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Who saw this coming? Perhaps that’s Zack Snyder‘s M.O. Snyder will follow-up his 2009 adaptation of Alan Moore’s Watchmen with the animated kids film Guardians of Ga’Hoole, a feature adaptation based on the rather large (14 books and counting since 2003!) bestselling kids series by author Kathryn Lasky and illustrator Richard Cowdry. Variety reports that the Warner Bros./Village Roadshow flick is gunning for a 2009 or early 2010 release. No specifics on the animation style, but the Australian special effects company Animal Logic, which has worked on films like Happy Feet, Snyder’s 300 and Babe, will be central to the production.

The main characters in the books are barn owls who apparently exist in a “post-human time,” and live in a forest utopia called Tyto before a “great evil” stirs them up. The series’ title derives from The Great Tree of Ga’Hoole, a central location in the books, with “ga’hoole” meaning “great spirit of Hoole” in owl-speak. The owl mythology runs deep (25 books are planned), but, Watership Down had a glossary too. Insomniac parents have something “really cool, guys” to tell their carpool on the way to school tomorrow morning. Minivan movie gossip at 7:30 a.m. Why not?

The adapted screenplay for Guardians of Ga’Hoole (kinda fun to say) is by John Orloff (Band of Brothers) and John Collee (Happy Feet), with visual effects pro Zareh Nalbandian (Happy Feet again) producing. So, Snyder moving into animated films…not a huge stretch and it gets his name out to a younger pool of moviegoers. If there’s one thing animated children’s films don’t need more of, it’s talking animals, but I’m sure Snyder’s owls will be more majestic than Ashton Kutcher’s wide-eyed mule deer in Open Season.

Discuss: What did you think Zack Snyder would do next? He’s apparently still attached to the Afghanistan drama The Last Photograph in case you were wondering. Umm, who knows the ways of Ga’Hoole? Anyone? Anyone?

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