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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (PG)

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Review byMatthew Turner22/10/2010

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

Despite some beautiful animation and an impressive voice cast, this is disappointingly slow, with a dull script, a painful lack of humour and a tedious plot that gets bogged down with too many characters, though it does pick up with a spectacular battle sequence in the final act.

What's it all about?
Directed by Zack Snyder, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole is based on the first three children's books by Kathryn Lasky. The story begins as young Barn Owl Soren (Jim Sturgess) and his jealous brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) are kidnapped by evil owl army the Pure Ones (spot the Nazi overtones), led by Queen Nya (Helen Mirren) and the fearsome Metalbeak (Joel Edgerton), who attempt to brainwash them into becoming soldiers.

However, Soren escapes with the help of feisty Dwarf Owl Gylfie (Emily Barclay) and together they go in search of the legendary owls the Guardians of Ga'Hoole in order to defeat the Pure Ones. Along the way they're joined by Burrowing Owl Digger (Anthony LaPaglia), Great Gray Owl Twilight (David Wenham) and battle-scarred Ezylryb (Geoffrey Rush), who helps Soren and his friends learn to fly properly in preparation for the upcoming battle.

The Good
The animation is stunning throughout – the owls look realistic and every feather is lovingly rendered. Similarly, the climactic battle sequence is extremely well done and genuinely exciting, though it might prove a little scary for younger viewers, even if Snyder (presumably reluctantly) cuts down on the 300-style slaughtering.

The film also has a terrific voice cast with stand out performances from Sturgess, Rush and Mirren, though the American accents are rather jarring against the rest of the mostly Australian sounding cast.

The Bad
The problem is that the script is plodding and dull (it's hard to believe there's three entire books’ worth of plot here because not that much actually happens) and there's a painful lack of wit or humour in the dialogue – basically, these wols could have used some lols. In addition, there are so many similar looking characters that it's difficult to tell whooo's whooo.

Worth seeing?
The Legends of the Guardians is beautifully animated with a great voice cast and a stunning final battle sequence when it eventually gets round to it, but it's let down by a dull script, a lack of humour and a plot that’s weighed down with too many characters.

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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (PG)
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Content updated: 26/02/2020 23:24

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