A Review: Dragons of Autumn Twilight DVD

My wife thought I should write some reviews … I’m probably not a good choice for a reviewer because I like almost every movie I see. I’m a little harder on books and video games, but not by much. Still, it might be fun to play Leonard Maltin (Chef: “That thing just beat the crap out of Leonard Maltin and Sidney Poitier!”) now and then.

So, having just declared that I like almost every movie I see, let me start with one that I didn’t like all that much.

Dragonlance – Dragons Of Autumn Twilight: C+
DVD

I had heard some bad things about this animated adaptation of the first Dragonlance book (a D&D tie-in, for those who don’t know), so I had low expectations, which were entirely met. This is only for fans of the Dragonlance series, like me, and even I barely got through it.

The biggest problem is the animation, which is more or less of flipbook quality; it makes the old He-Man TV series look like Akira. Also, while everything else is normal (if primitive) animation, the dragons and their draconian henchmen are rendered in cheeseball CGI; this has the odd effect of making the thing seem a bit like Who Framed Roger Rabbit or other early combination live-action/animation films, as the cartoon characters interact with computer-generated beasties that clearly “aren’t there”. You kind of have to watch it to fully appreciate how weird it looks.

Anyway, aside from the crummy animation, the main problem is that so much of the book is excised that it’s unlikely to make a lick of sense if you haven’t read it. The voice acting ranges from okay to laughable, and the guy playing the dwarf, Flint, is channelling John Rhys-Davies as Gimli something fierce.

Still, for all these complaints, it is kind of nice to see Caramon, Raistlin, Tanis, and the rest of the gang on screen. Here’s hoping they spend a nickel on better animation for the next one.

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