The screen adaptation of Kathryn Lasky's children's books takes familiar themes and puts feathers on them. That's right, it's good owls vs. evil owls — so who gives a hoot? Despite the cockamamie premise, the filmmaking by Zack Snyder (branching out from 300 and Watchmen) is the best use of 3D animation since Avatar.
Every feather and every raindrop has body, texture, and tone. The level of detail is mindboggling, and the carefully engineered aerial fight sequences burst with Matrix-cool craftsmanship.
The story? Two owlet brothers come into conflict, one (voiced by Jim Sturgess) on the side of the Guardians, who are the good guys, and the other (Ryan Kwanten) tempted by the Pure Ones, who live on a barren mountain side and seek to enslave all in their quest for domination. No surprises there, but Snyder makes this old story look as good as new.