Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (2010)

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Owls. You can always rely on owls to keep you entertained. They’re always a hoot. Oh wait, forgive me, that’s just a bad joke and very far from the truth because owls aren’t really renowned for being a big bundle of fun. They look very nice, majestic winged animals of the night that they are, and every kid wanted one after seeing how cute Hedwig was in the Harry Potter movies but they don’t tend to embark on the kind of exciting adventures that make for rip-roaring fiction. This movie, with it’s mouthful of a title, aims to change all that. But it doesn’t.

Once again, I know that many people will look at this review and wonder just why I embarked on this particular viewing with any optimism. Well, the visuals looked suitably gorgeous and I’m a big fan of Zack Snyder. The fact that people lined up to help cut him down to size after the double whammy of this movie and Sucker Punch is something I was sad to see. Especially as I enjoyed Sucker Punch.

Sadly, I can’t say that I enjoyed this film and, in this instance, I easily agree with the majority of folk who found it downright dull. The visuals ARE gorgeous, hence my rating, but nothing else is up to scratch for something that should have been a beautiful slice of family entertainment.

The voice cast may include names as varied and well-known as Abbie Cornish, Joel Edgerton, Ryan Kwanten, Anthony Lapaglia, Miriam Magolyes, Helen Mirren, Sam Neill, Richard Roxburgh, Geoffrey Rush and Hugo Weaving but you can’t really tell. The different owls have differing personalities but that’s a lot harder to notice when there’s nothing else onscreen engaging enough to make you care for the characters or the outcome of their actions.

Zack Snyder has often been accused of being style over substance (an accusation I disagreed with despite the fact that he’s undoubtedly a man keen on highlighting his particular visual style for each project) but there’s no denying that he’s guilty in this instance. The script by John Orloff and Emil Stern is so bland that you will have forgotten what happened in the previous scene even as you watch another frame full of perfectly-rendered feathers fling here and there.

I urge you not to give this movie any of your time despite the fact that I have still been generous with my rating simply BECAUSE of the visual style of the movie and the many beautiful frames left sadly bereft of any action or fun.

DIRECTOR: ZACK SNYDER
WRITER: JOHN ORLOFF, EMIL STERN, BASED ON THE BOOKS BY KATHRYN LASKY
STARS: EMILY BARCLAY, ABBIE CORNISH, ESSIE DAVIS, ADRIENNE DEFARIA, JOEL EDGERTON, RYAN KWANTEN, ANTHONY LAPAGLIA, MIRIAM MARGOLYES, HELEN MIRREN, SAM NEILL, RICHARD ROXBURGH, GEOFFREY RUSH, HUGO WEAVING
RUNTIME: 97 MINS APPROX
COIUNTRY: USA/AUSTRALIA

Film Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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