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:
- 3-D Movie
- Adaptational Heroism: Played with with Kludd. While he is very much a villain by the end of the movie, in the beginning he wasn't that bad, opposed to his book counterpart, who may have literally hatched out evil. In the beginning of The Capture he already hated Soren the moment his brother hatched, and was quite mean to him, and deliberately pushes Soren out of the hollow in hopes of killing him. Wherein the film, he's a young owl who doesn't really enjoy legends, is a bit misguided in his thinking of Tyto 'superiority', and is jealous of his brother. He has better relationships with his siblings; actually being concerned about Eglantine getting 'day-mares', and having a bit more friendlier rivalry with Soren. Soren even teases Kludd several times and vice versa, and Kludd has been nice enough for Soren to care for him, unlike in the beginning of the books. Indeed, perhaps if this Kludd had never been subjected to the Pure Ones wrath or had made it to the Great Tree, he probably would have grown up a more decent owl.
- Aloof Older Brother: Kludd
- Angrish: Nyra does a couple of these.
- Anything But That!:
Digger: Oh no! Not the lute!
- 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.
- Avenging the Villain: Soren's reaction to Kludd's death is to find Metalbeak and make sure he can't destroy any other young owls' lives. The fact it's his own brother that's been brainwashed into trying to kill him and "died" in the process might have something to do with it.
- 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....
- Badass Grandpa:
- 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.
- Bat out of Hell / The Swarm: With blades on their wings!
- Battle Amongst the Flames: The fight in the forest fire between Soren and Kludd.
- Battle Couple: Nyra and Metalbeak are an evil example.
- Berserk Button:
- 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.
- Black and White Morality: The Guardians vs. the Pure Ones.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Twilight
- 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.
- Break the Cutie: Eglantine
- Broken Pedestal: Ezylryb is Lyze of Kiel, and he is the first to tell Soren that the stories he heard in his nest weren't as heroic as he believed...
- Bullet Time: The movie is directed by Zack Snyder, after all. Has the advantage of making the aerial battles easier to follow.
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Barn owls are always referred to as "Tytos" — their Latin name — presumably due to a lack of barns in the setting.
- Chekhov's Skill: The Echidna gives each member of the Band titles which seem to be Informed Abilities — "you are the tracker, you are the navigator" and so on — but each member of the Band actually shows these skills, some of them before they are given the title: Gylfie recognizes constellations and thinks she could find her way by them when they are being moonblinked, Digger is the first of the Band to notice the tell-tale signs of combat when they arrive at the Pure Ones' base, Soren is a better natural flyer than his brother during branching and flys by gizzard alone during his escape from St. Aggies, Mrs P. goes searching for Kludd and Soren, and Twilight is freaking Huge.
- Child Soldier: St. Aggie's starts recruiting (read: brainwashing) the captured Tytos before they can even fly properly. As a result, they end up fanatically dedicated to the Pure Ones' cause.
- Convection Schmonvection: How else do owls fly inside a burning forest without their feathers catching fire instantaneously? Rule of Cool is in full force here.
- Creative Closing Credits: The events of the movie are shown like a shadow puppet theater.
- Darker and Edgier: Compared to other recent talking animal films.
- Dark Is Evil: Metalbeak
- 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.
- Defiant to the End: Grimble
Nyra: Would you wound your queen, Grimble?
Grimble: You're not my queen!
- Design Student's Orgasm: The "shadow theater" style credits at the end.
- Disney Villain Death: Implied to be Kludd's fate after he falls into a forest fire. He gets better, but that doesn't stop his screaming while seemingly falling to his death from being any less creepy.
- The Dog Shot First: The outcome of Soren and Kludd's fight.
- The Dragon: Nyra
- 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.
- Evil Counterpart:
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: When a recovered Eglantine tells Soren that she wasn't rescued, Allomere gave her to the owls bringing her back:
Soren: No, no, you got to be mistaken Eg. I mean if what you say is true then that would make Allomere a tr... a traitor.
- Face-Heel Turn: Kludd
- 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.
- Family-Unfriendly Violence:
- Owls clawing and slashing each other apart, characters dying, bats tearing apart owls, some of said bats appearing to die via Neck Snap, impalements... No blood or wounds are visible though.
- 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...
- Fantastic Racism: And how!
- 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!
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.
- The Force Is Strong with This One: Soren and his gizzard.
- Then when we get to the climax, we get this dramatic shot.◊
- 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.