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The film is amazing, I absolutely loved it, the 3D animation is spectacular, the voice acting is incredible and the music is mesmerizing! Trust me, this is one film that actually lived up to expectations, sure some parts were a bit forced but overall the film is fantastic. The film had a great message in it and a very frighting villain, The Pure Ones remind me of The Nazis and Ku Klux Klan. The animation and fight choreography was very impressive and I'm very happy they got actors like Hellen Mirren and Geoffry Rush to voice in the film! Ultimately you will come out of the film and feel the money has been well spent!
Within the Pixar Dominated, Slapstick Permeated, Cookie-Cutter animated
generation we currently live in, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of
Ga'Hoole, Directed by Zack Snyder ("300" & "Watchmen"), breaks this
pedestrian mold through its Captivating Visuals, Engaging 3D, and its
Lord of the Rings-like Odyssey.
Based on a series of books written by Kathryn Lasky, this mythological story centers on dreamer Soren (Jim Sturgess), a young owl enamored with stories of "The Guardians", a clan of warrior owls who hail from the Tree of Ga'Hoole, and protect the weak from an evil army called the Pure Ones. When Soren and his brother, Kludd (Ryan Kwanten), are kidnapped by these Pure Ones, the stories become reality. Soren escapes and hunts for the Guardians to save the owl kingdom from the Pure Ones, while Kludd slowly becomes one.
Legend of the Guardians is a milestone for animation and a 3D visual masterpiece. Under the direction of Snyder, Australian company Animal Logic (Creators of "Happy Feet" & special FX for "The Matrix" and "Lord of the Rings") have achieved something incredibly remarkable. The interaction of air and digital feathers work in a harmony that makes Avatar look like an old computer game. The landscapes are absolutely breathtaking, Monsoons are shimmering and talons glistening, this brings out the best in Snyder's heavily artistic directing style, and has adorned this movie with graceful battle scenes, beautifully blended with his signature slow motion shots at the perfect moments.
With its comparisons to films like "The Secret of NIMH", "Watership Down", "The Dark Crystal", with clear shades of "Star Wars", Guardians is not your run-of-the-mill animated movie with a fart joke every 10 seconds. The movie takes on a much more serious disposition which fits perfectly with its thematic flow. It is important to note, the film deals with issues such as courage, unity, loyalty, faith, sacrifice and betrayal tackled by Snyder with understated maturity. Though the story moves at a fairly quick pace, you will be immersed in what develops, as the writers did well to implement essentials to the storyline with comprehensible dialogue.
With that being said, Guardians is an engaging and relatively intense movie from start to finish. Thus, successfully separating our mindset of "Animated" and "Kid Friendly" being synonymous with each other. It is inspirational, breathtaking, humorous and educational with all the essentials of an all in all great story and movie. The kids and adults will both learn, while at the same time be visually enraptured by the animation's beauty. Don't be remotely surprised if you see sequels as it certainly has the legs to do so...or should I say wings (Note to self: Refrain from the bird puns..)
Is 2010 the Golden Year of CG-animated films? We already had TWO
excellent films, all computer animated and all family-friendly. "How To
Train Your Dragon" and especially "Toy Story 3" are stunning in terms
of quality and technicalities. Even "Despicable Me" had a heart. I'd
add another to that list: "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of
There will be complaints, like every other movie. Some will call the story unoriginal. Some'll say it's childish because it has talking animals. Some'll say it's stupid for the exact same reasons. I say, so what?! It's a family film, meaning there's something for both kids and those who are kids-at-heart! People go to the movies to be entertained, especially families, and with that this film delivers in spades.
First we have a superb, outstanding cast consisting of Australian/British actors of both the young and highest caliber. There's too many actors to say here, so I'll just say this: the voice acting is terrific. The owls speak in accents (for obvious reasons) making them sound as far and away from being "Hollywood-ized" as possible. There's depth, determination and heart to these characters. The villains of the film are really menacing, a feat considering that almost every character in the film are owls.
Story-wise, it's obviously unoriginal, but it is told very well. This is due to the animation, which is absolutely, spectacularly stunning. There is a great amount of detail in the film, especially on the owls, you can see every feather, every movement they make, every gust of wind that brushes that pass their feathers. Director Zack Snyder (finally using his talents for the kids) puts his signature style to terrific use here, using the "ramping" (frantic slowing down and speeding up repeatedly) technique from his "300" and "Watchmen" for the action sequences, that will make one forget he is watching an animated film, let alone a movie that has talking owls. It's absolutely breathtaking to see it in 2D alone, I watched it in 3D and had a hard time closing my stuck jaw afterwords!
