I have to say, I wasn't expecting all that much from this movie. At first glance it felt like I was looking at "Happy Feet" with owls. However what I experienced was very different. First I must say, this movie is extremely well crafted as far as visuals are concerned. While not everyone cares stylistically for the soft subsurface-y look that you can get in cg, it was well executed. With breath taking vistas and well groomed hero characters, this is a must for fans of the art of computer graphics and computer nerds. Also note worthy are the awesome effects in the film from the rain to fire to "energy fields."
While it is an awesome film to look at, it has some visual flaws. Some of the "scruffy" owls looked more like muppets than owls and betrayed the suspension of disbelief. I also hated the "Happy Feet" eyes that all the characters had, there was a little to much character resemblance between the films. For the most part the lighting was great accept for a handful of shots which were a bit of an eyesore.
As for story, the film was okay. My son, who is almost eight, loved the armor clad owls and was captivated by the story. My youngest son, just turned two, couldn't have cared less. He spent the show running around the theater. Thankfully, the theater was virtually empty and the other families there had small children. You might say, "But he is only two!" And yet, might I point out my son will sit through any Pixar film over and over, and was quiet as a mouse all through "Toy Story 3," riveted! While the story is aimed at older kids compared to most Pixar films, it still lacked the sophistication to hold a broad audiences attention. Fighting Owls may be cool to eight year olds, but the rest of us would like a little more character and a little more substance.
As for the action, it was comically, "300" for kids. Just before every blow of an opponent we would be ramped into super slow-mo! Instead of the cg blood splatter, flying feathers and armor cladding. It was very text book "300" style action. This isn't all that surprising as both films share the same director, Zach Snyder. On that note it was fairly violent considering the typical audience and at times made me wince a bit at having all my kids there. But that should be placed on my lapse of judgment I suppose.
I did not opt to see this film in 3D, however I heard it was well executed and brought greater depth to the imagery. So if you have some extra cash burning in your pocket, you may consider seeing this one in 3D.
All in all, it was enjoyable. Where the story lacked I could fill my time looking at the "pretty pictures" and admire all the craftsmanship and hard work that went into making this film. While not the pinnacle of film making it was entertaining, especially if you are eight.