Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Movie Review: Dragonlance - Dragons of Autumn Twilight

Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight 
Voice cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Lucy Lawless, Michael Rosenbaum, Fred Tatasciore, Michelle Trachtenberg, Rino Romano, Jason Marsden, Neil Ross, Marc Worden, Phil LaMarr, Dee Bradley Baker, Juliette Cohen, Nika Futterman, Caroline Gelabert, Ben McCain, Jentle Phoenix, Susan Silo, David Sobolov, Mari Weiss
Director: Will Meugniot 
Paramount Home Entertainment, Commotion Pictures, Toonz Animation India, Witox, USA, India, Germany, 2008.
The story is based on the novel by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.
The land of Krynn is in trouble because the Gods of Light have left. In the beginning evil Queen of Darkness Takhisis tried to conquer the world using dragons. Humans, elves and dwarfs prayed the Gods of Light and won the war with help from God Paladine. The arrogance of the people however angered the Gods and they left. The races began to fight each other. Now multi-headed dragon god Takhisis (Nika Futterman) is back and conquering the land with warlord Verminaard (David Sobolov) and dragon Onyx (Juliette Cohen). Also the goblins have taken over the land of Solace. 
Tanis and Flint
Heroes half-elf Tanis (Michael Rosenbaum) and dwarf Flint (Fred Tatasciore) are going to meet their friends, when group of goblins tries to stop them. With help from thief Tasslehoff (Jason Marsden) they manage to kill the goblins. At the inn thy meet their friends Sturm (Marc Worden), Caramon (Rino Romano) and Raistlin the Wizard (Kiefer Sutherland). A woman in the inn has a magical staff that the goblins want. The woman and man with the staff are Goldmoon (Lucy Lawless) and Riverwind (Phil LaMarr). The staff may lead the heroes to the Gods of Light, but they must also retrieve the discs of Mishakal. 
Friends in the inn
Goblin archers
During the trip they encounter more goblins, draconians (for some reason rendered with CGI), ghosts, flying horses and friendly but stupid gully dwarfs. And a hobgoblin riding a pony. There is also dragon's treasure lair à la Smaug. The ending is different from the book and leads to a cliffhanger. 
Gully dwarfs
Hobgoblin with a pony
The animation level is not very high with sub par CGI, it looks like 90s TV-animations or rather low-budget direct to video movies. The movie is not all hopeless though, the story is quite faithful to the book. There are lot of characters, and places. The movie has a rushed feeling, after all the movie tries to fit 400+ page novel into 90 minutes. Obviously a lot is omitted and the characters are simplified. 
Group portrait
Obviously evil Verminaard
Main hero Tanis is a skeptic who is not sure if to believe in the Gods or not. Sly but fragile wizard Raistlin, horse-allergic dwarf Flint and joking thief Tasslehoff are most distinctive of the other characters while the rest are regular sword-swinging heroes. There is also an absent-minded storyteller Fizban (Neil Ross). The writers of the books make cameo appearances throughout the film.
Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis cameo
My personal wish: next time when they try to make Dragonlance movies a Peter Jackson treatment would be nice or maybe an anime version.

Rating: Average (for Dragonlance / AD&D fan) or Bad (for anyone else)

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