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The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
BLU-RAY disk
01.04.2011 By: Daniel Rohr
The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole order download
Director:
Zack Snyder

Actors:
Jim Sturgess
Sam Neill
Hugo Weaving

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Two brothers (who happen to be owls) get kidnapped by some crazy, power hungry owls who are seeking to kill the Guardian Owls of Ga'Hoole and enslave all the "impure owls" of the world with magical metal specks. One of the brothers rebels and escapes and goes on a journey to warn the Guardians and get their help, while the other brother joins the wackos and tries to destroy his own family. Then there's a bunch of awesome owl war scenes. It's awesome.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Have you ever wanted to see an Owl with swords attached to its talons? How about an owl wearing a steel helmet with said talon swords battling a bat whose wings are completely encased in sharpened metal? Personally, I had never thought of such things but thankfully Zack Snyder saw the cinematic value of Kathryn Lasky's kids novels and brought those images to the big screen in THE LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA'HOOLE.

The story itself is pretty predictable but incredibly well done. Some rough shit goes down between the brothers but the movie never pulls its punches. It's brutal for a PG movie, with some incredible battle scenes and graphic deaths. The only thing I want to know is how do these owls make their intricate armor and battle helmets. I can't imagine an owl has the talon dexterity to be an expert metallurgist.

Synder's slow motion action scenes may be kinda cliched at this point but they're infinitely better than when a director/editor cuts the shit out of their scenes so you can't see what's going on. The animation studio behind the movie (who also made the fantastic HAPPY FEET) produced one of the most visually impressive animated flicks I've ever seen. The feather effects are mind blowing, as is the sense of scale and the realism of everything on screen.

The cast is great across the board. There's some great macho voices in the cast with Hugo Weaving, Geoffrey Rush and Sam Neill and Jim Sturgess even displayed some charisma as the lead owl Soren. Anthony LaPaglia stood out above everybody though as the loyal warrior owl with a heart of gold and a terrible song to play.

The only negative thing I can say about the movie is that there is an awful pop song about half-way through that momentarily took me out of the animated world I was so completely engrossed in. It's a minor quibble that the movie more than made up for.
THE EXTRAS
Given how intense and adult friendly this kids flick is, I'm surprised to see that all of these special features are geared completely for kids. I'm sure they're fun for kids but they were completely insufferable to me. The LOONEY TOONS short is OK though, even if it's disorientating to see Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote in computer generated animation.

- Maximum Kid Mode: Soren guides you through the movie and reveals exciting real-life stories about the owl kingdom--includes two challenges, Armor Up with Soren and Eglantine, and Match the Owl Treats
- Legend of the Guardians: Rise of the Guardians: The owls' legendary bedtime story (2 min)
- True Guardians of the Earth: Digger and Rico Rodriguez host a look into the world of owls - 15 minute educational Documentary
- Looney Tunes cartoon: Fur of Flying (3 min)
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Surprisingly intense, graphic and bad-ass, THE LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS caught me completely off guard. I love pretty much everything about it, and just wish the special features could match up with the overall quality of the film and technical aspects of the Blu-ray. It's a Zack Snyder Commentary and comprehensive behind-the-scenes featurette on the animation process away from being perfect.
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