The film looks and feels like it's a lost "Lord of the Rings" film. There's the armor, and the swords (talons), and then there's the big bad (Metal Beak) and the young hero (Soren) who is destined for greatness. It's set in a fantasy, far-away world where 3D is put to terrific use. Not since "Avatar" has 3D been used so efficiently and effectively that makes it an essential part of the story instead of being distracting and gimmicky. Likewise, the cinematography and the orchestral score is great and puts you into the film more. The owls look painstakingly well- rendered and they don't look too-clichéd-cartoony or too-frighteningly- realistic. It's just right. The only gripe I had with the film is the insertion of an Owl-City (because he's practically the most famous artist today with the word "Owl" in his name) song in the middle of the film which is distracting. But apart from that everything else was great.
In short, it's one of the best animated films of the year. It's the perfect movie to bring your family (and maybe friends as well) and enjoy. Have no worries, sit back, and enjoy the ride. And seeing it in 3D is a plus, no matter what anyone else says. The ending also hints at a sequel. Hope that's a possibility as Warner Bros. has a potential new family franchise at their hands. And I hope Snyder returns as well.
Overall value: 74/100
Right from seeing the trailer in June, I had extremely high hopes for
this movie. What drew me to this film was the animation quality and the
animals they used; owls. Thankfully, the trailer did not reveal too
many details about the story, I love going into a movie not knowing
what to expect.
As for the film itself, I found it to be an extremely captivating and magical experience, a similar experience that I had not felt since seeing Avatar in December of '09. The animation was beyond top notch as each audience member bare witness to the immense detail of the owls and the environment. Each feather on the owls and each rain drop and spec of dust from the environment was clearly visible in the film.
The cast chosen for the film couldn't have turned out better than it did. The overall voice acting was fabulous and wouldn't have wanted any other way. The perfect octaves, expressions and moods were used in each line. Straying back to the previous paragraph slightly; most animated movies leave most people guessing the actor who plays the voice of a given actor. I, however, did not do this in this film. I was simply too immersed into the film to really notice.
The music used in the movie was beautiful and majestic. Truly epic scores of musical composure added so much to the film. You can tell the music in a movie is great when you never truly notice it, not to say it doesn't deserve its recognition. I merely mean that if you notice the music in a movie, it simply stands out too much and becomes a distraction. So having not noticed the music, I simply mean that the music became one with the movie and the experience.
In the end, I left the theatre with a very familiar feeling that I had not felt since I was a child. The feeling of classic Disney storytelling. The feeling of a masterpiece in the making. Legend of the Guardians is truly an epic film with a very rich plot and brilliant characters
I never thought I would see a computer animated feature film with as
much attention to perfection as a Pixar film in my lifetime. This movie
was it. Just amazing!
Each frame a visual masterpiece. Movement choreographed like a perfect ballet. Unimaginable detail in each filament on the owl's feathers. Eyes glistening with soul. For gods sake even their irises dilating with their heartbeat!
The story was never dull for a moment. Its tempo kept gaining speed to the end hurling me to the edge of my seat.
If you don't see this in 3D you have missed out on an amazing experience. Enjoy :)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
LEGENDS OF THE GUARDIANS; THE OWLS OF GA'HOOLE with the voices of Jim
Sturgess, Emily Barclay, Ryan Kwanten, Hugo Weaving, Helen Mirren and
Geoffrey Rush, directed by Zack Snyder. Rating: 7/10.
ALTHOUGH lacking in humor and quite violent for a film aimed at youngsters, this visually dazzling 3D animated fantasy feature from director Zack Snyder ("300" and "Watchmen") has the epic sweep and feel of "Lord of the Rings".
Based on the first three books in Kathryn Lasky's bestselling series, "The Guardians of Ga'Hoole", Snyder's film revolves around Soren (voiced by Jim Sturgess), a young owl who has always been enchanted by his father's stories about the Guardians of Ga'Hoole - an heroic and mythical group of warriors who once fought to save the owl kingdom from the evil Pure Ones.
