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

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Breathtakingly beautiful
TheLittleSongbird15 November 2012
I have loved animation for as long as I can remember, as far as when I was 2 when I saw The Lion King in the cinema. Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole is not one of my favourite animated movies, but it is a long way from the worst. I've not read the books, so I cannot say how good Legend of the Guardians is as an adaptation. But I will judge it on its own terms, as it does deserve to be. I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Sure the dialogue is stilted and sometimes verges on ridiculous with the profound talking about gizzards. At times also, while never dull, not too preachy(even with the death, slavery and indoctrination) and well-meaning, as well as maintaining a serious tone despite some of the writing, the story is rather formulaic and rushed in how it is told. On the plus side, it is really one of the most visually beautiful films I have ever seen, the owls are beautifully modelled, but the landscapes, the camera angles, colours and the flying in the storm scene are just breathtaking to watch. Every bit as impressive is the score, which is really stirring stuff and fits perfectly with the visuals and the goings on in the story. The characters are engaging also especially Soren, who you identify with every step of the way, and the voice cast with the likes of Jim Sturgess, Helen Mirren, Hugo Weaving, Geoffrey Rush, Sam Neill, Miriam Margoyles and Anthony LaPaglia are superb. All in all, even with its faults Legend of the Guardians is a breathtakingly beautiful film. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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Terrific family entertainment; yet another CG-animated gem of 2010
dvc515925 September 2010
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 Ga'Hoole".

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
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Owling at the Moon.
dunmore_ego8 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA'HOOLE is epic and poignant and majestic and cute in all the right owly ways.

Young forest owl Soren (voice of Jim Sturgess) is a dreamer, infatuated with mythical tales of the Guardians - ancient owls who defend owly honor throughout the land. His older brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) poo-poos Soren wearing makeshift leaf helmets and reenacting Guardian legends (equivalent to us kids tying towels around our necks and fantasizing we are Superman), while Soren's father Noctus (Hugo Weaving) encourages Soren to dream big. (Weaving's voice is so distinctive as Agent Smith from THE MATRIX that we're constantly expecting him to drop an accidental, serpentine "Mr. Anderson.")

Soren and brother Kludd are kidnapped by mountain owls led by the fearsome Metalbeak (Joel Edgerton). Like every great villain, Metalbeak wants to rule all of owldom for no apparent reason. In the grand tradition of being evil and rebranding yourself as something beneficial (Republicans' rebranding of the rich as "job-creators" comes to mind), Metalbeak's villainous owls are called The Pure Ones. (This also conjures the Republican-based Tea Party "tests for purity.")

At the Pure Ones' wrought-iron mountain aerie, owlets like Soren are brainwashed by being forced to stare at the Moon, being overcome by a blank stare called "moonblink" and subjected to slave labor, collecting mystical blue pellets hoarded by bats for some buzzing energy source cauldron. Soren and a cute dwarf owl, Gylfie (Emily Barclay) escape the clutches of the Pure Ones, ally with a couple of other owl characters (and a snake!), and must fly across a vast ocean to warn the actual Guardians of Ga'Hoole of Metalbeak's plot.

This Australian CG cartoon (where all the accents are amusingly DownUnda) is lifted from the series of books by Kathryn Lasky, and directed by Zack Snyder, using the same filmic techniques he used in his poetically violent 300: during battle scenes, the shink of steel augmenting talons, the clash of claw on flesh; fearsome slaughter crashed with sudden slomo and balletic arcs. Let's face it: if it was all in real time, 'twould be nought but a flurry of feathers.

The animation is startling, with jaw-dropping attention to detail, especially in the avian faces that boldly display the palette of human emotion. (These blips are literally better actors than Rob Schneider, Will Ferrell, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez, Keanu Reeves, and anyone in any given George Romero film). We are so used to seeing smooth people and surroundings (PLANET 51, DESPICABLE ME) that GA'HOOLE is a welcome sensory overload of feathers, forest and flying; wings making shadows through smoke in the sunlight; exhilarating flight, transporting us with every camera swoop to the freedom of the skies; striking battle scenes in three dimensions - by that I mean, air battle like dogfighting feathered Spitfires, not putting on 3D glasses. Diametrically opposite to a CG cartoon like CARS, with its clinical steel and sleek sterility, these animals of GA'HOOLE breathe with an organic, fluttering life force.

