister Jude Law).

Jack is chosen as an extra guardian to help fight the new war being waged by Pitch, which the others find perplexing as Jack is not only on the naughty list, but holds the record, according to Santa.  But in the way of all good heroes, they all fight together to stop Pitch from making another attack on the beliefs of children around the world.  He is trying to turn children’s dreams into nightmares, spreading fear and darkness instead of love and light.  They have to stop him from making all the children into disbelievers before the lights all go out.  The lights on the globe represent children who still believe.

It is one of the sweetest movies I’ve seen in ages.  I felt like an idiot on the bus as I had earphones in and kept having genuine “laugh out loud moments”, especially at the Easter Bunny who has some of the best lines.  It is very dark at times, as all the best fairy tales are.  Yes, it is the usual good versus evil fairy tale premise but it is told exquisitely.  From the yeti’s, the elves and the baby tooth fairies to the big guns of our childhood (Tooth, Bunny, Santa and Sandy) the characters are simply charming.  Jack is voiced by Chris Pine and his vulnerability is quite heartbreaking at times.  I’m glad I didn’t watch all of it on the bus as I was quite teary in a few places.

It’s a story of triumph to see children facing their fears head on in the pursuit of all that is good in the world.  To watch the children’s golden dreams come back to life to replace the black nightmares with which Pitch had been spreading around the world, was simply wonderful.  I almost felt sorry for Pitch at times as his sadness and loneliness became evident.  Even the bad guys have reasons sometimes for their attitudes.

The movie is based on the book “The Guardians of Childhood” by William Joyce.  I must get the book and have a read of this brilliant story.  Childhood is such a precious commodity.  The innocence and faith of a child lasts  for such a short time and while it does, we are ALL the guardians of childhood.  There is nothing more beautiful than seeing the wide eyed amazement of a child on Christmas Day or Easter Sunday when their heroes have delivered gifts of magic to their homes. A child who believes in magic creates a feeling of joy in us all.

All you parents out there who have been Santa’s helpers and have put carrots out for the reindeer and milk for the big man in red himself, take a bow.. You are a Guardian.  To the teachers who read their classes stories that inspire imagination and hope and faith, congratulations.  You too, are Guardians.  To the teenagers that sadly stopped believing but refuse to snuff out that belief in smaller children…. you stand toe to toe with Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, the Tooth Fairy and good old Jack Frost himself, as  Guardians. I can’t imagine a childhood without the magic of these Guardians.  I hate to think what the world would become if every child’s light of belief went out.  We have to protect it.

Who can forget the famous quotes from Peter Pan that relate to fairies and the beauty of childhood… When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.  Then ….Every time a child says, ‘I don’t believe in fairies,’ there is a fairy somewhere that falls down dead.  I believe him! We have to save the fairies and help children believe in magic and wonder and love.

To quote Santa..  We go by many names, and take many forms. We bring wonder and hope, we bring joy and dreams. We are the Sandman and the Tooth Fairy, we are the Easter Bunny and Santa. And our powers are greater than you ever imagine. /  It is our job to protect the children of the world. For as long as they believe in us, we will guard them with our lives..

You may get the impression that I loved this movie and you would be absolutely and completely right. I have fallen in love with it.  It has hit the list of one of my favorite ever children’s movies and trust me, that’s a big compliment.  It is delightful.  I believe in keeping children children as long as possible.  There are enough horrors in the world that they will have to eventually face, let’s protect their innocence and faith as long as we possibly can.  It is our job as Guardians.

I’ll leave you with a quote from the newest of all the major Guardians, Jack Frost. Hey, slow down, slow down! Are you telling me to stop believing in the moon when the sun comes up? Well, do you stop believing in the sun when the clouds block it out? We’ll always be there, Jamie. And now, we’ll always be here. [points to Jamie’s heart] Which kind of makes you a Guardian too. ……My name is Jack Frost. And I’m a Guardian. How do I know that? Because the moon told me so. So the next time the moon tells you something, believe it.

Happy Guardianship… Livvy 🙂

Legends Unite