LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA’HOOLE
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Based on the best-selling children’s book series, “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” is a fantasy tale about a tribe of owls that are enslaved by another tribe. The slavemaster owls, who call themselves the Pure Ones, are using the other owls to build a weapon which can defeat the mysterious Owls of Ga’Hoole, which are guardians of the species. A young owl named Soren escapes enslavement and must find the Owls of Ga’Hoole to help defeat the Pure Ones.
WHAT I LIKED
When I originally saw the trailers for “Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole,” I wasn’t impressed. Sure, the CGI looked pretty slick, but like most people in the world, I dismissed this film as being a flying rip-off of “Happy Feet” (which I didn’t think was worthy of a lot, much less the Oscar).
Boy, was I wrong. Not only is the CGI in this film as breathtaking as anything Pixar has to offer, it’s a thrilling and exciting tale that the whole family can enjoy. This movie presents a classic hero’s journey, and there’s a lot of drama in the lives of these owls. The hero Soren is someone you can really get behind, and unlike his counterpart in “Happy Feet,” we don’t spend half the movie looking at him in his awkward adolescent phase.
The villains, though, are what make this movie work. Under the command of Zack Snyder, who has directed several visually stunning films that honored their source material, this film really lays it on thick for the bad guys. Although it does get a little hammy with some of the delivery, the Pure Ones are fantastic villains in this film.
Then there’s the action sequences. It’s not just a bunch of pretty flying shots, which the trailers led on, but rather some fantastic battles and gorgeous scenery. I really am sad that this movie didn’t strike a chord with the rest of the audience because it’s one of the best animated films of 2010… and that’s saying a lot considering the competition it has out there.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
There are some elements that get a little silly with this film. In particular, I’m talking about the snake nursemaid that pops up at the most ridiculously convenient points. Also, there are several parts of the film that are weighted down by “Happy Feet” references, including a sage echidna who plays basically a less-comedic Robin Williams. Also, like most family fantasy films, the story dips a little too much into cliche and genre cheese at times.
Few movies from 2010 demand a viewing on Blu-ray as much as “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.” Warner Bros. has great transfers, especially for current films, and this movie is brilliant to watch in high definition.
To add to the point, there’s some nice features available on the disc. Stand-alone features include a new Looney Tunes cartoon “Fur of Flying” (featuring Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner) and a featurette called “True Guardians of the Earth” in which one of the characters of the film joins with Rico Rodriguez from “Modern Family” to take a look at owls in our world.
Exclusive Blu-ray features include four artwork galleries, a music video for “To the Sky” and a motion comic version of the “Legend of the Guardians: Rise of the Guardians” bedtime story that inspired the film’s journey.
Taking the lead from other Warner Bros. Blu-ray releases, this title is presented in “Maximum Kid Mode,” which features picture-in-picture behind-the-scenes and interviews that can play during the entire film.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Kids and families.