They hoot. They're wise. They can fly at night. They expel pellets. They can see in the dark.
What they haven’t traditionally done is obsessively embrace the tenets of Nazism and seek to weed out their weaker brethren in a vicious exercise of natural selection.
Not until now, that is. In Zack Snyder’s over-rich confection, the “Pure Ones” – a sort of winged SS - are led by Metal Beak, a black-hearted tyto owl who plans a racial purity programme for his feathered followers.
His vicious lieutenants kidnap kind-hearted Soren and his brother Kludd from their treetop home and put them to work – Soren as a drone-like “picker” and Kludd as a potential warrior.
Twigging a future life of serfdom, Soren manages to escape along with Gylfie, an elf owl and gifted navigator who leads him to the fabled Owls of Ga’Hoole, who agree to help him fight back against Metal Beak and his stormtroopers.
Director Zack Snyder’s animated computers are in overdrive, creating impossibly sumptuous vistas ranging from storm-tossed seas to unimaginably layered mountain sunsets.