Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Legend of the Guardians The Owls of Ga Hoole

I enjoyed the Legend of the Guardian: The Owls of Ga’Hoole which I thought had dark and challenging moments for the very young and which is a 2010 Australian computer animated film with a strong cast of voices including Helen Mirren, Mirian Margoyles, Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush and Hugh Weaving.

Two young barn owls live with their parents in the forest and as with all young people want to do more quicker than they are able to, and one night despite having been told not to do so they go off for an exploratory flight only to fall to the ground and open to enemies unable to immediately return to safety. There is already considerable rivalry between the brothers as one likes to hear tales of a mythical group of owl warriors The Guardians of Ga’Hoole who once saved all owl kind for the evil Pure Ones. The other ridicules his brother only to now find themselves captured with other owls by agents of the Pure Ones.

The majority of those captured undergo a process of submission and become workers, Although selected to become a worker, one brother is able to feign the process so remains alert while the other brother volunteers and becomes a soldier. The workers examine owl pellets for small metal flecks which cause pain for owls when ingested and where a great store of the material is being prepared.

One of the Soldier Owls discloses to the young owl and a friend that he was of the Guardians and the Pure Ones are plotting to trap and destroy the Guardians and thus gain control of all the Owls once again. Before the duo can escape they must learn to fly for a long period and at speed and this takes time. Even when they are ready they just out run their pursuers and then face a number of challenges including a great mist and freezing typhoon. Eventually they successfully make it to the home of the Guardians and the Great Tree. When the owls recover and tell their tale one the Guardians expresses disbelief about the threat with the consequence that only a scouting party is sent to find out what is going on led by him.

The two owls begin their training as Guardians by an old owl who they discover was an important figure in the battle which the young‘ns father would tell his son. The young owl is disillusioned because he imagined someone very different. The leader of the scouting party returns saying the others were ambushed and killed and they he had escaped with two processed worker owls one of these is younger sister of the young owl. The entire force of the Guardians set off to engage the Pure Ones. Fortunately the sister recovers from the process and reveals that she was taken prisoner by their brother and given to the leader of the scouting party who is a traitor.

The Guardians are going into a trap where they will be confronted by the accumulated metal flecks leaving them helpless on the ground.

The young owl leads the small band of trainee guardians and others left in the Great Tree to try and help the others and almost too late. The young owl sees a way to change the situation and this is sufficiently effective for the Pure Ones to believe that their spy has changed sides and they send soldiers to kill him.

Since their capture his brother has not just become a soldier but made himself into a senior lieutenant in the new order. When the soldier brother gets into difficulties in the final combat he pleads with his brother to save him only to then attempt to force his saviour into the inferno below them. Fortunately his plan fails and he appears to fall into the flames and to his death. The Guardians are saved and the Pure One killed or driven out. The young owl is made a Guardian to the pride of his parents, sister and other family members. There is a new generation of legend. This is however only the first part of a three book series.

In the epilogue the body of the other brother was not found and we see him with the glowing red eyes of the other Pure Ones who have survived flying out to sea. I was impressed by some of the animations and use of 3D effects but continued wonder about extent to which this is a family film, given the Cain and Able main story.

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