Tag Archives: Anthony LaPaglia

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (2010) Review

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Legend of the Guardians - The Owls of Ga'Hoole

Time: 97 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Some Scenes May Scare Very Young Children
Cast:
Jim Sturgess as Soren
Emily Barclay as Gylfie
Ryan Kwanten as Kludd
David Wenham as Digger
Anthony LaPaglia as Twilight
Helen Mirren as Nyra
Geoffrey Rush as Ezylryb/the Lyze of Kiel
Joel Edgerton as Metal Beak
Hugo Weaving as Noctus and Grimble
Adrienne DeFaria as Eglantine
Miriam Margolyes as Mrs. Plithiver
Sam Neill as Allomere
Sacha Horler as Strix Struma
Abbie Cornish as Otulissa
Richard Roxburgh as Boron
Director: Zack Snyder

A father owl’s tales of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole enthrals his son Soren, but an older son scoffs at the stories of winged warriors who fought an epic battle to save all of owlkind from the evil Pure Ones. Later the brothers become captives of the Pure Ones, but Soren makes a daring escape and, with the help of other young owls, seeks out the Guardians and brings them back to defend their people once again.

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This was actually the first film from Zack Snyder that I watched. It seems like an odd choice for him to direct looking back at his filmography. He’s more known for adapting comic books and graphic novels, not young adult books about animals. While it doesn’t rank among the best movies of his filmography, I thought it was pretty good.

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I actually had read the books this movie is based on some time ago, that being the Guardians of Ga’Hoole by Kathryn Lasky. I don’t have a strong memory of the plot in the books, but I recall movie’s plot being roughly similar to that from the novels, however there were some major changes in story and characters. The plot of this movie is quite a simple good and evil story. With that said, it’s darker than most children’s animated movies, and that is one of its biggest strengths. It was a while since I’ve read the books, but parts of the plot and the visuals are darker than you’d usually see. The only problem I have with this is that the tone is a little all over the place, as the humour is a bit unbalanced it has one too many jokes mixed in with this epic story. This movie covers the first 6 books in the Guardians of Ga’Hoole book series, and although the books aren’t that large, there’d be quite a lot of the story to be told in one movie. If it was going to be just one movie, it would probably need to be over 2 hours long to develop the characters and story enough, as well as not feeling a little rushed. As it is, the movie is under an hour and 40 minutes long, and the pacing is a little all over the place. It does feel like the movie doesn’t quite live up to its potential story-wise Also, maybe it’s because much of the movie is more mature than I expected, but I kind of wished for slightly more complexity from the story and characters, even though I know it’s essentially a children’s animated movie. The dialogue is also a little clunky at some points. The movie did leave at a point where it could go further with sequels, but unfortunately we didn’t get any.

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The characters aren’t particularly deep and are generally fine, the heroic characters are heroic, the quirky characters are quirky, and the evil characters are evil. I wish the was more to them but they are elevated by the voice cast, with the likes of Jim Sturgess, Emily Barclay, David Wenham, Hugo Weaving, Helen Mirren, Geoffrey Rush and Joel Edgerton, making each of the characters stand out more and more memorable. The villain voiced by Edgerton particularly stood out and was quite effective in his scenes.

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This is the first and only animated film from Zack Snyder, and he’s done very well with his direction here. All of his movies are visually stunning, and Legend of the Guardians is no exception. It’s greatly animated, the environments, lighting and colours are outstanding, and when it particularly comes to the effects for the feathers and particularly elements like fire and water, it’s a wonder to watch. Although some had made fun of Snyder’s use of slow motion in some of his movies, it’s used absolutely perfectly here. While it definitely would’ve looked much better if it was made today, it still looks pretty good a decade later. The action involving the owls is also effective, especially some battle scenes towards the end. It’s hard to pull off making owls fighting look epic, but Snyder does it. This may be an animated movie, but you can still tell that this is one of his movies through and through. The music is generally good, except for a moment when a song played by Owl City is played, and aside from the pun with the band name, it’s really out of place and doesn’t fit in with the rest of the movie.

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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is quite good, visually stunning, well made and enjoyable to watch. While there are some things holding back from being even better and reaching its full potential, I liked it overall, and I wished that we got to see more of these movies in this series. I’d like to see Snyder make another animated movie sometime, he certainly showed that here that he’s more than capable of it.

Annabelle: Creation (2017) Review

Time: 109 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Contains violence and horror
Cast
Stephanie Sigman as Sister Charlotte
Talitha Bateman as Janice
Lulu Wilson as Linda
Anthony LaPaglia as Samuel Mullins
Miranda Otto as Esther Mullins
Director: David F. Sandberg

Former toy maker Sam Mullins (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife, Esther (Miranda Otto), are happy to welcome a nun and six orphaned girls into their California farmhouse. Years earlier, the couple’s 7-year-old daughter Annabelle died in a tragic car accident. Terror soon strikes when one child sneaks into a forbidden room and finds a seemingly innocent doll that appears to have a life of its own.

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I wasn’t really excited for Annabelle Creation. This was a horror prequel to a horror prequel, and the first prequel was Annabelle. Although I hadn’t seen it, I’ve heard nothing but terrible things about it. I had no hype for Annabelle Creation and yet, it was actually pretty good. The story was pretty good, I could care about what was going on, the direction was very good and there were some effective scares.

Annabelle Creation is a solid horror movie, the story is nothing spectacular and there’s honestly not a lot to sat about it but it is good for what it was going for. The runningtime is around an hour and 50 minutes and that was an appropriate time, the pacing was done well and never dragged at any point. Normally, an origin of a horror monster/villain really feels unnecessary and detracts from the character. However, Annabelle’s creation was actually done well, even if it wasn’t necessary. Without spoiling anything it does tie into the original Annabelle at one aspect, so if you haven’t seen the original you will be a little confused (I only know about this from looking it up). There was also another reference that tied into the Conjuring-verse that I loved. With that said, you can still like Annabelle Creation on its own without seeing the original Annabelle, or even The Conjuring movies.

The two lead girls, played by Talitha Bateman and Lulu Wilson were great. They play friends who are at an orphanage. That aspect with their relationship and chemistry really helped make me care about them and therefore the story, I wasn’t just watching people go through the motions and getting scared. The supporting cast with Stephanie Sigman, Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto were good in the movie. The actresses who play the other girls are fine I guess, but they didn’t receive a whole lot of development or have some character, so they didn’t really leave that much of an impression on me.

David F. Sandberg directed this movie, I liked his work on Lights Out quite a bit and he once again proved himself to be a great director. This film looks great, the cinematography was really solid. Everything from the lighting, to the visual effects and the sound effects are done very well. The scares were quite effective, yes, there are some jump scares but they are done very well when they do happen.

Annabelle Creation is not as good as The Conjuring movies and its not one of the greatest horror movies ever made, but it is a solid horror movie. You don’t necessarily have to have watched the original Annabelle to enjoy this movie, there’s an aspect you may be confused about but that’s it really. With the effective story and direction, Annabelle Creation is one of the most surprising movies of 2017. I find it weird that a Conjuring Cinematic Universe is happening, along with Conjuring 3 there will be a Nun movie and a Crooked Man movie based from characters from Conjuring 2. However with 3 out of their 4 movies being quite good, I’m very curious to see how this will go and I’m on board with whatever direction they take.