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Western Animation: Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
aka: Legend Of The Guardians The Owls Of Gahoole

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:

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.
  • 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...
  • Giftedly Bad:
    • Twilight's poetry. His lute playing is actually quite good, though.
    • Digger's jokes.
  • Good Animals, Evil Animals:
    • 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 fact that he's Lyze of Kiel.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Several major character deaths are done in this way.
  • Homage: The movie feels like The Lord of the Rings with owls, complete with the pure-hearted, humble hero character nearly constantly wearing a worried expression.
  • Idiot Hair: Digger's Idiot Feather.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Metalbeak. With a burning stick for extra awesome.
  • 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.
  • Killer Rabbit: The owls. Oh so much.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the original books, and the other Zack Snyder movies.
  • Light is Good: Played straight with Boron and Barran, the two leaders of the Guardians, which use golden helmets and have a white plumage. Also, with Soren, which has white and golden feathers.
  • Light Is Not Good: Nyra and many of the Pure Ones, which, being barn owls, have golden/orange and white feathers.
  • Logo Joke: Noctus flies by the Warner and Legendary Pictures logo.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • 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.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Grimble. Averted with Lyze — Metalbeak was going to kill in front of Soren, but he escaped.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Moonblinked owls have milky white eyes, giving them almost a zombie-like appearance.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The terrestrial mammalian life is quite obviously Australian, but the owls are from all over the world and the bats appear to be vampire bats.
  • Murder Ballad: Twilight's "inspiring" battle song. It's about all the horrible way the protagonist is going to die in battle. He thinks it will inspire Digger.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg:
    Grimble: I told myself that if any came along who were smart and brave enough I'd help them escape. (beat) You'll have to do.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Pure Ones, and how. The villains are pretty much owl Nazis, complete with their own Hitler Youth. Nyra is a Sdrawkcab Name that really hammers the point home.
  • Never Found the Body: Kludd. Because he's still alive. And may become the new Metalbeak, if they decide to do a sequel.
  • Nightmare Face: Why Metalbeak wears his trademark helmet.
  • The Obi-Wan: Grimble
  • 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.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse:
    • Lyze is by far the smallest of the Guardians on the council.
    • During the Training Montage, there is a brief scene of Twilight getting clobbered by an unnamed elf owl.
  • Playing Possum: Metalbeak does this once.
  • 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.
  • Puns:
    • Soren's name sounds an awful lot like Soarin'.
    • "I FORETOLD YOU SO!"
    • Digger's dialogue is full of these.
      Digger: Knock Knock!
      Gylfie: Who's there?
      Digger: Owls.
      Gylfie: Owls who?
      Digger: That's right! Owls hoo!
    • And again later:
      Digger: What does an owl say when he is attacked by crows?
      Gylfie: (hit by a crow) Ow!
      Digger: That's right! Owl!
    • Let's not forget the first exchange that set off the warning bells:
      Twilight: If I have to hear any more of his owl jokes...
      Digger: They're a hoot!
    • Since the German dub couldn't save those, they replaced it with an even worse one with "Uhu" (a large owl species, and a glue brand name).
  • Putting on the Reich: Big red vertical hanging banners with white logos in the center flanking Nyra whilst she makes a speech on why Tytos are the master race: this film manages to put on the Reich despite no-one wearing clothes!
  • 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.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • The Pure One Mooks get these.
    • 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.
    • The bats.
    • 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.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Allomere
  • 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.
  • Sdrawkcab Name:
    • Nyra, as mentioned above.
    • Ezylryb/Lyze, which is probably more obvious in the books where you see it written.
  • Seldom Seen Species: The Echidna and the Tasmanian Devil. Also, the movie gives screen time to some lesser-known owl species.
  • Sequel Hook: A still-alive Kludd picking up Metalbeak's helmet at the end.
  • Ship Tease:
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Pure Ones' helmeted, glowing red-eyed warriors look a lot like Cylon Centurions, especially in profile.
    • The bats look a lot like the Komori Ninja (bladed wings, proficient in science), but that's probably a coincidence.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Yes, owls do regurgitate mice in that manner.
    • 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 resolve the 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.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Kludd and Soren.
  • Sleep Cute: Gylfie and Digger fall asleep against Soren on a tree branch.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • 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.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • A song by Owl City playing in the background as they explore the tree, anyone?
    • There's a very subtle one in the bird-chase scene early on. The bird they're chasing is an Indigo Bunting. That means that the would-be Pure Ones were... bunting baiting.
  • Superweapon Surprise: The Pure Ones pull this on the Guardians, and they would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling owlets!
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Jatt and Jutt. They even have a discussion on the best use of (rather silly) intimidating looks.
  • Those Two Guys: Digger and Twilight when we meet them.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • 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.
  • Trailers Always Lie:
    • The trailers billed the movie as an epic quest wherein Soren becomes his ideal (a Guardian) through many trials while trying to reach them. At least, to those that never read the novels.
    • The trailers also used a lot of lines and footage not in the actual movie, like Grimble explaining what the Pure Ones are doing, and parts of this trailer.
  • Training Montage
  • War Is Hell: Hammered home by Ezylryb.
  • Warrior Poet: Twilight likes to think of himself as one, though he's arguably better at the "warrior" part.
  • Weaponized Animal: The guardians and most of the Pure Ones wear Battle talons, and the bats have blades on their wings.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Kludd's supposed death isn't addressed when Soren reunites with his parents.
  • What Have I Done: Allomere looks remorseful when he sees the effect that the fleck trap has on the Guardians.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Allomere is a little squeamish about Metalbeak's plans for the incapacitated Guardians, and asked if it really has to be the bats that kills them. Nyra replies that as the bats are immune to the effects of the superweapon, yes. This gets really ironic really quickly.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Kludd's "reason" for joining the Pure Ones.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Possibly employed by Kludd in the burning forest, just before he falls into the flames.
  • You Did the Right Thing: Ezylryb sums it up well for Soren in after the latter kills Metalbeak.
    Ezylryb: Soren...you did what was right. And you did it well.
  • You Have Failed Me: Metalbeak to the traitorous Allomere. May double as a You Have Outlived Your Usefulness moment. As Metalbeak put it, "There can be only one king."
  • You Killed My Father: Soren's reaction in a nutshell at Kludd's "death."
  • 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.


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alternative title(s): Legend Of The Guardians The Owls Of Ga Hoole
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