For: warped philosophy
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is the oddly familiar story of how a young warrior used the Force to defeat the Lord-of-the-Rings themed neo-Nazis… who are owls. The film’s two positives are 1) the animation is good, and 2) it has good animation. On the negative side, the plot is weak and predictable, the characters are dreamy and irrational, and if the owl theme didn’t sound so awkward, the follow-your-gizzard messages would instantly be pegged as humanist, New Age and sappy. Legend of the Guardians doesn’t have what it takes, and it does have what we don’t take.
Throughout the movie, Legend of the Guardians uses the owls’ gizzards as representative of each character’s inner being, and the film’s many morals of the story are simply familiar humanist, existentialist and New-Age themes that replaced the words “heart” or “self” with “gizzard”.
Soren is taught by his mentor that he can sense things (present, absent or future) intuitively as long as he trusts his gizzard (“The tree must be on the other side [of the storm]. I can feel it in my gizzard!”), and that any time his gizzard says to do one thing while his head says to do another, he must ignore his head or risk death and destruction (“And you trusted your head? That’s when you failed.”). This philosophy is demonstrated pointedly multiple times. When Soren is forced to fly through a raging forest fire to save the other owls (a fact determined by his gizzard), he climactically closes his eyes and trusts his gizzard to guide him through the flames and falling branches. This is completely successful, and he is praised for it afterwards.
The main character’s father tells him in a profound tone, “Through our gizzards the voices of the ages whisper to us, tell us what’s right.”
Soren argues the Guardians’ hesitation about acting on his as-yet unsubstantiated apocalyptic warnings is inappropriate, given how long he had faith in the existence of the Guardians before he had proof. The other owls treat this sentimental appeal as logically compelling (even though it isn’t), and are shamed into action (even though Soren has not added any information or demonstrated any better that his is the right course). Soren’s example of credulity proved right doesn’t naturally obligate anyone else to be equally credulous, or guarantee the same results.
“Dreams” (that is, legends) are touted as equivalent with “who we are,” and as “what make me strong” in the midst of moral and physical conflict.
Soren exclaims, “The stories, they’re real!” and his father replies in a profound tone, “You made them real, Soren.” Taking place as it does at the end of the movie, after it has been demonstrated that the stories were true objectively, the conversation has a very existentialist bent, suggesting that the essence of reality is dependent on the individual’s attitude and actions toward it.