Sunday, October 10, 2010

On his way to finding a legend...he will become one.

The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole directed by Zack Snyder
Actor Jim Sturgess the voice of Soren in the animated motion picture fantasy Legend of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole , attends the premiere of the film at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on September 19, 2010.  UPI/Jim Ruymen Photo via Newscom
Jim Sturgess attends the LA premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, September 19, 2010.

Before seeing this movie, I had a pretty intense discussion about it with a fellow journalism student. I'll admit, it was quite negative. To sum it up, we basically agreed that it was a stupid story about the most random animals ever, and would probably be a massive comedy...not the good kind. We also made mention of our shock and disbelief that so many awesome people had offered their voicing talents to this "crazy owl movie." Jim Sturgess (21), Ryan Kwanten (True Blood), Helen Mirren (The Queen), Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean), Hugo Weaving (Lord of the Rings) and Abbie Cornish (Candy) are just a few of the people involved in Legend of the Guardians, and this I just could not understand. I know it's based on books and loved by millions blah blah blah, but I still wasn't convinced. I talked a friend into seeing it with me, you know, for shits and giggles, and upon entering the theatre, my outlook was that I would leave it having had a good, long laugh. By the way, I apologise if my honesty is offending anyone...but come on. Owls? Seriously, owls. Owls, acting like soldiers. As if that's not funny?!
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole Premiere held at The Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California on September 19th, 2010. Ryan Kwanten, Jim Sturgess                                             Fame Pictures, Inc
Jim Sturgess & Ryan Kwanten at the LA premiere, September 19, 2010.
I had told the student I had the conversation with (yes, the one where we paid the crap out of this movie before I'd seen it), that I would blog about it once I HAD seen it. I said "All my blogs are so positive. Every movie I've seen lately, I've liked! I need one that I won't like...definitely this owl one." To which she replied "Ha ha, what if you like it?" To which I replied "In that case, I shall have to fake it and pretend that I hated it, to maintain my reputation and dignity." (Again, sorry for any offence. OWLS.) For the sake of information, (SPOILER ALERT!) here's the lowdown on Legend of the Guardians: Soren (Sturgess) and Kludd (Kwanten) are two brother owls that live in a nest with their parents Noctus (Weaving) and Marella (Essie Davis), their baby sister Eglantine (Adrienne DeFaria) and their nanny (who just so happens to be a snake...what the?) Mrs. Plithiver (Miriam Margolyes). Soren and Kludd have a strained relationship, with Soren always going on about the Guardians of Ga'Hoole, a legend about a group of great owl soldiers who have fought many battles, ever-triumphant and noble etc etc...Kludd doesn't believe the hype. He's more interested in learning to fly properly so he can get the hell out of there. Unfortunately, Soren's the better flyer, which just amplifies Kludd's annoyance at his brother. The pair attempt some "branching" which is owl-code for the first step of flying lessons; pretty much just sailing at an angle to reach a lower's pretty basic, and they're fairly hopeless at it so that gives you an idea of the danger. Next thing, they fall out of their tree, and land on the forest floor, "a dangerous place for an owl." Out of nowhere, they're snatched by a couple of scary looking, much larger owls Jatt and Jutt (Saw's Leigh Whannell and comedian Angus Sampson, both Aussies). They're taken with a bunch of other kidnapped owls to St. Aegolious Academy for Orphaned Owls (seriously) and told that their families have abandoned them and that the "Pure Ones" are their new family. (BTW the Pure Ones are an evil force controlled by the scariest owl of all, Metalbeak (Joel Edgerton), and trained by his mate Nyra (Helen Mirren). These two are basically the Gruesome Twosome from Hell, they want to take over the whole Owl Kingdom...the usual story. Soren and Kludd are separated and Kludd is selected to be a Tyto, the purest and strongest soldiers for Metalbeak, whilst Soren is sent to be a "picker," a pretty crappy job it turns out, as all the pickers are made to sleep at night, or "moon-blinked." Next day, the owls are totally out of it, hypnotised and brainwashed, so they're easier to boss around. Soren teams up with an elf owl he met earlier, Gylfie (Emily Barclay) and they both stay awake so they can keep their wits about them. After, whilst faking zombie-like qualities, they're caught out by one of the guards, Grimble (also voiced by Weaving). Thinking they're in a heap of trouble, they're surprised when it turns out Grimble wants to help them escape. He says the only reason he does what Metalbeak and Nyra say is because they have his family. He hates what he's become and wants to teach them to fly better, so they can get away. After only a bit of training, they're interrupted by Nyra and Kludd and forced to attempt escape straight away, with Grimble defending them. Soren pleads with Kludd to make a break for it also, but we now realise Kludd doesn't want to leave. After a bit of a chase, Soren and Gylfie make it out, and start their journey to the sea, as per Grimble's advice (he insisted the Guardians are real and that they're the only ones who can help). They make a pit-stop on the way and run into a couple of quirky owls, Twilight (Anthony LaPaglia) and Digger (David Wenham). They join forces and set off for the Sea of Hoolemere, wherein lies the island of the Great Ga'Hoole Tree. From this point on it's a long journey for the four friends, and they face a number of obstacles in the attempt to rescue the other kidnapped owls. Soren's bravery shines through and we see him stand up to his brother and face the ultimate battle against Metalbeak. Oh, and there's obvious sequel innuendo at the end, so fans can be pleased with that.
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 24: (L-R) Essie Davis, Geoffrey Rush and associate producer Katrina Peers make the gesture of a flying owl at the Australian Premiere of 'Legends Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga'hoole' at The Entertainment Quarter on September 24, 2010 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
Essie Davis, Geoffrey Rush & associate producer Katrina Peers at the Sydney premiere, September 24, 2010.

