Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Hobbit

The Hobbit.

A number of years ago, my friend Mike and I were discussing Tolkien and we were idly musing whether or not when writing The Hobbit he had in mind the story of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and, more specifically, the character and role of Gollum. This was pre-Wikipedia days, so questions like that were not quite as easily answered. I had to research it through more annoying means and eventually discovered that he did not. At least not fully.

Tolkien's first edition of The Hobbit was different than the later versions since he started work on the LotR books and needed to change things, specifically the encounter with Gollum. In the original telling, Gollum is a bit more kindly to Bilbo. In the riddle contest, Gollum offers to give Bilbo a nice present if Bilbo wins. When he does win, Gollum goes to try to find the ring to give to Bilbo for winning the contest, but does not know that Bilbo has already found it and it was in his pocket. Distraught that he does not have a present to give to Bilbo now, he begs his pardon and instead offers to show him the way out of the goblin tunnels.

Not exactly the ring obsessed creature that he was in the later versions and in the sequel trilogy. So, the copy of The Hobbit that I have is the annotated version, that is full of footnotes and also has a footnote in the Riddles in the Dark chapter that recites the original version of that chapter, though I only read the nastier, more wretched version of Gollum's chapter from the newer version.

Anyway, this was by far the longest story that Molly has followed. Portions of it were well over her head, but we would have a discussion and chapter recap at the end of each chapter, and she followed it surprisingly well. Still, a lot of the story bits dragged on a bit and Tolkien really can be unnecessarily wordy at times, especially for a children's story. It's really not meant for 4 year olds. Maybe 8-12 is a better age range to really have the attention span to get through some of the long, unnecessary over-descriptions in some of the more dull chapters.

Each chapter took about 30-45 minutes to read to her, depending on their length. I am by no means a voice-smith, but I had fun with the different voices for each character to try to differentiate them to make it easier for Molly to follow. However, I found that chapters that were heavy with Dwarf-dialogue really tore up my throat.

It's also interesting to see which parts of the story really resonated with Molly. She loved Gollum (and the voice I did for him), which was to be expected. She really liked Beorn, who didn't make the cut in the Rankin and Bass Hobbit cartoon. But the minor things that she kept bringing up again and again?

1. The Dwarves bending Bilbo's forks. They didn't really, but they sing about it in the "That's What Bilbo Baggins hates" song in a sort of teasing manner in Chapter One. We couldn't get through another paragraph in that chapter without her asking me, "Why did they bend his forks, Daddy?" "Do all Dwarves bend forks?" "How's Bilbo going to eat dinner with his forks bended?" However, ten chapters later, when eating dinner with Beorn, Molly would interrupt me to say, "Those Dwarves better not bend his forks because he'll be really mad at that and he can turn into a bear and fight them if they try." And when they found and got Smaug's treasure, Molly pointed out that maybe Bilbo could get new silverware from the dragon's treasure.

2. Bilbo losing the buttons on his jacket when escaping the goblins. Bilbo slipped through a small opening that was so tight that the buttons on his jacket broke off as he squeezed through it. Throughout the rest of the book, Molly was worried about Bilbo catching a cold because he wouldn't be able to keep his coat closed. The peril of the dragon guarding the treasure was nothing compared to the possibility of a chest-cold for Bilbo. However, Tolkien did address this; at the end of the book, he does point out that Bilbo had replaced the buttons on his coat with gold buttons bought with the treasure he obtained. However, even that happy coat button ending wasn't enough for Molly. When we finished the book, the first thing she asked me was, "Did Bilbo ever find the buttons that came off of his coat? Because I lost my hair tie at school and then I looked and I found it later." I pointed out that the difference was that Bilbo lost his buttons in the middle of a goblin lair and he had replacements now anyhow. This seemed to pacify her somewhat, though I know that deep down inside, she's still upset about the buttons being lost.

Anyhow, I really enjoyed the experience of reading this to Molly and she really seemed to enjoy it as well.

It is an odd piece when compared to the Lord of the Rings stories. Some things don't really work in context. I mean, the Trolls (William, Tom and Bert) don't really fit in with the later trolls in the books. They are afterward in later books retroactively described as "Stone Trolls" and while they turn to stone in daylight, no other trolls do. Mountain Trolls wielded Grond (thus the siege could go into dawn) and Cave Trolls were in Moria and they hardly seemed to be cockney Englishmen wanting have tea and scones with their dead dwarves.

