After nearly/almost 2 weeks cooped in the house in Jitra (except for the time I took time strolling at Darul Aman Park for fresh air), I decided to catch up with the list of cinematic features premiered during this end-of-year holidays. With the ambiance of Christmas and school holidays intertwining, the cinematic honchos had decided that it is the marketable season for their bankable films to be distributed; hence I thought I’d just flee myself out from the cocoon despite whatever “emotional rampage”/ prejudices that the other party might assume (due to long-distance situation). I mean, I know how to take care myself, aite? We are adults. Have some faith!
Aite, enough with the babbling (quite emotional now, really). I thought of Kord/Zahiri, my best pal back in KPLI days and his parents also live nearby in Changlun. Went to Jitra Mall with him and found out that there are 4 movies shown (2 Malay movies and the other two are “The Rise Of The Guardians” by Dreamworks & “Wreck-It Ralph” by Disney. In my mind, I want to see both films (so greedy, I know!) but I chose “Guardians” first since I was a bit captivated by the trailer I saw in You-Tube a few weeks ago. Since it was weekday, the cinema was quite empty (yeay!) but the screen is kinda huge! Quite nice here in Jitra Mall. You guys shouldn’t underestimate it, you know!
Basically, the story is about The Guardians picked by Man In The Moon to protect children and ensure the childhood to be filled with fantasies, imaginations and hopes. The strength of these Guardians in executing their tasks rely on the believes of the children to them. The Guardians were Santa Clause, Tooth Fairy, Sandman and the Easter Bunny. Each one of them plays pivotal role in the fairy tales believes of the innocent children. The routines were satisfactorily done when suddenly out of the blue, the antagonist which is The Bogeyman tried to spread fear among the children causing them having nightmares so that he will be believed by the children as well!
Jack Frost who is responsible to frost and bring winter. Isn’t he cute like a K-Pop/Japanese heartthrob? I am not a K-pop fan, though! Voiced by Chris Pine.
Tooth Fairy in a hummingbird suit. So adorable! Voiced by Isla Fisher.
Now, everyone was panic because the children were having less faiths and stop believing in the Guardians. No more believing in Santa Clause, Tooth Fairy, Sandman and The Easter Bunny; hence making the Guardians weaker and weaker. The Guru for all the Guardians is The Man In The Moon. He gave sign to the Guardians that the one new Guardian that can help to restore the faith of the children is the happy-go-lucky-and-reckless Jack Frost.
Easter Bunny (with Australian accent?); voiced by Hugh Jackman & North/Santa Clause (Scandinavian accent); voiced by Alec Baldwin.
The Sandman. Cute!
So basically that is the outline of the story. Now, my comment on the film is that unfortunately it is a bit draggy and the plot is weak although the theme which is to keep believing in magical fantasy is quite interesting. The dialogues were very soporific and Dreamwork SHOULD LEARN from Disney on HOW TO MAKE GOOD ANIMATED FEATURE script!! Nonetheless, all these are saved by the beautiful CGIs and animation settings of the film. The colours were vibrant and who would have thought that The Tooth Fairy could be so adorable in a humming-bird attire; and Jack Frost is looking cute ala K-Pop/Japanese heartthrob???? Hahahaha! But then again, animated feature is about having good script and plotline; apart from the breathtaking setting, of course; hence if you ask me, my verdict for “The Rise Of The Guardians” is merely 3 stars outta five! (,”)
The Bogeyman/ Pitch Black! Voiced by Jude Law.
But, you know I am always interested on the fairy tales or imaginative attributes of other cultures around the world. My main attraction for this flick is actually to unearth the historical lineage of these mythical characters and how they are so embedded in the Western communities’ childhood fantasies. My main reference is of course the ever-great Wikipedia! Yeay!
