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

3 stars

This is a film based on some literature (man, I've been watching, reviewing, and re-reviewing a lot of these lately) about a young owlet who yearns for adventure and ends up being a part of a great one involving epic battles, action, and the need to save the world fro mtyrrany. Zack Snyder made an interesting career turn with this one, as it marked not only his first animated feature, but his first film to not be rated R. Yes, it is about owls, and I'm sure the book are for a slightly younger crowd, but you know what? I liked this movie. It's cool. Granted, I've always liked owls and thought they were cool, but still. For an animated fantasy adventure type film, it could be a whole lot worse. The film does follow a standard formulaic plot of the domination, hero's quest, and good evrsus evil varieties, but what it lacks in original plotting and underdeveloped characters that more than just archetypes, it more than makes up for it with good direction, a great voice cast made up of a few Brits and a boatload of Aussies including Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, Helen Mirren, Ryan Kwanten, Jim Sturgess, and Hugo Weaving among others and, the real star of the show: an absolutely gorgeous look with some wonderfully detaied photorealistic visuals. These owls and other creatures truly come alive and look real down to the smallest details. I saw this in 2D, but I got the sense that some of the 3D probably looked great and worked well in places, but not in all of them. Also, being a Zack Snyder film, the action set pieces (complete with slow-mo) are really well done and look great. Despite being a typical genre film, this is still quite entertaining and decent. If only the way it was executed and the story/characters could have been developed more and better, then this could have been like the owl version of Star Wars to a degree, and yes I'm serious, and will discuss it further if asked. All in all, not bad. It's a little silly at times, but it doesn't insult the audience's intelligence a whole lot, so that's good. Give it a shot, you might like it.

- cosmo313, Wednesday, October 12, 2011

3 stars

Cute little owls. This was a film that I really wanted to see, and sometimes my expectations are just too much. I expect this was one of those cases. I wanted to love this, but I ended up just saying, "that was pretty good". Bummer...

- itsjustme2004, Saturday, August 13, 2011

4 stars

This is probably one of the most beautifully animated CG films I've ever seen. The director did a fantastic job at telling this story,which figures since he did Watchmen and 300, and if you've seen those movies you'll see some similarities to those movies in this, such as A LOT of slow-motion, especially during the fights. The cast all did a fantastic job and were all wisely chosen, such as Helen Mirren as the villains wife, Geoffrey Rush as the good, worn down old warrior, now story writer, and the best being Hugo Weaving as the villain (of course) Metal Beak. But the other actors do good jobs as well, Digger and Twilight both being the funniest. The conflict between the main two brothers is very well done and told, and the ending fight between the two is so satisfying to watch.

- skeletonking101, Tuesday, August 9, 2011