By John Young
Updated March 05, 2010 at 01:54 PM EST

While watching the new trailer for the animated animal adventure (try saying that three times fast) Legend of the Guardians, I had the same impression as when I saw Disney’s 2000 movie Dinosaur. The animation on screen is breathtakingly gorgeous and lifelike, and then one of the creatures (in this case an owl) opens its mouth and the facade crumbles. Still, there’s much to look forward to in Guardians, which is being directed by Zack Snyder of 300 and Watchmen fame, is being produced by visual-effects house Animal Logic (which created the Oscar-winning Happy Feet), and is based on the first three novels in the young-adult series Guardians of Ga’Hoole.

The family-friendly movie will be an obvious departure for Snyder, although you can still detect his penchant for slo-mo shots. Here’s to hoping that in the final product those owls know when to be quiet and let the beautiful rendering of their world do the talking.