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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole is a 2010 American-Australian 3D computer-animated fantasy-adventure film based on the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series by Kathryn Lasky. Zack Snyder directed the film as an animation debut, Zareh Nalbandian produced the film, John Orloff and Emil Stern wrote the film, with Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Joel Edgerton, Abbie Cornish, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Barclay, Sam Neill, Miriam Margoyles, Helen Mirren, Ryan Kwanten, Anthony LaPaglia, David Wenham and Richard Roxburgh voicing the characters set in a world populated by anthropomorphic owls and other animals.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
Legend of the Guardians film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byZack Snyder
Produced byZareh Nalbandian
Screenplay by
Based onGuardians of Ga'Hoole
by Kathryn Lasky
Music byDavid Hirschfelder
Edited byDavid Burrows
GOG Productions[1]
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures[1]
Release date
  • September 24, 2010 (2010-09-24) (North America)
  • September 30, 2010 (2010-09-30) (Australia)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
Budget$80 million[3]
Box office$140.1 million[4]

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole was theatrically released in the United States on September 24, 2010, and in Australia on September 30, 2010, by Warner Bros. Pictures in RealD 3D and IMAX 3D.[5] The film received mixed reviews from critics, with many praising the voice performances, dark tone and visual effects, while criticizing the story and inconsistent tone, and grossed $140.1 million on an $80 million budget.


Soren (Jim Sturgess), a young barn owl, lives in the forest of Tyto with his family: his father, Noctus (Hugo Weaving); his mother, Marella (Essie Davis); his older brother, Kludd (Ryan Kwanten); his younger sister, Eglantine (Adrienne DeFaria); and Ms. Plithiver, or Ms. P, (Miriam Margoyles), the family's nest maid, a blind snake. Soren enjoys listening to the 'Legends of Ga'Hoole,' which are mythical tales of warrior owls. In jealousy of Soren's flight talent one day, Kludd pushes him off a branch, but inadvertently falls as well. On the ground, being flightless, they are attacked by a tasmanian devil, but are kidnapped by two long-eared owls, Jatt and Jutt, during the attack.

As the owls take them to St. Aegolious, the canyonland home to the Pure Ones, Soren meets Gylfie, a young elf owl as well as many other young owls who have not yet fledged. At St. Aegolious, the second-in-command and self-proclaimed Queen of the Pure Ones, Nyra, begins to say that the young owls are their slaves. When Soren and Gylfie protest, the two are punished as 'pickers.' Kludd, who openly rejected Soren, then comes to be a soldier to the Pure Ones and impresses Nyra. Grimble, a boreal owl, the captor of Gylfie, secretly tells them that he is disloyal to the Pure Ones and manages to teach them to fly. However, Nyra soon catches them just as they are about to fly away. Grimble then sacrifices himself to allow the owls to fly away seeking the 'Great Ga'Hoole Tree.' To warn the mythical Guardians about the Pure Ones' plan against them.

Along the journey, they meet Twilight, a great grey owl and Digger, a burrowing owl. They also find Mrs. P, who had been kidnapped by Twilight, intending to make her their dinner before Soren protests.

The owls manage to reach the Great Tree, where they are trained in different chaws, or classes. They meet Bubo, a great horned owl, who was the member of The Parliament of the tree listens intently to the Band's story. One owl, Allomere, a great grey, objects the story; however, another owl, a whiskered screech owl named Eyzlryb, supports it. Soren later discovers that Eyzlryb was once a legendary hero name Lyze of Kiel, who battled the Pure Ones leader and Nyra's mate Metal Beak, managing to tear out his beak and forcing him to wear a metal mask to hide the disfigurement.

