Student Voice


April 25, 2024




Children’s film lacks interest, bores mature audience

September 30, 2010

My friend went ahead and pressured me into seeing (sigh) that “Owl” movie.

Nevertheless, I went in with an open mind. It is a children’s movie after all.

It’s gotta be pretty difficult to mess up a movie aimed at five to twelve year olds, right?

“Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” is based on the first three books of the children’s series Guardians of Ga’Hoole authored by Kathryn Lasky.

While I can’t speak for the books as I have yet to read to them, I strongly suspect that this film suffered from a severe case of “the crams,” as I like to call them (as of just now), as in it was pretty obvious that a lot of necessary story driving elements were discarded in order to cram everything into the 90 minutes that is the extent of the average pre-teen attention span.

While this does result in a fairly fast-paced film, anyone over the age of 10 should probably be able story-board the entire thing out after seeing the first five minutes.

In fact the protagonist’s brother, Kludd (voiced by Ryan Kwanten), essentially sums up the entire movie with one of the film’s very first lines: “The Guardians Win, lalalalala, they go home.” Now, I don’t mean to be overly hard on a kid’s movie, but there is really no excuse for poor filmmaking, even if it is aimed at an audience that still orders mac ‘n cheese with chicken nuggets as their main entrée at Applebee’s.

While a good children’s film obviously can’t be too high-brow with its ideas and presentation, it should still promote some sort of critical thought.

And frankly, “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” fails at this.

It really came off to me as nothing more than a fireworks show in movie form (I can’t deny that the computer animation was pretty incredible.

I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like it, granted I have yet to see Avatar.): lots of pretty lights and effects but little substance (… bad analogy: I love fireworks.)

I was even a bit disturbed by a few nuances of the movie, mostly how far they took the whole “let’s model the bad guys after the Nazi’s” angle.

The story follows young owl Soren (Jim Sturgess) as he and his brother are kidnapped by an evil sect of owls who refer to themselves as “The Pure Ones.”

They are led by an evil dictator owl who is bent on exterminating the “lower species” and gives really animated and angry speeches to the masses (this is where I would have taken my kids out of the theater I think).

His whole plan revolves around kidnapping stray owls and brainwashing them into becoming either soldiers or, (this is really the most fitting word) turd-burglars who are literally forced to sift through regurgitated owl pellets in order to find little bits of metal that are used to power some sort of magnetic owl-zapping machine.

Time to sum this puppy up: The movie has all the elements of every adventure film you’ve ever seen.

Some kid minding his own business gets hurled into an epic conflict in which the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

He forms a fellowship with a handful of wacky characters, teams up with the good guys, and blows up the death star. There’s even a royal awards ceremony involved towards the end (and yes, there is an incarnation of “the force” in this movie).

While I also can’t deny that the voice-acting was surprisingly good, this movie is nothing more than some animators going, “Look what we can do!”

Kids will love it, parents will sleep through it. I’m just not sure this is something I’d want my children to be obsessed with.

Anthony Orlando is a math major and physics minor. He runs for the UW-River Falls cross country team. He once met Dan Auerbach and is a minor celebrity in Malaysia.