Saturday, September 25, 2010

"Legend of the Guardians"

Hello, all, and welcome back.

So... Where to begin with movies... Well...

You remember Happy Feet? You know, that movie with the penguins dancing? Ah, thought you knew it. Remember how much fun it was, and how it was mostly due to the dancing and stuff.

Well... they attempted to replicate that with fighting owls. I kid you not. What's next, a recreation of it with fighting pidgeons? Because that would be something to see. Especially if it's set in downtown Miami where the art students go...

Confused yet? Good. I think it's time I move on to today's movie before I confuse you even more.

Legend of the Guardians

Soren (Jim Sturgess) is a young owl who is a real fan of stories of the guardians of Ga'hoole, who it is said do not exist. While practicing flying with his brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten), they fall down a tree and are then captured by The Pure Ones, led by Metalbeak (Joel Edgerton) and his mate Nyra (Hellen Mirren). It is there that Soren finds out the true extent of evil, and how it can affect those. And so, he sets out with fellow prisoner Gylfie (Emily Barclay) and others to seek out the guardians, who are the only ones who can stop the machinations of Metalbeak.


I'm sure you see where this is going, yes? If you don't, you, frankly, need to watch more movies and play more JRPGs.

I'll start off by saying that the predictable plot is one of this movie's biggest weaknesses. Usually, we'll get introduced to a character, and right away we'll know where he's gonna end up and what his/her function to the plot is gonna be. And if we don't find out right away, we usually figure it out after one or two plot developments. The breakneck pace the movie travels at certainly doesn't help, as a few minutes after we get introduced to a character, we get an 'I told you so' moment and the tension vanishes afterwards.

It doesn't help that a lot of these characters often get brutally underdeveloped, and their motivations are hardly ever explored. To me, all the characters apart from Soren and maybe Gylfie were all tools of the plot, there only to move the pieces into place for a climax. It probably would've been a lot more interesting if we could get into the motivations of the minor characters, too, but I get a feeling that it's also a function of the fact that this movie is overloaded with characters, with some who just get dropped after a while. We have two comic relief bad guys that kidnap Soren and Kludd and are promptly forgotten about fifteen minutes later, we have a dissenter within the bad guy's ranks who dies about ten minutes after he's introduced, and we have a comic relief seer character that only appears for about five minutes in the total runtime. They serve their function to the plot, don't get me wrong, but it's a sign of bad screenwriting (and even worse characterization) when we're in the middle of the second act and we're still being introduced to major characters. The movie could've done with a lot more composite characters than it actually had, possibly even trimming a few of the more annoying comic relief characters. Thus, we don't really come to care all that much about what's going on.

So what saves the movie? Zach Snyder, that's who. The guy's got a major penchant for visual storytelling, and he has a major eye for style. Thus, the action scenes peppered throughout were genuinely entertaining and quite fun to watch, and there were some absolutely beautiful shots of scenery around. These were good enough that they manage to keep the movie from being completely terrible, and the third act? That had some incredibly intense action.

So while it suffers from a very predictable plot and too many freaking characters, Legend of the Guardians succeeds as a testament to Zach Snyder's incredible abilities as a visual director. Sure, it's not his best film (Watchmen FTW), but it's not bad if you sit back and enjoy the action.


If you want to go see it, see it. If you don't want to go see it, don't.

This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews. I'll see you guys next time.

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