Allomere returns from a scouting mission from St. Aegolious with news that scouts were killed in an ambush by the Pure Ones. He had brought to the tree 2 moon-blinked, or in-a-trance, owls, one of which is Soren's younger sister, Eglantine. Soren manages to break her trance and Eglantine reveals that Kludd had kidnapped her and given her to Allomere. Shocked by this deception, the Band quickly flies to the Guardian's aid, who are being paralyzed by mind and gizzard-destroying 'flecks.'

After Twilight, Gylfie and Digger fend off some bats from the paralysed Guardians, Metal Beak begins to distrust Allomere, while Nyra has had enough of lying. Allomere yells at them that he would be king of the tree. Metal Beak has Allomere dragged away by bats, believing that Allomere knew about their plan. Meanwhile, Soren flies through a forest fire, igniting a lamp of oil, and manages to disable the fleck trap, risking his life. Freed and recovered, the Guardians fly into battle with the Pure Ones and Ezylryb goes straight for Metal Beak, but Metal Beak and Nyra begin to overpower him. Soren flies into the battle after spotting Kludd, but Kludd attacks him, throwing him into a forest fire. The two brothers briefly fight in the burning forest and argue, before Kludd leaps onto Soren, causing them to fall down a tree. Soren grabs Kludd's talon to stop him falling into the fire, but Kludd breaks his wing in the process, making him unable to fly. Kludd begs Soren to help him, but when he does, Kludd, who is still a Pure One, attacks Soren, only for his branch to break. Kludd falls into the fire, disappearing as a distraught Soren tries to help him.

Furious at Kludd's 'death' and hearing Metal Beak and Nyra fighting Ezylryb, Soren grabs a burning branch and attacks Metal Beak. Ezylryb overpowers Nyra as Soren and Metal Beak fight. Soren drops the branch, and whilst diving after it, ends up grounded, trapped against a rock as Metal Beak comes closer, preparing to deliver the death blow. However, Soren reaches the burning branch just in time and manages to impale Metal Beak in the stomach, killing him. Nyra retreats and Soren is shocked that he has just killed an owl, but he is comforted by Ezylryb.

The owlets of St. Aegelious are rescued as Nyra and the remaining Pure Ones flee. Soren and Eglantine are reunited with Noctus and Marella, who have come to the tree. Soren and the rest of the Band are welcomed as new Guardians, Soren noting that it is a Guardian's everlasting duty to "Mend the broken, make strong the weak, and vanquish all evil." Soren states that whilst Metal Beak was defeated, Nyra escaped and Kludd's body was never found. However, in the smoking remains of the canyons, an injured silhouette, showing the distinct features of Kludd, is seen staring at the mask of Metal Beak, with the glowing red eyes of the Pure Ones, hinting at Kludd's survival. Soren asks if he can stop, but the owlets who were listening to the story plead with him to keep going, and even Eyzlryb say they want more stories. The movie then ends with Soren and the band following Ezylryb into a storm.

Voice castEdit



Warner Bros. acquired film rights to the book series Guardians of Ga'Hoole by Kathryn Lasky in June 2005. The studio planned to produce the series as a computer-generated animated film under producer Donald De Line with Lasky writing the adapted screenplay.[6] In April 2008, the project was under Village Roadshow with Zack Snyder attached to direct and Zareh Nalbandian producing. A new screenplay was written by John Orloff and Emil Stern.[7] Production began in Australia in February 2009.[8]

The film was developed by the digital visual effects company Animal Logic, following its success with the 2006 film Happy Feet.[9] It features "To the Sky", a song by Owl City. Along with the film was a new 3D Looney Tunes cartoon entitled "Fur of Flying", featuring Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.


The film was developed and produced for more than 3 years at Animal Logic's studios in Sydney, Australia. A team of 500+ artists, technicians, and support staff were amassed to design and develop the film. The film was conceived in 3D stereoscopic from the get-go. Animal Logic's team of artists designed, created, and animated 15 unique species of owls, as well as other forest creatures such as snakes, crows, bats, centipedes, bees, beetles, bugs, moths, a hermit crab, a Tasmanian Devil, and an echidna.[10]

Credits animationEdit

The end credits sequence shows the adventures of Soren, Gylfie, Digger and Twilight as told by the young owls as if they were putting on a shadow play performance in the Great Tree. It was this childlike quality that guided the animation and the interpretation of the story in the credits. The credit sequence was conceived by Felicity Coonan, and was designed and executed over 3 months at Animal Logic's Sydney studios.

