Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is Zack Snyder‘s first animated movie based on Kathryn Lasky‘s novels and stars the voices of Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Helen Mirren, Geoffrey Rush, Sam Neill, David Wenham, Anthony LaPaglia, Abbie Cornish and Ryan Kwanten.
Soren (Jim Sturgess) and his brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) are two owls almost ready to leave their nests. Inspired by their attempts to fly, they want to practice more after their parents left for the nightly hunt and promptly fall down the tree. Before they can figure out a way back up, they are snatched up by two owls who bring them to the “True Bloods”*, a group of basically Nazi Owls who abduct young owls to build an army and to harvest something they call flecks; metal flakes that seem to have a magical (and very adverse) effect on owls. While Kludd embraces the True Bloods’ ideology, Soren makes a desperate attempt to find the legendary Guardians of Ga’Hoole: warrior owls sworn to protect other owls.
The movie has a good plot and nice, if a little stereotypical characters (nothing too bad). But most of all, it’s visually absolutely stunning. Here’s a movie that’s actually worth to see in 3D.
I like Zack Snyder’s directing. I like his slow-motion moments (and I know that some people hate them with the fiery passion of a thousand suns, but I don’t get it), especially when they’re done as beautifully as here.
And the animation is certainly incredible. I mean, it’s drenched in kitsch, with sunsets and fog and colours, but it’s beautiful to look at. I had to consciously close my mouth a couple of times.
[Before the film, there was a Wiley Coyote short, which looked really good as well but still suffered from being a Wiley Coyote movie. Can we please bury that trope?]
The voice-acting was good, too. The characters were a little bland sometimes, but more often than not the actors made up for that.
The story was predictable, but nice nevertheless. I mean, there was no great insight into life, the universe and everything but a story about honor and doing right and family always pulls the right (heart) strings.
Definitely the weakest point of the film was the soundtrack, though. It felt incredibly manipulative. And I’m aware that all soundtracks are manipulative to a certain extent but when I feel coerced to feel a certain way by a piece of melodramatic music, it’s being done wrong.
Summarising: See it. You might want to bring your own soundtrack, though.
*Is it just me or did amuse anybody else that Ryan Kwanten would play a character desperate to become a True Blood?