Quite a title for a film. I think I may have left out a few O’s, though.
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is an animated film from the same studio that brought us Happy Feet and the director that brought us Watchmen and 300…Wait what?
So Zack Snyder is the director at question here. The man makes 2 solid films with a strict R-rating and then brings the world his family oriented film. Surprise is: it’s actually pretty damn good.
LotG finds its’ hero in the young owl, Soren (the always captivating Jim Sturgess), who has spent his life listening to his father tell stories of a group of owl warriors who fought for justice and peace: The Guardians. Sorens’ brother, Kludd (Ryan Kwanten from True Blood. Don’t worry, I had to look it up), is a skeptic to these stories. If the guardians existed, they’d be helping owl-society survive in an otherwise fear-driven world. When abducted by The Pure Ones (Evil owls), Soren attempts to escape while Kludd finds a new family in the form of the evil Nyra (Helen Mirren).
Once free of the dark forces of Owldom (Yep, get used to these), Soren bands together with a rag-tag group of unlikely heroes to find the Guardians and warn them of Nyra and her truly diabolical love-interest, the nefarious Metalbeak (Joel Edgerton).
In a world of family movies about talking animals (Alpha and Omega, Open Season and even Furry Vengeance***), Legend of the Guardians is definitely the stand-out hero. While the tag-line reads “The Studio That Brought You Happy Feet“, that phrase doesn’t just cash in on how good the film looks (Although it’s absolutely jaw-dropping at times). The feel of this film is very similar to its’ penguin predecessor. The unlikely hero follows his dream much to the disapproval of family members and saves his owl hombres…Owlmbres? Happy Feet was indeed a touching film that brought families together and I see no change in Legend of the Guardians.
That’s not to say it has some dark spots. At the core, LotG is a family film. But a deeper look says a little more. These owls are warriors. That means sharp weapons used in battle, folks. Animals are killed left and right (losing that PETA support). The deaths are done tastefully, of course and never seem completely out of place. Regardless, death is a major part of this film. The first 30 minutes plays out as a tragedy, with Soren losing sight of his family, Kludd going rogue and Sorens’ beliefs being tossed around as fables. But once he finds his way out of The Pure Ones headquarters, the tone of the film changes to a lighter side of story telling. This is greatly contributed by great characters and incredible voice acting.
The CGI graphics here take the cake on animated films as of late. Most of the scenery is breath-taking, as is the flying sequences. The scene of flight during rain is something of true art, thanks to the signature slowed-down nature of director Zack Snyder. Make no mistake, you’ll find no better looking animated film this year outside of Disney/Pixar.
Now to my main concern of the film:
I’m not exactly sure who in this production thought of the bright idea, but I want them fired immediately. LotG is a film about owls, so naturally let’s bring in an artist who knows all about these creatures: Adam Young AKA Owl City. Are you kidding me, Warner Brothers? Owl City plays power-pop music using only keyboards. The music throughout the film is orchestral and plays the film as a fantasy adventure with serious tones. So OBVIOUSLY they should add a training montage’ featuring a brand new track from Owl City. Aside from my hate of this “band”, the song doesn’t fit to the mood of the story. What could have been a interesting (Hilarious) way to incorporate “Hearts On Fire” is instead met with a terribly misplaced 2 minutes of story.
More like Owl Shitty.
You can’t go wrong with Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole and once again, Zack Snyder proves that his directorial trademark may be overused but is used for the exact moments that call for it. Terrific voice work, drool-inducing graphics and a stellar cast keep this film flying high (Last one, I promise).
*** Furry Vengeance is the worst thing to happen to cinema.