LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA'HOOLE (director: Zack Snyder; screenwriter: based on the novel The Owls of Ga'Hoole by Kathryn Lasky/John Orloff/Emil Stern; cinematographer: ; editor: David Burrows; music: David Hirschfelder; cast: WITH THE VOICES OF: Emily Barclay (Gylfie), Abbie Cornish (Otulissa), Essie Davis (Marella), Adrienne deFaria (Eglantine), Joel Edgerton (Metal Beak), Deborra-Lee Furness (Barran), Ryan Kwanten (Kludd), Anthony LaPaglia (Twilight), Miriam Margolyes (Mrs. Plithiver), Helen Mirren (Nyra), Sam Neill (Allomere), Geoffrey Rush (Ezylryb), Jim Sturgess (Soren), Hugo Weaving (Noctus/Grimble), David Wenham (Digger); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Zareh Nalbandian; Warner Bros.; 2010)

"This 3-D animated film is for the birds."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz 

This 3-D animated film is for the birds. Zack Snyder ("300"/"Watchmen") directs this kiddie pic, that goes Lord of the Rings on us, as a dark tale that has a climactic battle that requires plenty of heroics from our fine feathered friends. The story involves a war between the good owls (the Guardians), who live in Ga’Hoole (an arboreal paradise), and the bad owls (the Pure Ones), who dwell in a barren wasteland. The baddies kidnap the good owl Soren and his older brother Kludd. Soren is made a picker slave by the imperious Nyra, the consort of the evil chieftain Metal Beak, while Kludd goes along with the evil owls and is made a soldier. But Soren escapes and joins his flock, to warn them that the Pure Ones are building an army to go to war. Soon winged warriors in helmets and with metal claws are swooping vengefully in slow-motion in battle with the Pure Ones, as brother battles brother.

It's based on the first three books of the fantasy series by Kathryn Lasky, and is written by John Orloff and Emil Stern. Most of the voices are delivered by Aussie thesps, the others are Brits. I don't know what kids will make of this coming-of-age tale, but this adult will take a pass on it because of its unappealing story line and rote dialogue despite its finely crafted animations. 

REVIEWED ON 12/28/2010       GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"