Also, I have to say that the proud, fierce dwarves of Tolkien's tales of glory and honor are actually a rather inept and bumbling group of thirteen in the The Hobbit. I mean, descended from a proud line of kings, Thorin and his group are routinely captured by Trolls, Goblins, Spiders and Elves. They seemed to live up to their battle nature at the end of the book, but really I can't say that until that point that Thorin really was an inspiring king.

What I find interesting about Tolkien's dwarves, however, is that Tolkien based them off of Jewish stereotype, especially ones from Medieval times. Seriously. Check out the annotated book or The History of the Hobbit to read about Tolkien's intentional influences with his dwarves. They have negative Jewish stereotypes (greedy, gold-coveting, overly proud and meddling), they have a dispossessed homeland (in this case Lonely Mountain), they were skilled craftsmen (like medieval Jewish stereotype), the Dwarven calendar in The Hobbit begins in late autumn (like the Jewish calendar) and he crafted the Dwarven language based off of Hebrew, and, like Jewish culture, it is only spoken among themselves. One of the footnotes about Dwarves in the annotated book I have is a quote from Tolkien which read, "I do think of the Dwarves as Jews: at once native and alien in their habitations, speaking the languages of their country, but with an accent due to their own private tongue." Tokien has also mentioned that they Legolas-Gimli relationship in the later books is supposed to represent "Gentile anti-Semitism and Jewish exclusiveness". The Rankin and Bass cartoon also has each of the dwarves with a very large nose, though I don't think I can necessarily tie that one in here.

But cultural metaphors aside, The Hobbit was a great experience with Molly. Peter Jackson is directing a two-part Hobbit movie, which is aligned as a prequel to his LotR movies. The thing is, the tone is too different. I'm excited to see it with Molly, but it will have to make a choice. It will have to choose either the tone of the book, or the tone of the movie trilogy. The problem is that if it takes the tone of the book, it will not feel like the LotR movies and disappoint those fans. If it takes the tone of the LotR movies, then it will not be true to the book and disappoint those fans. They really should have just let the Rankin and Bass cartoon stand as the theatrical telling of the story.

With our book read, we'll be watching that movie later and I'm sure we'll review that as well.

Molly: (As usual, I'll be transcribing as much as I can from what she says. We're at my computer and I'll be typing up what we are saying as we talk and I'll go back and format it afterward. Her review will be in Q&A form due to her age. She's sitting next to my computer as we do this.)

Chuckie: What did you think about the book, "The Hobbit"?
Molly: I liked the song about where they sang, "Down, down to Goblin Town!"
Chuckie: So you liked the songs in the book?
Molly: Mm-hm.

Chuckie: What about the story?
Molly: You want to know the funny part about the story that I liked?
Chuckie: Sure.
Molly: Bilbo got knocked out two times.

Chuckie: That he did. What else did you like about the story?
Molly: I liked where the goblins sang, "Fifteen birds in five fir trees."

Chuckie: So you really liked the songs.
Molly: Uh-huh. The ones the goblins sang. They sang better songs than the elves did.

Chuckie: But what about the story?
Molly: The dwarves wanted to go to the Lonely Mountain and Bilbo sneaked in to see the dragon and him got scared.

Chuckie: How did Bilbo sneak around so well?
Molly: Because him was a little Hobbit. And I can sneak around you so good because I scrunch down and I'm little too. And he had THE RING! (She says that last bit in a  sing-song voice.)

Chuckie: Where did Bilbo get the ring from?
Molly: Gollum. Him got the ring from Gollum. He found it on the ground and him got it and Gollum wanted it back, but him had a contest and if he losed them him was going to eat Bilbo and even when him losed, him tried to eat Bilbo anyway because him was really naughty. And if I was there, I would have said, "You naughty little skunk, you don't catch Bilbo and eat him. If you even try I'll stab you." Then I'd get Bilbo's sword from him and use it to stop Gollum so him didn't eat my friend Bilbo.

Chuckie: Okay, hold on. Slow down.
Molly: And I'd say, "Gollum, please don't eat Bilbo." But if Bilbo would poke me with him sword, then I'd let Gollum eat him because that's not nice and I thought Bilbo was my friend and you really shouldn't poke your friends with swords and if him is going to do that, then Gollum should eat him and I'd say, "Well, you shouldn't have poked me with your sword then."

