I'm sure I wasn't alone when the teaser trailer for Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, a CG-animated, fantasy-family-oriented film about self-aware, talking owls and their quest to find the Guardians of the title, hit the web, saw the "directed by Zack Snyder," the same director who brought moviegoers the Dawn of the Dead remake, the big-screen adaptation of Frank Miller's 300, and the cinematic adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's graphic novel, Watchmen, and responded with stunned disbelief. Snyder's previous films skewed toward adult, R-rated material and here he was, adapting Kathryn Lasky's children-oriented book series. Snyder's adaptation will actually cover the first three books in the series, The Capture, The Journey, and The Rescue.

My disbelief soon turned to curiosity and, given what we've seen from the trailers, TV spots, and now a clip, I'm definitely intrigued to see what Snyder can do with material that seemingly runs counter to his previous work as a filmmaker. Partnering with Animal Logic, the Australian-based animation company that made Happy Feet (and the upcoming sequel, Happy Feet 2), Snyder and Warner Bros. have spent major coinage to make Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole. Snyder and Animal Logic pack Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole with distinct, diverse sub-species (e.g., barn owls, great screeching owls, grey owls, burrowing owls, etc.), but, for me, it was the combination of finely detailed plumage, multi-layered, textured backgrounds and complex lighting and atmospheric effects, not to mention the flying sequences that the trailers and TV ads have shown briefly, that sold me on Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole.

The first clip, "In a Monsoon," builds on a scene briefly seen in the trailers and the TV ads. The hero-owl, Soren (voiced by Jim Sturgess) and his compatriots are caught in a potentially dangerous, massive rainstorm. The scene allows Snyder and Animal Logic to show off CG-created water (e.g., droplets of various sizes, torrents of water, lighting and shading) hitting the owls as they fly through a massive rainstorm. Snyder being Snyder, he slows the flying sequence down so we can see Animal Logic's work at its best. If I sound impressed, it's because I am. And while the story looks stock ("Hero's Journey," again), I'm willing to let that go if the animation consistently delivers the quality seen in the trailers and the new clip.

Here's the clip for your viewing pleasure (via Yahoo):



So what did you did think? Good, bad, or indifferent? Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts.

Warner Bros. will release Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole September 24th on 2D, 3D, and 3D-IMAX screens.