Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (Movie Review)

My family and I recently watched one the bigger animated movies from last year, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole. Yes, that is a very long title and in case you fell asleep halfway through reading it, the movie has owls in it.

If up to this point, you've hardly paid attention to Legend of the Guardians — henceforth to be known in this blog as the owl movie — I can completely sympathize with you. When I first saw the trailer for the owl movie, I literally snickered and I'm not really a snickerer. Seriously, some studio executive wants me to see talking CG owls with battle armor? No. No, I will not, sir.

But, then the movie came out and while it didn't break any records or win any awards, it impressed a lot of critics and reviewers so I was willing to give it a shot.

Right away you notice that the movie is a CG extravaganza, a feast for the eyes. You owe it to yourself to view it on the best and biggest TV you can find. The owls really work as characters and the flying sequences over beautiful vistas are really something to behold. The visuals are worth a purchase or rental by themselves.

The story is actually quite interesting too. They aren't breaking any new ground with a story about a young owl who is taken out of his mundane life and thrust into the extraordinary and he eventually becomes a hero. It's Luke from Star Wars and hundreds of other hero characters throughout fictional history. It is a well done hero story though.

Unfortunately, there are gaping plot holes and logic jumps throughout the film. Characters separated early in the film get back together in the most absurdly forced ways. I can literally see the storyboard meetings for the film where they had these amazing action sequences ready to animate but they really needed character X to be with character Y so they just make it happen. It's insane at times how poorly written the script is when it comes to reunions and character relocations. X needed to be with Y so let's put them together, the audience will never notice we just did a little movie magic. Well, I noticed and it took me right out of the film in several spots.

The movie is pretty dark, both in visual style and in theme. These are owls tearing each other apart so be warned if you have little ones. My girls did pretty well with it and we just had to keep reassuring them that the good owls would be OK and the one's with the glowing red eyes are just really grumpy.

Oh, I also need to mention that the songs in the movie are by the group Owl City. I love it. How much more on the nose, or beak, can you get.

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