Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole [Blu-Ray] Zack Synder

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole [Blu-Ray] Zack Synder
It may not break new ground story-wise, but Legend of the Guardians certainly is a grand visual accomplishment. Based on youth fantasy series Guardians of Ga'Hoole, re-branded by a marketing team that figure the public need the word "owls" in the title to understand what those feathered creatures populating the previews actually are, Legend of the Guardians is Zack Synder's vision of a family epic. Soren is a young barn owl obsessed with the tales of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole, particularly the "Battle of the Ice Claw." His brother, Kludd, sick of re-enacting the battle, agrees to practice gliding with him, even though he's envious of Soren's superior skill and confidence. The sibling rivalry causes the two young owls to tumble to the ground, the "worst place for an owl." One danger replaces another as Soren and Kludd are kidnapped by the Pure Ones, a Nazi-like organization of Tyto owls bent on subjugating inferior breeds. It's a predictable hero's journey: Soren resists the Pure Ones and is forced to do hard labour; Kludd joins them, finding the approval he lacked at home; obviously the two will end up clashing. On his way to joining the ranks of the heroes he worships, Soren is aided in his escape by an old owl seeking redemption, meets a couple of wacky companions and fulfils a few prophecies before coming face to face with his childhood heroes. Strong voice acting, especially from Helen Mirren, Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush and Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) ― even if Jim Sturgess's take on Soren tires in its over-earnest optimism ― bolsters the mind-boggling realism of the computer graphics. So stunning is the eye candy that it's a shame more time wasn't spent with the design team behind the scenes. Maximum "Kid" Mode is how Synder handles the feature commentary, having a fully animated Soren guide the audience through the special features that pop up. Otulissa (Abbie Cornish) walks youngsters through the historical elements of animation and how techniques have changed and stayed the same during the evolution of animation. There's a more detailed look at the creation of sound effects than commonly found in most supplementary material: watching Geoffry Rush squawk out battle screeches, to be mixed with actual owl calls later, is good fun. "True Guardians of the Earth" is a look at the world of owls, hosted by the character Digger, and inexplicably, Rico, from Modern Family. The real-life owl footage is great; Rico's pronunciation is not, which isn't great for an educational piece. There are a couple of attractive-to-look-at-but-lame-to-play games: character dress-up and owl food memory match. Even lamer is a video for Owl City's "To the Sky," the horrid pop song that comes from out of nowhere midway through the film, completely ruining immersion. It's impossible to even enjoy the visuals while such a saccharine piece of trash pollutes the air. For a little icing, there's a two-minute alternate scene, "Rise of the Guardians," that depicts the "Battle of the Ice Claw," as told by Soren's father, and a Looney Tunes short featuring Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. It's a package aimed directly at kids, but even after adults tire of the glut of clichés, the gorgeous art design and bar-raising graphics will keep viewers of all ages mesmerized. (Warner)