Another plus is that the story is not preachy. Besides the passé "follow your dreams" trope, there is avarice (Metalbeak), caution (a legendary hero owl hides within the community in plain sight), betrayal (Kludd - like Edmund in Narnia - betrays his brother Soren), and loyalty (Soren fights for his family and baby sister Eglantine). GA'HOOLE doesn't send any stupid messages to kids via talking animals.

Sam Neill voices the regal Allomere, David Wenham is a frisky little Digger owl, Anthony LaPaglia voices the artiste Twilight (who plays the lute!), Geoffrey Rush is the Guardian Lyze of Kiel, and Helen Mirren is the Pure One headmistress.

The payoffs are mighty, because - as in all these stories of legendary heroes - the legends are REAL, and Our Young Hero stakes a place for himself among the legends with a final battle that makes the feathers rise on your neck and arms. The Zack Snyder battle slomo helps, backlit by raging inferno and orgiastic orchestra - oh, rapturous raptor!

I am just left to wonder: How did the owls create all these beaten iron structures without opposable thumbs?
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A magical experience!
fleury2429 September 2010
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
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This visually dazzling 3D animated fantasy feature from director Zack Snyder has the epic sweep and feel of "Lord of the Rings".
JeffersonCody21 September 2010
Warning: 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.
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You can tell it's a Snyder film...
TheNotChosenOne25 September 2010
Warning: 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
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Legend of the Guardians: A Surprising Diamond In The Rough!
fieldsofgrass41926 September 2010
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..)
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The best looking CGI so far.
Animany9419 December 2018
The looks of this feature was the absolute highlight of Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole and so far the pinnacle of what CGI can do which is rare praise from me, because I rarely get such feelings by watching computer animation.

That's is both a blessing and a curse, because the story is a little messy and the characters are a mixed bag. Soren and Kludd are young owls about to learn to fly, but accidentally fall out of their nest and are captured by other owls to be slaves. From there on they go through many things with different consequences. While that's going on many new characters are introduced, and that's where they sacrifice quality in exchange of quantity. Some characters are annoying one-note comic reliefs (don't remember their names) and were not serving much of to the story.

BUT the saving grace was the villains! Oh god they were intimidating! If Disney's Maleficent and Frollo had a child, that would be them! Every time they're on screen I got the chills! Enslaving other owls because they view themselves as superior!

Even if it has a story with flaws and a mixed bag of main characters, I can without a doubt tell that this is the best looking animated movie to be released in a long time and set the bar unbelievably high for the rest of the 2010's. Don't know if a better looking movie has turned up considering the fact that we're currently at the end of 2018, but this is a tough one to beat.
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I'm sad that this movie is not in the top 100 IMDb all time greats
g_ovidiuro3 November 2014
This movie hit every spot that it was supposed to hit. And I'm not exaggerating ... I can't believe that Guardians of the galaxy is in top 250 IMDb and this movie is not. Toy Story, for god's sake, is in that top and a lot other movies that i would consider crap compared to this one are in there... Don't get me wrong i believe all of those movies deserve a good rating but 7 for this movie is stupid... it's like giving 7 to a really good brownie and 9 to an onion. It just doesn't make sense. Anyways see this movie because is one of the BEST family or otherwise INSPIRATIONAL movies EVER . This is my first review and it's not even a review it's a rant against stupidity (the rent is to damn high :)))
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Story's Not Quite Up to the Standard of the Stunningly Gorgeous Visuals
RichardSRussell-124 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (1:37, PG, Imax, 3-D) — other: talking animals, 2nd string, original

This is just a gorgeous movie. The attention to detail is incredible. By comparison, last week's animated talking-animal flick, Alpha and Omega, looks like a 2nd grader's crayon scribblings.

It also uses 3-D to best effect — not with stuff poking out of the screen at you (which I always thot took me OUT of the story by forcefully reminding me that I was in a theater), but rather with super close-ups, depth of field, and taking full advantage of our real 3rd dimension, the vertical, in the many scenes of flying and soaring. (I still quibble over the use of dissolves instead of cuts, however, because they always produce some disorientation as the focus shifts unnaturally.)

