Saturday, September 25, 2010

lord of the owls strike back at the nazi empire

“The crow wished everything was black, the owl, that every thing was white.”—William Blake


I guess they give us a clue when the first scene of Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole shows a beautiful owl soar through the air and then deftly grab its prey, a cute little mouse, in 3D close-up—this is not your ordinary kid movie. In fact, after seeing the lushly animated movie I'm still puzzled exactly who is the audience for this movie. It is very dark, and there is ton of slow-mo fighting a la 300 (same director).

Hardly akin to the innocuous Happy Feet, as the poster tries to hard sell.

The animation is top-notch. The feathers on the owls are downy and fluffy and the settings are for the most part, beautiful. The personalities of the main characters are engaging, Aussie accents and all. In fact, all that needed to be done was shifting the focus to the "good" owls and a bit more comic relief. Although Geoffrey Rush tries valiantly to inject his wise old owl with wacky charm. It didn't need to become cutesy-fied, but there is too much time spent on the "bad" owls and their dungeon-like lair without ever satisfactorily explaining why they're bad and what exactly is their shiny secret weapon. Helen Mirren's Nyra does manage to come across as beautiful and deadly.

"The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note."—Edward Lear

The original series of fifteen books on which it is based was quite popular. It's completely set up as ready for a sequel, although only time and box-office receipts will tell. For me, the film had rather too obvious dashes of Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Nazistoo referential for me to want to explore the books or read them to my daughter. I'm afraid that even with its drop-dead gorgeous animation the "owl movie" is only mildly diverting, with a little too much drop-dead-ing going on for comfort.

“He respects Owl, because you can't help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn't spell it right.”—A. A. Milne
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