Film: "Legend of The Guardians"; Director: Zack Snyder; Voiceovers: Jim Sturgess, Helen Mirren, Hugo Weaving, Ryan Kwanten; Ratings: ***1/2
Right from the first scene of the film where an owl gracefully sweeps low under an azure sky, you know you're in for a different ride. And true to this promise, maverick director Zack Snyder, who directed the "Adrenalin Rush 300" and the almost unfilmable graphic novel "Watchmen", does not disappoint.
Soren is a Barn owl who loves stories about the legend of the guardians and their fight to defeat the evil warlord Metal Beak. His brother Kludd is more realistic. When a naughty night's adventure goes wrong, the two brothers are kidnapped by men of Metal Beak to train them to take on the Guardians.
Soren escapes with another owl Gylfie and heads out to warn the Guardians of this sinister plot. But no one knows where the Guardians live?
The core strength of this film is its spectacular visuals that land smoothly in the imagination of viewers. The conceptualisation and execution of a few scenes are exemplary especially the one where Soren learns to trust his instinct when thrown into a whirlpool and where towering flames curl up like waves and he glides through it like riding a wave. And 3D only accentuates this realistic feast for the eyes.
The weakness of the film is its writing which could have been quirkier. Also, the pace of the film quickens at a few crucial times where a few moments meditation could have helped. Maybe the screenwriters had a problem translating the first three volumes of the series "Guardians of Ga'Hoole" by Kathryn Lasky into one film. The sequels hopefully will take care of these little problems.
The film uses obvious but apt metaphors to attack fascism. Like Hitler, Metal Beak believes in the supremacy of the 'pure ones'. Time and again, fascist racism keeps raising its ugly head in the world and hence, simple films like this serve as reminders and warnings against it. There's always need for new guardians to "arise from the mist to defend the weak and vanquish evil".
No matter how much the world advances, it will always need the simple values of bravery and honour especially from those guardians who want to protect it against different types of evils.