What can I say? I love 3D! From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content. I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite. That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT. I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky. However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation. These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves. I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum. My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released. As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.
Legend of the Guardians 3D
Studio: Warner Bros.
Product Release: December 17, 2010
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 97 Minutes
ON A SCALE 0-5
Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 4
3D Separation: 4
3D In Yo' Face Factor: 3
TRUST YOUR GIZZARD
I didn't quite know what to expect as I prepared to view
Legends of the Guardians. From the little pre-research
that I usually do, I discovered that the film is adapted
from the series of books, Guardians of Ga'Hoole, by
author Kathryn Lasky. Additionally, this animated film
is directed by none other than Zack Snyder, best known
for his films 300, Watchmen and Dawn of the Dead.
The story mostly centers around a young adventurous
owl named Soren (voiced by Jim Sturgess) who has grown
up hearing his father's fantastic tales about the mythical,
warrior owls known as the Guardians of Ga'Hoole. These
owls are heralded as the peacekeepers of the owl kingdom.
One day Soren and his brother Kludd (voiced by Ryan
Kwanten) are abruptly kidnapped by a force of evil owls
who call themselves The Pure Ones. Led by the evil
queen Nyla (voiced by Helen Mirren) and its masked
leader Metal Beak (voiced by Joel Edgerton), the army
of owls are intent on conquering the world.
Brother is turned against brother as Kludd readily joins
the Pure Ones while Soren's resistance leads him to
slavery. With the assistance of a supportive guard,
Soren manages to escape and find his way into the
hands of the Guardians.
I can understand why someone like Zack Snyder
would be interested in dabbling in this story material.
The film is filled with all-too-familiar battle shots of
warrior owls racing into attack then suddenly
colliding in slow-motion. Since this is essentially
a family film, there is no gore here and I think that
the stop-motion battle tactic lessens the ferocity
of the violence.
Legend of the Guardians is very effective in
its 3D presentation, though I wouldn't rate it the
very best I have seen. The film was certainly
composed for 3D with its appropriate placement
of branches and brush which give a nice sense
of depth separation from the forest backdrop.
The problem I found is that sometimes the level
of 3D doesn't seem very consistent, particularly
in the darker scenes within The Pure Ones lair
where images tend to look a little more flat.
Still, there are some really nice moments
where the 3D process shines such as a scene
where we meet the first Guardian rescuing an
owlet above the raging ocean waters -- or when
Soren is flying through a barrage of raindrops.
While the filmmakers strayed from throwing too
many 3D gimmicks at its audience there are some
minor "In Yo' Face" moments that involve owl beaks,
raindrops, fire embers and a snake named Mrs. P
that peak out from the screen. Watch for the
porcupine/hedgehog oracle and how his mouth reaches
out from the confines of the viewing area.
Ghosting issues? A few throughout the film, mostly
evident in darker scenes and when the owls take flight.
There were some moments with shots looking down
upon crowded groups of owls that I saw more pronounced
double imaging. However, it's certainly not a problem
that burdens the entire film.
Created entirely in the digital realm, this film looks
immaculate and the transfer does nothing to mar it.
Images are sharp and detailed. This is an extraordinarily
beautiful film to watch with its warm colors that include
golden sunrises and sunsets. This really is one of those
films that benefits greatly from the Blu-ray format.
The DTS-HD master audio track is open and spacious
with very active surround activity. Let's first begin with
the film's non-too-memorable score by composer David
Hirschfelder that comes across with nice dynamics and
just a hint of underlying bass. There's a nice animated
sequence that features the song "Take To The Sky" by
the group Owl City that has a nice amount of punch to it.
The dialogue is seemingly evermoving across the channels
as is the film's effects. I tend to overuse the word "immersive"
but I know very few other words to constantly describe this
kind of experience where the audio really pulls you into the film.
Really love the fact that Warner is including 3D cartoons on
their feature films as a bonus item. It started with The Polar
Express and now for a second time we get yet another neat
Road Runner short, Fur of Flying. It clocks in at a mere
2 minutes 50 seconds but it's a very high-quality 3D short
that I found to be thoroughly enjoyable.
The last thing I want to do is to give an entirely negative
opinion about Legend of the Guardians. It isn't a bad film
by any means. However, there's nothing memorable about
it. You watch it, are entertained for its 90 minute length, but
soon forget about it afterwards. It's a bit dark, there isn't
anything feelgood about it and as such I sort of wonder how
much lasting appeal it would even have for kids. Warner did
a great job with the transfer and keeping the ghosting minimal.
The 3D is effective but nothing to go "ooh and aaah" over
except for a few small sequences.
Still, with so little quality family entertainment 3D to choose
from this holiday season I can't help but recommend this film
for an evening I think will be well enjoyed by the entire household
huddled together wearing their 3D eyewear.
LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display
LG BX580 3D Blu-ray Player
Denon 3808CI Receiver
Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers
SV Sound Subwoofer