Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (2010)

22 October 2010

synopsis
expand

Acclaimed filmmaker Zack Snyder makes his animation debut with the fantasy family adventure “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” based on the beloved Guardians of Ga’Hoole books by Kathryn Lasky.  The film follows Soren, a young owl enthralled by his father’s epic stories of the Guardians of Ga’ Hoole, a mythic band of winged warriors who had fought a great battle to save all of owlkind from the evil Pure Ones. 

While Soren dreams of someday joining his heroes, his older brother, Kludd, scoffs at the notion, and yearns to hunt, fly and steal his father’s favor from his younger sibling. But Kludd’s jealousy has terrible consequences—causing both owlets to fall from their treetop home and right into the talons of the Pure Ones. Now it is up to Soren to make a daring escape with the help of other brave young owls.  Together they soar across the sea and through the mist to find the Great Tree, home of the legendary Guardians—Soren’s only hope of defeating the Pure Ones and saving the owl kingdoms.

The film features the voices of Emily Barclay, Abbie Cornish, Emilie de Ravin, Ryan Kwanten, Miriam Margolyes, Helen Mirren, Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving and David Wenham.  Snyder is directing “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” from a screenplay by Emil Stern and John Orloff, based on the Guardians of Ga’Hoole novels by Kathryn Lasky.  The film is being produced by Zareh Nalbandian, with Donald De Line, Deborah Snyder, Lionel Wigram, Chris DeFaria, Kathryn Lasky and Bruce Berman serving as executive producers.

Warner Bros. Pictures is presenting the film, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures. Opening in theatres and IMAX starting September 24, 2010, “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” will be presented in 3D and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.

advertisement
expand
photographs
expand
fan ratings
expand

  No-one has rated this movie yet - be the first! You must be logged in to rate a movie.

our review
expand

"It’s an intriguing story and one that sparks some initial interest"

CGI is more impressive these days than it ever has been.  With an army of animators you can render everything from fur to water realistically down to each hair or droplet.  Legend Of The Guardians looks very slick - all of its owls’ feathers ripple with air currents and the flame and water effects are mesmerising but all these things don’t go half way to making up for a plot which is as pedestrian and hackneyed as every worn-out fantasy cliché.

The story sees two barn owns, Soren (Jim Sturgess) and his brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) who are just learning to fly. Soren is obsessed with tall tales that his dad’s been telling them since childhood – of armoured Guardians and their leader Lyze Of Kiel who fought off all threats to the owl empire of Ga’hoole.   While branching one day, the boys scuffle and fall to the ground only to be carried away by a raiding party of long-eared owls.

Forced into captivity and slavery at the hands of the Pure Ones, evil owls who believe that might is right,  Soren and his companions escape and go off in search of The Guardians, great defenders rumoured to live far across the Great Ocean.  But will they be enough to stop the Pure Ones’ plan and their super-weapon, The Flex?

It’s an intriguing story and one that sparks some initial interest but the pacing is so frustratingly off the mark, that it’s hard to get into.  As it’s a kids’ film it needs to be snappy but the Great Ocean that is so often remarked upon as being impassable is traversed in the blink of an eye.  New characters are introduced and dispensed with so quickly, it’s hard to keep track of them, much less develop any attachment to them and the ones that do stick around are so mundane that it’s hard to really care. 

There are plenty of action scenes – owls donning armour and razor-sharp blade attachments to their talons lead to some promising fight scenes but director Zack Snyder ruins it all by using his trademark slow-mo button so often that the whole thing feels extremely silly and ripe for parody.  It’s also chock full of questionable plot holes – exactly what is this avian super-weapon and what does it do?  It’s never explained and consequently a palpable sense of danger is completely absent.  How exactly do owls forge armour? – Do they dive-bomb red-hot bit of metal with their faces?

Legend Of The Guardians is so marinated in clichés – the inevitable clash of brothers, the five man band, the climactic standoffs between old rivals – that the film may as well be a tick list of tropes.   All this makes the film familiar and predictable, and despite the impressive visual style, is actually rather dull and has absolutely no substance to back it up.

poster
expand
poster
buy poster
film information
expand
video media
expand