Earlier this year we saw the delightful How To Train Your Dragon, and its pedigree was unmistakable: It was from the same artistic team that gave us Lilo & Stitch. Same deal here: The beaks, feathers, eyes, lip flaps, etc. of the owls trace their lineage straight back to the penguins of Happy Feet, except that here they're even better. Credit the animators at Animal Logic for the superb work.

Like Dragon, with its wide variety of dragons, Owls shows many different sizes, shapes, and colors of owls. Unfortunately, this wasn't of sufficient help in the action scenes. As in the Transformers movies, it's difficult to keep track of who's who, as there's a continuous blur of feathers, beaks, and claws. The pacing is also odd. For a bit there's a flurry too fast for the eye to follow, then everything goes into extra slo-mo, then it's back to kaleidoscope time, and so on. I'm sure that the filmmakers who invested several years of their lives with these characters had no trouble figuring out what was going on, but it didn't work so well for those of us just meeting them for the 1st time.

The story doesn't go much beyond a standard hero's quest. We open with sibling rivalry between owlets Soren (Jim Sturgess) and Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) as both are trying their wings for the 1st time; it doesn't begin well. Soren meets with some limited success and helpfully tries to show his brother what worked, but Kludd is resentful and thinks Soren is just trying to 1-up him. Later that night, as the folks are out hunting, they sneak out of the nest for a little additional touch-and-go practice, but they get tangled up and fall to the ground, where they are snatched up by much larger adult owls who basically kidnap them and carry them off to a forced-labor camp euphemistically called Saint Aegolius Academy.

Here we get a substantial departure from a quasi-realistic nature movie. The rulers of St. Aggie's, who style themselves The Pure Ones, are plotting a fascist takeover of owldom, and they have torches, metal-working skills, and access to some mysterious force that arises from their collection of tiny bits of metal that get upchucked in owl pellets. They have also discovered that they can blank the brains of their captives if they can make them stare upward all night long, so they get "moonblinked".

This doesn't work with the liberty-loving Soren, nor on the tiny Gylfie (Emile Barclay), whom he literally takes under his wing all night long. In the morning they feign complicity with their overseers, but soon they're in a position to escape and seek help from the legendary Guardians (maddeningly pronounced "goddians" by the all-Aussie cast) who live across the sea in the great Tree of Ga'Hoole. Kludd, however, is beguiled by promises of power and glory and throws in his lot with The Pure Ones.

And so the quest is well begun. Before it's over, there will be acts of heroism, stupidity, betrayal, arrogance, nobility, and sacrifice. While no blood is visibly shed, thus preserving the PG rating, there's a lot of fighting with sharpened claws (often augmented with metal blades), and all involved take everything pretty seriously. Since a lot of the action occurs at night (owls being nocturnal, y'know), it's also dark physically as well as psychically. If you're thinking about taking the kidlets to see iy, it'll probably be OK if they're able to handle the original "Hansel and Gretel", "Snow White", and Bambi's mom getting shot.

A 3-minute Road Runner cartoon, "Fur of Flying", precedes the feature. It too is in 3-D but nowhere near as lushly animated; otherwise it's your standard Warner Bros. treatment of the ever hopeful and resilient Wile E. Coyote.
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Very Impressive Animation
claudio_carvalho19 March 2011
The owl Noctus never gets tired to tell the epic stories of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole to his young barn owlets Kludd, the dreamer Soren and their younger sister Eglantine. Soren and Eglantine delight with the narrative, but the jealous Kludd gets bored and upset with the tales of the protectors of the Kingdom of Ga'Hoole. One day, Soren and Kludd fall out of their nest while learning to fly alone and they are kidnapped by evil owls to work for Metalbeak and Nyra. The owlets are divided in soldiers or hard workers in the Pelletorium collecting owl pellets to extract a fleck to generate a magnetic field. Soren befriends the elf owl Gylfie and they learn that the owlets are "moon-blinked" by the moon while sleeping and awake brainwashed, working like blinded zombies. They resist and sooner Gylfie's captor Grimble teaches them how to fly and meet the Guardians of Ga'Hoole to fight against Metalbeak and Nyra and the evil army of The Pure Ones.

"Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" is a very impressive animation. The story is only reasonable, with the eternal conflict between good and evil inspired in the Nazis in a scenario that recalls Avatar. However, the awesome quality of CGI and the voices (Eglantine is delightful) deserved a better story. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "A Lenda dos Guardiões" ("The Legend of the Guardians")
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Could Have Been More
griffolyon121 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The Legend of the Guardians is a kid's adventure movie that has plenty of action, but never soars. The movie is the story of a young owl named Sorin who dreams of someday becoming one of the mythical Guardians of Ga'Hoole (the owl protectors for all owl kingdom), but when Sorin and his brother are kidnapped by the evil owl clan, The Pure Ones, who vow to take over all of owldom, Sorin must fly out to discover the ancient Guardians in order to save owls the world over. It's a straightforward story utilizing Joseph Cambell's "Hero's Journey," but unlike Star Wars, the potential is never reached. Director Zack Snyder does a marvelous job with the action sequences, and the whole movie is one of the most visually striking pieces of cinema this year, but the story is just too simple. The story is sort of like it's still stuck in outline form, following bulletpoints rather than it feeling as if the story has a natural ebb-and-flow. Snyder never takes the time to drink in the fantastical imagery spun by his animators, and the same goes for the characters. Time is never taken to explore these wonderful characters in greater detail, where as these characters probably leapt off the page in the novel by Kathryn Lasky, and had that time been taken it could have added some much needed emotional connection. It's simple to say, had there been more meat to this than just the bare bones 90 minutes, but alas, this is a movie that could have soared up into the clouds, but settles to fall flat.

I give The Legend of the Guardians a 5 out of 10!
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One Legend coming up!
yersifanel13 October 2010
I love this movie. It might not be 100% accord to the books but that doesn't matter, the movie is fantastic, now if you liked the movie, go ahead and read the books, you won't be disappointed.

If you young children are easy impressive, you might not like them asking you "but why is the pretty bird doing those bad things?" and stuff like that, just imagine an epic movie, you know: knights, kings, queens and battles, but for children and adults alike, it depends on how much your kids know about epic stories and the implications of war.

The visual designs are awesome and the music is beautiful, it is a great story.
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A Remarkable Achievement
eisenstein-mike3 October 2010
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 :)
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Too simple of a story but visually superb
educallejero16 July 2020
The story and characters are a bit too thin. The common story of good vs. evil, with two brothers chosing the different paths of light and darkness. The fight between faith in friendship and love vs. the seek of power for the power itself.

But the movie gets a bit in the middle of everything. Not charming enough to be a movie for kids, a bit too childish to be a movie for older audiences excusively. A bit dry for kids, probably, and not enough for adults, probably.

Still, it's enjoyable and visually special, without musicals, but visually superior. It works, but its not memorable.
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Let your imagination fly...
ruink25 September 2010
Legend of the Guardians is director Zack Snyder's first attempt at a completely CGI and children's film while his other credits are all hard "R" films. So does the king of slow-mo succeed?

The quick answer is yes. Guardian's is a film that takes the liberties 3D and photo realistic CGI have to offer, like Avatar, to make a world and characters larger (or smaller) than life to let your mind be soothed into something beautiful, mystical, and most importantly, entertaining.

The story takes the classic yet reliable fable of good versus evil. To put it simply, an army of Evil owls who have obvious horrid intentions of ruling the Owl Kingdom must be stopped against all odds. The only creatures powerful and wise enough to defeat the army are the legendary Guardians of Gahoole.

The film follows main owlet Soran, voiced heroically by Jim Sturgess. Soran is kidnapped by the army of the Evil Owls. After being exposed to the armies wrong doings, Soran knows the only hope in defeating the baddies are to warn the Guardians. From there, the film takes flight into an epic adventure of action, companionship, and beauty.

