Soren is a young barn owl who dreams of becoming a Guardian of Ga’Hoole. He knows their stories by heart, and yearns for the day when he can fly and discover the island on which they live.
That dream is cut short however, when he and his brother fall from the nest while branching when their parents were away. They are captured by “The Pure Ones” and made to serve them. Soren, by choice, goes to be a “picker” and mine metals for the Pure one’s Army. It seems as though his dream of meeting the guardians will never be realized.
Escape is the only option for survival, but Soren cannot yet fly. In time though, he learns how, and with his friend manages to escape the fortress. His sole mission is to find the Guardians and alert them of the terrible things the Pure One’s are doing.
But there is a greater enemy than even Soren or the Guardians know of, and he is determined to enslave all the land with his power and might. And with a new weapon…
Not even the Guardians can stop him.
Things I liked
This movie is packed with biblical qualities and traits. One which stands out the most is the character of Soren. He is a barn owl with a love for the old tales of the guardians. He loves their bravery, their courage, and their oath to protect the weak. We see that play out in the movie, as he adores these characters, he embodies their oath and mission.
This is translated into a young owl who is meek in his natural abilities, merciful to his brother who is not kind nor appreciative when Soren tries to help. This trait of mercy stands out the most to me, because even when his brother makes extremely bad choices, he still stands ready to forgive and provide that second chance.
We also see Soren use his strength and will to serve others rather than himself. He stands up for a young elf owl, and suffers the same fate as she does because of it. He has faith in things not yet seen, which is shown to be a powerful parallel to one’s own conscience and spirit. It is shown to believe because you know something is right, rather than require proof with your own eyes.
In one scene, we see an old owl willingly sacrifice his life for the lives of two owlets. He is killed by the “Pure Ones” who are the antagonists in the film. What I enjoyed about the portrayal of evil in this movie was it was so realistic. Initially, it looks beautiful, desirable, and right. Then, because of selfishness some owls choose to join the pure one’s we see how filth, corrupt, and dark the evil truly is. They say “Honor is just a form of weakness.” Later we see poetic justice in regard to that quote.
War is depicted in a way which puts an excellent perspective as not only how awful it is, but why it is appropriate to engage in war. One of the Guardians tells Soren about the battle Soren has dreamed of his entire life:
“War isn’t glorious, amazing, or even heroic. It’s merely doing what’s right. And doing it again and again.”
In that one quote the essence of wars are captured, and when war does come, there is no victory celebration, no heros to be had, only owls doing what is right. And that is defending the weak who are unable to defend themselves.
No profanities are used in the movie.
The final thing which I enjoyed was the stunning brilliance and artistry of the movie. I believe this very well could be the greatest animated film done in terms of art. It is some of the best eye candy I’ve seen in a while.
Things I didn’t like
There is one crude attempt at humor where an owl gets pinched in the groin.
There are some battle scenes, and the most we see is feathers fly. A few owls do die, one in a terrible manner. Since these are not people, it did not bother me very much, but for the younger kids, it is pretty intense and they might be scared a bit by the battle scene at the end.
Rarely I find a movie where I can recommend it to others wholeheartedly. The Legend of the Guardians is one of those rare films.
This movie embodies and advocates so many Christian qualities it is astounding. Mercy, faith, compassion, forgiveness, meekness, honor, truth, family values, and more. It shows evil for what it truly is, even in the fact it looks nice on the outside, but inside, it is horrible. Then we see good in all of its glory, and how it prevails over darkness. It shows war as something terrible and sad, necessary only to protect others. And frankly, this is the best animated movie of all time… In my opinion.
They speak of their “Gizzard” which equates to our soul and conscience, and we should always listen to what it says is right, rather than what others say or our head tells us. The parallels are astounding.
So if you haven’t seen this movie, and want something clean with lasting messages presented in a beautiful and memorable way. Pick up “Legends of the Guardians”, you won’t regret it.