The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
Directed by Zack Snyder
I am trying very hard not to make any owl puns right now.
The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is a film that I knew nothing about prior to seeing it in theatre. As far as I knew, these were the facts: the film has a wordy mouthful of a title that doesn’t roll off the tongue as much as it trips over it completely, causing the mouth to make a scrunched up face afterwards; it features talking owls in a medieval fantasy setting; it is based on a series of children’s books; Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) was directing, and; Owl City are on the soundtrack.
In other words, my expectations for Legend of the Guardians were set very low.
For the sake of brevity I will refer to this film only as Owl Movie for the remainder of this review.
If you’re unfamiliar with the fifteen-volume series, let me sum it up for you: it’s Redwall with owls. Ok, I’m being overly flippant. Owl Movie follows the story of Soren, a young Tyto owl who is kidnapped from his family by the Pure Ones, a group of Tyto owls that want to enslave all the lesser species. The Pure Ones are obviously Nazi owls (the Owryan Race? Master Owls?). Soren escapes their clutches, gains some owl pals, and flies off on a journey to find the guardians of Ga’Hoole.
It’s a typical high-fantasy affair, except that all the characters are owls. Depending on your point of view, this will either make the film better or even worse.
To my surprise, Owl Movie turned out to be a real hoot.
God, I’m sorry. That was terrible. No more puns. It just squawked, I mean, slipped out.
Yes, Owl Movie was a surprisingly good film. It has some of the best computer-generated animation I’ve ever seen outside of a Pixar film, and while director Zack Snyder is even less subtle than Oliver Stone, his stylish visual direction made certain that every scene was an incredible viewing experience.
Every scene was like watching the best t-shirt or cheesy oil painting featuring owls come to life. Think of any shirt you’ve ever found at Value Village that had wolves howling against a wintry background on it, or the Three Keyboard Cat Moon shirt. The only difference between those t-shirts and this movie is that Owl Movie has owls in it, and they’re wearing badass medieval armor. I haven’t even begun to describe how cute some of the smaller owlets in this film are.
If you’re able to set aside whatever pretensions or highfalutin notions of good taste that you might have, you will find Owl Movie to be a charming, adorable, and sometimes thrilling animated adventure.
Christian Hardy, A&C Editor