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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'hoole
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Acclaimed filmmaker 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: Rise of the Guardians: The owls' legendary bedtime story
To the Sky music video by Owl City
Four artwork galleries
True Guardians of the Earth: Digger and Rico Rodriguez host a look into the world of owls
New Looney Tunes cartoon: Fur of Flying
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Briefly, the story centers around Soren, a young barn owl living in the forest of Tyto, who is enraptured with the tales his father tells of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole, the great warriors and protectors of the owl world who have passed into legend. When Soren and his brother Kludd are kidnapped and taken to a deep canyon where young owls are being "moon-blinked" into mindless slavery by the evil "Pure Ones", Soren escapes with another young owl and sets out to find the Guardians and plead for their help. Once they find the Guardians, a rescue is planned and the film climaxes with a soaring aerial battle between the Guardians and the Pure Ones.
The plot is not new. Fans of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, among others, will recognize many of the story elements and several of the characters common to films and books based on the classic "Hero's Journey". So, the question becomes - have the filmmakers made this hero's journey one worth seeing? For me, the answer is "Yes". And that "yes" comes, in no small part, from how the film looks.
Legend of the Guardians is so completely spectacular to look at that I found myself able to ignore some of the issues with the plotting and the script and just sit back and drown in the visual feast. The "scenery" throughout the entire film - so jaw-droppingly gorgeous in theaters - translates very well to the home screen and the animation looks superb on Blu-ray. The flying sequences are not quite as breathtaking here as they were on the big screen, but all-in-all I think the film has made a successful transition to home viewing. Certainly it remains incredibly beautiful and exciting to look at. I wish all animated films offered the same visual pleasure.
Parents should be aware, though, that "animated" in this case does not translate into "kiddie-show". While there are moments of warmth and companionship and a few humorous bits, the film has a number of violent scenes and an overall intensity that might frighten or lessen the enjoyment of the under 8 crowd. I will volunteer, though, that my just under 8 year old granddaughter LOVED this film and didn't seem to find it too intense at all. So my age guesstimate might be a bit off. Since parents always know their own children and what they can handle far better than any reviewers do anyway, I offer the "8 and over" as a sort of jumping off point. :) I'll add, too, that the level of intensity I felt the film possessed on the big screen seemed somewhat lessened when I viewed the film at home.
A few additional notes on the film:
* There are a lot of characters with unusual names. Unless viewers (kids OR adults) have read the books, they're probably not going to catch or remember them all in a first viewing.
* There are a few instances where the dialogue is difficult to understand.
* The score suits the film. In parts it incorporates the human voice, as Lord of the Rings did, to effectively evoke an emotional response in the viewer. On the other hand, the song "To the Sky" (credited to "Owl City" on the soundtrack CD) was, IMO, the film's most glaring misstep. The chipper tune felt so out of place it actually made me cringe.
Some notes on the DVD (I bought the Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy version):
I'll admit straight off that I am not a techy person, so my comments on the quality of the video can be taken with that in mind. That said, the Blu-ray picture clarity is wonderful, the colors vivid and the sound good. For me, all are completely satisfactory. Navigation is pretty straight-forward and didn't trip me up too often - something I'm thankful for and something I, unfortunately, can't say about all DVDs.
The film can be viewed in English, French, Spanish or Portuguese. Subtitles in those same languages are also offered.
Special features include:
* "True Guardians of the Earth": The animated character Digger & Rico Rodriguez (Modern Family) host a documentary about owls which presents interesting information in a kid-friendly style.
* Maximum "Kid" Mode - Explore the World of Ga'hoole": Soren and other cast members act as guides for this picture-in-picture style viewing of the film. Information is offered on animation and various aspects of filmmaking and storytelling. Well done. Should be particularly interesting to young people interested in behind the scenes stuff and the nuts and bolts of filmmaking. Also included is additional scientific information about owls, their anatomy and their habits.
* Legend of the Guardians: Armor up with Soren & Eglantine: Kids can mix and match different types of owl armor.
* Match the Owl Treats: A matching game.
* "Legend of the Guardians: Rise of the Guardians": A short film about the Pure Ones and the legendary Battle of the Ice Claws between Metalbeek and Lyze of Kiel.
* Looney Tunes "Fur of Flying": The Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote cartoon featured in theaters along with LOTG. (On the 3D version of this DVD, this cartoon is also in 3D.)
* Artwork Galleries: stills of some of the lovely artwork from the film.
* "To the Sky" music video by Owl City.
For my granddaughter and me, this film was a winner and now that it's part of my home collection, I'm looking forward to sharing it with my other grandchildren over the next few years as they grow old enough to appreciate it. While the plot may be rather familiar, IMO it avoided coming across as tired or trite. That, along with the stunning look of the film, makes it easy for me to recommend it. And I do, happily.
The trees, water, flying and fighting of the owls, the shiny feathers of the owls...everything about this movie...ridiculous in detail. GET THIS MOVIE!!! I know my review is saying the same thing...but i mean...you just got to see it to know what I mean. I have a panny gt25 3d tv also if that helps anyone out there looking to buy this movie. The greatest thing about this movie is that the story keeps you interested. Its not a movie where you buy only for the 3d. You will actually watch this movie...the 3d and beauty will just AMAZE you and the story is quite suspenseful. Also, I treat my 3d movies like a movie theater...meaning I wait til its nighttime, turn off the lights and enjoy.
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