You’d expect an animated feature from Zack Snyder, the director of 300 and Watchmen, to be visually astounding  – and it is. It’s also both charming and spectacular, though a bit too scary for younger, more nervous kids and conversely probably a bit soppy for older, more cynical grown-ups. Jim Sturgess provides the voice of young barn owl Soren, who is kidnapped along with his brother, Kludd (Ryan Kwanten), by an evil army called the Pure Ones. Soren escapes and hunts for a clan of warrior owls called The Guardians to save the owl kingdom from those dastardly villains. There are quirky oddities, as well as pleasures and joys, aplenty in this highly unusual tale, based on the first three books in a series by Kathryn Lasky. The script takes itself  too seriously and the lack of good jokes means it’s not a hoot. Not an obvious winner, then, but as the cute, appealing owls and the thrilling, swift-moving story take flight, it grows on you.