Western Animation: Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole is an animated film adaptation of Guardians of Ga'Hoole, a series of children's fantasy novels, directed by Zack Snyder.The story follows an owl named Soren. He and his brother, Kludd, are kidnapped by evil owls and taken to a sinister realm called St. Aegolius's, where Kludd is recruited into their Doom Troops and Soren is put to work in a massive owl sweatshop putting together pieces of a superweapon. At St. Aegolius's, a villain named Metalbeak is building up his forces, an army called the Pure Ones, with the intent of conquering the world of owls.Soren and a friendly elf owl he meets escape and go on a quest to find the Tree of Ga'Hoole, the legendary home of a race of warriors: the Guardians, who are sworn to fight evil.
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole provides examples of the following tropes:
Aristocrats Are Evil: Of all the Guardians in the film, only Allomere is referred to as "Lord" [name of Guardian here].
Authority Equals Asskicking: Nyra, who flies into the final battle without a helmet or steel talons and downs more birds than any other Pure One. The Pure Ones value strength above anything else, so it stands to reason that their Queen would be strong. It might be that Asskicking Equals Authority.
Badass Bookworm: Ezylryb is apparently known more as a scholar than a fighter, if his interactions with Allomere and the others at the tree is anything to go by. Lyze of Kiel, however, is a famous warrior....
Also, Grimble, if he's as old as he seems. Right up until Kludd's betrayal he was more than holding his own against two Pure Ones and Nyra, who can down several Guardians completely unequipped, as stated above.
Mess with Ezylryb, and you'll be messing with Soren.
By the time the fight in the forest fire happens, you can tell Kludd's had his pushed way too many times.
Bilingual Bonus: Digger, who speaks with an Australian accent like most of the Band, becomes accepted as a Guardian and therefore a soldier with the rest of the Band at the end of the film. So in Aussie slang that would make him Digger the Digger. Who digs.
Book Ends: The movie begins with Soren listening one story from his father, and it ends with Soren narrating his adventures to a group of young owls, one who has a helmet made of leaves, just like the one that Soren had at the beginning of the film.
Brainwashed and Crazy: Arguably Kludd, who was subjected to the full force of Nyra's propaganda and bought it hook line and sinker. Soren certainly blames the Pure Ones for what happened to him and refuses to believe Kludd really feels like that deep-down inside.Turns out he probably does believe it, though whether it would have ever surfaced without Nyra's help is ambiguous.
Decomposite Character: In the original books, Metalbeak is Kludd, who killed the original Metalbeak off-page. In the movie, it seems as though Metalbeak is a title passed down to the Pure Ones' leader.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: When asked why he chooses to be known as Ezylryb rather than as Lyze, Ezylryb relies that "Every owl in the tree knows who I am, so what does it matter what I call myself?" In which case, isn't Otulissa being quite insulting to a famous war hero when she refers to him as a "Gross old owl" and "[missing] a good bath"?
Evil Laugh: Metalbeak has a wonderfully disturbing chuckle in the back of his throat that is made of pure creepy.
Faceless Mooks: The Pure One soldiers. Not only do they wear face-concealing helmets, but while the Pure One initiates are being addressed by Metalbeak, one guard has a helmet that covers his face completely, no eyes at all.
They actually toned down the violence significantly from the original book, which was not afraid to describe many of the Gory Discretion Shots in detail.
There is a deleted scene that has owls being enslaved, bats implied to cut a owl's wing (or at least its flight feathers, which is nearly as creepy) off, and a violent battle wherein a owl gets a talon sliced off in clear view of the camera.
If it weren't for Noctus saying that he was "bound to the earth forever," it looks like he is about to be decapitated.
Family-Unfriendly Death: A buttload. Less than the books, and off-screen, but still. Allomere's is particularly unpleasant, not that it's undeserved...
Fastball Special: At one point, a group of crows has snatched Twilight's lute... which happens to have Mrs. Plithiver in it. They're unable to keep up, and Twilight offers to do a mid-air throw to get Soren closer.
Twilight: I'll get you closer! We're going to lock talons! Soren: What? Twilight: Trust me! I know what I'm doing! Soren: Yeah, but have you done this before? Twilight: No, but I've always wanted to try it!
Five-Man Band: Lampshaded in the movie by the Echidna, who refers to the group as "The Band" at one point and gives them the below labels.
When Soren and Gylfie are learning to fly, Gylfie has trouble because of her small wings. Their teacher tells them that Lyze of Kiel had small wings. He is the smallest of the Guardians that we are introduced to.
Ezylryb telling Soren about the importance of fire, and that there is nothing more dangerous.
From Bad to Worse: Well, after falling from the nest, Soren and Kludd are attacked by a Tasmanian devil. Two owls come to their rescue. However...
Both sides are made up of owls, but only the bad guys use trained attack bats (or perhaps the bats are evil and have an alliance with the villains, we're never told).