Chuckie: Gotcha. Wow. So what were your favorite parts of Bilbo's adventure?
Molly: Hm. Let me think for a minute, Daddy.

Chuckie: Okay.
Molly: Hm. The parts when Bilbo didn't get knocked out.

Chuckie: What did you think about the Dwarves?
Molly: Well, I liked something normal about Bilbo. He got the shiny cup to show the Dwarves and they wanted it. But I know one thing, I didn't like some things because some of them died.

Chuckie: How did they die?
Molly: Well everyone gets together and they fight too many bad guys in the big war. That's what a war is. There's too many people and they bump each other and they fight each other and shoot each other. Thorin died. Thorin Oakenshield. (She sniffles over-dramatically.)

Chuckie: Did the dwarves learn any lessons?
Molly: They should have shared their treasure, but they were greedy and wanted to keep all of the gold for themselves. And there were too many at Bilbo's house and bended his forks. Daddy, did they really bend his forks.

Chuckie: No, it was just a teasing song.
Molly: No. "Crack the plates, bend the forks, that's what Bilbo Baggins hates, so carefully, carefully with the plates." See. Them broke them.

Chuckie: Okay, fine. I guess they broke them then.
Molly: Yeah, that's not nice. Thorin should have said him was sorry before him died.

Chuckie: Who else did you like in the story?
Molly: The wizard, Gandalf. Beorn, because him could turn into a bear.

Chuckie: So, did you like me reading the book to you?
Molly: Yes. Because I liked all the Goblin songs. (Starts singing "Down, Down to Goblin Town" again.)

Chuckie: Was there anything you didn't like about the book?
Molly: No, I liked it all.

Chuckie: Was the book too long for you?
Molly: Yes.

Chuckie: What parts would you leave out?
Molly: The Goblins and Bilbo. Only Dwarves.

Chuckie: So, you'd edit out the goblins and the only the only Hobbit from the book the Hobbit?
Molly: Mm-hm.

Chuckie: And just have Dwarves.
Molly: Yes, Daddy. But only one dwarf.

Chuckie: Just one?
Molly: Bombor.

Chuckie: And what would he do in your story?
Molly: He'd have a gun and shoot one goblin and that would be the end. And Bilbo could be in it, but he could just lay down because him not a much fighter.

Chuckie: That really would abridge the story.
Molly: Yup. Cause I want it shorter because it's too long for little kids. Well, not too long for this little kid, but for other ones.

Chuckie: So, how would you rate the book, Pixie?
Molly: Daddy, call me Bronwyn.

Chuckie: Okay, so, how would you rate the book, Bronwyn?
Molly: Molly Bronwyn Simon.

Chuckie: Fine. How would you rate the book, Molly Bronwyn Simon?
Molly: Miss Molly Bronwyn Simon.

Chuckie: Seriously? Okay, fine. How would you rate the book, Miss Molly Bronwyn Simon?
Molly: Sixty hundred moons.

Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: July 26.

Chuckie: July 26?
Molly: Yup.

Chuckie: Anything else you wanted to say about the book?
Molly: I like Hobbits because they are real small like me.

So that's our review. It really was an undertaking to read this over a course of so many nights, but both me and Molly really enjoyed it. It was a really nice bonding story for us. I think it's above the head and level for a four year old, but Molly was still surprisingly able to follow most of it. I think reading the book will make watching the movie a more exciting experience for her as well.

It's definitely a classic, but I don't think it will do that well from a Peter Jackson touch. It's not an "epic" story in the sense that the Lord of the Rings books were and by making it a two-parter, it's building it up more than it really is: a kids story about maturity of a character and the perils of greed and pride (every overly-proud character dies, from Thorin to Smaug, as a result of their hubris and pride) within a setting of childhood animism. The Rankin/Bass production has a soft-spot in my heart from watching it obsessively as a kid, and despite what it gets wrong in the story, it gets right in the theme.  Still, there were no female characters in the story for Molly to relate to, but I think that she was able to find that everyone's inner-Hobbit is genderless.

Molly really enjoyed the experience as well. She gives it sixty hundred moons out of July 26. She thought it was a little long for most kids her age and would suggest an abridged version that just has Bombur shooting a goblin while Bilbo laid down in the background. But the story has been a major part of mine and Molly's life and routine over the past month. And she's very excited to have furry feet for Halloween as she's decided to go as Bilbo Baggins.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Alpha and Omega

Alpha and Omega.

