Things I Learned From Movie X
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'hoole
By Edwin Davies
July 1, 2011
When Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch provided us with one of the first bona fide flops of 2011, as well as a rare victory for common sense and decency, it also made everyone wonder just how Snyder, who up until that point had displayed considerable savvy in his choice of projects, could get it so wrong. Most of those people had clearly forgotten, or never known, that signs of Snyder's fall from grace (and possibly sanity) had been provided mere months earlier, when his fourth film, a fantasy film about owls fighting each other, had been released to shrugs of indifference the world over. Yet within the giant owl pellet that is Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, there are nuggets of knowledge that can be extracted for potentially evil purposes. Today, I offer you those nuggets. Don't worry, I've washed them and everything.
Success is directly proportional to how hard your title is to remember and spell
Shakespeare would have us believe that a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. It's a lovely sentiment, but we must remember that Shakespeare wrote plays that delighted audiences and questioned the nature of the human condition. In short, he didn't know shit about selling roses. If he decided to gives roses a new name, one that was incredibly long, broken up with a colon, and with some errant punctuation thrown in for good measure, he'd have died a pauper's death on the streets of Stratford-Upon-Avon, and we would only know his name as part of a tale, passed from generation to generation, of the man who tried to sell people flowers he called Adventures of the Senses: The Bouquet of Ros'es.
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, or LOTGTOOG, as the brevity-conscious amongst us refer to it, suffers from much the same problem as that Sideways-Universe version of Shakespeare. Despite the success of fantasy films like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, most people are pretty adverse to really overt fantasy, and if confronted with a title that long, complete with a word that has an apostrophe right in the middle for no good reason, they'll turn away. I mean, where do you put the emphasis on in a word like Ga'Hoole? The Ga or the Hoole? It's a linguistic nightmare that we can all do without.
It's unfortunate that Snyder was forced to use a title that was linked to the book upon which the film is based, because the actual plot of the film provides a much better one. For those unfamiliar with the film (and I'm willing to bet that's roughly 90% of the people reading this) it is about a group of evil owls that seek to subjugate all the inferior species of owls to their will. A sort of "master race" of owls, if you will. Using that aspect, Snyder could have had a billion-dollar worldwide earner if he had just changed the title to NAZI OWLS! (To always be written in all caps, like INLAND EMPIRE, and with an exclamation mark, like Airplane!, both of which are the key reference points for understanding the film, I feel.)