BATANG MINDANAW: Movie Review: The Guardians of Ga'Hoole. By Sage Danielle Ilagan

By Sage Danielle Ilagan

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/03 October) — The books that the movie was based on were interesting and delightful to read. From the imagination of Kathryn Lasky, the story tells of the Guardians who guard the great tree – a place where owls uphold the beliefs of their old king Hoole. They believe in the stories, and knowledge, and equality among owls, but never hesitate to show their proficiency in fighting when they need it, and always as a last resort.

The owls believe in the legends of Hoole, of the first collier named Grank who taught a young owl who later became King. Somewhere far away, young Kludd, Soren and Eglantine were raised on these stories and beliefs. Somehow, however, when their parents were away, a group called the Pure Ones chanced upon their home and influenced Kludd’s mind with fantasies of power and evil. The Pure Ones believed in only one species to be superior above all others, contrary to the Great Tree’s, and that Tyto Alba (Barn owls) were purest of them all and made to be superior.

Kludd was raised in the shadow of his younger brother and had always been skeptical of the legends and completely fell in love with their belief in the Pure Ones. They taught him things of evil, the ceremonies so different from the ones that Kludd’s parents believed in, all very evil indeed, and one included maiming another in cold blood. Growing up, Kludd harbored a certain kind of hate towards Soren, and pushed him off their nest. Unable to fly, Kludd was certain that Soren would perish, not knowing until much later that Soren had survived due to St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned owls. This one was curiously named, however, for the hatchlings were stolen from their own nests, and made to believe that they were orphans.

They were moon-blinked, a process where the owlets are hypnotized by the moon into somewhat mindless obedience. They are given numbers and made to forget their names by repetition. It was here where Soren met his best friend, Gylfie, a young female elf owl who was also raised to believe in the legends. They escaped the moon-blinking through murmuring the legends when they watched the moon. Later, they find out that the secret behind St. Aegolius academy is flecks – some kind of substance with curious power over magnetism, or Higher Magnetism, as they later understand.

They meet an owl that had been imperfectly moon-blinked. Something inside him responded to Soren and Gylfie’s plight, and he taught them how to fly far away.  Due to their escape, the owl is killed and so is a slipgizzle or a spy named Mist. Skench and Spoorn, the main force behind St. Aggie’s, discover new properties of flecks in the fight and entered into a yeep-like state (yeep meaning when their wings fold and they cease to function). They manage to reach the Ga’Hoole tree in time, meeting friends that will soon be part of their chaw, Twilight, Digger, Otulissa, Martin, and Ruby. They also meet the legendary Lyze of Kiel, a great warrior from the northern kingdoms, who now went by Ezylryb, one of the great tree’s rybs or teachers. He teaches Soren and Gylfie’s chaw, the weather chaw, and teaches them a great many things.

Now the Great Tree had been made aware of the Pure One’s existence through the great downing. The great downing was when the Pure Ones attempted to use St. Aggie’s (a shortcut they used) methods and tried to steal their eggs and hatchlings. Somehow the academy became aware of this, and resulted in a mighty battle between two evils, and the hatchlings and eggs that the Pure Ones stole were let go and rained down from the sky. Later they managed to kidnap Ezylryb by trapping him inside a triangle that created a strange barrier, affecting his gizzard that made him lose his navigational skills. They accomplished this with flecks and their strange properties, but with the help of Otulissa, they break the triangle with fire. Somewhere in the great commotion between the Pure Ones and the guardians, Soren meets his brother, Kludd, and realizes that his brother was led astray and is now one of the enemy. He burns Kludd’s face, wherein his metal mask melts, and he flies away. Soren believes his brother to be dead and blames himself despite the Great Tree’s victory, but unbeknownst to him his brother is still alive as the new metal beak, and with the illusion of his death, empowers his army for another siege.

The story continues, but not all events were explored by the movie. The producers have made it clear that the movie is only based on all fifteen books which cannot be fit into one, and yet the movie has omitted and changed certain events and facts. However, they have provided us with a twist wherein we are more than willing to forgive and forget what they have changed. In this movie they mixed together St. Aegolius and the Pure Ones despite their conflict, and changed the fact of  how Ezylryb was captured. They also altered how the properties of the triangle were presented. They slightly changed Otulissa and Soren’s relationship, but it is easily forgiven because everyone who has read the book must have imagined them together at one point.

The end clearly stated it was only based on the book, and the movie ended with how Soren only told the story, which we hope might mean that that they might choose to follow the books for any upcoming movies they might make (and I assure you if they do, I will be watching them). Ta ta for now, and please wish with me for more movies. It’s a great story, and all-age appropriate, so we should thank Kathryn Lasky for starting all of this for us. Good luck, God bless, and/or all the best. [Batang MindaNaw is MindaNews’ voice of the youth corner. Sage Danielle Ilagan, 13, is a freshman at the Ateneo de Davao University High School. She likes bringing home stray cats].