First, the Santa Clause. We all know that Santa Clause is usually described as this big and happy-go-lucky and white-bearded man. He always don the red suit and he is so-called responsible to give away presents to children around the world within one night which is on the Christmas Eve on his reindeer sleigh! He also said to have list of “nice kids” and “naughty kids”; hence kids would try their very best to behave or risk of not receiving any presents from Santa if they behave badly! Legends said that Santa lives in North Pole with several elves helping him to create the gifts for each and every kids in this world. The historical initiation of Santa Clause is said to be of several influences such as Saint Nicholas of Myra, Germanic/ Scandinavian/ Dutch paganism & folklore & the original green-coloured suit Father Christmas! Usually, Americans prefer “Santa Clause” while the non-Americans prefer “Father Christmas”.
Santa Clause on the reindeer sleigh.
Next, Tooth Fairy. Usually, it has become the custom for English-speaking countries kids to hid the fallen baby tooth under a pillow and discover some schillings or notes as form of ‘gifts’. The European had strong influence in this culture as they slipped money underneath the pillow when the 6th baby tooth has fallen. Usually, tooth fairy is depicted as a little nymph with fluttering wings; although there were researches conducted on the “likelihood of image” for tooth fairy and the outcome varies – some picturing tooth fairy as males, a bunny, a big-bellied man, etcetera.
Tooth Fairy can be male or female; no definite imagery. Dwayne Johnson a.k.a The Rock in his film “Tooth Fairy”.
I have to be honest as a non-Christian, I am not really familiar with Easter (although I know Easter & Good Friday as Malaysian calendar depict that!) and that goes with Easter Bunny as compared to Santa Clause. But I am always open to new knowledge about cultures and religions; and that what makes artistic knowledge is so enrich with uniqueness, no? Anyway, today I learned that Easter is actually an event to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus; thus the concept of Easter eggs symbolize the idea of that Jesus came back to life; an analogy to birds hatched from empty eggs. Now, where does the Easter Bunny comes into the picture? Legends said that Easter Bunny will bring basket full of beautifully-decorated Easter eggs to each houses. Some histories of the legend said Easter Bunny is conceived from the idea of pagan goddess named Ostara created a hare (Lepus) that could ‘lay beautifully-decorated eggs’.
Easter Bunny and the beautifully-decorated eggs!
The traditional Easter Egg hunt!
Now, this is another unfamiliar character – The Sandman. I just learned that he actually responsible for sprinkling some golden dust and creating sweet dreams to the children! You know, not much can be found on Sandman except for the fact Hans’ Christian Andersen had described Sandman by the name of Ole Lukøje, which tells about a mythical man who takes children to sleep and weaved them dreams.
The depiction of The Sandman.
The other character that sounds quite unfamiliar to me is The Man In The Moon. I was wondering the throughout the whole movie about the significance of The “Man In The Moon”. So happened that it is also one of mythical traditional characters. It is said that The Man In The Moon is actually the image of “head”, “body” or “face” made up by the existence of discs/craters on the moon that is visible!! Wow, I never knew that! But legends vary on this as well; a chinese legend believes a mythical dweller named Yue-Lou (The Old Man Of The Moonlight) lives on the moon whereas people from Southern Hemisphere believe there are rabbits on the moon!
The Man In The Moon.
The antagonist character which is The Bogeyman on the other hand is an unbeknownst entity that usually inspire adults to scare kids. It could be described as ‘monster’, ‘devil’ or whatever creepy-lurker-in-the-dark. It is sad that Bogeyman usually punish those who committed misdeeds. For the westerners, some of the adults do use “bogeyman’ expression to scare the children off during Halloweens. It’s pretty mysterious entity unlike Santa Clause or Easter Bunny.
The last character that I want to touch is Jack Frost. We know that the arrival of winter usually is being associated with coldness and fear. So, legends always depict the arrival ignited by an older man who has been nicknamed Father Winter/ Old Man Winter. His arrival brings snow and harsh winds to the world. The historical root varies but Wikipedia states that a Viking legend states that Old Man Winter is known as “Jakul Frosti” which means icicle frost.
Jack Frost or Father Winter.
You know, culture and imagination are intimately interwoven. There are so many fascinating things about imaginations. I guess personally, it is one of the magical herb on how to rejuvenate youth. It’s cliche, it’s hackneyed, it’s childish – but when you put childish imagination in a special abyss in your heart, I believe it will shine to the outside. I don’t know, perhaps it’s just a theory but well, I guess the magic still works on me! (,”)