The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warner - 2010
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 97 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Helen Mirren, Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Joel Edgerton, Sam Neill, Anthony LaPaglia, Emily Barclay, Ryan Kwanten
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Music by: David Hircshfelder
Written by: John Orloff & Emil Stern based on the novels Guardians of the Ga'Hoole by Kathryn Lasky
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 14, 2010
"On his way to finding a legendhe will become one"
Director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) makes his animation debut with this fantasy adventure based on the beloved books. Young owl Soren marvels at tales of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole, mythic winged warriors who battled to save all owl kind from the evil Pure Ones. When he and brother Kludd fall into the talons of the Pure Ones, it's up to Soren to make a daring escape with the help of other brave owls and seek out the Great Tree, home of the Guardians.
Legend of the Guardians: The owls of Ga'Hoole is based on the first three volumes (The Capture, The Journey, and The Rescue) of the series Guardians of Ga'Hoole by Kathryn Lasky. I knew nothing of the book series going into this review but after seeing it prior knowledge isn't a prerequisite. The fantasy/adventure based story revolves around Soren, a young adventurous barn owl who loves hearing stories from his father about the exploits of the legendary Guardians of Ga'Hoole, a mythic alliance of owls that are sworn to protect the owl kingdom. When Soren and his older brother Kludd are stolen away from their home by the minions of Metalbeak, an evil owl bent on settling an old score by building an army of Pure Ones to wage war against the mythical Guardians of Ga'Hoole, the two brothers find themselves divided. Kludd is the older of the two and sibling rivalry has left him resentful and jealous of Soren. After learning the seriousness of their captor's intent Soren plans to escape in the hopes of finding and warning the Guardians. Meanwhile Kludd revels in the new found attention he receives as a Pure One and falls in with them. Presented with an opportunity Soren manages to escape along with Gylfie, another young owlet captured by the Pure Ones. They set out on their dangerous quest which will require the help of several new found friends and an as yet unfulfilled prophecy. For Soren finding the Guardians is a dream come true, little does he know that it will ultimately be them who will need him the most.
This is an enjoyable fairytale that is sure to strike a chord with younger audiences although I think there is enough to keep parents interested as well. It plays out very much like most stories of its kind and features good, evil, and the underlying purpose of the actions that guide the hero. There is plenty of action, a little thematic drama/suspense and a bevy of furry characters to help move things along. The depiction of the Cain/Able type relationship between Soren and Kludd is similar to those we have seen in other films and plays an integral role in the course of events that transpire. While the story's premise remains consistent the plot's focus becomes diluted with smaller subplots and the introduction of too many lesser characters to make it thoroughly satisfying. In spite of that I felt that the uplifting nature of the story and the continuity of its core elements endured. The outcome is an entertaining and charming animated family film that has something to offer audiences of all ages.
The rating is for some sequences of scary action.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Legend of the Guardians: The owls of Ga'Hoole comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home video featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 Mbps.
This is a reference quality high definition video presentation that among the best that I have seen. Images are painted with incredible three dimensional perspective that imparts a near infinite sense of depth. Intricate details such as the separation of individual strands of hair or the flowing of feathers as they blow in the breeze are incredibly lifelike. I was able to fully appreciate the attention to detail that went into the visual design of the individual characters. Colors are rich and beautifully crafted as the deep shades of sepia are splashed with golden accents and invigorated by eye catching primaries that look succulent in high definition. Contrast and brightness are spot on and strike a wonderful balance that highlights the multi-layered grays and gradational whites within the images onscreen. Low level sequences have superb depth of field and resolvable shadow delineation. Blacks are deep without compromise to fidelity and exhibit excellent dynamic range. This high definition encoding delivers image quality that offers visually arresting depth along with a luminous and sparkling clarity that result in a flawless presentation that simply looks stunning.
The 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack presented here is an impressive one that utilizes the entire system to create a theater like experience. This is an engaging and dynamically energized surround mix that features high level sonic detail, superb directional correlation, seamless integration, and rhythmically charged bass extension. Dialogue is definitive and appreciably lucid through the center channel as it reaches far into the room. It's located just slightly in front of the left/right speakers within the acoustic space it occupies in the soundfield. I never had any trouble distinguishing even the slightest changes in the pitch or tonal inflection of voices. This is a complex sound design that is loaded with various sound effects, spatial cues, music, and dialogue. Each was clearly represented with enriching clarity, detail and appropriate sound field placement.
- (HD) True Guardians of the earth - 15 minute documentary hosted by Digger and Rico Rodriguez
- (HD) Maximum kid mode - Explore the world of Ga'Hoole - In movie experience
- (HD) Legend of the Guardians: armor up with Soren and Eglantine - Interactive costume designer
- (HD) Match the owl treats - Interactive matching game
- (HD) Legend of the Guardians: Rise of the Guardians - 2 minute alternate scene
- (HD) Looney Tunes Fur of flying - Short animated feature (3 minutes)
- (HD) Artwork galleries (4 segments)
- (HD) To the sky music video by Owl City - 3 minutes
- BD-Live enabled
- Bonus DVD/Digital Copy
Legend of the Guardians: The owls of Ga'Hoole is based on the first three volumes (The Capture, The Journey, and The Rescue) of the series Guardians of Ga'Hoole by Kathryn Lasky. I had a few quibbles with the screenplay but still found this to be an entertaining and charming animated family film that has something to offer audiences of all ages. Its debut on Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video delivers mesmerizing high definition video quality that ranks among the best animated imagery that I have seen on the format. Superb lossless surround sound and an apropos set of bonus features round out a wonderful package that has found a home in my Blu-ray collection.
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