ANIMATION; 1hr 37min
VOICES BY: Jim Sturgess, Helen Mirren, Emily Barclay, David Wenham, Anthony LaPaglia
Owl righty then! From left, Soren and Ezylryb
It’s a textural marvel when the 3-D owls take flight in Watchmen director Zack Snyder’s lavish furrytale, albeit one lacking sparkle in its Good-vs-Evil screenplay. The struggle centres around valiant young tyto barn owl Soren (voiced by Sturgess) who escapes the claws of the slave-driving Pure Ones and their imperious queen, Nyra (Mirren), and swoops off with mini-bud elf owl Gylfie (Barclay) on a faith-driven rescue mission. Their destination is the Great Tree of Ga’Hoole in which the fabled Guardian owls make their home, and their go-getting plan is to enlist the Guardians’ weighty aid in obliterating Nyra’s diabolical birds.
Who knew raptor lore (à la Kathryn Lasky’s Ga’Hoole books) could be so wiggy and dense? Like all reckless quests, Soren’s is loaded with hazards. And the riskier it grows, the more stupendous are the images — especially when Soren and his crew (Wenham, LaPaglia and Mirian Margolyes round it out) make it to the glory of Ga’Hoole. The boom-clash climax is too much of an overwrought thing. But the owls are still celestial.