By Fred Topel | Images property of Warner Bros. Pictures
Legend of the Guardians
I got to Legend of the Guardians just as the lights went down and everyone put on their 3D glasses. So as I was stepping over people to get to my seat, I thought it would be funny to tell them, “I’m in 3D! I’m in 3D!” Nobody thought it was funny.
Review: Legend of the Guardians
Legend of the Guardians is a really beautiful film. I would think that owls are limited as characters because they’ve only got wings and claws, but they don’t really use them like anthropomorphic arms and legs. I guess Pixar did it with fish though so I shouldn’t have been so surprised to get involved with owls.
It’s an inverted world where the characters stick to the sky. The rare moments on the ground are unnatural and scary. A lot happens at night because owls are nocturnal. They have daymares because they don’t sleep at night so how would they know what a nightmare is. This is mostly a subtle distinction that gives the world an inverted feeling, but I don’t think they made it a major point of difference.
The character and set detail is great. The world looks epic and Zack Snyder-ish. It captures many different settings and various different weather conditions for the owls to fly through. The baby owl is just adorable, hawking up his first pellet, and it’s emotional too with the little owlings at stake.
There are definitely some 300 shots, with intense battles. The owls use their wings and claws to fight hard. Lots of slow motion too, and battle strategy. The heroes make many narrow escapes and participate in training montages to show improvement.
It’s definitely got its own mythology full of words you might not understand. Branching, moonblink and picker sound as convincing and anything Tolkien or Rowling made up.
It follows a bit of the Disney formula where the outcast finds a world where he belongs, and out in the wild meets wacky comic relief characters. The bad guy henchmen are funny too, and scary at the same time. The Pure Ones are the master race, or at least when they say “Weakness is not for us,” they’re Cobra Kai.
It actually feels like a very foreign film. All the voices are Australian or British, so even though they’re speaking English it’s harder to understand. It sounds a bit more exotic but it’s also like entering another world and being the foreigner.
I definitely appreciated Legend of the Guardians as much as the other well made fantasy epics. Probably a little more just because it felt more like something I could discover and own, as opposed to really popular franchises that already have legions of followers. I can’t compete with that.