Soren dreams of one day joining the Guardians, but his jealous older brother, Kludd (Ryan Kwanten), has no such noble notions.
When Soren and Kludd's bickering causes them to fall out of their treetop home, the two are carried off by the Pure Ones and imprisoned at the St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls. Here, they face a grim future as either soldiers or slaves.
Kludd wants to be a soldier, but Soren and his new friend Gylfie (Emile Barclay) escape with the help of a guard named Grimble (Hugo Weaving) and set off on an arduous journey to the legendary city of Ga'Hoole, where the old warrior Ezylryb (Geoffrey Rush) will train Soren in the art of war.
"Legends of the Guardians" is a rather serious affair and Snyder - not surprisingly - brings a certain intensity to the many battle scenes which dominate the second half of the film and feature plenty of slow motion shots and much owl on owl violence. The movie is blessed with superb voice acting from Sturgess, Helen Mirren, Anthony LaPaglia, Weaving and, in particular, Geoffrey Rush, Of course, what really makes it work are the stunning visuals. The exciting flying scenes - reminiscent of those in "Avatar"- are quite breathtaking, and the shots of lush, dark forests and vast seascapes are equally sumptuous.
Perhaps it might be a little scary for tots under seven, But "Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" is first class family entertainment. The young audience I saw it with were spellbound from beginning to end, and applauded when it was over. The film looks marvelous in 3D, but I should imagine it looks pretty good in 2D as well. GA.
I suppose this is that movie that's a third generation retelling of an
older more established fantasy settings and hero's journey. Which seems
kind of like retreading dead waters at this point, but hey throw some
owls in there and you got something fresh enough to justify a ninety
some minute movie. While on the surface having a cast composed almost
essentially of all owls seems a bit silly, and to some degree it still
is, but the movie carries itself in the right tone. The fact that
they're owls never sticks out to a negative and the fantasy aspects of
the story kick and carry the weight of the plot nice and properly.
On reflection there's a few things to like about this little movie. The CG looks fantastic, the facial animations carry all the right emotions and don't even get me started on the feather as each one acts as they should wither their in the air or dancing through the rain all without diving strait into the uncanny valley. The voice work has some charm and believe it or not Hugo Weaving is not the villain in this movie, in fact he has two separate roles in a bizarre double casting. Helen Mirren has a nice mother/temptress run at things, and Jim Sturgess finds that sweet spot between being a naive dreamer and headstrong bravery. Furthermore the heavy handed emotional speeches that usually make my ears bleed just a bit actually have some proper reserve behind them, relying more on the power of the words more then the emotional act behind them. And I will say this, although in about twenty minutes of the movie you'll hear somewhere around fifteen fantasy words, one's that have no relevance to the real world, but the movie never makes the mistake of sticking around them long enough to where things just get dry and confusing. It's kicked from one reel to the next, which kind of works in its favor to some degree. You're never lost in this world and the plot advanced fast enough that your brain never has the time to throw up too many red flags and pull you right out of the story.
As far as negatives are concerned. The owls suffer from the same boring over dramatic dull most fantasy stories suffer from in terms of plot. In that everything boils down to the one righteous path or collective taking arms against the bullying radical one. Essentially when broken down the bad owls, the Pure Ones, really only seem to be into slavery, kidnapping and training child soldiers and for all other purposes ethnic genocide all aimed in the total commitment of just being evil bastards. There's no real balance of purpose for the Pure Ones. Furthermore on another note, you would think a pseudo fantasy heroes journey would be all about the journey. Where each step for the main character is filled with adventure and danger and perhaps even a lovely maiden or two along the way. But this never really settles into that sort of pattern, perhaps it because the owls have the advantage of flying over those pesky foot dwelling creatures normally put on camera, but our cast of heroes scale all the way to Mt Doom and back and only break a sweat when the plot demands it, which is about three times throughout the movie. Oh and although this is sort of a kids movie, the standard betrayal has no real emotional resonance because its handled more as a demand of the plot than a character turn not to mention if you don't see these things coming I must assume you are either a bit of a young ling or a recent victim of cranial intrusion.
