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

IMAGINE the pitch.

Zack Snyder, director of ‘300’ and ‘Watchmen’, stands in front of Hollywood suits and proclaims: ‘I want to do an action film about owls and it is going to be dark’.

That may not have been quite how it unfolded but if it did I would have loved to have been there.

Despite this ludicrous premise, ‘Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole’ is a surprisingly ok film.

Based on a series of children’s novels, Legend (a much easier title to use) is the story of an owlet called Soren who is kidnapped by a nasty mob of fellow owls.

Once in their grasps Soren meets with other young owls who are told by their captors that their families abandoned them in a form of brainwashing.

Despite the evil group’s efforts, Soren and his new friends escape and attempt to find the mythical Guardians of Ga’Hoole who they believe will help fight back.

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The first thing to say about ‘Guardians’ is that the CGI – Computer Generated Images – are absolutely first rate.

Feathers and fur, we are told, are notoriously difficult to animate but with this latest offering that problem appears to have gone.

The owls fly across the sky, zip through rain and battle one another with staggering accuracy.

The backgrounds too are wonderfully rendered with mountains shooting past.

But with CGI animation films now far from new, the audience demands more and with this, ‘Guardians’ seems to creak at the sides a little.

The basic storyline is formulaic and a tad predictable while the voice talent, impressive as it is, is just too…Australian.

That is no criticism against our nntipodean friends who will lose the Ashes in the coming months, but just a point that perhaps bigger stars could have been sought.

One other point to make is that the film may just be a tad too dark for the younger children.

Add that to the fact that it is essentially a cartoon about owls, you are left wondering who on earth will see it.

And that is a shame as ‘Guardians’ is a good adventure film deserves an equally good audience.

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