The Owls of Ga'Hoole

The full name of this Australian/US production is "Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010)" but I find that mouthful far too cumbersome. Based on the first three children's books by Kathryn Lasky, this is a mashup of legend, myth and fairy tale as told by a gabby relative to three fascinated owlets and their co-tenant, a snake, which I was surprised to discover, isn't unheard of. By the way, that title is pronounced "Ga Hoo' lee."

Of course this is another "Hero's Journey" and this time a brave little owlet, who is convinced those myths are real, must save his world. The narrator is Australian, as are many of the characters' voices. You would recognize some of the names but I won't go into them here.

There were two things that I particularly enjoyed: 1) Woodland Park Zoo sent a bird specialist with a Spectacled Owl (not a Speckled Owl) to talk to our screening audience, particularly about the calm 18-year-old specimen she had perched on her arm. She was extremely knowledgeable and the unflappable (...smile....) owl didn't mind all the cameras that flashed during her talk. 2) It was fun to try to identify the various types of owl as they came on screen: Great Gray, Burrowing, Pygmy, Snow, Sooty, Great Horned, Spotted, Screech, and our hero, little Soren, who is a Barn Owl.

The 3D animation is just fine (funny how blasé we have become) and the characters "emote" in subtle and satisfying ways. However (you knew this was coming, didn't you), the flying and battle sequences are far too long. As in movies with gun battles, each individual clash is filmed and then they must decide which ones to cut. I beg the editors, PLEASE have the courage to cut more out of these things. Sometimes too much is just too much!