Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (PG)

Voices: Helen Mirren, Sam Neill, Jim Sturgess, Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving

Zack Snyder, who turned the graphic novels 300 and Watchmen to box-office gold, links up with Animal Logic, who gave us dancing penguins in Happy Feet, for the story of a young barn owl called Soren who grows up listening to his dad's mythical tales of the Guardians – super-owls who protect the weak.

Captured and imprisoned by the Pure Ones, fascist renegades who brainwash owlets, Soren and his pals must escape and enlist the help of the Guardians. The stars of this computerised epic are the Design and Art departments, who provide stunning landscapes, caves and kingdoms, and whose 3D magic is genuinely thrilling. The trouble is the bloody owls: their features are insufficiently differentiated, the baddies and super-goodies confusingly wear masks and bow before supreme beings in white feathers. And when a pair of 3D talons come flying out of the sky at you for the 2,789th time, you're tempted to yawn. The dark atmosphere and violent fights would scare most under-nines.

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It feels like friends are few and far between. If you're not getting the help you need, ask why. It may be because you have been so preoccupied with work. Skipping special occasions and failing to return phone calls causes resentment. You have to be more engaged to sustain loving bonds. Call someone you've missed. It may take a few tries, but it's worth the effort. Be forthright about why you have been out of touch. Communication is the cornerstone of every healthy relationship.More