Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight (the movie)
Review of the cartoon movie
At last I’ve been able to watch one of the films we all have been waiting for a long time. I must say that, among some comments in IMDB and the trailer I watched myself a while ago, I was expecting a boring and disappointing work (much like the books they publish lately). So I had little hopes about it.
But overall the final result has turned out to be a faithful adaptation which pleasantly surprised me.
I‘ll go step by step. At first sight, animation feels “old”, so to speak, barely resembling those cartoon series we used to watch in the 80s. I’m not trying to say it’s a bad thing but rather as opposed: quality is good and fluent, showing some nice lightning effects.
As far as the 3D animation won’t reach a milestone but isn’t neither as bad as it was glimpsed in the trailer, and it has been used almost only to emphasize dragons and draconians with regard to the other characters. Let’s say they achieve their duty not standing out, even if sometimes they don’t fit well with traditional animation; but for fire effects, which enhances scenes where it appears.
Characters in general terms has been quite well portrayed, with Kitiara being the least treated character (as she plays a secondary role) and Raistlin being the least interesting (to me), in spite he ironically is the most charismatic character in the novels, though he has been a bit wasted in the adaptation. Personally, I’ve preferred that, when focusing on his pupils (another detail to improve) quick flashes of his premonitions (Solace, people running from here to there, fire…) were shown instead of he merely says “this is what I’m seeing“. He neither stains his handkerchief when he coughs, one of the details that for some reason, more called my attention in the book.
Even if the general appearance of Sturm looks convincing, I still miss the horns in his helmet. It’s not something that spoil the character but rather just a personal preference, though.
Continuing with main characters, is to be grateful that for once the dwarf isn’t constantly used as a mere clown we all hope would appear death in the next scene (just take a look at The Lord of the Rings or the awful Dungeons & Dragons). Not even Tas or Fizban are a comical relief they abuse of, even though they cause a few good laughs.
Dubbing is, in my humble opinion, the weak spot of the production, as some of the voices sounds a little monotonous, almost apathetic (particularly Tanis). The most disappointing character is Raistlin again, lacking his characteristic husky and sore voice. I also didn’t like neither goblins nor dragons, who should have a deeper voice (a perfect example of what I mean is the half blinded dragon).
In contrast, some other are sonorous and pronounced with the correct intonation: the voices of Flint, Fizban, Tas and Toede, to call a few of them are convincing and harmonious with their corresponding characters.
Personally, I expected a better job to be done by some actors, especially Lucy Lawless and Kiefer Sutherland, while I’ve been surprised for the best by the not well known (in Spain) Fred Tatasciore.
The other sound element, the music, is just wonderful and fulfills perfectly its duty of accompanying the story not holding it neither standing up over the animation itself. Frankly one of the best points of the movie, I’d dare to say it is worth to watch it just to hear the soundtrack…
Unlike some other adaptations (I won’t say any name this time, as if I do some people would want to lynch me), the film gives the feeling that everything what had to be there is in (but for some passages and omitted tiny details, as Tika striking with a skillet or Bubu’s death rat and gem) and anything is left over. In fact, tempo has been perfectly cared for, resulting in a story where action is effective and continue, with any boring scenes nor ups and downs: the hour and a half it lasts make the most of it and is quite well spent. .
For its part, combats are decent, not (sadly) as violent as in Conan the Barbarian movie neither as childish as in Conan the Adventurer cartoon series (despite even a single blood drop is split in the first fight). To mention some little details I really liked, as Tas breaking away some teeth from a goblin.
And, as in the book, the ending is self concluded but opened at once, throwing the chance of doing a sequel out there. We hope so.
Technical information and more Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight reviews in IMDB.