I just took my four year old daughter to a movie all about wolves fucking.

The movie, at least, had the courtesy of giving the most thinly veiled metaphor for sex that I have ever seen. But it was a very weak one and there was no mistaking it. Here's a prime example of a scene in the movie: The male wolves each pair off with the female wolves to Howling Rock, where they howl with one another in the night. The young omega has a crush on the female alpha and says, "Man, I wish I could howl with her." Then as the older wolves return from Howling Rock, one of the wolf females coyly asks her mate, "Was the howling good for you as well?"

So, howling = fucking.

Just in cast that is a little difficult to follow, I'll parse the metaphor for the remainder of the review:

So, basically, the story revolves around a young male omega wolf who has a childhood friend and crush of a female alpha. Apparently, however, the rules of the pack are that the role of the omega is to be comic relief for the pack (seriously) and the alphas hunt and protect the pack. However, rules and tradition forbid omegas and alphas from howling together fucking.

The young cubs are separated for a winter as the young alpha goes to alpha school to learn how to... um... alpha. There are no improv comedy classes for the omegas, however. They just hang around and goof off and crack jokes and ogle the female wolves and talk about how much they want to howl with fuck them.

In spring, the alpha female returns and the omega male sees her and is smitten all over again. He confides in his omega friends how much he wants to howl with fuck his old childhood friend since she's matured. They tell him that he is crazy and that he'll never get to howl with fuck a beautiful alpha girl like her.

Anyhow, there is apparently a food shortage in the valley and the wolf packs are on the verge of starvation. This is despite the fact that there are enough caribou that rush through the valley and almost stampede the hunting pack to death. But anyhow, with the threat of starvation, there is a decision to "unite the packs" and have the male alpha of the east pack howl with fuck the female alpha of the west pack so they can join as one big pack.

Even though the female alpha does sort of have feelings for her omega childhood friend, she knows her role and decides to go to Howling Fucking Rock with the other pack's alpha to howl with fuck him to join the tribes. Besides, he's strong and powerful and handsome, so she realizes that it could be worse and isn't too distraught about her duty.

Well, the pair arrive at Howling Fucking Rock and begin to howl fuck. Well, part way through the howling fucking, she realizes that he is terrible at it. Despite his strength and good looks, the male alpha cannot howl fuck for shit. So, the female alpha awkwardly excuses herself for a moment, telling the male alpha to "keep yourself ready to howl fuck, I'll be back in a minute." However, she flees, leaving the male alpha on Howling Fucking Rock by himself, keeping himself primed for her return.

When she flees, she runs into the omega wolf, who senses something is wrong because "no one leaves ten minutes into a good howl fuck." At this point park rangers shoot them both with tranquilizers and relocate them from Canada to Idaho. They are set free in a park in hopes that they will repopulate the wolf population in the park.

The omega wolf is fine with the idea of settling down and howling fucking out a few cubs with the alpha, but she needs to return to the pack. It is her duty to unite the packs and howl with fuck the other pack's male alpha no matter how off-key small he is.

So the pair start their journey back to their packs.

Meanwhile, the disappearance of the female alpha causes political problems and the packs are about the go at war with one another, because apparently they cannot get along unless the male alpha gets howled fucked.

To appease tension, the alpha female's sister, an omega, spends time with the male alpha. They soon fall in love and decide to secretly howl together fuck. However, she also realizes how bad he is at it, but slowly teaches him how to howl fuck better, by taking his time and relaxing, so he doesn't howl off-key suffer from premature ejaculation anymore.

Meanwhile, hitching a ride on the train back, the alpha female and omega male are high on the adrenaline of their adventures and decide to howl together fuck. He actually urges her to join him in this forbidden howling fucking, by telling her, "Come on, let yourself go with the moment. It can be a one-time thing." So the two of them howl fuck on the train ride back to Canada.

Back in Canada, the male alpha and female omega's howling fucking has been discovered and it causes an uproar. The packs are about to go to war when the alpha female and omega male return. She agrees to howl with fuck the male alpha to make peace between the packs. Her sister is heartbroken, and even the male alpha wants to be with the sister, but recognizes his duty.

