Out in cinemas this week: Two very different fable adaptations this week: one with squabbling mythical heroes banding together against an evil counterpart with ambitions of world domination, and a modern-day witch luring teenagers into her cookpot with a cache of doctored 420.
Rise of the Guardians (2012)
This new 3D entry from DreamWorks, based on a series of books by William Joyce called The Guardians of Childhood, has been cooking for a while (Leo Di Caprio was originally attached to voice Jack Frost when it was announced three years ago), is another ambitious attempt at a lushly realized, high-energy fable of the sort that Pixar mastered some time ago, the kind of movie that aims to spark a sense of wonder in child and adult alike and may just have the goods to deliver.
The story: More than a collection of the well-known childhood legends, Rise of the Guardians tells the story of a group of heroes – each with extraordinary abilities. When an evil spirit known as Pitch lays down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs and imagination of children all over the world.
Starring: Chris Pine (Jack Frost), Alec Baldwin (North), Hugh Jackman (E. Aster Bunnymund), Isla Fisher (Tooth), Jude Law (Pitch), Dakota Goyo (Jamie), Khamani Griffin (Caleb), Dominique Grund (CupCake).
Directed by: Peter Ramsey.
Black Forest: Hansel and Gretel & the 420 Witch (2012)
So here's an interesting cast: Lara Flynn Boyle, Molly Quinn, and Michael Welch, all in a pot-themed fantasy/horror/comedy that doesn't feature James Franco in any way. Actually, all three of those actors have tended to be overshadowed by larger-than-life costars in their best-known outings (Men in Black II, Castle, and Twilight), so turning them loose is an interesting experiment.
The story: A brother and sister battle a witch who lures teenagers into her suburban home with her special blend of marijuana where she then proceeds to kill and eat them to maintain her youth and beauty.
Starring: Molly C. Quinn (Gretel), Lara Flynn Boyle (Agnes), Lochlyn Munro (Officer Ritter), Michael Welch (Hansel), Edward Zo), Andrew James Allen (Ashton), Eddy Martin (Manny), Reynaldo Gallegos (Carlos), Doug Haley (Teenager #2), Joe Ordaz (Jorge), Celestin Cornielle (Octavio), Sancho Martin (Hacky Sack Dance Player), Danielle Adams (Paramedic), David Tillman (Norm), Bianca Saad (Bianca), Lexie Hofer (Coed).
Directed by: Duane Journey.