Many things can be said about Snyder’s films of the past, whether it’s self-indulgence, poor writing, too much blue wang (hooray for two blue wong references in the same review), or more commonly a whole lot of slow motion, but whether it’s the fact that he’s becoming a better at his job as a director or the animation field suits his skills in a truly fine way, Guardians definitely isn’t his best film to date but is a fine balance of his filmmaking talents. Snyder takes his time introducing the characters in an eerily structured way that’s quick and friendly enough for a kids film. At an hour and a half Snyder has a lot of ground to cover and it does feel a little bit rushed, but he does moves quickly enough to never let the film get stagnant. Things are brisk, fun, and fast, which will serve children and their normally bored parents well. Snyder is also known for his depiction of violence. 300 had some, how should I put it, gruesomely violent scenes of blood and gore, and Watchmen took moments of violence and paired them with severe emotional consequences. I don’t know if the folks at Warner Bros. had seen those other films (which is odd considering they published them) but he may not have been the best choice in not scaring the bejeezus out of kids. Snyder talks a lot of talk in his script making his characters talk up the majesty of the guardians, but right after the 2/3 point when the guardians finally come in and many times before he fulfills his promise with a ton of incredibly well-made scenes of action.
The owls are varied, the weapons the owls use are awe-some, and the mid-air battles can be entirely dizzying in the best way possible. While the pairing of Zac Snyder and animated owls fighting with serrated knives Is quite possibly the peanut butter and jelly for film buffs, it’s not necessarily “great” for kids. There’s nothing inappropriate per say for kids, there’s no gore or graphic violence, it’s just that there’s a time or two where Snyder lets it all go and puts together some amazing moments of action that might be a little too intense/scary for kids younger than 10/12. As always though, use your own judgment. I almost feel like a bad guy having to pick out things that this film doesn’t quite do to perfection. Maybe it was because I wasn’t watching it in 3D, but the first 20 minutes of the film were pretty slow, almost following children’s films clichés too closely. Speaking of children’s film clichés, Guardians isn’t going to win any awards for its script, which can feel a little too deliberate in a few of the film’s moments. Surprisingly to both me as a viewer and as a writer, Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is a film that kids will enjoy, but can be entirely enjoyed by film buffs. Fans of Snyder’s work need not be afraid of the idea of their favorite director doing a kid’s movie. Legend of the Guardians is a film that can be frighteningly deep for a kids film and delightfully funny the next. Guardians is a sharp mixture, tossing together dazzling 3D, talented voice actors, and some of the best action/story work by one of our generation’s finest directors, all coming together in one of the purest definitions of the phrase “thrill ride”.
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