If your main concern about this modern wave of 3D films is that there just aren’t enough owls or cumbersome titles involved, well, you’re in luck.
Legend Of The Guardians will ably scratch both itches, and throw in lots of incomprehensible plot points, a dozen main characters who all look exactly the same and enough dizzying fluttering-about to leave you heaving up your Revels.
The fact that it’s directed by one of the most bloodthirsty directors in Hollywood (Zack Snyder – 300, Dawn Of The Dead, Watchmen) only adds to the ornithological delirium.
Based on the first three books in a 15-volume(!) series of fantasy novels by Kathryn Lasky, this sprawling tale centres on the adventures of Soren (voiced by Jim Sturgess), a barn owl who runs afoul of a Tasmanian Devil and an evil owl with a metal beak (named, naturally, Metalbeak), who enslaves him and his older brother, Kludd (Ryan Kwanten).
Kludd turns against his brother, Soren befriends some other owls, including Gylfie (Emily Barclay), and together they fight crows, a tree king and various evil owls in hope of restoring peace and harmony in Owltown. Or Ga’Hoole, whatever it’s called.
Clearly, fans of the books will appreciate the Tolkien-esque complexity of this odd winged world. But for casual fantasy fans it’s nearly impossible to discern who’s who in this loud, clanging, frequently violent adventure.
Luckily, the overly complicated plot takes second place to the jarring CG beast-feast.
The production design and animation are majestic, the whizzing airborne battle scenes are as epic (and nearly as brutal) as anything in 300, and the 3D isn’t bad.
So is it worth swooping upon? That depends entirely on how much you like owls, confusion and vertigo.
A mish-mash of technical over-indulgence, needlessly complicated storytelling and heaps of too-intense-for-children owl-on-owl savagery, Legend will appeal mostly to ornithologists. Or very weird kids.