So both packs gather to watch the two alphas howl together fuck to unite the tribes. But at the last moment, the female alpha declares her love for the omega male and the alpha male declares his love for the omega female. Everyone decides to just say fuck howl it to tradition and just go with it.

The end.

Oh, I forgot the mention the minor characters introduced in the two vegetarian hippie omega females. They had minor roles and wore flowers in their hair and it was implied that the two girls howled together on their own. The end of the movie had one of the other omega males who liked these hippie wolves with his paws around each of them, implying that the three have started howling together while the others were out having their adventure. So I guess ultimately, he won.

Anyhow, creepy metaphors aside, this is a bad movie. It's not fun bad, just boring bad. The howling/sex metaphor really makes the movie seem a lot more interesting than it really was.

Molly: (As usual, I will be transcribing as much as I can from what she says. We're at my computer and I'll be typing up what we are saying as we speak, then I'll go back and format it afterward. Her review will be in a Q&A form due to her age. She's sitting on next to my computer as we do this.) 

Chuckie: What did you think about the movie, Alpha and Omega?
Molly: I liked when they got married.

Chuckie: Spoilers don't mean a thing to you, do they?
Molly: Nope.

Chuckie: What was the movie about?
Molly: Wolves.

Chuckie: Yes, but what about them?
Molly: Um. The bad wolves come.

Chuckie: Why did they come?
Molly: Because they wanted to steal the valley for themself. And the boy and girl went to Idaho.

Chuckie: Why did they go to Idaho?
Molly: 'Cause they thought they was too much wolves there and there was. So the ranger shooted them with medicine and put them in Idaho.

Chuckie: Did the Alpha girl and Omega boy wolves like each other?
Molly: Yes, but it was their rules that they couldn't get married.

Chuckie: What did you think about all of the howling in the movie?
Molly: I like when the boy and girl singed together by howling.

Chuckie: Do you know what a metaphor is?
Molly: No.
Chuckie: Good.
Molly: Why?
Chuckie: There were a few metaphors in the movie.
Molly: What is that?
Chuckie: It's when something means something else.
Molly: Oh.

Chuckie: What was your favorite part of the movie?
Molly: Um, when they howled together. (She howls.) Like the wolves that were howling after Bilbo.
Chuckie: Well, they were wargs, Pixie. And their howling meant something completely different.
Molly: Like howling monkeys?
Chuckie: No. Nothing like howling monkeys.

Chuckie: You wore your 3-D glasses more in this movie, why?
Molly: Because it wasn't bad. The wolves weren't bad ones and I only taked them off when the wolf was jumping at me so he'd stay in the movie and not get me.

Chuckie: Were there any parts that you didn't like?
Molly: Um, no. I liked it all.

Chuckie: What age do you think this movie is best for?
Molly: Four year olds and five year olds and three year olds and two year olds and one year olds and sixty year olds and six hundred year olds.

Chuckie: How do you want to rate this movie?
Molly: Um, sixty hundred stars.

Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Out of stars.
Chuckie: Stars?
Molly: Mm-hm. Out of that.

Chuckie: Okay.
Molly: And one moon, Daddy, so the wolves can howl. (She howls.) Daddy, I think a werewolf must have bit me because I'm howling a lot now. I really am.
Chuckie: Well, do you remember any werewolves biting you?
Molly: (Thinks for a moment.) Um, no
Chuckie: Then you're probably fine.

Chuckie: Who do you think would like this movie?
Molly: Ellen. And, um, does Mike like wolves?
Chuckie: I don't know, Sweetie. Maybe.
Molly: Well, if him does, then he'll like it.

Chuckie: Anything else you want to say about the movie?
Molly: (She howls.)

So, that's our review. Despite the fact that it was titled "Alpha and Omega", I knew to expect wolves and not Revelations Jesus or anything, but I really wasn't expecting cartoon wolf porn. The animation was rather poor as well, kind of a crappy generic computer animation, and it looked a hundred times worse coming in after seeing Legend of the Guardians the day before.

