Legend of the Guardians: A Surprising Diamond In The Rough!10/10
Within the Pixar Dominated, Slapstick Permeated, Cookie-Cutter animated generation we currently live in, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, Directed by Zack Snyder ("300" & "Watchmen"), breaks this pedestrian mold through its Captivating Visuals, Engaging 3D, and its Lord of the Rings-like Odyssey.
Based on a series of books written by Kathryn Lasky, this mythological story centers on dreamer Soren (Jim Sturgess), a young owl enamored with stories of "The Guardians", a clan of warrior owls who hail from the Tree of Ga'Hoole, and protect the weak from an evil army called the Pure Ones. When Soren and his brother, Kludd (Ryan Kwanten), are kidnapped by these Pure Ones, the stories become reality. Soren escapes and hunts for the Guardians to save the owl kingdom from the Pure Ones, while Kludd slowly becomes one.
Legend of the Guardians is a milestone for animation and a 3D visual masterpiece. Under the direction of Snyder, Australian company Animal Logic (Creators of "Happy Feet" & special FX for "The Matrix" and "Lord of the Rings") have achieved something incredibly remarkable. The interaction of air and digital feathers work in a harmony that makes Avatar look like an old computer game. The landscapes are absolutely breathtaking, Monsoons are shimmering and talons glistening, this brings out the best in Snyder's heavily artistic directing style, and has adorned this movie with graceful battle scenes, beautifully blended with his signature slow motion shots at the perfect moments.
With its comparisons to films like "The Secret of NIMH", "Watership Down", "The Dark Crystal", with clear shades of "Star Wars", Guardians is not your run-of-the-mill animated movie with a fart joke every 10 seconds. The movie takes on a much more serious disposition which fits perfectly with its thematic flow. It is important to note, the film deals with issues such as courage, unity, loyalty, faith, sacrifice and betrayal tackled by Snyder with understated maturity. Though the story moves at a fairly quick pace, you will be immersed in what develops, as the writers did well to implement essentials to the storyline with comprehensible dialogue.
With that being said, Guardians is an engaging and relatively intense movie from start to finish. Thus, successfully separating our mindset of "Animated" and "Kid Friendly" being synonymous with each other. It is inspirational, breathtaking, humorous and educational with all the essentials of an all in all great story and movie. The kids and adults will both learn, while at the same time be visually enraptured by the animation's beauty. Don't be remotely surprised if you see sequels as it certainly has the legs to do so...or should I say wings (Note to self: Refrain from the bird puns..)