The shaggy, whimsical characters have a primal familiarity, as though they were developed by a tag team of Maurice Sendak and Walt Disney.
—Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer
One of the best kid's films of the year, full of delight and action and charm and comedy.
—James Rocchi Box Office Magazine
There's an audience for this film. It's not me. I gather younger children will like the breakneck action, the magical ability to fly and the young hero who has tired of only being a name. Their parents and older siblings may find the 89-minute running time quite long enough.
—Roger Ebert Chicago Sun Times
With its fanciful razzle-dazzle, Rise of the Guardians is appealing, if slightly hectic, family fare.
—Claudia Puig USA Today
The movie lacks a resonant center. The script seems to have been written by committee, with members lobbying for each major character, and the action, set in vast environments all over the map, spreads itself so thin that a surfeit of motion vitiates emotion.
—Joe Morgenstern Wallstreet Journal