I give it a half star out of five stars. The only reason why it got that much was because the obvious metaphor was rather amusing in some weird, perverse way. I'm definitely not a prude and have no problems about talking sex with my daughter. However, I think I would have rathered a better context than in the middle of a crappy movie, having my daughter turn to me and ask, "Daddy, why aren't they letting them two howl together because they really want to, but those guys said no?"
Molly gives it sixty hundred stars out of one star and one moon for the wolves to howl at. She enjoyed the less intense 3-D of this movie more than other films and her favorite parts were all the howling. Hopefully that's because she didn't get the metaphor.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Legend of the Guardians: the Owls of Ga'Hoole

Legend of the Guardians, the Owls of Ga'Hoole.

Me: I don't like birds. I mean, I don't have such visceral feelings against them that I would say that I hate them, but I am not fond of them. I'm not frightened or skeeved out by them; they just kind of annoy the piss out of me. Sure, blah blah, majestic and flight, blah blah. I get it, but they still annoy me. I'm not sure where it comes from, but really birds don't have a great cultural background in literature and movies. I mean, the Eagles in the Hobbit and Return of the King are just deus ex machina, the crows in Dumbo are racist stereotypes, Woody Woodpecker is a douche, Daffy and Donald are both short-fused asshole foils for their counterparts, and Heckle and Jeckle are some kind of incestuous gay magpies - or maybe they are, I've never quite figured out their relationship. And even Foghorn Leghorn, who is portrayed as the protagonist in most cartoons, is really the instigator in each situation and Jonathan Livingston Seagull is just a Taoist propaganda seagull whose nonconformity ultimately becomes the new conformity at the end of the book as he returns to find all of the outlawed nonconformist seagulls and teaches them to be just like him.

So that is what this movie had going against it with me when I took Molly to see it. But this is the time of year when kids movies stink. It's the time of year when the choices are rather limited. It's the time of year after the summer releases, but before the Thanksgiving and Christmas releases. It's the time of year when you try to get grandmom and pop-pop take your kids to the movies. But Jessica is out of town for the night, so I let Molly pick what we did.

The movie is about a pair of owl brothers who are captured by these evil owls who want to control the owl kingdoms and have some weird, unexplained magic...  or possible magnetic... device that can ground owls because of some metal flecks that they find. Anyhow, one of the brothers escapes and finds the Guardians who are legendary owls that are good guys. The other brother, however, remains with the bad owls (or "Pure Ones" - feel free to connect the really huge obvious dot for the "Master Race" analogy) and embraces their ideology and becomes one of them.

Oh, and in battle the owls wear armor. You may think that this is weird (as I did), but they later point out that some owls excel at and are trained to be blacksmiths.  Yeah... I wasn't exactly content with that gloss over myself and would have thought that a much more interesting movie would have been about the first owl who created a forge and became a smithy. Let alone all of this is rather odd when you consider that wearing metal helmets would probably be a little unwieldy  and heavy in flight for the owls.

Anyhow, the good owl brother escapes and finds a Misfit Band of Friends (TM) and ventures off to warn the Guardians. Along the way he, he finds his inner strength and his potential at being a leader and friend. Blah, blah, blah. Standard story. However, there are a couple of things worth noting about the movie.

First of all, I have no clue how much time passed in the movie. I mean, passage of time just seemed this abstract thing. The movie was 90 minutes long, so I suppose that at least 90 minutes must have passed in the story. Probably more time, but I couldn't tell you if the story they told took place over 90 minutes, 90 hours, 90 days, 90 weeks or 90 months.

Next, I have to say that for all of the computer animated movies I have seen, this one is by far the most technically beautiful. The detail is absolutely stunning and so incredibly real looking that it is amazing. It's just a shame that they took that level of intense detail and wasted it on a movie about birds.

And finally the battle scenes were fucking intense for a kid's movie billed as being "from the makers of 'Happy Feet'".  The battles in the movie would cut to super-slow motion scenes of where metal-bladed weapons used by the owls would come perilously close to decapitating another owl, but he ducks and rolls just as the blade cuts above his head. Honestly, the owl battle scenes looked like the battle scenes from 300. Then during the end credits I noticed the director: Zack Snyder, who directed 300 and Watchmen. The battles are just as intense as they are in either of those movies, but you don't see the blood flowing. But instead, you get implied gore and death, such as an owl battle helmet bouncing on the ground after a razor attack, implying, instead of overtly showing, decapitation.

Molly: (As usual, I will be transcribing as much as I can from what she says. We're at my computer and I'll be typing up what we are saying as we speak, then I'll go back and format it afterward. Her review will be in a Q&A form due to her age. She's sitting on next to my computer as we do this.)

