I liked the film on two counts. One: The film tells the story of the owls without any human interference; the owls create their own universe, as opposed to, say films like The Fantastic Mr Fox or Madagascar or Finding Nemo, where humans lurk on the fringes of the action. Two: The film does not over humanises the fowls; yes, they are given human attributes, they know how to bend metal, they wear headgear, they have evolved political system, but they are not humanised in the context of post-modern American consumerism, something that films like Sherk or Chicken Little and many others did. The storytelling and presentation of The Owls of Ga’Hoole is more classical than contemporary.
However, the plot has nothing much originality. You can call it a Lord of the Rings of the animal kingdom, where the young hero, an owlet called Soren, and his siblings are kidnapped by the evil band of owls, the Pure Ones, a race of High Tytos (the reference to the Nazis is unmistakable and a little tiresome, if you ask me). Soren flees the captivity and goes to look for the fabled guardians of Ga’Hoole, about whom his father used to tell them bedtime stories.
You know what happens next. Soren arrives at Ga’hoole, and good triumphs over evil. Happy ending.
The film was made to be seen in 3D. So you a lot of scenes where you see the birds flying right into the camera, and these shots are cleverly done. The animation is indeed of very superior quality, and it’s indeed fun to watch those birds fly and fight. Another thing I liked about the film is the use of proper nouns. Instead of going for easy sounding names, the characters and objects are given very Middle Earthian names, for example the person from the stories whom Soren’s adores is called Lyze of Kiel. Sounds grand.