My wife and I went to this movie a few nights ago. We originally had no real intention of seeing it, but we wanted a date night, and decided to go to a movie. This was the only one playing we wanted to see at all. It was a wonderful movie, with stunning 3D special effects. It reminded me a lot of the Secret of NIMH in it's overall feel, but with a significantly different story.
The Legend of the Guardians, is a fantasy, that not only involves talking owls, but owls that can forge metal, and wear helmets, and metal covers for their talons. If you can get past that, it is a wonderful little story about good and evil.
The story is fairly simplistic, but most stories aimed at kids are, so that isn't really a negative. Where The Legend of the Guardians really shines, however, is the overall themes. It is a rather anit-progressive movie. While one faction of owls in the movie are racist elitists, it is a rousing condemnation of all elitism. An overall stated theme is "making the weak strong," not giving the weak welfare, or having them sit by while others do the work for them, but rather giving them the tools to make themselves strong. This is in opposition to much of what we hear from the government run schools, and leftist media, namely that we are too stupid and too much like Homer Simpson to be able to do the intelligent thing without the beneficial state guiding us. There is also a major theme of doing what is necessary and right, even if it's hard, dangerous and permanently damages you, because it is the right thing to do.
The special effects are amazing, modern 3D is still lacking a bit, but is better than most other 3D movies I've seen. Like all 3D I've seen recently, it suffers when things get too close to the screen, particularly when moving quickly. I suspect that at least doubling the frame rate would fix much of the problem, but it currently still has problems. I do not blame the movie however. It is simply that modern 3D is still lacking, and that problem will eventually be resolved. Another problem with 3D movies, unlikely to be resolved is a parallax issue. Each person's eyes are a different distance apart. This causes subtle problems with 3D movies, as they have to guess as to an average parallax. If you don't match, things look wrong. This is a problem unlikely to be fixed.
It is also obvious that some serious thought went into the idea of aerial melee combat. The fight scenes looked and felt rather realistic. There were a few problems, such as owls hovering when the only bird that can is a hummingbird, but for the most part, the moves the owls make, and the battle tactics they use, look to be about as sound as someone who is not a seasoned owl warrior general would be able to come up with, but I would want to have some subsequent viewings to further analyze that.
It is far from perfect, and it drags in a couple of areas, and feels rushed in other areas, but overall is a wonderful movie for helping to teach kids about honor, and doing the right thing even if it's hard, because it's necessary.
This is a movie that will displease those of a liberal ideology because it advocates acting on one's own when necessary not waiting for the elite to decide and act.
In summary, it may be somewhat predictable, and fairly simplistic storyline, but that's OK. It's still a wonderful story for kids, and beautifully done. I will buy it when released on DVD. It's beauty however may persuade me to go for a Blu-Ray setup, of course I would need to get a Blu-Ray player, and a television that would benefit from the greater resolution. Right now that isn't in the cards.