Friday, December 31, 2010
Legend of the Guardians: The owls of Ga'Hoole - DVD Review
Starring the voices of Jim Sturgess, Helen Mirren, Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving, Abbie Cornish, Ryan Kwanten, David Wenham, Anthony LaPaglia, Sam Neill, Richard Roxbergh and Emily Barclay.
Directed by Zack Snyder.
It's tremendously gorgeous and lovingly created. It'd like to be this generation's Watership Down or Secret of NIMH, but there are a few elements that prevent it from doing so. First, this is based on a book series, and reading books, it's easier to keep characters apart in your head. Here the photorealisitc animation means we have a bunch of owls and it's not always easy to tell them apart, therefore making it harder to empathize with the right ones. Secondly, the story itself isn't that original.
It centers on Soren (Jim Sturgess, who sounds just like Elijah Wood's Frodo), an owl kidnapped to be trained to be "pure" due to his species. So we have child slavery and Nazi imagery in the first few minutes. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but you're going to lose young kids there, and then older kids will dismiss where it goes from there. Soren escapes and seeks out the Guardians, a legendary group that fight for owl justice. Then you have a showdown between the good owls and the bad owls.
I'm glad I saw it for the visuals alone, but it's more of a curiosity, not a modern classic. And my 13-year-old daughter had the same problems.