Saturday, September 25, 2010
If "Chicken Run" is "The Great Escape" done with chickens, then the owl movie is "Prince Caspian" done with owls. Beautiful owls. Incredibly animated owls. They look like owls. They move like owls. I have never seen such visual realism in digital animation. Watch the credits--they had a whole team of programmers just to design the feathers. Wow!
Kidnapped by evil owls, the owlet Soren discovers their plan to dominate the forest using their secret super-powerful weapon that Does Something Very Bad (never quite clear on that point). With the help of a disgruntled guard he escapes and goes on a dubious quest to find the forest's only hope, the Owls of Ga'hoole, a legendary band of warriors that lives across the sea and defends freedom and goodness everywhere.
Although some of the story elements were chosen based on "this will look really cool" rather than "this will make sense," and some of the minor characters teeter off the fine line between providing comic relief and annoying the audience, this is still a movie worth seeing. Emphasis on the seeing. Go see it on the big screen. The visual impact won't be the same on video. I also loved the character who becomes Soren's mentor in Ga'hoole, the old soldier owl, and his insights on what it really means to be a warrior.
This is not a film for the little ones. Not only are there scary scenes, the story is complex and there's some definite pacing problems that small children will not sit through. But the older ones should love it. We're taking everyone over age ten to the 4:00 showing this afternoon.