Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (Blu-ray)
This year was great for the full length animated feature genre. With gems like: TOY STORY 3, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, DESPICABLE ME and TANGLED, we were almost guaranteed to have a couple of bombs. Sadly, this is where the LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA’HOOLE fell. It really was a great effort on Zack Snyder’s part, but it just didn’t work out somewhere along the way.
When a young owl named Soren and his brother Kludd are kidnapped by the Pure Ones, they are shocked to discover all the legends their parents told them about these evil creatures are true. So if the Pure Ones are real, are the Guardians of Ga’Hoole real too? When Soren escapes the clutches of the Pure Ones he must go on a quest to find the Guardians and save all the other owlings who have also been captured and are being brainwashed to build an army.
I was not particularly fond of this film, but it’s really tough to determine why. I think if I had to use one word to describe it, that word would be over-sophisticated. This was based on a children’s book (actually the first three books in the series) but it seemed a little too dark and menacing for children. There are a few light moments that will get a chuckle or two, but the overall tone of the film was very intense which isn’t typical in animated films. It’s very probable that I’m not the target audience for this film but I’m not sure which age range is. When taking your kids to see a film, I imagine that you don’t want anything too dark and actually look for something a little light in visuals and plot so it’s easy for both demographics to follow along and not get bored with.
To be fair, the animation was amazing and very much something I would expect from director Zack Snyder. His viewpoints and imagery are always interesting to watch and fit this film perfectly. It is a dark story and he used a lot of dark colors and tones to match the intensity of the film. The voice talents were fine to listen to, as Soren was voiced by Jim Sturgess (ACROSS THE UNIVERSE) and Kludd was voiced by Ryan Kwanten (HBO’s True Blood), the soundtrack was decent (they used that overplayed song from Owl City called “To The Sky”) and really the animation was flawless. Adults will probably like this more than kids but is that what you want in an animated film?
For whatever reason this movie just didn’t do it for me. I honestly can’t pinpoint the exact reason why I didn’t enjoy it, but I think the overall tone of it just put me off entirely. I wish I liked it more because the animation was great and although I had a tough time understanding the dialogue sometimes (accents tend to throw me) that wasn’t even so bad. I like how animated films can be goofy and silly enough for kids but can throw a joke or reference in for the adults, and LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA’HOOLE just took itself too seriously for me.
Video: This is without a doubt one of the most amazingly beautiful Blu-rays I’ve ever seen. Although the film left a lot to be desired story-wise, it was beautiful to witness and the animation is top notch. Every detail comes through in a bright, vibrant fashion that makes this fun to watch, even if you’re not interested in what’s going on.
Audio: The sound was equally impressive and along with the video quality, it made the film much more enjoyable.
Maximum Kid Mode: This is a picture in picture track hosted by Soren (and seemingly voiced by Jim Sturgess). This allows users to click on a variety of features that mainly deal with real owls and their behaviors, etc. As you’ll see with most of these features, this was aimed squarely at little kids.
True Guardians of the Earth (14:58): This is another featurette targeted towards kids that deals with real life owls. This is better than the “Maximum Kid Mode”, but still a little bland.
Rise of the Guardians (2:02): This seemed to be an alternate opening that was actually kind of neat. I liked this better than the one Snyder used in the film.
Fur of Flying (2:59): I can’t remember all the Road Runner cartoons, but this looked to be a new one. I’m not sure what it’s doing on this disc, but seeing Will E. Coyote and Road Runner in action is always fun.
There’s also a Music Video, Interactive Games, Artwork Galleries and some Previews