Cover Art and Menus: 6/10
The cover for Legends of the Guardians : The Owls of Ga’hoole (which is entirely too long to write out every time) is decent, with a shot of all of the main owl characters, in their amazing detail. I feel they could have done more with this than just a shot of the group, but it is a decent overall shot. The fact that at the bottom of the cover it states “from the studio that brought you “Happy Feet'” made me look at that cover, which basically is the penguin version of this, except in snow. They could have changed things up a bit. The disc just starts as soon as you put it in the player, so the menu is simply a pop up as the movie progresses.
- Maximum Kid Mode – This extra is a picture-in-picture mode that is aimed at kids. A lot of good information is in here, but I do not think that a picture-in-picture mode is the best for kids, who are not truly able to focus on two things at once. My son wants to watch the movie, and not try to focus on something else. This would have been better aimed at adults, or as a separate feature for kids.
- Legend Of The Guardians: Rise Of The Guardians – This short 2 minute feature is the story about the Guardians from the movie. It is basically the folklore of the Guardians, as told by the owls.
- To The Sky Music Video By Owl City – The band is aptly named Owl City, and this is the music video for the main song used in the movie. A bit strange overall, but decent nonetheless.
- 4 Artwork Galleries – These are a group of artwork and storyboards about the characters and the locations of the movie. They are arranged in groups from Soren and his friends to the various locations that are used in the movie.
- True Guardians Of The Earth – This is a nice extra that focuses on the different types of owl species. It is full of information, and runs about 15 minutes long. It is a very good, solid extra.
- New Looney Tunes Cartoon: Fur Of Flying – This is a bizarre inclusion of a Roadrunner cartoon, that features the new computer generated animation.
- Interactive Games – There are two games included on the disc. The first features different outfits for Soren and Eglantine, and the second is a memory game with different types of owl snacks.
- Digital Copy & DVD – Both are included, and they are a nice addition for any kids movie.
The Movie: 7/10
Legend of the Guardians is one of those movies that just makes you wonder just how they are able to make these visuals with a computer. The shots are so incredibly realistic and beautiful that it just boggles the mind. The story features Soren (Jim Sturgess) and his brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) who are owlets who are extremely competitive as they try to learn to fly. Soren is slightly better at controlling his flight, but a late night competition between the two sees them fall out of the tree to the ground as their parents are out hunting. Unable to fly back up in the tree, they are attacked, and then rescued and subsequently kidnapped (is it owlnapped?) by a few mysterious owls who take them to an undisclosed location. The brothers soon learn that they have been recruited by the evil “Pure Ones” who are lead by Metalbeak (Joel Edgerton) and his soul mate Nyra (Helen Mirren). The Pure Ones use the moon to hypnotize the new owls and then train them to be soldiers and slaves, who are working on a master weapon that seems to effect the flight of most birds.
Soren and Kludd take different approaches to the recruitment, as Kludd sees this as an opportunity to show Soren that he is the better of the two. Soren befriends Gylfie, who is a smaller owl who is not fit to be a soldier. The two figure out how to avoid being brainwashed and orchestrate a prison escape of sorts with a bit of help, when they learn that the Pure Ones are out to defeat the Legends of Ga’hoole, who Soren learns are real and not a myth. Soren and Gylfie are taught in secret how to fly before taking flight to escape Nyra and the Pure Ones in an effort to find and alert the Guardians of the impending war.
The rest of the movie focuses on Soren and the Guardians preparing for the upcoming battle, and ultimately the standoff between Soren and his brother Kludd, who has taken to the Pure Ones and blindly accepted their ill-gotten praise. The movie is simply stunning and the character development is pretty well done also. There are times where the pace seems a bit off, but the humor and action are pretty well done overall. The movie was directed by Zack Snyder, who has done such visual movies as 300 and the Watchmen, and his style is present here as well. I thought the presentation was brilliant, but I feel that it may have lost my 5 year-old son in parts, as it was a bit over stylized. Legends of the Guardians is a fun movie with an absolutely brilliant high definition presentation on Blu-ray.
Audio & Video: 10/10
Simply stunning. This is one of those movies that is just brilliant to watch and hear. The high definition 1080p AVC encoded 2.40:1 presentation is incredible. The colors and the detail are simply perfect, and even though a lot of the movie is done at night, the picture is insane. A few of the shots where the owls are flying through a rain storm are simply incredible (see the shot above for a reference.) I was truly impressed with this video presentation. The audio was no less amazing, with seemingly perfect levels throughout and thundering use of both the bass and Surround Sound speakers. The whole experience was crystal clear and enjoyable. It did not hurt that the movie was obviously made to be an experience, with the scenes and sound created to impress. Even the fact that this was originally made in 3D did not seem obvious or obtrusive.
The Legend of the Guardians was a great little movie, but for little kids it may be a bit long and a bit confusing. The presentation is great, and there is enough action to keep kids involved, but I rate a lot of these on whether my son wants to watch the movie again and again, and this one so far was a one-off. This movie is worth a watch, and on Blu-ray it is amazing, but the replay value is just not there for me, so a rental should be fine. This may be better suited for kids around age 10-12 than younger kids, but that is not to say that they won’t enjoy the movie – they just may not love it.
Overall Score 7/10