In an apparently human-free world, owls rule the sky. One young owl, Soren (Jim Sturgess), dreams of one day joining the ranks of the legendary Owls of Ga'Hoole, famed warriors and guardians of the owl race. When Soren and his brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) are kidnapped by a group of villainous owls who turn out to be the enemy of the Guardians from the stories Soren loves so much. When he escapes, Soren sets out to find the Guardians and warn them of the fight that is about to be at their door.
For reasons I still don't quite understand, I've really been wanting to see "Guardians" for some time now. Something about the trailer appealed to me, I guess, and I was quick to rent this when it hit the shelves. As such, I went in with relatively high hopes which may have been a mistake. The story is solid enough and the pace is good which makes for an entertaining viewing. Some of the animation, especially the battle scenes, displays extreme quality and you can definitely see the work director Zack Snyder ("300" and "Watchmen") put into the project. Two things, however, get in the way of "Guardians" reaching its full potential. One, a stop-down-for-a-song moment that makes absolutely no sense and completely destroys the rhythm of the story. It's a cheesy song by Owl City, no less, and it does not fit the overall tone of the movie whatsoever. Which leads me to the second issue: "The Guardians" doesn't know its identity. Is it a cartoon or an animated graphic novel? Is it targeting kids or teens and adults? I don't know the answer to these questions and it seems those behind the film didn't know, either. It jumps back and forth between kiddie fare that is wholly unimpressive to an adult and fairly gritty action scenes that can't possibly be geared toward the average 6 year old. This is a classic trap for modern animated features that want to measure up to Pixar but get lost in the process. The result is a mismatched movie that has its moments but ultimately fails to impress.