the owls have it

Posted on November 7, 2011

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I’ve been meaning to watch ‘The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole’ with the kids for a while. Mainly because it looked like a cracking good movie and a fair departure from the brightly coloured and happy-happy movies of pixar and the like. But I was also interested to see how Zack Snyder faired at creating a movie aimed at kids. The guy who gave us the wonderful ‘300’ and probably my favourite superhero movie ever – ‘Watchmen’, has done a stunning job here, creating one of the most [if not *the* most] beautiful animated movies i have ever seen. honestly. At times I seriously had flashbacks to Lord of the Rings, it creates such atmosphere.
Two young brother owls called Soren and Kludd are kidnapped by an army of evil owls that refer to themselves as the Pure Ones, and their leader, Metalbeak. These guys are snatching young owls who are then either forced into slavery or brainwashed into becoming soldiers. Kludd is taken in by this and willingly submits, but Soren escapes with another kidnapped owl. Together, they set off to find the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, mythical owls who have pledged to protect the weak and prevent the evil Pure Ones from taking over.
The story may be very familiar, but Snyder infuses it with buckets of heart and style. Unlike most animated movies this one is aimed at a slightly older crowd, although our youngest who is 7 really enjoyed it and found it to be very exciting. As a result of being aimed at a slightly more mature audience it ventures into darker places such as loyalty, death, mortality and the consequences of war. As you’d expect with Snyder being in the director’s chair, the battle scenes are exciting and very stylish. The animation team have done a magnificent job of bringing the owls to life. They haven’t gone for hyper-realism, but kept them looking like animated owls but the facial expressions used and the complicated distinguishing movements and characteristics of the owls are incredibly well done. Everything from the intricate armour they wear to the burning forests and the rolling storms and oceans is uniquely visualised. Although I have to admit that even I was a little confused about who was who once the metal helmets were being worn.
The voice actors are superb, but then when you have the likes of Helen Mirren, Geoffrey Rush and Hugo Weaving delivering the lines it’s hard not to be impressed. Legend of the Guardians is without doubt a superior piece of family entertainment. Go rent, buy or borrow.

It’s always great to see good triumphing over evil.
I think we love it so much because it resonates with how we know the world should be. That the good in the world should be doing all they can to vanquish the evil in the world… because that’s the way it’s supposed to be!

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