List of reasons why I liked this movie:
1. It's animated. You can't go past an animated film, especially one about owls cuz they're faces are so adorable, you just want to pinch their cheeks. At one stage, my friend turned to me and said "I want one!"
2. It's Australian. There's a ton of Aussie talent showcased in Legend of the Guardians, and Jim Sturgess puts on an alright Aussie accent.
3. It was funny. Woven neatly in amongst the drama and action were some real shining laugh-out-loud moments; this is the Aussie signature coming through and it's awesome.
4. The effects were good. For an animated movie, it felt very real. The action was detailed as were the characters. There were lots of cool slo-mo sequences which never go a-stray.
5. The lead character was a sweetheart. If I were an owl, I'd go for Soren. He was a dreamer...loyal, determined, caring and soooo cute!
6. It had a happy ending, and the promise of more to come. Self explanatory!
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 19: (L-R) Director Zack Snyder, actors Jim Sturgess, Ryan Kwanten, Sam Neill and Anthony LaPaglia pose at the premiere of Warner Bros. 'Legend of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole' at the Chinese Theater on September 19, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Director Zack Snyder, Jim Sturgess, Ryan Kwanten, Sam Neill & Anthony LaPaglia at the LA premiere, September 19, 2010.

List of reasons why I dislikedthis movie:
1. It made Ryan Kwanten look like a dick.
2. The accents were a bit much...way too occa for me, and Eglantine was the only owl with an American accent? WTF?!
3. At times, it was a little serious and dramatic...which is good but a few times I found myself thinking "...but they're OWLS."
4. A little confusing as to why the metal fragments that mice have consumed (which the owls then consume) hold the power the Pure Ones need to take over the Owl Kingdom? This made no sense to me and it wasn't explained.
5. The only song that played was by Owl City. I would have preferred a more extensive soundtrack, instead of just a track from a band with "owl" in the name.

So that's 6-5. I guess that means this is another positive review. Whoops. The funny part is, I thought I would be ashamed. I'm not.

NOW HEAR THIS: The Owl City track isn't too bad, download "To The Sky." But the real winner is the trailer song, 30 Seconds To Mars's "Kings and Queens." Play it really loud, over and over. Then some more.


  1. First off, god damnit Jim Sturgess is so nice to look at.

    Secondly, great review! I was sure this movie would be AWFUL but after reading this review I might watch it if someone I know buys the DVD. (I'm sorry. But, it's OWLS.)

  2. Okay, so I bought this movie in Blu Ray and admit that there are parts of it that are breathtaking. But the dark parts of the movie were hard to comprehend, depressing and dreary rather than creating any interest. Between being bored and thinking WTF, I nearly gave up on it, but I'm glad I didn't miss out on the stunning last half. For pure graphics, I will almost certainly watch it again with friends who haven't yet seen it, but here is my guess. A child under seven or eight is likely to be totally frightened in it, and a child over nine or ten will find the story boring. Anyone not willing to watch it for the sheer thrill of the animation will be talking all through it or wanting to watch a ball game.