Following his visually stunning films “300” and “Watchmen,” director Zack Snyder enters into a new arena with “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.” Based on a the popular series of children’s novels, “Guardians of Ga’Hool,” the film captures the visual style that we have come to know and love from Snyder, while producing some of the 3D best animation seen on to date.
Soren (Jim Sturgess) and Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) are two young owls, with very different personalities. Soren is a dreamer who loves to retell the epic stories of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, that he learned from his father (Hugo Weaving). The Guardians are legendary warriors who fight against an evil group of owls known as the Pure Ones. While Soren’s imagination helps him to excel in hunting and soaring at an early age, Kludd lacks the skills and talents of his younger brother. This leads to a moment of jealously that forces both owls from the safety of their tree. The two fall right into the talons of the Pure Ones, and are taken far from their home to be enslaved by the evil rule of Metalbeak (Joel Edgerton). There they meet other kidnapped owls, whom were all taken against their will. Soren knows that their only hope is to escape to the Great Tree, where the legends tell that the Guardians of Ga’Hoole live. But Kludd doesn’t share the same fantasy, and is brainwashed into thinking that the Pure Ones care more about him than his family ever did.
The journey that the young owls involuntarily partake in is fairly epic for what it is. There aren’t many stories about owls, nonetheless talking warrior owls. But the film pulls it off seamlessly, as you really start to care about the characters. Jim Sturgess does a great job voicing Soren, really portraying a full range of emotions as the young owl realizes his potential. Along his journey to reach the Guardians, Soren has the help of a couple of unlikely heroes. Twilight (Anthony LaPaglia), a poetic songwriter, and Digger (David Wenham) – an overall goofball – provide much of the comedic relief throughout the story. Nyra, voiced by Helen Mirren, is second in command to Metalbeak, and plays a great bad-guy.
The film is visually stunning in all of it’s non-intrusive 3D glory. Even at times when the movie slows down, the impressive visuals are a treat to stare at. Throughout the film, Snyder leaves his recognizable touch on scenes that are reminiscent of his previous films. It is pretty neat to watch 3D owls fight one another in slow motion battle. The amount of detail in every scene, from the individual feathers on every owl to tiny drops of water are breathtaking. The lighting of the film is very realistic, and even the darker scenes aren’t difficult to see like many other 3D features.
In the end, “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” is a fun movie that is easy on the eyes. Seeing it in 3D is a bonus, as the visuals are truly impressive. The film definitely stands on it’s own, without having to have read any of the novels in advance. For the younger crowd, there are times where it might get a little boring, but luckily there is enough humor and action to keep things interesting.
“Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” is a B.