Adorable. That’s the gist of the animated fantasy/adventure film Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. As a children’s movie, it is light and entertaining enough, with adorable owls eliciting “ooh”s and “ahh”s from the young ones. As a children’s movie that adults will enjoy too (read: Up, Toy Story), it falls short of the mark.
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Now we’re not picking on the animation of the film. Directed by Zach Snyder (300), the computer-generated imagery was no-holds-barred amazing. Each scene is set to blow your eyes out of their sockets. What was sorely lacking, however, is the barely-there, completely predictable plot. Maybe the director got too caught up in the graphics that he forgot to add in a little excitement for the adults. But then again, we should have been warned by the trailer’s teaser line—“from the producers of Happy Feet.” Groan.
The movie is based on a popular children’s book series by Kathryn Lasky, which tells the story of a little barn owl, Soren (voiced by Jim Strugess). Growing up, he was told tales of legendary owls whose sole aim was protect the inhabitants of the owl world. However, the kingdom is soon overrun by an evil owl, Queen Nyra (voiced by Helen Mirren), and both Soren and his brother, Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) get kidnapped by her evil owl army. Soren manages to escape, and with the help of various other feathered friends, they search for the legendary owls, their only hope to defeat the evil army.
The themes of self-discovery and teamwork of this coming-of-age story are grand and timeless, but pitifully, the story just fails to take flight. Stay for the visually stunning effects and graphics, but you’ve been warned—unless you’re 12 and under, you will not exactly be hanging on the edge of your seat with this one.