Of moon-blinking and following one’s gizzards

One of my first entries in this blog was about my excitement over the movie “The Legend of the Guardians: Owls of Ga’hoole,” based on the book series Guardians of Ga’hoole written by Kathryn Lasky.

My persistence paid off as I won a pair of tickets to the premier screening of Zack Snyder’s first animated film about owls. I went with my brother and together we were in awe as we watched the feathered creatures’ adventures in 3D.

Soren (Jim Sturgess) is a young audacious Barn Owl who together with his younger sister Eglantine (Adrienne deFaria) loves hearing stories from his father Noctus (Hugo Weaving) about the legend of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, a legendary alliance of owls that were believed to have sworn to protect the Kingdom of Ga’Hoole. His older brother, Kludd (Ryan Kwanten), on the other hand, hates this story-telling among the family and is jealous of the attention Soren receives.

When Soren and Kludd fell down from a branch after having a show-off in ‘branching’ (one of the few steps in flying), they were attacked by a Tasmanian devil and was snatched by two long-eared owls Jatt and Jutt who took them to the canyons of the St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls. Here they will discover that owlets like them are kidnapped from their families to work for the Pure Ones led by Metalbeak and his lady Nyra.

These Pure Ones regard themselves as the better owls and they plot to takeover the entire owl kingdoms by building an army, training the kidnapped owlets to become soldiers. Others who refuse to become soldiers are moon-blinked (their own version of hypnotism or brain-washing) to become pickers who look for powerful metal flecks from the owl pellets. These flecks are used by the Pure Ones to control other owls.

Soren refused to become part of the army and after Kludd turned his back on him and joined the Tytos, Soren and his new friend Gylfie joined the other owlets to become pickers. The two were able to find away to resist being moon-blinked (owlets are directed to face the moon and stare at it until they become zombie-like birds). A Pure One named Grimble taught Soren and Gylfie to fly for them to be able to escape and seek help from the Guardians of Ga’hoole. Upon their escape, they met Twilight and Digger and also found their nanny, the snake Mrs. P. (who was about to be the dinner of Twilight and Digger). Together, the group takes on the journey to the Sea of Hoolemere, wherein lies the island of the Great Ga’Hoole Tree where the legendary owl heroes reside.

Even after persuading the guardians of the impending threat the Pure Ones are scheming against the other owl kingdoms, Soren will realize that believing in the Guardians will not be enough to save the lives of the innocent especially upon knowing that he has to face his own brother to defeat the dark forces.

A lot of people are surprised that Snyder directed this movie that was produced by the same team that gave us Happy Feet. To those who are not familiar with Snyder, he is the director behind the movies “300” and the “Watchmen”. These two films rather have dark, serious themes and critics pointed out how the Legend seems not to be a recommended watch for children.

It’s your usual good versus evil plot with someone very close to the protagonist as the one who chooses the dark side (in this case, Soren’s brother, Kludd). A lot of reviews , though, point out that there’s too much fighting and evil lurking among the characters that they question the “family-oriented” claim of the movie. That is why it is advised that parents accompany their children in watching this film. As for me, I think we should not underestimate the power of children to understand the themes presented in the movie. First off is the sibling-rivalry. Yes, most of us who have brothers and sisters have experienced competing with our own kin. While most of us outgrew these “childhood competitions” as we grow old, it is a known fact that a lot of us are still trying to win against our sisters or brothers. And most of the times, these seemingly minor family member rivalry eats up the persons involved if left unresolved leading to an adult who has so much hatred in his heart that he no longer see his brother or sister as his kin.

This is what exactly the fate of brothers Soren and Kludd. Kludd was eaten by envy that he reached to a point of turning against his brother Soren and eventually the rest of his family and flock. I think this movie wanted to show how brothers must love each other despite their differences. Parents should also learn how to look into the relationship of their kids to one another. I know that parents, no matter how much they deny it, have their own favorite among their brood but I think it is only fair and right to allow all your children the chance to be your favorite on their own perspective, that way they will not feel unloved and unwanted.

Dark tone aside, who could resist those pretty, fluffy creatures that talk and act (even fight!) like humans? The fight scenes might be too much for the younger audience but the visual effects (especially if you watch it in 3D) will surely amaze the kids and the kids at heart.

I haven’t checked out the entire selection of its OST and only heard (at least songs which I’m familiar of) two of the songs — the 30 Seconds to Mars track (Kings and Queens) and The Owl City song (To the Sky). The first song was one of the reasons why this film stuck into my memory after seeing its trailer in another movie. I love Kings and Queens (I love the whole This is War album, actually) so I was rather disappointed when I heard nothing sounding-Kings and Queens during the whole film. What was evident was that track from Owl City (did they choose that song because of the singer? I won’t be surprised) but it was the song that kept playing over and over (yes, even up to the very last scene).

Is there anything fascinating about the movie? Well, it’s the first time I saw owls (yes owls!) fighting like soldiers complete with helmets and swords. And the slow-mo effects during the fight scenes are breathe-taking.

Is there anything new? Nothing much. The story (I’m basing it to the movie since I haven’t read any of the books) is your typical ordinary boy who becomes everyone’s hero because of his courageous heart. It’s actually reminiscent of Frodo’s character in the Lord of the Rings. He meets new friends who will become his allies as he takes on the journey to save the world (in this case, the world of owls). It also reminds us of following one’s heart (in this movie, following one’s gizzards) as the most right thing to do when faced with uncertainties.

But unlike LOTR, this movie did not make me cry (maybe because this is just the three books and there are more adventures that await Soren). As the credits started rolling and that owl city song begins to play (again!), I can only say: “I like it!” Yes, there’s an exclamation point because I truly liked it but not the way I will drool over Harry Potter.

Although not a comedy in itself, the film did not disappoint in injecting the right humor in some of the scenes. Seeing a snake as Soren and his sibling’s nanny was the start. I was actually wondering why there was a snake in a bird’s nest when from what I know these reptiles (those small ones) are eaten by carnivorous birds such as owls. This nanny named Mrs. P will be part of Soren’s adventure later on.

I like that Twilight and Digger duo. One keeps on cracking stupid jokes (some of which were funny actually) and the other likes to sing about anything and everything even though he doesn’t make sense most of the times.

Together they add humor to the movie and even lightened up the battle scenes that were a bit violent (although there were no blood spills evident, the fact that the fighting scenes were presented mostly in slow-motion for additional effects, make it one of the things about this movie that parents may feel queasy about).

I must say, I enjoyed the movie and I wouldn’t mind watching it again (in 3D please 😛 ) and wait for the sequels as well.


1 Comment

  1. Congrats for the new blog…too long so I’ll read it next time but i really loved the images or pics of the owls, made me smile reminiscing to the story of the movie 😀 keep it up God bless!

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