Guardians is a rare treat in computer animated cinema. While Pixar is always reliable, Guardians is a very different film that strives to be an epic while appealing to a mass audience and succeeds in doing so. From the fantastic action scenes, to the articulate directing, spectacular animation, smart 3D, and top notch voice acting, Guardians is a film that will leave you mesmerized days after it's viewing.
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Familiar and rushed, but enjoyable and fun.
N_Guerra_R25 September 2010
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.
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This is a Visual Masterpiece starring owls!
amarjunchu14 December 2017
The visual quality and attention to detail is just breath taking. The world that this movie takes you to is also very intriguing and believable even if you are not into owls that much. The story is told like a classic epic which is pretty good especially when combined with its extra ordinary visuals. The only problem I had was from my side and it was not being able to see this in glorious 3D because the attention to detail would have just shined through and through. So if you can help it please just watch in 3D.
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Gorgeous animation but overstuffed plot messy
SnoopyStyle24 May 2014
Young owl Soren gets pushed off the branch by his jealous brother Kludd. They both fall onto the ground. They are captured by owls Jatt and Jutt and taken to St. Aegolius to work for the Pure Ones. There the young owls are divided into pickers and soldiers by Queen Nyra. Soren is forced into being a picker for protecting a small owl named Gylfie. Kludd abandons him to be a soldier. Pickers are forced to sort through owl pellets for metal flecks. Gylfie helps Soren avoid being moon-blinked, a catatonic state from sleeping under the full moon. Soren and Gylfie escape with the help of Grimble to warn the Guardians of Ga'Hoole.

The owls look gorgeous. The CG animation is detailed and entrancing. Director Zack Snyder has bumped the technical envelop forward. The drawback in this is the complicated story. The plot is overstuffed and feels messy even in its short 97 minutes running time. The problem is that the movie keeps introducing new characters. The action is fast with the Snyder slow-mo style and the fights are violent. Most of the time, it is possible to keep track of the characters. The name are a little harder to remember.
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Kirpianuscus23 February 2019
A splendid film. For animation to the story. From the characters to the fall of predactibility who you expect. Short, a lovely film and the basic discover , for me, of the universe of owls in the most inspired way. Legends, idealism, incident and old battles, the heroes and the new fight. A beautiful pledge for the fundamental values. Scene by scene, more than seductive, obvious useful.
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Pretty mature
kosmasp30 December 2010
For a movie that is rated PG, it is pretty mature. It has themes that might be a bit too scary. But then again, who am I to say what the youth will find scary nowadays? The German rating board on the other hand felt it knew what is scary to kids or not. For it to be released with the same PG rating that it got in America it had to be cut a few minutes. Sounds crazy? It's the truth though.

Apart from that the 3-D effect is really good. That the guy who brought as 300 would not have a problem handling action scenes was a given. But what about the furry animals? They look amazing. And though I do not know the source of the material on hand, I do know that the story works. It's not groundbreaking, but it dares doing things and going places, where other "child" movies would shy away from. Kudos for that too.

Watch it, but be aware, that it might get scary at times. Not as much for you (if you're an adult), but for the little ones.
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You know, for kids (?)...
MaxBorg8923 October 2010
Zack Snyder directing a fantasy film aimed at a younger audience. For some reason, that concept doesn't feel entirely right. After all, we're talking about the man whose first three features have become prime examples of good R-rated action, be it a gory Romero redux (Dawn of the Dead), a campy comic-book-inspired epic (300) or a respectable take on Alan Moore's masterpiece (Watchmen). Not exactly the kind of back catalogue that usually gets you a gig based on a series of books that, unsurprisingly, could provide material for a lucrative franchise if everything goes well. Then again, Snyder has shown to be a pretty fearless filmmaker (again, he made Watchmen, something even Terry Gilliam viewed as an impossible project), and with Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole he gets to explore plenty of new territory: not only is this a PG-rated film, it's also animated and in 3D.

Set in a remote land inhabited by talking owls, the movie is essentially a coming-of-age story centered around Soren (Jim Sturgess), a youngster who has grown up hearing the stories of the Guardians who live in the kingdom of Ga'Hoole and will come to the rescue if danger manifests. This is exactly what happens, as a presumed dead adversary returns and threatens to destroy all "impure" owls. Having been separated from his parents, Soren, paired with a group of unlikely allies (voiced by David Wenham and Richard Roxburgh, among others), must find the Guardians and stop the evil army, which also includes his brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten)...

