Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
(PG) Warner DVD/BD
Based on the book series by Kathryn Lasky, Guardians borrows heavily from other fantasy works but remains an engaging and incredibly detailed CGI film by 300 director Zack Snyder. Aussie effects house Animal Logic (responsible for Happy Feet and its upcoming sequel) collaborated.
Essentially a parable about brothers who follow different paths, the film follows Soren, an owl with a big heart who dreams of one day soaring among the Guardians of Ga’Hoole ¾ warriors who have sworn an oath to “mend the broken, make strong the weak, and vanquish evil”.
His brother Kludd joins forces with an evil band of owls that enslave the weak and plan to bring down the Guardians.
This is an epic fantasy with a storyline that explores universal themes like good vs evil, friendship, family and spirituality ¾the latter fleshed out with dialogue like, “Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t real.”
Some violence in the film’s climax may be disturbing for younger viewers. That said the final battle is full of stunning visuals not seen before in an animated film.
The effects, along with the character design and setting are the film’s strongest elements. The owl’s faces are expressive, detailed and mimic human emotions.
Even though the story is somewhat derivative, this is a captivating, inspirational and adventurous film for the whole family.