Director Zack Snyder (300 and Watchmen) does have a visual flair. This is his first animated film and his pictures are eye-popping. Unlike other animated movies, this year, this one presents us with the most life-like creations to ever be called cartoons.
Snyder's story centers on the lives of owls. Specifically, he focuses on two young owls who are brothers. In fact, the two brothers, Soren and Kludd, are just learning to fly. Their family lives high in the trees. During a flying lesson gone bad, Soren and Kludd get kidnapped. It gets to a point where the two brothers are swept into a war between two warring groups of owls.
It's peppered with quite a few action scenes, many of them flying sequences and many of them in slow motion. The earlier chase scenes are exciting than the later ones. Some of them include flights into twisters and even fires, the details of which are so accentuated as to distinguish every minute movement of every feather. It's all cool, but it's also not enough.
Perhaps I wasn't paying much attention, but the plot of one of the warring owl groups involves the vomit of owls and some kind of magical, energy source within. The fact is that it makes no sense and completely went over my head.
There's also plot and character developments that I felt were problematic. The division between the two brothers needed more screen time. Snyder leans more on one brother than the other, and there's a semi-crucial moment when their sister is kidnapped that's completely glossed over.
Several, stereotypical characters like a war hero turned old bitter curmudgeon were difficult with which to connect. Legend of the Guardians felt like a hollow action piece with protagonists and even antagonists that are real in appearance but fake in emotional and other aspects.
Two Stars out of Five.
Rated PG for some scary scenes and action-violence.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 37 mins.