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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

Posted on September 23, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Zack Snyder tries to do for feathers what he did for abs and biceps in “300” in this 3D animated adventure based on three books from the 15-book series of Ga’hoole novels by Kathryn Lansky. Every snowflake, feather, and talon is vivid, arresting, and (apparently) literally in your face, but the story is not as clear. the striking visuals do not make up for a muddled story with too many characters and a plot that seems to be pulled together from the usual Joseph Campbell/George Lucas/J.R.R. Tolkien box of plots and characters.
Two owl brothers, Soren (a likable Jim Sturgess) and Kludd, not quite ready to fly, fall out of the nest and are captured and flown to the headquarters of Metal Beak (Joel Edgerton) and his wife (acidly voiced by Helen Mirren), where kidnapped owlets are assigned to be soldiers or drones. Look at those names again — any question about which one is going to have the heart, I mean force, I mean gizzard to lead the rebel forces and which one is going to buy into the whole “we’re the pure and the strong so we get to oppress everyone else” side of things?
Wait, you say — but where are the colorful sidekicks? Right over here, where we have a lute-playing warrior-poet and a snake nanny and a future-predicting echidna (an egg-laying spiked mammal that looks sort of like a porcupine) and more. Well, then, you add, there must also be a wise mentor. Step this way, and meet Ezylryb (voiced with asperity by Geoffrey Rush). There are storms and battles and betrayals and a secret weapon made from blue flecks pecked out by owls turned “moon-blinked” (think zombie) from coughed up owl pellets (undigested bits of mouse, we are helpfully told).
Those not familiar with the book will find it hard to follow, especially because of the strong accents of many of the Aussie voice actors. Those who are looking for what they enjoyed in the books may miss the narrator’s voice. There is some impressive sound and fury, but it does not signify much. “Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not real,” says the father owl. But, as this and too many other movies show, just because you do see something, even in sharpest 3D, doesn’t mean it is.

(more…)

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3D Action/Adventure Animation Based on a book Drama Fantasy For the Whole Family Talking animals
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Opening this Week: ‘You Again,’ ‘Wall Street 2,’ ‘Catfish,’ ‘Never Let Me Go,’ and ‘Legends of the Guardians’

Posted on September 21, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Hurray! The fall season is off to a grand start with three big feature films opening this week and there’s something for everyone. “You Again” looks like a hoot. It’s a “frenemy” movie. Kristen Bell plays a woman whose brother is marrying the “mean girl” from her high school. She may be capable and confident in her grown-up life, but having to welcome her former nemesis into the family has her feeling as though she is 14 years old and no one wants to sit with her in the lunchroom. This becomes a multi-generational problem when it turns out the two mothers (played by the magnificent Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis) were also high school rivals. With Betty White in the mix, it could be one of the year’s best comedies.
It’s been 23 years since Gordon Gekko went to prison at the end of “Wall Street.” And the real-life Wall Street has never been as vital a topic as it is following the subprime meltdown. Put those two together, with “An Education’s” Carey Mulligan as Gekko’s daughter and Shia LeBoeuf as the young man who loves her and wants to prove himself to both members of the Gekko family, and it might be a “Wall Street” for the millennial generation.
“Never Let Me Go” is a quietly disturbing story of three children at a boarding school whose mysteries are only gradually revealed to them and to us. Kiera Knightly, “An Education’s” Carey Mulligan and future Spider-Man Andrew Garfield (who also appears in the upcoming Facebook movie, “The Social Network”) play the school’s graduates who struggle to accept their fate.
How well do you know your Facebook “friends?” New York photographer Nev Schulman friended a group of family members in Michigan after a little girl sent him a painting inspired by one of his photos. As he became romantically involved with her older sister, even though they had never met, his film-maker brother started making a documentary called “Catfish” about what was happening. The movie’s tag line is: “Don’t let anyone tell you what it is,” so I will just say that the end of my review will be available by email only!
legendoftheguardians.jpgThe Guardians of Ga’hoole is a popular series of books about groups of heroic owls. “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” is the animated 3D film, directed by “300’s” Zach Snyder, known for his striking images. It features the voices of Sam Neill, Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush, and Hugo Weaving of “The Matrix” and “Lord of the Rings.” The title may be a mouthful, but this could be an adventure film for the whole family.
Stay tuned! Reviews will be up on Friday.

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Opening This Week
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