Story

Owlet brothers Kludd (voice of Ryan Kwanten) and Soren (Jim Sturgess) are raised on the legendary stories of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole and their epic battles against the forces of darkness. Soren loves these legends – he dreams of them, re-enacts them with his little sister Eglantine (Adrienne DeFaria), and he can see himself as part of them. But Kludd thinks of them as little more than stupid fairy tales, told to entertain little owlets, and nothing more.

The brothers are put to the test when they are kidnapped by henchmen for the Pure Ones – a group of evil elitist owls who are abducting owlets from all regions. The Pure Ones want to create a brainwashed army of vengeful ‘orphans’ who will help them conquer the Guardians of Ga’Hoole once and for all. Soren befriends and defends a weaker owl named Gylfie (Emily Barclay) and is forced to become a ‘picker’, a brainwashed zombie scrounging through old owl pellets to find bits of metal. Kludd callously denies his brother and becomes a favourite soldier.

Soren and Gylfie fight the effects of the brainwashing and are helped by one of the henchmen in a daring escape bid. Once free, they must find the legendary island of Ga’Hoole and enlist the Guardians to fight the Pure Ones and their forces of darkness. Along the way, they are joined by Twilight (Anthony LaPaglia) and Digger (David Wenham), two owls who help them on their quest and provide support when all hope seems lost.

Themes

Kidnapping; sibling rivalry; supremacist beliefs

Violence

This movie contains some violence. For example:

  • Kludd pushes Soren off a branch. They both fall to the ground.
  • The brothers are attacked by a wolf-like creature before being abducted by henchmen.
  • There are numerous battle scenes in which owls and other birds or small creatures are attacked or killed. All the owls wear razor-sharp blades attached to their talons, and they often slash and jab each other.
  • While learning to fly with other owlet soldiers, Kludd is forced to attack a little bird. All the owls want to get to this little bird, and they shove, push and bash each other as they race to catch it.
  • Soren and Gylfie are chased by evil-looking owls through dark tunnels and cloudy skies. Eventually they lose their pursuers.
  • Soren and his friends are attacked by a swarm of birds as they get near the coast.
  • Two of the scouts sent by the Guardians fall into a trap and are never heard from again.
  • A spy is killed by the Pure Ones.
  • The Guardians are all trapped by some sort of electronic force field that makes them immobile and causes pain. Meanwhile the Pure Ones prepare to kill them all.
  • Kludd attacks Soren and disappears into a raging fire. It looks like he has died.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie contains some scenes and effects that could scare or disturb children under five. For example:

  • Ominous dramatic music features throughout the movie.
  • Most of the Pure Ones’ soldiers wear evil, creepy masks. One wears a mask to cover his missing beak and disfigured facial features. He and some of his henchmen have glowing red eyes that peer through their terrible-looking masks. The overall effect is sinister and scary.
  • Soren, Gylfie and other captives are brainwashed by being forced to stare at the moon and ‘sleep’ under its light. They ‘awaken’ with milky-white eyes and are little more than zombies.
  • Soren risks his life to fly through fire to help save the Guardians.

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, this movie contains some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • A group of owlets arrive in a darkened cave after being abducted from their families. They are immediately told that they are orphans and that their families do not want them. Most look very scared, and all of them want to go home.
  • While trying to cross the ocean to reach the Island of Ga’Hoole, Digger’s wings become frozen. He plummets into the sea while Soren races down to find him. He believes that his friend has been lost beneath the churning waves and despairs until one of the Guardians comes to the rescue.
  • Kludd takes Eglantine and offers her to the Pure Ones. She is terrified as she watches the soldiers and cowers behind Kludd. Later, when she begs to go home and promises not to tell what the Pure Ones are doing, she is brainwashed and ends up with the same milky-white, zombie stare as many other owlets. Soren finds her unresponsive and vacant, just a shadow of her former self. Soren is devastated, but he brings her back by telling her stories.

From 8-13

Children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Sexual references

None of concern

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement

None

Coarse language

None of concern

Ideas to discuss with your children

Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole is an intense, animated adventure with some very good special effects. Based on the books by Katherine Lasky, it appears to be a children’s movie but is too dark and disturbing for young children.

The main messages from this movie are to believe in yourself, to trust in your dreams, and to remember that some things are real, even if you can’t see them.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:

  • courage and justice
  • defence of the innocent, small or weak
  • faith and determination even when things seem hopeless.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as sibling rivalry and turning away from people you love. You could also draw similarities between the Pure Ones and human supremacist groups.