Chuckie: What did you think about the movie, Legend of the Guardians?
Molly: Well, I liked when the eyes was white.

Chuckie: Which eyes?
Molly: I mean, the white eyes on the owls. When they looked at the moon.

Chuckie: What was the movie about?
Molly: Um, owls.

Chuckie: Well, yes, but what about them, Pixie?
Molly: Well, they scratched each other.

Chuckie: Why did they do that?
Molly: Because one of them was bad and he was trying to get the other ones gone.

Chuckie: I thought that the slow-motion battle scenes were a little over-the-top for a kid's movie. What did you think?
Molly: Um, I don't know about that.

Chuckie: Alright, fair enough, but I also thought that the battle scenes were a little intense for a movie billed as "from the people who gave you 'Happy Feet'". Did you think that the movie was mismarketed as well?
Molly: Um, no.

Chuckie: So, you think that the movie should get the Happy Feet market crowd as well?
Molly: Yes, Daddy. I have happy feet too.

Chuckie: What was your favorite part of the movie?
Molly: Well, my favorite part was where they singed together.

Chuckie: Was there anything that you didn't like about the movie?
Molly: Um, yes.
Chuckie: What?
Molly: Where the two guys fighted.

Chuckie: There was a lot of fighting in the movie, Pixie.
Molly: Yeah, but when the one fighted the other one in the fire and he fell in and was like "AAAAAH!" and I was like, "You have wings! Fly! Duh!"

Chuckie: Good point.
Molly: Thank you, Daddy.

Chuckie: Do you think that the fighting was too scary for younger kids.
Molly: Um, no. Not for me, it wasn't.

Chuckie: What ages do you think the movie was for?
Molly: Um, four year olds.

Chuckie: Why?
Molly: Because I watched it and look at me. No nightmares, Daddy.

Chuckie: Fair enough. The movie was in 3-D, but you didn't want to wear your glasses. Why not?
Molly: Because it would be scary to me.

Chuckie: What would, Sweetie?
Molly: When I put my glasses on and everything would come out of the movie and into my eyes and take me over and control me and then I'd have white eyes too.

Chuckie: (laughing)
Molly: I'm serious, Daddy. That would really happen.

Chuckie: Okay, okay. So, how would you rate the movie, Pixie?
Molly: You mean give it stars and moons and suns?

Chuckie: You can rate it however you like.
Molly: Okay, then, um... sixteen and twenty one stars.

Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Um, Daddy, I don't know. Because sometimes I make the wrong choices.
Chuckie: What do you mean?
Molly: Because sometimes I make the wrong review of the stars and moons and suns and give it the wrong number.

Chuckie: That's okay, Sweetie.
Molly: Okay. Then sixteen and a hundred and thirteen moons.
Chuckie: Out of how many?
Molly: Out of two, Daddy.

Chuckie: And suns?
Molly: A hundred and one out of one.

Chuckie: Do you think that people would like this movie?
Molly: Um, yes. Excellent question, by the way, Daddy.

Chuckie: Um, thank you.
Molly: You're welcome.

Chuckie: Who do you think would like this movie?
Molly: Well, I think Eva would, but she really likes horses so she can pretend that the owls are horses then she'll really like the movie better.

Chuckie: Anything else you want to say about the movie, Pixie?
Molly: They should see it because it's a fun movie and it's great.

So, that's our review. I thought that the movie was visually stunning and an amazing demonstration of what computer animation can look like. However, the story fell short on many levels from taking the cliché route, to failing to flesh out characters to even explaining what the hell was going on and how much friggin' time passed in the movie.

I give it one and a half out of five stars. The computer animation is gorgeous, but ultimately I don't know where it will satisfy an audience. If you are really into owls, the owls look real, but ultimately don't act like owls because they have a blacksmith and forge weapons and armor for war. If you really love amazing battle scenes, well, the battles are epic, but it's hard to get past the fact that it is just a bunch of owls fighting. Ultimately this movie will probably only really satisfy a niche audience of people who love both owls and war equally.
Molly gives it sixteen and twenty one stars, sixteen and a hundred and thirteen moons out of two and a hundred and one out of one suns. She also thinks that the movie can be improved upon by just pretending that the characters in the movie are something other than owls if you happen to like something else more. I wish that I had thought of that before watching it.