Review: Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole (2010)

Warrior owls man, did you read what I said, WARRIOR OWLS!

Screenplay By: John Orloff & Emil Stern
Directed By: Zack Snyder

It’s funny that it took an animated feature from Zack Snyder to remind me what great action looks like. After suffering through the quick edit, hard to follow, and muddled looking action of the Bourne series for a few weeks the way the action was filmed in Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole was like a cool breeze on a hot summer day. Watching Mr. Snyder allow the action to fully envelop the screen, noticing how he was presenting moments of big action in long uninterrupted takes felt rewarding to the action fan within me. I know it sounds awfully stupid, but the way Mr. Snyder approached action in Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole is the way I like to see my action. Seeing full blown action that was allowed to take place in a an organic way resulted in a relieved sigh moment for me.

Action isn’t all that Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole has to offer, it’s also a wonderfully animated picture. I had an inkling of what to expect from Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole because I knew who directed it. What I didn’t expect was such wonderful animation, animation that left my jaw on the floor more than a few times. The animators behind the film use a very smooth style with crystal clear lines and most importantly they give everything its own texture. The rocks look like jagged rocks while at the same time the owls each have their own distinctive visual texture. Animal Logic, the company behind the animation, also did a splendid job with the lighting and shading. There were a few moments, such as when Soren is emerging from fire near the end, that were so beautifully rendered that I sat stunned at what I was watching. It was much to my surprise that I found out after the fact that Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole was a computer animated picture. Animal Logic did such a great job with the animation that I was convinced the entire time that I was watching a hand drawn feature. I know I’m beating a dead horse, but the animation in Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole is staggeringly gorgeous.

I can understand if people had problems with some elements of Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole. A lot of the comedy seems forced, the story moves at a pace that may be a mite too quick for some, and most of the characters are written broadly. Those things didn’t bother me a whole lot though because for the type of movie that Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole was the issues I have raised were not major hindrances. Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole is a balls to the wall action film, with a startling amount of darkness. This is still a movie I would say is suitable for kids, but it has moments where it is dark and it’s clear from a story and visual standpoint that none of the parties involved chose to hold back to appease parents the world over.

I think I’ve made it clear that I was surprised by Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole, in a few different ways. It’s not your conventional animated movie and it never apologizes for its forays into darkness and violence. Kids can handle it though, at least they should be able to handle it and they should get something out of the experience. Zack Snyder has done it again, he has directed yet another movie that deeply interested me and threw me for a loop. I know a lot of people have turned on Mr. Snyder the past few years, and if he’s not your cup of Joe that’s cool by me. I, on the other hand, continue to be impressed by Mr. Snyder and the touches he brings to his brand of cinema. I hope this isn’t the last animated feature for him, the animated format seems to really fit his style of filming/storytelling and I would love to see Mr. Snyder return to the world of animation in the future.

At the end of the day I do want as many people as possible to see Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole. It’s not the best movie of all time, but it sure as heck is a movie I leave enamored with. Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole is simply gorgeous, and for that reason alone people need to make the time to see it. The animation will be like crack for your eyes, and since I don’t want any of you people doing the real thing how about you sample in the luscious visuals of Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole instead? The story isn’t that bad either, but the visuals, man, the visuals…

Rating:

***1/2

Cheers,
Bill

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6 responses to “Review: Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole (2010)

  1. Nice review. I agree, I was extremely surprised. I didn’t expect a movie about owls to be such an epic adventure.

  2. I wish they’d have done something about that title. It’s rather cumbersome. Nevertheless I’m going to give this one a shot.

  3. Charlotte: Your thoughts echo my wife’s.

    Noff: The title is indeed a tad cumbersome, but hopefully you dig it Noff. ūüôā

  4. Why 3 !/2 stars? Reading your article, it seemed a shoe-in that you’d go for the whole 4 stars.

    You are a big Snyder fan. I’m not, but ever since seeing the first trailer for the feature, I’ve been curious about it. I like the concept.

    Animation, while no easy feat, arguably enables filmmakers to do things ‘easier’ than on live-action shoots. Any sort of elaborate action sequence requires a whole lot of intricate planning in real life and there can be a host of variable which don’t allow a director to do exactly what he has envisioned (like an actor who simply cannot perform up to par in a choreographed fight). Animation lets a director do, in theory, what he wants shot per shot.

  5. Edgar, I did feel that the comedy was forced and the story moved a shade too quickly.

    I’d agree with you on animation being less restrictive in terms of vision, it’s probably why I’m such a huge fan of the form.

  6. Pingback: Postulating & Pontificating: Animated Bonanza! | Bill's Movie Emporium

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