The Pure Ones consist entirely of owls from the Tyto genus (a.k.a. barn owls). Lampshaded by many characters, but notably Kludd in the line "Because we are Tytos!" in answer to Metalbeak's query of why the Pure Ones are superior. "Lower species" are reserved for the grunt work alone but do "stain" their feathers as a sort of uniform or show of loyalty.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Metalbeak and Ezylryb. Note, Metalbeak hides his scars but boasts about his badass, whilst Ezylryb shows how mangled he is but hides the factthat he's Lyze of Kiel.
Incendiary Exponent: Flying by instinct alone though a storm: Cool. Flying by instinct alone though a fire storm while dragging a burning pot of oil: Cooler.
Inertial Impalement: Happens at the climax of the final battle: Soren gets knocked onto the ground, his flaming stick nearby. As Metalbeak flies at him, battle claws extended, Soren grabs the stick and points it at Metalbeak, who flies onto it.
The metal flecks; it is implied that they are magnetic (the lines of blue light emanating from then move from pole to pole like the lines of force around an magnet) and many birds are sensitive to magnetic fields, so the flecks could be functioning as a EMP, but this is never explained in-movie.
Likewise, whether trusting your gizzard is just trusting instinct or something more mystical is never elaborated on.
Ominous Owl: Metalbeak and Nyra play the creepy owl factor for all it is worth.
Orphanage of Fear: Grimble informs the kidnapped owlets that they have not, in fact, been kidnapped but abandoned by their parents and that St. Aggie's is an orphanage put there to care for them form now on. Even he makes no effort to hide how blatantly false this is.
The Owl-Knowing One: Only one owl out of the cast is wise, but we do spend the latter half of the movie hearing him wise at Soren.
Pet the Dog: Right before his Moral Event Horizon crossing, Kludd releases a small bird that he and the other Pure One initiates were trying to catch.
Plot Hole: The forest on fire in the climax... why was it on fire?
Pragmatic Adaptation: Although there are enormous differences between the books and the movie, most fans agree that the changes are true to the books' general spirit, and make it a very enjoyable film to watch whether you're a fan of the original or not.
The Quisling: Allomere, who sets up his own squad to be injured by the metal flecks. He is later ratted out by Eglantine.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Boron and Barran, and in fact all the council other than Allomere, are quite happy to take Soren at his word that a legendary evil has turned up, and they promptly send someone to check it out. Pity that someone was a traitor.
Nyra's eyes are initially normal, befitting her projected appearance of a beautiful, reasonable and trustworthy authority figure, but the more furious she becomes, the redder her eyes get. At one point during battle, her eyes are as red as any other among the Pure Ones.
When Kludd is revealed to be alive at the end, his eyes glow a sinister red as he looks upon the fallen Metalbeak's mask.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: King Boron and Queen Baran. They rule over the tree of Ga'Hoole, but regularly teach classes to the trainee Guardians, and lead their fellows into battle.
Save the Villain: Played with. Kludd becomes a full member of the Pure Ones and turns completely against Soren in the end, attempting to kill his own brother without remorse. After their fight which leaves Kludd with a broken wing however, he begs Soren to save him. Soren tries, only to find Kludd attempting to attack him again, which results in the latter accidentally sending himself plummeting into the fire below.
Scenery Porn / Scenery Gorn: The Guardians' Tree? Breathtaking. The Pure Ones' base? Terrifying. The entire movie is supremely gorgeous. Pick a shot, any shot, in this film; you could frame it. The trailers were especially fond of the slo-mo shot with the raindrops hitting an unbelievably detailed owl in flight.
Correct bird calls are used to represent the proper species of owls seen in the movie.
Barn owls always lay eggs to stagger the hatching of their young, resulting in owlets of different ages sharing the nest at the same time, just like Kludd, Soren and Eglantine. Why? Because that way if there is a food shortage, it's far, far easier for the oldest sibling to resolvethe issue, guaranteeing at least one will survive. Yeah Soren... you should have seen your brother's behavior coming.
There is even some Truth in Television to the flecks; many birds have a natural magnetic compass in their brains to help them orient and to supplement their inner ears; a really powerful magnetic field nearby can thoroughly disrupt their ability to orient and can induce vertigo in small birds. The rest is Rule of Drama.
In the book, Soren's parents are most likely dead by the time the Band reaches the great tree (though it's never specified quite when they die, the fact is we never see them alive again after Soren is kidnapped). The movie has them alive and well, actually making it to the tree themselves.
Due to changes between the books and the films, Digger's brother never appears in the film. Given what happens to him in the books, he's probably quite grateful for this.
Squick: Gylfie's reaction to having to sift through pellets in the Pelletorium is an In-Universe example.
During their fight, Kludd breaks his wing and begs Soren to pull him up. He may have been trying for a Mutual Kill, but it was still a really stupid decision when there's a forest fire going on beneath them.
Arguably, Soren himself. He absolutely refused to believe Kludd could side with the Pure Ones, and as a result nearly gets killed by him.
You Shall Not Pass: Grimble. He manages to hold off both Nyra and two other Pure Ones, and even when Kludd makes his Face-Heel Turn, he still has enough fight in him to ensure that Soren and Gylfie managed to escape.
Youngest Child Wins: Subverted. Soren is the middle child, but he fares far better than Kludd and Eglantine.