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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
Time Out New York Project: Issue #782, September 23-29, 2010
Dir. Zack Snyder. 2010. PG. 91mins. Voices of Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Helen Mirren.
Zack Snyder’s films have some of the best opening-credit sequences in cinema; the unfortunate thing is that there’s always a movie after them. Dawn of the Dead’s Johnny Cash–scored intro and Watchmen’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’” prelude are birds of a feather with The Owls of Ga’Hoole’s soaring beginning, in which one of the anthropomorphized characters flies past the Warner Bros. logo, dive-bombs through a cloud bank and picks up an unsuspecting mouse for dinner.
It’s the only truly exhilarating moment in a film filled with nothing but bloodless sound and fury (in 3-D!). The first three tales in Kathryn Lasky’s 15-book children’s series are condensed into a trifling hero’s quest: Young barn owl Soren (Sturgess) is kidnapped from his hollow and taken to the lair of the villainous Nyra (Mirren) and Metal Beak (Joel Edgerton). He quickly escapes, picks up a ragtag group of sidekicks and seeks out the fabled Guardians of Ga’Hoole, who can ostensibly stop Nyra and Metal Beak’s nefarious plans for kid-friendly genocide. Snyder once again indulges his off-puttingly fetishistic love of silky slo-mo and gleaming weaponry, though the low point has to be the training montage scored to Owl City’s cringeworthy “To the Sky.” The soul-shattering track is even reprised over the animated closing credits, which, no surprise, are friggin’ dope.—Keith Uhlich
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