Zack Snyder puts his unique stamp on this animated adventure. Based on Kathryn Lasky's young adult book series, the film is like LORD OF THE RINGS performed by owls via photoreal animation. The straightforward narrative is made more compelling simply through the visual originality.
The story begins with the young owl Soren (Jim Sturgess, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE) telling his little sister Eglantine (Adrienne DeFaria) the tales about the great battles of the Guardians. His brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten, TV's TRUE BLOOD) is tried of hearing about these old myths. Excited following their first flying lessons, the two brothers sneak out of the nest to practice without parental supervision. By accident they fall to the forest floor where they are kidnapped by agents of St. Aegolius, an orphanage that brainwashes its young owlets into being soldiers for the Pure Ones, led by Metal Beak (Joel Edgerton, THE SQUARE) and his bride Nyra (Helen Mirren, THE QUEEN). If the owlets are not the right breed or refuse to conform, they are hypnotized by the moon and forced to pick out metal flecks from the pellets owl cough up.