Powerhouse director Zack Snyder, known for his violent films such as Dawn of the Dead, 300 and Watchmen, was tasked with taking a beloved children’s book about owls and turn it into a computer generated 3D film. It wasn’t the first time I was skeptical of whether or not Snyder could pull it off, and like all the other times my fears were not needed.
In retrospect, Snyder was probably the finest choice to assemble this film. His previous films have all had innovated approaches to their visual elements and adaptations. Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is probably the finest film to take advantage of 3D technology since the release of Avatar. It rarely relies on the gimmicks and more on allowing the third dimension to be a tool to draw you in.
Unlike most animated films, the characters actually look like the real thing, which helps to draw you further into this epic tale. Soren is a young ambitious owl who loves to hear the tales of The Guardians, a group of owls who have taken to protecting the society of their kind. When Soren, his sibling and other young owls are kidnapped and taken into slavery, Soren escapes and looks for the fabled Guardians.
After finding the Guardians, Soren and his friends enlist the aid of this majestic group in freeing the trapped owls and fighting the evil Pure Ones. To overcome this, they must defeat a nefarious trap that was designed by the Pure Ones and their alliance with a group of bats.
This movie is told with a sensibility that will enchant children but a maturity that will keep adults interested. Voiced by some of the best talent, the actor’s notoriety doesn’t draw you out of the film. In addition, all of the voices have character that lends itself to the fantasy elements of this story.
Owls brandishing blacksmith created helmets and razor sharp gloves to fight a deadly battle sounded a little hokey to me as well. When you step back it does seem a little ridiculous but when you are knee deep in the plot you feel nothing but excitement for the ensuing conflict.
This book series was targeted to children in elementary schools but with the success of Harry Potter and Twilight, adults are buying more into young adult fiction. It is unknown at this time if Zack Snyder will step in to create the two sequels to this series but after seeing this film they can’t come soon enough.
Rated PG for some sequences of scary action.