September saw the release of the Zack Snyder-directed adaptation of Kathryn Lasky’s novel series as the animated feature Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. The movie hit stores this month as a Blu-ray combo pack from Warner Bros with an array of special features.
As Zack Snyder’s animation debut, Legend of the Guardians is a far cry from his usually bloody fare. It’s a gorgeously envisioned adaptation of the first three books in the Guardians of Ga’Hoole book series by Kathryn Lasky, and a marvelous cast lends their voices to creating this fantastical world. Geoffrey Rush, Helen Mirren, Sam Neill, and Hugo Weaving are just a few of the actors making vocal appearances.
The mythology behind the plot comes from stories about the mythical Guardians of Ga’Hoole the father owl tells young Soren, Eglantine, and Kludd. According to the tales, the heroic Guardians are armored warrior owls who will protect the world from the evil and power hungry Pure Ones. When Kludd and Soren fall from their tree one night and are abducted by those very same Pure Ones, Soren enacts a plan to escape to the Great Tree, where he hopes to get help from the Guardians. The movie is a great adventure for all ages, and the Blu-ray release makes it especially appealing for kids with its targeted special features.
Like all the recent Blu-ray combo packs that have been releasing, this one comes with the movie on both Blu-ray and DVD, along with a code that will allow a digital download of the movie. Surprisingly, there’s very little additional content about the movie’s creation or behind the scenes details. Rather, there’s a whole lot of content about real owls. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect on the disc, in addition to the movie itself:
- Maximum Kid Mode – Instead of a traditional audio commentary, Legend of the Guardians features this picture-in-picture mode that has Soren the owl guiding kids through the whole movie. He gives a lot of educational information about real owls and their lives, a bonus parents probably will love but that fans hoping to learn more about the movie probably will ignore.
- Challenge Games – The disc includes two mini-games. The first is Armor Up with Soren and Eglantine, letting players dress up two of the owls in outfits. The second is Match the Owl Treats, a game that’s sure to look familiar to anyone who has played any of the Bejeweled-esque “match 3” casual video games before.
- Legend of the Guardians: Rise of the Guardians – A two-minute segment presenting the bedtime story that inspires Soren’s adventure.
- To the Sky – A music video by Owl City.
- Artwork Galleries – The disc includes four galleries with concept art: The Guardians, The Locations, The Villains of St. Aegolius, and Soren & Friends.
- True Guardians of the Earth – Rico Rodriguez hosts this 15 minute featurette about real world owl conservation.
- Looney Tunes Cartoon: The Fur of Flying – A short computer animated cartoon featuring the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote.
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole looks and sounds fantastic on Blu-ray and is a great movie for older film fans, as well as for the kids. The presentation and movie are worth checking out for everyone, but the special features probably will appeal only to a subset. I was a little disappointed by the lack of a real commentary and behind the scenes material, but putting a fun and educational spin on the extras will be a welcome feature for parents.