Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole – Film Review

I found the Guardians of Ga’Hoole books about four years ago, well the first one, on the bargain table in a country book shop. They hadn’t taken off here, and I managed to find the rest (eight at the time) in the US and got them shipped here.

I was delighted with the story, animal tales being one of my favourite type of kids books. There is not enough of them these day in my opinion, and while I get a new Redwall at least each year, new finds are always a welcome addition to my bookcase. I found them well-researched and I liked the characters. They got packed into a box at some point and I didn’t follow on with the series. They still were not popular, and I’m not sure they were even stocked here, so I had no idea they had gotten up to fifteen books. When I saw the preview at the cinema, where I am sure I shrieked ‘Ga’Hoole!’ when I saw the owls. But enough about that. We just got back from the movie a few hours ago.

Zack Snyder did a terrific job on this film. Animal Logic, who I discovered have done work on everything from Lord of the Rings to 300, provides absolutely stunning animation. You can see every line on every feather on every owl. It looks incredible. The story I already like of course.

The movie is based on the first three books in the series.

The Pure Ones are kidnapping helpless Owlets and taking them to their lair to either train as soldiers or work slave labour in order to assist them in building a machine to enslave even more owls. I hear some people complain the machine was confusing. It uses an magnetic field to trap owls at ground level, and unable to move, the Pure Ones send bats in to finish them off. Simple stuff. They control the Owlets by ‘moon-blinking’ them which involves the owls going into a trance-like state after being exposed to the full moon. Your heroes, Soren and Gylfie, outsmart their captors and manage to avoid being moon-blinked. An elder owl with a guilty conscience teaches them to fly and helps them escape.

Soren and Gylfie meet Twilight and Digger on their travels, and discover Mrs. P., Soren’s nest maid (a snake) and form a fabulous fellowship of five, and go off in search of the Legendary Guardians of the Ga’Hoole.

I loved this film. It looked gorgeous, it was fun to hear the Australian accents, the battle scenes were just outstanding (although perhaps a bit violent for the young ones) and I am sure they snuck in a Tassie Devil. I definitely saw a Eucalyptus tree.

Apparently a lot of people had a problem with the plot. Well, it’s magical talking owls. They wear helmets and can wield swords. They engage in the classic fantasy battle between good and evil. Enjoy it.