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Movie ReviewsRating: 3 of 5 yaps

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

You’re not likely to find a more gorgeous film this year than the awkwardly-titled “Legend of the Guardian: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.”

It’s the story that’s a mess.

The narrative centers around warrior owls who wear helmets and metal claws on their talons. There apparently are two different groups: the Pure Ones, who I assume are pure of breed and not of heart, considering they’re the ruthless villains who enslave baby owls (I mean, who does that?).

Their mostly cold-war counterparts are the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, who are the good guys who do great things, and that’s about all we know about them.

The star of the film is Soren (Jim Sturgess), a young owl who is captured and enslaved by the Pure Ones. He escapes to Ga’Hoole and the Guardians, and a war ensues.

There’s more to it…a lot more. But it was honestly I’m not sure exactly what because things moved so quickly, introducing new characters or plot points, or both. At one point one character betrays others (and is named as such). but it takes at least 3 full minutes before you know who, when you see them with the villains.

Again, the film is a visual delight, with beautifully rendered characters and background with vivid 3D explosions of orange and brown and soft, supple feathers and fur flying.

The voice work is frankly anonymous, with actors like Helen Mirren, Hugo Weaving, and Ryan Kwanten of “True Blood,” none of whom stand out among the others.

Director Zack Snyder is known for kinetic, ultra-violent films like the “Dawn of the Dead” remake, “300″ and “Watchmen,” and there are flashes of that here with his signature visual style and battle sequences that cut away before the gore. Snyder employs his signature slo-mo shots emphasizing impact, and while it’s a little distracting it also is at times necessary to decipher what’s happening.

The film is based on the book series “The Guardians of Ga’Hoole,” and I’m guessing the studio dumped that title for fear of not knowing owls were the main characters.

You get the feeling watching this film that there is supposed to be more, and rather than retool the script, they simply started chopping. There’s little to no sense of cohesion or logical progression of the story, but there’s a whole lot of flying in storms, owl-on-owl violence, and doe-eyed birds waiting to be saved.

It’s a shame, because there was an epic hidden in there somewhere. It just got lost at sea.

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12 Responses to “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole”

  1. [...] “Sucker Punch” (March 25) — After a baffling diversion into animated owls, director Zack Snyder (“300″) offers up this steampunk fantasia about an [...]

  2. Andrea Chapman says:

    This movie definitely had some of the best 3D effects that I have ever seen. Very refreshing since, it seems, so many movies are calling themselves 3D with no apparent effects to back it up (yes, I am talking about you The Last Airbender). The story was a little slow at times and I could see where it might be a little violent for children under 8 but I took my 11-year nephew and he loved it. It is exactly what it is supposed to be, a feel-good animated movie that makes for a nice way to spend an evening with the added bonus of great graphics and effects. I would certainly recommend.

  3. Kristie Shaw says:

    I am so glad to have read this review. It is on my list of movies to take my three littles to but after reading the review and subsequent comments I think I’ll choose something else….

  4. Carl Cederlund says:

    I did not think the "progression" of the film was all that bad. Some fight seens I could not tell who was who. A little violent for young children.

  5. Andi Watson says:

    I left the theater liking this movie – but I do tend to agree with this review. It was a good story as it was, but it did feel like there was too much story for the time they had to present it. I also felt like some of the characters (the brother) were just tacked on to the story to give some form of cheap & easy drama. I did love the almost direct reference to the awards ceremony in Star Wars at the end, although I’m sure they didn’t mean it that way. :)

  6. Brandy Bell says:

    The best part was the owls flying in the snow storm. Picturesque!!!! But my 5 year old (who is difficult to scare) jumped on my lap at the frst sight of the owls with steel masks. Not suitable for kids.

  7. I loved the graphics of the movie. One of the better 3-D I have seen, but I agree that it is not for the young children. A little too graphic and scary for them to handle. Older kids did fine in the audience.
    Thanks for letting us see this in the preview!

  8. Matt Jones says:

    I’d go beyond just saying this is a good looking movie. This is visually the best movie I believe I’ve ever seen.

    But I still agree that the story itself has many, many problems.

  9. Matt Christensen says:

    I agree; beautiful movie but total mess of a story. Always unfortunate when good movies get maimed by a bad script.

  10. Hollie says:

    The scenery and owls in this movie were beautiful, but the movie itself was confusing and very boring at times. They movie was too dark, and my kids were quite uninterested after about 30 minutes.

  11. Jerry says:

    Gorgeous film with a story line that falls a bit short. I left wanting something more.

  12. Debi Hamm says:

    I loved the movie Legened of the Guardians.It was beautiful and it was so real. the only thing I could see that was a negative that some children were scared. I think it was more for adults. such as watership down. Thank for the oportunity to see movies in this way.