If you want to enjoy one of the best visual experiences of your life, look no further than Ga’Hoole. A movie all about owls and the legends that bind them, this film is an amazing visual journey combined with some of the best digital animation I’ve ever witnessed. This is the only children’s movie I’ve ever wanted to see in 3-D. This movie destroyed my life and my preconceived notions on how to experience a movie, and reconstructed it entirely. I have to say, most of the plot was lost on me at parts because I was just enjoying what I was witnessing. I’m sure with Zack Snyder on board as the director of the film that the plot was adequate, but where he shines is his shot design.
So let me try to piece together what I gathered from this movie. Soren (Jim Sturgess) is a barn owl (they gave them a different name…) with a happy
This is what it's all about.
family. His older brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) and younger sister Eglantine (Adrienne DeFaria) and parents, Noctus (Hugo Weaving) and Marella (Essie Davis). I gotta hand it to Hugo Weaving for taking such a small part with the dramatic chops his voice holds, i.e. V for Vendetta. The younger owls all being fledgelings, they are still learning how to fly. They sit around all happily and whatnot in their hole in the tree and listen to stories told about the Legends of the Guardians. Fun.
Ahhhh, the Guardians...
And then things go from fine to horrifically wrong. Soren and Kludd do some showboating and find themselves in a cage match with a Tazmanian Devil (to tell you the truth, couldn’t tell what it was at the time). These two get picked off by some mean mugging owls and are taken away to some canyon base way out in the middle of wherever on Earth this movie is supposed to take place. (I guessed Austrailia due to the accents…) Upon discovering themselves in a bad situations. Kludd and Soren are put in a bad situation. They must fight for Metal Beak (Joel Edgerton) and his mate Nyra (Helen Mirren). Soren says hell no and Kludd allows himself to be roped in.
Soren, on his way down to the slave camp, encounters an elf owl named Gylfie. The two stick together and fake out their captors by pretending to be
This is the scene that blows minds.
moonshined (or moon lighted, whatever it is). Finding the help of one of their captors to be quite helpful, the two escape the canyon and head to find the tree that houses all the Guardians. On the way they meet Twilight (Anthony La Paglia) and Digger (David Wenham). This kooky pair is a minstrel and a whacked out digger (hence the name) that find solace in each other somehow. It turns out later that Twilight is a big badass fighter that can destroy about 500 bats.
A picturesque world in some faroff place... (Austrailia?)
Upon reaching the sea, in one of the most amazing visual scenes I’ve ever witnessed, they come upon the tree and recruit the owls in order to bring down some evil Mother’effers. With talons bared and metal steel forged for claws, these owls really tear into one another. Some betrayal and some harrowing experiences turn Soren and his friends into the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, and a bunch of other words and phrases they used I didn’t understand.
I have to comment on the cast of this movie. There are a lot of voices that I really couldn’t match with faces when I watched this. Looking back now, Zack Snyder and the casting director must have put some deep thought into a bunch of Austrailians and people who can do the accent for this movie. Hugo
Who knew Hedwig ruled the Guardians?
Weaving and his small part as the loving father. Word. He was born in Nigeria. That’s way out there but not a stretch with all the English accents he’s done. He has quite an interesting voice. Jim Sturgess? He was key as Soren. English, but he made me forget how much I hated Across the Universe. Here’s one out of left field. Ryan Kwanten, star of Dead Silence, was Kludd. His voice was so under the radar for me that I had no idea he was from Austrailia. Bravo right there.
Can this get any more spectacular?
Helen Mirren, the always popular and go to English actress for all things Mirren. DAVID WENHAM AS DIGGER. I could not pick that up at all. Who knew Faramir of Lord of the Rings could pull off such a silly and dorky voice like that. Should’ve remembered his character from Van Helsing… Abbie Cornish as the barn owl love interest towards the end of the film? Word. Another Zack Snyder influenced girl right there from my favorite, Suckerpunch. Even Leigh Whannell, director of the Saw series and star of Saw 1 was in this movie to lend his Austrailian accent. And let’s talk about the powerhouses! Geoffrey Rush as the crazy old Ezylryb, and he was eccentric and wonderful as Barbossa himself. Sam Neill, that dinosaur hunting bastard. What an expansive cast!
