LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA'HOOLE (Zack Snyder)

There is a thing of beauty to be marvelled upon Zack Snyder’s big screen animated adaptation of Kathryn Lasky’s books: somehow, the combination of visually-arresting animation and a solid enough storytelling makes THE LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS watchable.

I didn’t get the film from first viewing. I had to stop watching halfway through it, and a month later I watched it again, for sanity purposes. This ought to give you a lesson not to watch a film when you’re half asleep.

Snyder, who helmed 300 and WATCHMEN, both comic book adaptations brings his signature penchant for slow-motion sequences and intense close combat scenes to this animated owl movie. Yes that’s correct, this film is about owls.

One major letdown of LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS is that the characters all look alike. With all the hard-to-pronounce names, all I can remember is Soren, the main protagonist, who is a young owl filled with high hopes and big dreams.

Story wise, we get snippets of the good ol’ sibling rivalry, where one follows good, and the other is seduced by evil. There’s also the classic comic relief character (or characters), and there is always a perilous journey into the unknown, which pretty much sums up all adventure stories you can think of (hence, it wouldn’t be an adventure).

The cast lending their voices to the owls is a who’s who in Hollywood— with Helen Mirren, Jim Sturgess, Sam Neill, and Abbie Cornish to name a few. The soundtrack is light and breezy, and Owl City’s “TO THE SKY” is a soothing track, which plays halfway through the film, and at the end credits.

Overall, LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS doesn’t feel exactly original, but it certainly isn’t a waste of your time. It’s not “UP” or “TOY STORY” ingenious, but it definitely beats all other sloppy animated feats in recent memory (MEGAMIND, HAPPILY NEVER AFTER and its sequel, and even HORTON HEARS A WHO) simply because Snyder’s film has a big heart and an entertaining take on his characters. Though some characters weren’t given enough screen time and story exposition, LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS succeeds in presenting a coherent story that isn’t plagued with too much clichés and inside jokes. Who knows, a sequel could already be boiling at Warner Bros.

RATING: 4/5

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