A small team of artists who had each been intricately involved in the production of the film were amassed to execute the sequence. Coonan wanted the sequence to be a playful experiment in 2D and 3D, because the classic storytelling form of shadow puppets is essentially a 2D medium. The credits were designed to be legible without 3D glasses.[11]


In January 2009, Hugh Jackman, Hugo Weaving and Ryan Kwanten were announced to join the cast. In February 2009, Jim Sturgess, Geoffrey Rush, Rachael Taylor and David Wenham was also in the leads to join the voice cast. In March 2009, Emilie De Ravin joins the voice cast.

In November 2009, the rest of the cast will announced including Taylor, Emily Barclay, Abbie Cornish, Emilie De Ravin, Kwanten, Jay Laga’aia, Anthony LaPaglia, Miriam Margoyles, Helen Mirren, and Sam Neil who replaced Hugh Jackman.


Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole was theatrically released in the United States on September 24, 2010, and in Australia on September 30, 2010, by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Home mediaEdit

The 2010 Region 1 DVD includes a documentary featurette about owls, entitled True Guardians of the Earth, featuring ornithologists and conservationists, and presented by child actor Rico Rodriguez and character Digger the Owl (voiced by David Wenham). The cartoon Fur of Flying is the second special feature.

Video gameEdit

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released a game based on the film, as well as including some elements from the books, for the Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo DS platforms on September 14, 2010. The game was developed by Krome Studios for Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 with the Nintendo DS version developed by Tantalus Media.[12]


Box officeEdit

In the US it took in $5.5 million on opening day, ranking third at the box office in the US. It ranked second on Saturday, earning $6 million, and was No. 1 on Sunday, earning $4.6 million (US). Overall, it earned $16,112,211 on its opening weekend, reaching second place at the box office behind Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps in America. This makes Legend of the Guardians Zack Snyder's first film not to reach No. 1 on its opening weekend in the US.

In its second weekend, the film slipped 32% to $10,887,543 and held on to second place, this time behind The Social Network, claiming the title of the biggest second-weekend hold for an animated feature in 2010. The film ended its run in February 2011 with a $60.5 million domestic (US) gross. In the wider market, it grossed over $120 million from its international release, bringing the total to $140,073,390.

Critical responseEdit

Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 51% of 128 sampled critics gave the film positive reviews and that it has received an average rating of 5.7 out of 10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Legend of the Guardians' dark tone and dazzling visuals are to be admired, even if they're ultimately let down by a story that never lives up to its full potential."[13] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 53 out of 100 based on 21 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[14]


Group Category Recipient Result
38th Annie Awards Animated Effects in an Animated Production[15] Sebastian Quessy Nominated
Music in a Feature Production[15] David Hirschfelder Nominated
Production Design in a Feature Production[15] Dan Hee Ryu Nominated
Voice Acting in a Feature Production[15] Geoffrey Rush Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards 2010 Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Nominated
Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Nominated
Satellite Awards Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Animated Film Nominated
AACTA Awards Best Visual Effects[16] Grant Freckelton Won
Best Sound Nominated

Snippets of the film were shown when the company behind the animation, Animal Logic won the Byron Kennardy Award.

Sequel considerationsEdit

There hasn't been anything specific around a second Legend of the Guardians at this stage. We have discussions with Warner Bros. across a range of projects; we have projects in development with them, as well as projects in development outside of Warner Bros. Legend ... lines up alongside all the projects we have, in terms of what's the most attractive, commercial proposition to do next.

