Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
6 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: PG

Starring:
Emily Barclay as Gylfie (voice)
Abbie Cornish as Otulissa (voice)
Essie Davis as Marella (voice)
Adrienne DeFaria as Eglantine (voice)
Joel Edgerton as Metalbeak (voice)
Deborra-Lee Furness as Barran (voice)
Sacha Horler as Strix Struma (voice)
Bill Hunter as Bubo (voice)
Ryan Kwanten as Kludd (voice)
Anthony LaPaglia as Twilight (voice)
Miriam Margolyes as Mrs. Plithiver (voice)
Helen Mirren as Nyra (voice)
Sam Neill as Allomere (voice)
Barry Otto as Echidna (voice)
Richard Roxburgh as Boron (voice)

Directed by Zack Snyder

Special Features:
Legend Guides You Through The Guardians: Rise Of The Guardians - The Owls' Legendary Bedtime Story That Inspired Soren To Seek Out The Guardians

To The Sky Music Video By Owl City

4 Artwork Galleries:
Legend Of The Guardians: The Guardians, The Locations, The Villians Of St. Aegolius, Legend Of The Guardians: Soren & Friends

Plus: True Guardians Of The Earth - Digger And Modern Family's Rico Rodriguez Host The Fascinating Look Into The World Of Owls And Why They Are Counting On You To Protect Them

New Looney Tunes Cartoon: Fur of Flying

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.40:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1Sound
Spanish and French Languages
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 97 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Acclaimed director Zack Snyder ('300,' 'Watchmen') makes his animation debut with this fantasy adventure based on the beloved books by Kathryn Lasky. Young owl Soren marvels at his father's epic stories of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole, mythic winged warriors who fought a great battle to save all owl kind from the evil Pure Ones. When he and brother Kludd fall from their treetop home and into the talons of the Pure Ones, it's up to Soren to make a daring escape with the help of other brave owls. Together they seek the Great Tree, home of the Guardians - the only hope of defeating the Pure Ones and saving the owl kingdoms. The stellar voice cast includes Abbie Cornish, Miriam Margolyes, Helen Mirren, Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess and Hugo Weaving."

"Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" is rated PG for some sequences of scary action.

Mini-Review:
The most notable thing about "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" (besides the unwieldy title) is the animation. It's quite impressive. The individual feathers on the owls, the detailed backgrounds, and the spectacular flight scenes make this a very beautiful animated film. I missed seeing it in 3D, but I imagine it was pretty cool. But in 2D it is still worth checking out.

The owl theme is also interesting. Each species of owl is highlighted and they all have unique characteristics. From burrowing owls to barn owls to horned owls, each one embodies a different personality. Throw in the elements of flight and the medieval costumes and environments and you have a very unique animated film.

The story is a tad dark and complex for young children. The movie starts out by weaving a very detailed backstory that's a lot to take in. It takes a little while to figure out the rules of this world. (Owls talk, snakes are nannies, and the owls have somehow mastered working with metal despite not having thumbs.) Then there's the historical mumbo jumbo about Guardians and such that takes a while to follow. But the dark tone is probably one of the more surprising aspects. Characters are killed, child owls are kidnapped, siblings are brainwashed and turned evil. It hearkens back to dark Grimm fairy tales.

The voice cast includes a few of my favorite actors like Sam Neill, Hugo Weaving, Geoffrey Rush, Helen Mirren, and Joel Edgerton, but even I have to admit that they didn't bring a lot to the characters. You could have switched out any of them with other voice actors and probably not have noticed. This film was directed by Zack Snyder ("300," "Watchmen"). While it wasn't a spectacular success, I think it proves that Snyder is a versatile director.

If you're a fan of the original books, CG animation, or owls then "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" is a film you're going to want to check out. Otherwise it won't hurt to pass on it.

The bonus features on the Blu-ray are quite disappointing. There's very little here on the making of the movie. Instead you get a featurette on real life owls, an art gallery, and a 'bedtime story' about the Guardians using leftover animation from the movie. You'll also find a couple of games. Rounding out the bonus features is a preview of a new Looney Tunes cartoon. It is entitled "Fur of Flying" and features Wyle E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. Believe it or not, this is the highlight of the bonus features.

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