On Monday of this week I was fortunate enough to catch a sneak premiere of the new Warner Brothers film, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. I took my friend Jane since she used to work with predator birds including owls and I wanted to see what she thought.
The film is based on a series of children books by Kathryn Lasky. I haven’t read any of the books but apparently they are very popular and around 15 of them so far. From what I understand, the movie encompasses the first 3 books to tell the story. I am sure Warner wants to make more if this does well in the theaters.
After seeing this film, I am really starting to believe that 3D films are meant to be of the animated variety. This one and How to Train Your Dragon were both visually stunning in their own way and really utilized the 3D process to make the scenes pop into the theater.
The Owls depicted here were true to life in their look…and in some way their mannerisms also. Jane pointed out that the burrowing owl acting in real life much the same way that ‘Digger’ acted in the film. The 3D animation also made it so that individual feathers, which almost look like fur because they are so thin, really stand out and look oh so real.
As for the story, it was a good one. I think as an adult I am slightly jaded and can predict most action in books/film now, but I did like it (even if I kinda knew what would happen). Kids should find it far more accessible and definitely the kids in the audience seemed to really enjoy the movie.
There are several scenes of violence (animal on animal) that I doubt would be appropriate for children under 10, otherwise it should be enjoyable for the whole family with a PG rating.
After the film was over we were lucky enough to have a Q&A session with the director Zack Snyder. There were definitely scenes in the film with his trademark action (close up slow motion) but otherwise the whole project was quite the departure from his typical films (300, Watchmen).
A couple of easter eggs to watch out for when you see the movie that Zack told us about. Both of which were done without his knowledge and are pretty cool (I spotted one, but not the first one).
1) When he first started talking about the movie with the crew he described it as a far-flung future where talking owls roamed the planet and humans were no more (ala Planet of the Apes). So, the animators added something at the beginning of the movie. In an early scene where they show the moon coming up in the distance, you see a silhouette of the Statue of Liberty. Nice!
2) In a later scene from the Guardians Armory there is a wall filled with metal masks/helmets that the owls wear into battle. Again the animators added a familiar mask to the wall, it’s the mask that Night Owl wore in the movie The Watchmen!
I rate this a 3.5 Beers out of 5.
It is a visually stunning film and I hope you can catch it in 3D as it utilizes the technology quite well. OH and you get a bonus 3D cartoon with Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner entitled “Fur of Flying” before the film starts!