LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA’HOOLE
Voices of: Jim Sturgess, Emily Barclay
Direction: Zack Snyder
Here's a breathtaking animated adaptation of the popular series of children's fantasy novels. The unexpected choice of Zack Snyder to helm the project is more than auspicious. The filmmaker who gave us such mega adventures as 300 and Watchmen doesn't disappoint.
Taking a career diversion of sorts, Snyder narrates a standard hero's-quest story with visual panache and a distinguished ensemble of vocal talent.
A feat of technical wizardry — the 3D effects are especially alluring — Legend of the Guardians merits a place in the digital-animation hall of fame.
The protagonists are a pair of squabbling barn owlets who are kidnapped from their treetop abode by an avian warlord. One of the fledgling fliers (voiced by Sturgess) escapes from the fascist captors but his sibling chooses to stay back and goes over to the dark side.
Faced with a do-or-die dilemma, the collective of heroic guardian owls strive to vanquish the tyrants. It's a clash of the talons, all right.
The snappy 95-minute yarn is notable for its photo-realistic depiction of the owls as well as the hyper-fantastic set pieces like the climactic confrontation. The Tolkien-esque homily that good always triumphs over evil is also convincingly conveyed.
On the downside, Snyder overindulges in slow-motion shots and does tend at times, to glorify violent conflict.
The captivating subsidiary characters are brought to vibrant life by an array of A-list stars including Helen Mirren (voicing the evil owl queen) and Geoffrey Rush as a battle-scarred elderly guardian.
Miss this soaring adventure at your own peril.