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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga' Hoole
Following your dream
"Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga' Hoole" is perhaps one of the most visually stunning stories, I've ever seen. Based on a series of novels by Kathyrn Lasky. The film tells story about a young owl named Soren (Jim Sturgess), who gets swept away on a magical adventure where he not only meets his heroes for the first time, but he ends up on a journey that could end up changing his whole perspective on life. As he soon learns that outside of all the heroes you can read or hear about in stories, the greatest hero of all often lies within. During an eventful night playing with his brother, Kludd (Ryan Kwanten), Soren gets kidnapped by the owls of St. Aggies, where they kidnap young owlets and force them into slavery through brainwashing. Luckily, he manages to escape along with his new friend, Gylfie (Emily Barclay), but is unable to sway his brother to join him, as Kludd becomes seduced by the St. Aggies' lust for power.
Upon further news that his own baby sister is kidnapped along with St. Aggies' plans to eliminate the guardians, and take over the entire owl kingdom. Now, Soren along with his pals travel to seek help from the the legendary guardians of ga' hoole, a fabled race of owl warriors that protect the innocent and punish the guilty. What transpires is an epic adventure that one has to see to truly believe.
Visually, "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga' Hoole" is definitely a visual masterpiece. As it just goes to show you that just when you thought they pushed the envelope of CGI animated movies, along comes a film like this that blows your expectations out of the water. When it comes to visual detail in Hollywood, nobody can really compare to Zack Snyder, as it seems like all his films are cinematically beautiful. Choreographing and animating every tiny detail from the rain running down the owl's feathers to the pupils in their eyes. Indeed, this film is clearly a visual masterpiece, as one would expect from Snyder. Heck, even the 3-D choreography is very well done, as some of the characters will seem to literally pop out of the screen. Unfortunately, it falls short on story aspects of the film.
When I first heard about this movie, I was kind of expecting a fantasy animated epic in proportions to "Secret of Nimh" meets "Lord of the Rings", as I've read and heard so many great things about this film and the original books. Although this film isn't a bad movie, it's just not as great as I would've expected. For starters, the story is cliched driven as hell, and it's extremely predictable to boot. Unlike "Secret of Nimh" where even though the viewer knew things would be okay at the end, we just didn't know how it would transpire. Let alone, what each of the character's motives were, as it left a deep resonating mystery engulfed in a fantasy realistic type setting. Unfortunately, I can't say that about "Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga' Hoole", as everything in this film was predictable from beginning to end. If anything, it kind of felt like an animated rip off of "Lord of the Rings" meets "Harry Potter"; except with owls.
If that wasn't bad enough, none of these characters were remotely interesting. Of course, there's Soren's role model that turned out to be not exactly what he expected, as it just goes to show you that your heroes aren't always larger than life figures. No, many of them are often just normal people like you and me. A surprising reality check that not only forces Soren to reevaluate his beliefs, but to become a the hero that he was meant to be. Although the story is bland is and uninteresting, the theme and tone of the film is very well executed. Creating just the perfect tone where it's dark enough to still keep adult audiences into the story, but still manages to stay light enough for kids to enjoy too. All while delivering a positive message to kids that sometimes the greatest heroes in life aren't always the ones we read about in fairy tales but rather, they're often the person inside of you. That's a positive message that I'm sure many parents would want their kids to learn. Sure, you can argue that other films like "Star Wars" and many others preach the same message about confidence a whole lot better, as I think we all know that the whole "force" crap is actually a metaphor for confidence.
However, as I said before, that doesn't mean this is a bad film by any means. Like most of Snyder's films that often rally on the verge of being mediocre to great, "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga' Hoole" is somewhere in the middle as it seems. Visually it's an epic masterpiece, but the story leaves a lot to be desired. Although the story is fairly easy to get into and follow, so your kids will probably love this film. Sure, it could've been a lot better in many ways, but it could've been a lot worse too.
Overall, I'd have to give this film a two and a half out of four. It's certainly not the greatest family movie out there, but it's one of those rare family films that kids will love and that parents won't mind watching too.