Despite the child-friendly rating, Legend of the Guardians is a quite unusual cartoon in that it tackles an unexpected subject alongside the familiar epic themes (avian racism? Cool idea) and has all its characters (minus one) speak with Australian accents (then again, most of the cast members are Australian). And in the first half it looks like it could work for grown-ups too, with a healthy balance between funny banter and exciting action, with a few shocks along the way (characters get tortured and all). Shame that the third act is a conventional good vs. evil story that borders on preachy (you know, for the younger viewers) and, predictably enough, sets up a sequel rather shamelessly. Granted, Snyder has yet to fail at the box office, but at least other potential franchises (Lemony Snicket comes to mind) were careful enough to have an adaptation that could work as a standalone story, without any need for further installments (a wise move in the case of Snicket, given there has been no sequel so far).

On the bright side, the voice work is impeccable (but hey, what do you expect with Helen Mirren and Geoffrey Rush in the cast), and despite the lack of blood (and inventive kills, for that matter), it still feels a lot like a Snyder picture, with gorgeous visuals (including a Bambi homage in the climax), stunningly executed action scenes and, of course, slow-motion. Lots of it. The 3D is also used skillfully, although in some scenes the conversion signs are obvious, making for an unpleasant, jarring effect (still better than Clash of the Titans, though).

So, barring a few narrative and technical missteps, Legend of the Guardians is proof of Snyder's versatility, showing that when the time comes, he will be able to keep his rawer instincts in check for the Superman reboot. In the meantime, however, there's no denying that his return to the usual stuff with Sucker Punch looks a lot more promising than his first PG experience...
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Pretty good family film
seancram19 October 2010
I'm sure you know the basic premise so i'll get straight to the point.

Pros: Surprisingly funny, superb animation, pretty good story (darker than I expected when it was billed as "from the creators of Happy Feet").

Cons: First half of the movie is pretty jumpy, and its also cheesy at some points.

I've only seen it once, so my review isn't as thorough as it could be, but overall this is a pretty good family movie, (not just for kids). I'm 21 and while I thought it looked good, I had feeling it was going to be bad. Its a shame they probably won't be making another one because of poor box office performance. I may see it a second time in theaters and will definitely get it on DVD.

PS: Before the movie begins (almost pixar-esquire) there is a Wile E Coyote and Roadrunner cartoon (well, 3D animation) which is a pleasant surprise.
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Visually stunning
robot_rollcall11 October 2010
The Guardians is the type of movie where low expectations will be your friend. If you go into the theater expecting The Secret of NIMH you will be sorely disappointed with the story. Although Guardians does contain some mature themes, such as racism and war, these themes are explored more in the setting than in the characters.

The main characters are mostly vehicles for the story. Strangely, it's the supporting characters - the villains and the Guardians themselves - who provide the most interesting, and sometimes the most compelling characters.

There are no big surprises in this story. Any adult can figure out the entire plot within the first ten minutes. On the positive side, the plot takes off quickly and rarely slows down. If your kids can handle a little violence they should love this movie. I'm happy to report that the villains are appropriately threatening. Metalbeak and his mate Nya are on the same level as classic Disney villains like Scar and Ursala, so if your kids can handle these films they ought to handle Guardians just fine.

Overall Guardians is worth seeing in theaters and, if you can afford it, in 3D. I didn't say much about the visuals because there really isn't much to say about them. This movie is stunning at least and majestic at best, even if the plot is a little dull.
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Stunning and epic
briancham199431 May 2020
Wow, this film was very visually stunning! The special effects still hold up ten years later. This is one of those films that really draw you into another world and it seems so vast and believable. It has an epic scope and a tone that takes its young audience seriously. Unfortunately, this is probably its Achille's heel - the style is exactly at the spot where it is too dour for younger children yet too immature for teens, leaving it with almost nobody to appreciate it for what it is. Well, I appreciated it! The only downside was that some of the owl characters were impossible to distinguish which made me confused. Otherwise I would have rated it even higher.
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