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The Forgotten Action Fantasy Film You Can Find On HBO Max

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Everyone loves a good team of heroes, whether it's the Avengers, the Justice League, or the Suicide Squad. Over the years, comic books in particular have been bringing together fans' favorite superheroes and setting them toward a common goal: protecting the Earth. But there also exists a team of iconic characters that most people have known since they were children yet never imagined joining forces. Until Rise of the Guardians, that is.

The 2012 computer-animated film from Dreamworks is based on a series of children's books by William Joyce, called The Guardians of Childhood. The books are imaginative depictions of the myths we know and love so well, including Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman. But these aren't the storytime fables that many children were brought up with. Instead, these figures are heroes charged with defending the children of Earth from evil forces. Filled with wonder and excitement, Rise of the Guardians takes its audience into a unique world of fantasy and legend, along with lots of surprises. Since the movie is now streaming on HBO Max, it's the perfect time to check out this forgotten gem.

The heroes in Rise of the Guardians are not quite what you remember

The guardians in Rise of the Guardians are both familiar and foreign. The movie's main character, Jack Frost (voiced by Chris Pine), is indeed a spirit of winter, but he is also a raucous teenager who glides through the air in bare feet and a hoodie. Santa Claus is not a jolly old elf but a large, imposing presence with tattoos and an eastern European accent named Nicholas St. North (Alec Baldwin). There's also E. Aster Bunnymund (Bunny for short), voiced by Hugh Jackman (Logan), who retains his Australian accent. Isla Fisher (Now You See Me) plays Toothiana, or Tooth ... guess what she does? Yet, instead of fairy wings and a wand, Tooth's appearance evokes a colorful hummingbird.

The story begins with the Man in the Moon warning the guardians of a looming danger — an evil presence known as Pitch Black (Jude Law), the King of Nightmares. Pitch's wicked plan is to end the guardians by making the children of the world stop believing in them, so he alone will rule. The guardians recruit Jack Frost into their ranks to stop Pitch's scheme before it's too late.

With a star-studded cast and a story filled with high action and fantasy, Rise of the Guardians is a delight for both kids and adults. It has a critic score of 75 percent and an 80-percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and is currently streaming on HBO Max.