So, combine that amazing talent with the LITERALLY MOST RIDICULOUS COMPUTER GRAPHICS AND VISUAL EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE. Let’s roll back time for a bit and return to 2011 in which I could see this movie in theaters, front row, 3-D. This is just one of those missed experiences that most kick themselves for. Soren rolling through the rain, the beautifully coreographed airborne fighting scenes. It’s as if King Leonidas and his Spartans could fly and were doing so in amazing HD slow motion. Get at me about that idea Snyder. It’s an idea worth pondering.
Who will win in the end?
I’m not sure about the plot. Zoned that out a bit. But who knows, I’m sure the book(s) were wonderful. And that probably attributed for a great, formulaic children’s movie. Simple and easy to follow. Journey, battle, heroes. It kept me interested and I’m sure, no matter the age, it would speak to all of our inner children. So check it out, even if you don’t feel like being childish. Watch it because it will blow your eyes out with its amazing look. That’s all you need to know. A definite 10 out of 10 for visual, 6.2 out of 10 for plot, all around 8.5 out of dat 10.
So I beat this game in about… 5, maybe 6 hours. My roommate Ian and I love the Halo series, and my love goes back to good old 5th grade. Ah yes, my first M for Mature game and I loved every minute of it. (It’s really not as violent as people think.) We played through all 8(?) levels of mayhem (normal to start, of course) and found the game to be satisfactory to a point. Although Halo: Reach may be the end of the Halo series, but we wish it wasn’t.
First of all, plot. Great! Halo: Reach functioned as the precursor to the Halo plot line. Drawback to that? No badass Master Chief/Cortana, and no conclusion to the Halo 3 storyline. That, to me, is a disappointment. So Bungie better get on Halo 4, so we can all see what happens to Master Chief. I
Here's a little taste of gameplay
know for damn sure he didn’t die. (Oh, and that “Great!” I used? Sarcasm. Come on Bungie. It was like dropping us into WWII and then saying that it was going to lead to Vietnam. What?)
Alright, gameplay. The graphics were great. It was Halo 3 quality all the way in that regard. The locales were cool and it really felt like a planet. I especially liked the cut scenes that occur when you assassinate an elite with your knife, great way to introduce a little more of a kick ass nature to the Spartans that came before Master Chief. This game had a little bit more of a gritty quality to it than the other Halos. This gave it more of a darker look and kept you a little more on edge during the game. This is a great approach due to the ending.
Features of the game. Quite great. (Besides certain weapons.) Okay, you can run faster, jetpack, even create bubble shields on demand. And you don’t have to keep the same feature for long. You can switch it up based on the battle ahead, and this tactician type approach is just what I look for in games. The thing that detracts this from being an all-time great Halo game? The weapons, for sure. I felt that at this point, the creators at Bungie put all the previous weapons into a hat and decided they would draw out two at a time
Rag tag group of Spartans. Guy with skull helmet = badass.
to decide which weapons they would mix on the game. I mean, come on. Plasma assault rifle? More useless than it sounds. Needler carbine? How does that even work? Only weapon that wasn’t a total letdown: pistol. That thing can do work, just like in good, old original Halo.
I guess when it comes down to it, the plot of this game doesn’t matter. It introduces the Covenant, but doesn’t really explain why they’re on Reach. So you get a rag tag group of Spartans, have them fight towards some superfluous mission goal, and then let the chips fall where they may. Cool ending though, tying in the Pillar of Autumn and Keyes and all that. Pretty neat-o. Makes you feel like you are the gears behind the last resistance against the Covenant in a way.
He's done. Are you?
There are some other features of the game I haven’t really delved into yet. You can now play firefight, a survival type swarm based attack where you (and a friend) must survive through waves of Covenant. Actually, that reminds me. Best part of this game? NO FLOOD. A game with no Flood becomes ridiculously easier and more enjoyable. Not to say I didn’t freak out the first time I played Halo when the Flood jumped me, but let’s just say that every time I hear the music of that level way back when, I do not feel comfortable. There’s also something about customizable armor/gear based on points you earn during the game? That’s always great. (Although Bungie should really pull back and reevaluate what it means to earn an achievement. Some of their are ridiculous, the only way to earn them is to cheat.) There’s plenty more for me to discover, and, once I do, I’ll be sure to let you guys know. Unless I decide to trade Halo: Reach in for another game, I’ll let this game sit as a 6 out of 10.