Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You don't know what a gizzard does, do you? - Thoughts on "Legend of the Guardians"

So... I am aware that there has been a dearth of Tricia's Art lately on Tricia's Art Blog. This is largely because (a) I haven't had a chance to scan stuff lately (b) nor have I had a chance to sit down and draw because (c) it is REALLY FREAKIN' NICE OUT. Believe me, if you've suffered through the winter I have, you'd be outside partying everyday too. I promise I'll bring my poor, neglected Sketchbook next time and I eventually want to get behind a big canvas again like last summer.

OK, on to the subject of this post. As I have mentioned before, 2010 was a phenomenal year for animated films. So much so that there were actually a few animated sleeper hits. One such film that (appropriately enough) flew very quietly under most people's radar was Zack Snyder's "Legend of the Guardians", which will henceforth be referred to as "The Guardians of Ga'hoole" since (a) it's a much less generic title and (b) I'm pretty sure anyone reading my blog is aware that this film is based off an anthology of preteen fantasy books.


Now I didn't expect anything from this movie when I first sat down to watch it. As you may recall, when the trailers first arrived for this film, I was... a little incredulous. Zack Snyder directing "'Star Wars' but Everyone is a Different Species of Strigiform" with the team behind "Happy Feet" (which, you may have heard, I loathed) was a bit of a hard sell. But my trusted /Filmcast sold me (skip to about the twenty minute mark), and I decided to give "Guardians" a shot.

First off, I want a nice big "Art Of" book for "Guardians of Ga'hoole". This movie is absolutely knock-your-socks off gorgeous. See it on the biggest screen you can. The different species of owls actually look like owls and act like owls and the film avoids Feather Fingers and Acrophobic Bird like crazy. This must be what it felt like to be an ichthyologist watching "Finding Nemo" for the first time.

I also would like to know exactly what Zack Snyder's involvement in the film was, because I think he might have found a niche. His films have been basically animated anyway, and he appears to have grounded the Animal Logic studio. If there was any motion capture in "Guardians", I couldn't tell - the animals move like animals and I never got the uncanny valley feeling I got from "Happy Feet".

Now, I don't want to build "Guardians" up too much. Remember, I expected nothing at all from this movie and while I did want to be a cheerleader for it, it's with some reservations. The characters are kind of dull and you can tell what their various arcs and roles in the story are going to be within a few seconds of their introductions. Additionally, it sounded like Hugo Weaving was voicing every other character... Not that I had a problem with this because Hugo Weaving is THAT awesome. The story really is "'Star Wars' But Everyone Is An Owl", and there is a song that appears about two thirds of the way in that... Yeah, actually I'm going to need a whole paragraph for this one.

OK, so there is a song that appears about two thirds of the way in "Guardians" that is such an utterly baffling inclusion that I'd give anything within reason to learn, in essence, WTF? It's a song by Owl City, and it plays over what is essentially "Guardian"'s equivalent to the Hobbits' arrival in Rivendell. Now, I get the thought process that would lead to involving a band named Owl City in a movie about owls. But I would probably listen to their music first and see (or hear, rather) if it were in any way a good fit. Because all the music I have heard from Owl City so far has been... eh, I'm going to use the word twee. I wouldn't go so far as to call it saccharine, but it is rather annoyingly cute and has no place in a soundtrack otherwise made up of Epic High Fantasy Themes (tm).

Other than this one major problem (and it isn't that big of a deal really all things considered), "Guardians of Ga'hoole" is quite good and I actually would have no problem at all if they decided to make a sequel. If nothing else, in the ironically cliched world of fantastic fiction films, at least a secret weapon made out of irradiated owl puke is a new one.

Speaking of, the gizzard is a digestive organ that has very little if anything to do with flying. Knowing this makes some of the dialogue in the film unintentionally hilarious.

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Other Person's Art of the Day!

It's the Summer Solstice! I'd be remiss if I didn't share this oddity from the early days of Disney. Holy cow, those little fruit flies are the cutest things ever.



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Sketch of the Day!

As I said, tragically I haven't had time to sit down and draw and
I don't feel right!

So because unicorns are good luck, here is an older drawing of a Quilin:


427. Qilin

1 comment:

Albertonykus said...

On the gizzard thing, that's something that was carried over from the books. (In the books, the owls essentially use the gizzard as a replacement for the metaphorical heart. As in, "I feel it in my gizzard." Yeah.)

Which reminds me, I need to get around to reviewing this movie sometime.