Rise of the Guardians is one of those kids' movies that a whole family would happily watch snuggled up in front of the TV, with a roaring fire in the hearth, around Christmas time, eating chocolate and having laughs. Its feelgood and fun, but the right side of saccharine, and, most importantly, it's original.

Guardians is the tale of the four Immortal Guardians: Santa Claus (Baldwin), the Tooth Fairy (Fisher), the Easter Bunny (Jackman) and the Sandman. They protect children's hopes and happiness with the wonders of Christmas and Easter; the joy of a gift for one's milk teeth; and the safe dreams that allow children to sleep gently at night.

But for every hero, there is a villain - in this case Pitch Black aka the Bogeyman (Law). Pitch wants to end the happiness created by the Immortal Guardians by stealing away the innocence of the children of the world and plunging them into a world of darkness and fear; a world without festive joy and sweet dreams.

Throw into the mix the wildcard, Jack Frost (Pine). The Man in the Moon, the omniscient creator of both the guardians and the Bogeyman, brings mischief-making sprite Frost into the equation as a fifth guardian, entrusted with aiding the Immortal Guardians in their quest to defend children's innocence.

Frost is, however, a reluctant hero that must battle his own personal demons to make amends for his selfish past.

The concepts behind the characters and plot are well known, but their delivery is so well executed that the film lifts itself beyond the mundane.

The six fairytale characters are reborn with originality, and played so superbly by the all-star cast that the film will appeal not only to children, but also to their guardians.

Jude Law, in particular, is superb as the Bogeyman, and really gets his teeth stuck into playing a slick villain. His languid Lewisham accent fits the bill to perfection.

The 3D is also excellent, adding another layer to an already very watchable effort from DreamWorks.

However, the ripples of laughter during the film, and the round of applause at the credits, from the many children who were present at the press screening, are the real indications that this film is a winner.

Tadhg Peavoy