Soren and his new friend Gylfie (voiced by Emily Barclay) are taken in by old grumbling Grimble (voiced by Hugo Weaving) who teaches them to fly and eventually escape from The Pure Ones to seek out the Guardians. Now it’s up to Soren to convince the Guardians of this sinister plot and take down Metal Beak along with his army of evil owls now including newest member/traitor Kludd who’s brought their young sister Eglantine as an offering to The Pure Ones to show his commitment.
Throughout the first hour there is a great sense of awe with that dash of danger thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately, at almost exactly the one hour mark, Snyder and his writers throw in the most inexplicable use of a pop song in recent memory. While it was great to watch the owls fly around in an exhilarating use of 3-D, a training montage set to “To the Sky” by Owl City shows how lazy things are about to become. Yes, feathers fly and beaks collide all set to a bombastic score by David Hirschfelder but what was before slightly innocent becomes downright mean-spirited and far too violent for its inexplicable PG rating. Just because it’s animated doesn’t mean it’s any less violent than Snyder’s own 300. These birds die great deaths and I do not mean valiantly.
Legends of the Guardians proves yet again just how hypocritical the MPAA can be as this film is every bit as violent, if not more so at times, than the two films (1984’s double whammy of Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) that singlehandedly caused the PG-13 rating to begin with. The gauntlet of violence here runs from implied beheadings to outright impalements. If your children have read the books, hopefully they’ll know what they’re getting into here, but if not, don’t let the rating fool you into thinking this is a clean cut case of family fare but then again, the movie isn’t worth the money spent to begin with.
Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures