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November 21, 2010

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Snyder's hooting hero cartoon a simple hit

ALTHOUGH Hollywood film-maker Zack Snyder established his fame from making faithful page-to-screen adaptations of comics books such as "300" and "The Watchmen," "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" is his first-ever attempt at animated feature film.

Based on the first three books of the best-selling fantasy series by Kathryn Lasky, the story line of the 100-minute, 3D production is quite simple and family-pleasing - a young owl who finds his wings and faith after a long breathtaking adventure defeats the evil owls and save the owl kingdoms.

However, director Snyder's talent in delivering exceptional audio-visual effects through the adventure makes this generic tale of good versus evil extraordinary.

Some of its scenes - from the imposing landscapes to thrilling flying sequences can even remind viewers of "Avatar."

When the owls are flying, the audience doesn't just see each feather on each owl, but every shining strand on each feather.

The strength of the film's visual artistry is also manifested in the battle scenes.

When the owl warriors are clad in their armor and metal-sheathed claws, one is likely to imagine it a war between ancient Gladiators even though there are no human beings in the movie.

The slow-motioned yet sparks-throwing clashes between owl fighters demonstrate Snyder's unique visual signature, which can be found in the intense action sequences of "300."

It is said that the film's huge technical team crafted a great many images to display the lifelike and subtle facial looks of an owl. Since the owls' eyes are so big that they can't move in any direction, Snyder ingeniously adds different kinds of light reflection inside the eye balls to depict the birds changing emotions.

Obviously Snyder didn't want to make an ordinary animated feature from the beginning and tried to give full reign to his imagination to present a stunning and artful world of owls on the big screen.

Jim Sturgess voices Soren, the young owl protagonist while Helen Mirren gives voice to the tyrannical Pure Ones owl queen Nyra.

Snyder has newly been confirmed at the helm of "Superman: Man of Steel." The director is going to present his own interpretation of Superman through an original story.


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