In the end I'd equate this movie to something like The Dark Crystal or Dragon Heart. Those kind of over zealous fantasy pseudo epics that have more than a few open wounds but have enough charm to warrant a viewing. I'll admit I enjoyed myself. While there's not a whole lot of new thins brought to the table and I can't help but feel I'm missing out on more than a few things for not having looked into the source materials, what is there hits all the right notes for this kind of fantasy setting and there are a handful of nice idea's that even Tolken never got into well. In that there's a bit of subtext about the cost of heroism and how much it hurts to do the right thing even when its what needs to be done, and I quite liked those aspects. Although I would caution the more casual movie viewer as this movie asks you to buy into a fair amount of fantasy tropes and once again there are only five types of characters owls, a single snake, some crows and some bats and one ratty looking mole like thing.
One last thing, speaking from a 3D viewing perspective. It's actually well done here. The unique perspective give the aerial combat a nice visceral punch and the ever sprawling backgrounds look deep and distant giving the movie the feel of a huge sprawling world. So there is some value to the price jump between the 2D and 3D if your into that sort of thing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Legend of the Guardians: Owls of Ga'Hoole surprised me. I was expecting
a childish movie, but this in fact is for a much more mature audience.
Snyder stays in lieu of his previous films with his infamous slow
motion effect. The visual effects are absolutely dazzling, it nearly
looks real down to the feathers. The story centers around a young owl
named Soren (voiced by Jim Sturgess). Soren believes in these
"Guardians of Ga'Hoole, which are basically owls who fight against the
brainwashed soldiers of St. Aggie's. St. Aggies is an "orphanage" where
Soren and his brother Kludd (voiced by Ryan Kwanten)are kidnapped to
become workers. While there, he meets Gyflie, a much younger female owl
(voiced by Emily Barclay). The owls are "moonblinked" which is
basically when someone is brainwashed. Kludd, seeking to be brave,
joins St. Aggies and goes under the wing of Nyra (voiced by Helen
Mirren). Soren and Gyflie eventually escape, to contact The Guardians
to help them fight the owls at St. Aggies.
I thought it was good for the family, certainly, if you are a Snyder fan, then you may enjoy this. I have not read the books, but thoroughly enjoyed the movie. 8/10
This was absolutely fantastic.
The storyline, although portraying a certain adventure-y theme that we've seen in countless anims, is utterly fantastic. The awesome animations added with digital 3d only enhance the experience, with the slo-mo scenes and native music within those scenes furthering the experience.The amazing attention to detail just makes it better. You can see every droplet of rain, every particle of dust. Especially in the slo mo moments, it is just fantastic. I, myself, was utterly engrossed in the storyline. Although there was more violence than what i would have expected in a G rated movie (what can you expect from the guy that directed 300 xD) it still is a great movie, and i absolutely cant wait for the sequel(s?) that the movie hinted at towards the end. In my list of best animated movies of all time, this rockets up past avatar (thats like semi-animated) to my number one favorite movie of all time...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie should have been much much better than it turned out. The
books in my opinion are a very good read, thrilling, an excellent and
unique plot, and they are educational not just about history, but I
learned a great deal about owls and their anatomy and behavior. The
series is definitely not for young children, the books are quite
violent, but so is the history they learn in school. They are for more
mature readers, I read them when I was about 12.
The one major problem with this movie was that the plot was horrible. Right from the very beginning they ruined the movie, if they do make a sequel it will be horrible because they destroyed the accurate story from the start, so the rest will not match up at all. First of all, Kludd didn't fall out of the nest, he pushed Soren, and Kludd is MetalBeak. The Pure Ones and St. Aggie's are in no way affiliated in the first three books either. There are important characters that were left out as well, they are a vital part in the later books and now they don't exist. This will cause problems. Hortense is not even in the movie and she plays multiple huge roles later on. Twilight is depicted very oddly in the movie also. He never had a harp, and he was more ferocious and fearsome. His lyrics were more solemn and were meant to freeze the enemy in terror. And in the movie the crows didn't attack them, but aided them. There weren't any friendly crows in the movie, or a tribal hedgehog. The crows mobbed them in the books. There is many other little and also large things that are wrong in the movie, but these are the mostly obvious ones.
The graphics were marvelous, the amount of detail they put into this movie was fantastic. I just wish that the script writers or the director had actually taken the time to read the books so they could see how horribly they matched this with the actual plot. I expected so much of this film and they ruined it. They should have aimed it at teens and not children, this was a mature book series, and the movie should have been mature as well.
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