Zack Snyder was not exactly the first guy that comes to my mind when I think about directors for an animated movie, however it makes sense given the style and visual flair he gave to such movies as 300 and Watchmen. That same visual sends suits him well in Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, a dazzling feast for the eyes that rises above it's formulaic story with some intense set pieces.
Young owl Soren (voice of Jim Sturgess) is a dreamer who thrills at hearing stories of The Guardians, a group of heroic owls that defend against the evil Pure Ones. Soren's brother Kludd (voice of Ryan Kwanten), on the other hand, does not believe in such silly things and thinks his brother is weak for doing so. One night, Soren and Kludd fall out of their tree and are picked up by the Pure Ones, who have begun collecting young owls to create a class of soldiers and workers to defeat the Guardians. Soren learns of the Pure Ones Plans and with the help of tiny owl Gylfie (voice of Emily Barclay), stages a daring escape to find The Guardians. He tries to get Kludd to join him, but Kludd decides to stay with the new group who finally appreciate all his talents.
The plot of a young hero making his dreams come true is nothing new, but what Guardians lacks in story, it certainly makes up for in action and animation. This is a gorgeous film to look at, and Snyder has certainly given us a world to admire. The owls look magnificent, and almost life-like. The action scenes are also well handled, and kept me at the edge of my seat. Some of the set pieces might be a little scary for younger viewers, but there is definitely enough to appeal to all ages. Guardians also leaves open room for a sequel, which I would more than welcome.
As I mentioned before, the movie is a blur of dazzling visuals, which look great on the Blu-ray. The colors blend very well, and even the sequences that were intended for 3-D come out looking nice and clear. I especially loved the detail between shadows and light, where sunlight or moonlight would peek through the trees onto the characters as it would in real life. I was also able to tell everything that was going on easily, and not once did the picture prevent me from marveling at what I was looking at.
The sound, recorded in DTS HD Master Audio, was also nicely done. The dialogue was crisp, and the action scenes whizzed about, blending both music along with the clashing of talons and other battle noises, which came across nice and clear.