Friday, September 24, 2010

Movie Review: Legend of the Guardians

It used to be that animated movies (except that done by X-rated animators like Ralph Bakshi) were for kids, or, at best, for kids and adults. With Legend of the Guardians, we've arrived at an animated film that really isn't suitable for young kids. (Well, Jim Carrey's A Christmas Carol might fall into that category as well.)

Of course these days, kids are being exposed at a younger and younger age to "the real world," nevertheless I think kids younger than 5 or so won't be able to sit through this movie, and younger than 10 might find it quite scary at times. [Young American kids might have trouble following the English/Australian accents, too.]

The story opens in a paradise (except for mice!), where owls live in a tree. Two young brothers, Soren and Kludd, are just learning to fly. Kludd is impatient of his brother's love of stories - which Soren shares with their cute-as-a-button younger sister, Eglantine, and jealous of his abilities. They have a fight and fall out of the tree and can't climb back up into it. They are then kidnapped by a pair of large, helmeted owls who bring them to a dark place, where other kidnapped owls are separated into "peckers" and "soldiers." The "peckers" work on the ground, finding something called "Flecks", and are subdued by becoming "Moonblind" - with a very unpleasant after-effect that little kids won't like.

Soren manages to escape, with the help of a young barn owl, and determines to fly to Ga'Hoole to tell the Owl Guardians what is going on. Along the way, he gains three friends to help.

I suppose the story is derivative...but then really, what story isn't? Terry Brooks' Shannara empire, for example, what is that but a take off of the Lord of the Rings?

So, this story has all the "tropes" that you find in this genre. But it's well presented, the animation is fantastic, the actors do an excellent job (truth to tell I didn't recognize the voices of Helen Mirren, Sam Neill, or Georggrey Rush, as their voices are probably "sweetened" a bit, but the emoting is all that you could hope for.

Recommended - for kids over 10 and adults of all ages.

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