‘Legend of the Guardians’ Review

Published 5 years ago by

legends of the guardians review Legend of the Guardians Review

Screen Rant’s Vic Holtreman reviews Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is a gorgeous 3D, CGI feast for the eyes with a story that you’ll have seen many times before. It has your young, inexperienced (eventual) hero, initially full of self doubt; a pending invasion from a dark, powerful enemy army; and a weapon that is seemingly impossible to fight (does that sound even vaguely familiar yet?).

That’s really your plot in a nutshell. I won’t bother naming the characters because frankly, they didn’t really register with me. You’ve got your “good son” owl who gets the attention of mom and dad and his jealous brother. There’s also a wide-eyed little baby sister owl who loves to hear the stories of the Guardians – wise and fearless warrior owls who lived long ago and defended the… townsfolk (townsowls?).

The brothers are kidnapped and taken to the land where the evil owl overlord is building a weapon that somehow magically captures owls and renders them helpless. One of the issues with this film is that the weapon is a complete mystery – it needs tiny little pieces of metal to function, but beyond that it’s quite literally a plot device.

While captured, the good brother vows to escape while the jealous brother finally finds the approval he’s been craving all these years – he’s trained as one of the elite warrior class and has no problem going over to the dark side (*cough*).

Eventually our hero makes the perilous journey to find the fabled Guardians, where he learns to fly and fight like an owl Ninja. There are hundreds of captured and enslaved owls being held by the evil overlord owl, so this leads to the inevitable (and epic) final battle. Will good triumph over evil? (Rhetorical question with an obvious answer).

Where Legends of the Guardians really shines is in the animation. It is simply breathtaking – the level of quality, the movement of the owls, the design of their world – everything is quite beautiful and excruciatingly detailed. The voice actors do a good job, with some engaging and funny characters and accents that add a bit of charm to them (for US audiences, anyway). The 3D is used to great effect and was very well done – not too obvious, but not so subtle that you’ll be left asking what was the point.

Where it isn’t so strong is in the story – which while pretty basic at its core, has a level of complexity in the details that younger kids will probably get lost. On the other hand, kids will probably be so mesmerized with the look of the film that they won’t mind too much. And speaking of younger audience members, for a PG animated movie some of the battle scenes are pretty intense.

In the end, I’d say this is worth checking out if you’re a fan of fine CGI animation and are curious what an animated, PG-rated movie from Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) might be like.

Legends of the Guardians trailer:

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Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

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  1. I took my seven year old sister and my 22 year old friend to see this movie. I had to take my sister out of the auditorium twice because she was so scared. She spent the last half hour of the movie on my lap checking my phone until it was 3:29 – – the movie’s end time.

    My 22 year old friend loved it. From what I saw of it, I loved the visuals. The detailing on the owl wings alone was amazing. As was the score. It was very epic sounding and one of the things my sister did not like: all and all it was too adult sounding for her.

  2. I saw this yesterday with my 7 and 11 year old girls. They liked it alot. It was well down and visusally impressive. I didn’t think an “Owl Movie” would be so engaging. I think Zack Snyder did a good job with this. Yeah, the 7 year old did get a little scared at parts but she liked it.

  3. The little flecks of metal were, iron. The iron was to build a magnet. I guess owls navigate by magnetism and by building a large enough magnet, the thought was it would disrupt the orientation of any owls near the kingdom, (owldom?). Also, I think the irond was for the masks, and metal talons. It doesn’t make much sense, but the target audience, 7-12 years old isn’t very discerning about such things.
    I saw it in 2D, so the visuals weren’t there. All I had to go on was plot and “Matrix-time” slo-mo. My daughter (6) liked it.

  4. First let me say that I really don’t like violence in movies unless it has a strong point in the plot and even then keep it more subversive and not so bloody (sometimes blood is required to make a point). I would not take my under 12 years olds to see this movie.

    This is a beautifully animated movie though it was not impressive on my bluray as we thought it should be. This movie could have been so much more both in visuals and plot.

    I didn’t know there was a book so maybe it’s the books fault about the plot. What is the point of the movie? Fighting it seems. Even the brother never ‘sees the light’. The poor character that assists the 2 owls to get away also dies and we never know what happens to his poor family. He was working with the evil ones just to save his family, but no, nothing ever said. None of the characters were well developed. Even the ‘good guys’ were pretty nasty bunch, not welcoming at all to new comers.

    I gave this movie a 1 out of 5. Skip it is my advice.

    • Vereena…

      I will not argue against your dislike of the violence or of the film, itself ( your view is just as valid as anyone else’s, of course), BUT I do wish to clarify something which seemed to confuse you.

      The point of the film is NOT violence; it is the main character’s achievement of his dream, his reaching of the goal he had set for himself, that is the point of the film.

    • to add as well, the books were better as far as the plot goes. they made certain characters funnier and lighter for kids, and kludd was a tota whimp. in the book he was much darker and it was more of a twisted and epic story that reminded me of a owl version of lord of the rings. in the books, kludd killed his parents and pushed soren from the tree and became nyra’s mate. it pretty much pissed me off that he was taken to the orphanage and they didn’t even mention skentch and spoorn (leaders of st. aggie’s). they didn’t meet the puffins or the eagles and digger was an idiot. there were many more battles anf murders that were important and not portrayed in this film for the sake of children. i even found the battle scene to be quite funny. not at all as spectacular as the books.

  5. For me this is the best CGI animation I’ve ever seen so far. I love animals and medieval stories such as King Arthur, Robin Hood, etc. So this movie suits me best :) I hope they make the sequels for this movie.

    • Just to clarify, the chips of metal were magnetic iron flecks, I think they obviously could have made that a little clearer maybe by showing some magnetic attraction. The helmets and armour would be made from non magnetic iron.

  6. I was extremely disappointed in this movie, even though I’d gladly watch portions of it over and over, for the sheer delight in their beauty. The story has no depth, but the movie has such dark parts that I wouldn’t recommend it for kids. The darkness of it isn’t even interesting. It’s just something I had to get through in order to get to the beautiful parts. A 6-year-old would probably be frightened by it, but a 10-year-old would find it a dumb story. Too bad, because the beautiful parts were really REALLY beautiful.

  7. I hated this movie. I’m a huge fan of the books- I own all of them and recently bought the newest book in the spinoff series, Wolves of the Beyond. But the movie was terrible! They changed too many things for fans to enjoy it. Most notably, Metal Beak is apparently a title. KLUDD IS THE ONE AND ONLY METAL BEAK! Digger’s personality is changed, Soren’s parents don’t die, who the heck is the Echidna, I can think of a thousand more problems. Kludd’s not supposed to survive, the Chaw of Chaws doesn’t form, Ezylryb’s history is changed, Soren’s parent’s scrooms are supposed to deliver a message to him- if they continue the story, what will they do? There’s just too many changes. I’ll admit that the animation and artwork was nice, but that was about it.

    • And of course, St Aggie’s and the Pure Ones AREN’T THE SAME THING! Why did they combine the two evil forces so early? Yeah, the Pure Ones take over St Aggie’s later on, but they aren’t the same group!