— Zareh Nalbandian in an enterview with Encore

According to Animal Logic's CEO, Zareh Nalbandian, there were discussions for a sequel to Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole as of 2011, but nothing solid as to when production would begin,[17] as such a sequel would come in behind several other films Animal Logic will be producing or already is producing with Warner Bros.

Jim Sturgess and Ryan Kwanten have both said in a 2012 interview that they would reprise their roles as Soren and Kludd if a sequel ever entered production.[18]


Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedSeptember 21, 2010
GenreFilm soundtrack
LabelWaterTower Music
ProducerHugh Jackman

WaterTower Music released the film's official soundtrack on September 21, 2010. The album includes thirteen score tracks composed by David Hirschfelder. The soundtrack also includes the song "To the Sky", recorded by Owl City exclusively for the film.

1."To the Sky" (performed by Owl City)3:39
2."Flight Home (The Guardian Theme)"3:51
3."Taken to Saint Aegilious"5:37
4."Welcome to the Pellatorium"4:51
5."A Long Way to the Guardians"5:57
6."You Know We're Flying"2:37
7."A Friend or Two"5:18
8."The Boy Was Right"4:04
9."Sharpen the Battle Claws"6:22
10."Follow the Whale's Fin"5:11
11."Into Battle"5:07
12."Hello Brother"2:51
13."My Soldiers, My Sons"3:27
14."More Baggy Wrinkles"3:19
Total length:1:02:11

In popular cultureEdit

In the 30 Rock episode "Double-Edged Sword", Legend of the Guardians is the in-flight movie on the aircraft piloted by Carol (Matt Damon), who claims his passengers "... think that $300 and a photo ID gives them the right to fly through the air like the guardian owls of legend!"[19] In a 2014 episode of The Simpsons, "Specs and the City", Bart considers giving Nelson an "Owls of Ga'Hoole"-themed Valentine, finding it fitting that Nelson should get a Valentine referencing what Bart considers a bad movie.


  1. ^ a b c "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Legend of the Guardians The Owls of Ga'hoole (2010)". British Film Institute. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  3. ^ Fritz, Ben (September 23, 2010). "Movie projector: 'Wall Street' and 'Guardians' to battle for No. 1 as 'You Again' lags". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 23, 2010.
  4. ^ Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010). Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
  5. ^ Scott, Mike (September 20, 2010). "Newest Looney Tunes short to play before 'Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole'". The Times-Picayune.
  6. ^ "'Guardians' angel is Warner Bros". Variety. June 16, 2005. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
  7. ^ Fleming, Michael (April 13, 2008). "Snyder to watch over 'Guardians'". Variety. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
  8. ^ Kilday, Gregg (February 9, 2009). "Four fly to Zack Snyder's animated 'Guardians'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
  9. ^ McWhirter, Erin (April 16, 2008). "Animal Logic produces Guardian of Ga'Hoole, after Happy Feet". Herald Sun. Australia. Retrieved February 26, 2009.
  10. ^ "Animal Logic » Our Work » Film". Animal Logic. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  11. ^ "Animal Logic » Our Work » Design". Animal Logic. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  12. ^ "Warner Bros. Announces Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole Game". IGN. March 24, 2010. Retrieved April 3, 2010.
  13. ^ "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  14. ^ "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  15. ^ a b c d "The Annie Awards". December 4, 2009. Archived from the original on December 4, 2009. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  16. ^ "AACTA unveils first round of awards". Intermedia. Retrieved January 15, 2012.
  17. ^ Walker, Michelle (April 5, 2011). "Zareh Nalbandian talks Animal Logic's future films". Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  18. ^ Gilchrist, Todd. "Telling the Epic Legend of the Guardians". Retrieved June 24, 2012.
  19. ^ Walker, Michelle. "30 Rock Episode Recap: "Double-Edged Sword"". Retrieved May 10, 2012.

External linksEdit