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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls Of Ga'Hoole Review

Movies.com Critics

3.5

Dave White Profile

A dark ride for serious kids. Read full review

3.0

Jen Yamato Profile

Cute, cuddly... and terrifying! Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0
    53

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Stephen Farber

    This picture sometimes rivals "Avatar" in its spectacular landscapes and thrilling flying sequences, but of course it won't come anywhere near those megagrosses, and it's too scary to be wholeheartedly embraced by children.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Scott Bowles

    The film is surprisingly deft and entertains at both the adult and juvenile levels. If something in Guardians catches your eye, trust your gizzard.

    Read Full Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 8+

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.

  • 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?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true2

    Educational value: Kids will learn the importance of listening to historical stories and legends, as well as treating others like you'd want to be treated, regardless of their background. Obedience is called into question if it's to a suspect authority, so children may realize that it's sometimes the right thing to act against the rules. Kids interested in nature and animals will learn about a few different species of owls, particularly the Tyto and elf owl -- that they're nocturnal, live in different habitats, and expel pellets of their undigested food.

  • message true1

    Messages: The movie's overall messages are positive, with the primary take-away being that believing in your dreams is what makes you strong and focused. Another positive message includes the idea that family and friends are more important than the promise of power and strength. The movie also demonstrates the power of myths, defending others, and and standing up to evil. The evil owls are very "species-ist" and think that other owl species are sub-par and meant to be enslaved -- but the Guardians see the worth and contribution of all owls.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Soren is a strong positive role model: He's kind, selfless, and brave. He cares for his friends and family and believes the best of everyone. Gylfie is small but willing to fly away with Soren and later acts bravely despite her diminutive size. Ezylryb sagely explains that war isn't pretty and glorious -- that it's ugly and horrible and should be avoided if possible.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and scariness: Lots of animated violence, confrontations, and battles. The scenes with owl-to-owl combat are dark and often feature extreme slow-motion close-ups. Several owls die -- one falls into fire, and others are killed during combat. It's obvious that the owls are dead or injured, even if there's no blood. The 3-D makes the violence much more intense.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: A young male owl flirts with a female owl, and married owls embrace a couple of times.

  • language false0

    Language: "Hell," plus some insulting, demeaning language about other owls, like "you're weak," "soft," "old," "what a waste," etc.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not applicable

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