So the guy who made '300' and 'Watchmen' decided to do an animated film about fighting owls? Is that right? Well, yes it is. As hard as that may be to believe Mr. Snyder has crafted a beautiful film about mythic owl warriors. And as weird as that last sentence may sound, its not as bad as I expected it to be. Let's be honest, taking a familiar tale of two brothers, one of which is very naturally skilled and kind hearted and the other who is bitter and jealous and needy of attention get kidnapped from their home tree and are taken to a dark place where some mean mean owls nest. Here they are broken up, one defying these evil creatures and the other feeling as if he fits in for the first time. How is this all going to end. Be for real, you know the answer. There are some fun characters along the way though, one of the only uplifting things about the film besides the shots of the owls soaring through all kinds of weather. First, our protagonist Soren is a brave and pure owl who dreams about being a part of the stories he has grown up hearing his father tell him and his siblings. After escaping the clutches of "The Pure Ones" Soren and his buddies have to find the guardians and inform them of the evil that is being done to other owls. It never really explains why these bad birds are called "The Pure Ones" or why they are so angry or what exactly this weapon they are building is supposed to conquer for them. Sure, they are hoping to destroy the legendary guardian owls, but what started all this in the first place? Its quite difficult to see what was attractive about these stories because this is where the movie suffers the most for me. We have seen all this before in some shape or form, just not with owls and I don't know that that qualifies as an original enough factor so as to create one of the most visually beautiful animated films ever. As for other characters that make this memorable is the great little Digger who stands in as comic relief and joins Soren on his quest. Sorens younger sister, Eglantine, who doesn't play as crucial a role as I imagined is the cutest thing I've ever seen and it is quite shocking what she is made to do, especially for a children's movie. As for Kludd, the evil brother he is just menacing enough to make us believe he would betray his entire family for his own selfish reasons and will no doubt be back in the sequel if this makes enough money. I have not read the books on which these stories are based and although the story was the weakest spot in the film for me, I can understand how children could be taken in by this world of wonderment and not want to put it down. It is a gorgeous world and Mr. Snyder has done an amazing job of treating us visually. I hope there is a second film and I hope the story doesn't follow such a strict set of conventions as this first one has.

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