Box art for Legend of the Guardians The Owls of Ga'Hoole

Legend of the Guardians The Owls of Ga'Hoole

anime & animation, children & family, sci-fi & fantasy

Soren, a young owl, falls into the clutches of the evil Pure Ones and must set out to find the legendary Guardians of Ga'Hoole - his only hope of saving the owl kingdoms.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 8
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
Educational value
2 out of 5
1 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
Sexy Stuff
1 out of 5
Violence & scariness
3 out of 5

Sweeping owl fantasy adventure is impressive but intense.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this 3-D adaptation of Kathryn Lasky's best-selling Legend of the Guardians books is more intense and violent than most animated adventures -- even though the characters are all owls. The movie focuses on the conflict between a group of owls that considers themselves a master race entitled to enslave "lower species" of owls and the Guardians, a hidden group of warriors that fights to defend all owls from evil. With such a heavy plot and many action-packed battle sequences, this isn't age-appropriate for all young children. But kids old enough to read the books and mature enough to handle the themes will benefit from the movie's message that all owls (and therefore people) are worthy, not just those whom one group thinks are better than the rest. Note: The 3-D factor makes many of the movie's battle/fight scenes much more intense.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the movie's overall message about owl equality. How does that translate into human culture? Is it ever right for a group to decide that they should be served by others?
  • How does the movie's violence compare to that in other animated movies you've seen? Is it more or less scary because the characters are animals? Why?
  • For kids who've read the books, how does the movie compare? Were the changes understandable, or did they impact how much you enjoyed the movie?
  • How does Soren's journey remind you of other cinematic heroes, like Frodo, the Pevensie children, or even Harry Potter?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Audience Reviews

2 stars

Flat and boring... I expected more from Zack Snyder. It did, however, "look" good. Owls are cute and all, but they tend to look the same. I didn't know who was who for a while. But maybe that's just me...

- DerekA101, Monday, July 11, 2011

5 stars

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I loved this a lot. At the end of the day, you have to like cute little owls to find this interesting because this movie does nothing but showcase their beauty and elegance as creatures. That being said, Legend of The Guardians has it all in my opinion; Flawless animation, a great story, fun characters and a strikingly good voice cast. Who would've thought that you could make a fantasy story about owls so incredibly emotional and dynamic? Zack Snyder always does a great job in the visual department and this is no exception, except I think he works even better when he doesn't have to abide to laws of physics and a practical backdrop. He's got all of his gratuitous slow motion and action sequences, but it's so bizarre when it's being used with owls (in a good way though). I guess I can see why a lot of people simply can't get into the story, mainly because it's so odd, but I really liked it and it's totally original. I think it's got a similar vibe to The Secret of Nihm, only a better structure and visuals that are unmatched. Honestly, just from a visual standpoint this movie is incredible. The amount of detail put into every frame is something i've never quite seen before. I mean Pixar and ILM are about the best when it comes to CG animation, but this is just so much more realistic than anything those companies have done with their animated features. Now the voice casting to me was almost unbelievable. Headlined with british superstar Jim Sturgess as the angelic Soren, the entire cast of characters is chalk full of great performances. Geoffrey Rush as the crazy owl codger Ezylryb, Helen Mirren as an evil Owl and Hugo Weaving as a nurturing father owl. This was just an all around great animated movie in my opinion and has enough dark and serious tones to please more than just small children. In fact, there's enough owl violence in this movie to make it a little too scary for kids. That's what I kind've liked about it; it reminds me of an older animated movie from the 70s or 80s with a kooky fantasy plot and animals thrown in. I'd say if you enjoy those types of movies, this will definitely fill the void.

- ythelastman89, Saturday, August 13, 2011

2 stars

Zack Snyder has stooped very low to male a film like this but there are a few good cinematics.

- scottgreen96, Saturday, March 24, 2012