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Dragons from the and the World

Name: Dragonlance - Dragons of Autumn Twilight
Production: Paramount Pictures
Director: Will Meugniot
Theatrical Release Date: Straight-to-DVD
DVD Release Date: Jan 15, 2008
Genre: Fantasy
Rated: PG-13
Running time: 91 min.
Budget Estimate: N/A

Dragon Contents:
This rating only indicates the dragon contents and importance they play in the movie/game/episodes reviewed.

R a t i n g :
This rating indicates how good or how bad was the movie/game/episodes reviewed. A rating of 5 stars on 10 is considered as the average which mean it is not good but not bad either.

Reviewed by Tempest
No alternate review available

Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight (2008) is an animated movie based on the Dungeons & Dragon DragonLance setting. More precisely, it is based on the book of the same name written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman which in turn is based on an actual ad&d role playing campaign. While I haven't read the book, it's safe to say that the book is probably a lot better than the movie (cutting the story of a book to fit in 90 min movie is never easy and rarely produces something better than the original). However, I have been told that the movie remains quite faithful to the story in the book. Speaking of the story, it seems a bit too long for the length of the movie which give the impression that things get rushed; character barely rest or eat, they seem to rush from one location to another, leaving little place to develop and dig deeper on the character motivations.

Lastly, the movie is unusual in the way that they have combined traditional 2D cell-animations with 3D CGI, the results however are less than spectacular, more about this under Images

Story line:
In this story, the Gods of Light left Krynn and took back clerical magic with them. But one god returned and the force of the dark god Takhisis are looking for a magical blue crystal staff because it can re-awaken the Gods of Light. So the story begins with Tanis, an half-elf ranger (voiced by Michael Rosenbaum), and Flint Fireforge, a dwarf warrior (voiced by Fred Tatasciore), traveling to the town of Solace to meet a group of friends. They eventually encounter a group of hobgoblins that are in charge of the security of the village and that are looking for the magical staff and theydecide to arrest them for traveling after dark (probably just an excuse since it's still daylight). During the battle Tasslehoff, a kender (voiced by Jason Marsden) come to the aid of the small group and the goblins are driven off. They finally meet the remaining members of the group in Solace; Sturm Brightblade, a human knight (voiced by Marc Worden), Caramon Majere, a human warrior (voiced by Rino Romano), Raistlin Majere, a human mage (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland). However, not everyone is there, Kitiara Uth Matar has been unable to come because of her duty to her new lord. Her absence is considered as a bad omen since they all took ane oath to meet back there some years ago.

In the inn, Fizban (an old human wizard voiced by Neil Ross) create a commotion by telling an old tale about the god Paladine. Goldmoon, a human barbarian (voiced by Lucy Lawless) come to the defense of the old man and one of the people who are collaborating with the hobgoblins to find the staff is accidentally pushed in a fireplace by Riverwind (voiced by Phil LaMaar), another barbarian travelling with Goldmoon. To the surprise of everyone, Goldmoon's blue crystal staff is able to heal the man's wound. The man is healed but call for the guards.

The hobgoblins in Solace pursuit the group and our heroes are forced to flee. During their flight, Raistlin notice that the constellations of the "The Valiant Warrior" (representing the god of Light Paladine) and "The Queen of Darkness" (representing the goddess of Darkness Takhisis) are absent from the sky. The group eventually takes refuge into a cave where they learn that Riverwind found the staff in an ancient abandoned city on a quest and gave it to Goldmoon. They believe that the staff is a gift from the Gods of Light. As such they decided that by traveling together they could protect this magic better. It is unclear where the group is heading the next day but Verminaar, a human warrior (David Sobolov) who serve Takhisis, has sent draconians (some sort of muscular anthropomorphic and human-sized dragons who serve mostly as foot soldiers for the dark goddess) to retrieve the staff. The group flee to "Darken Wood", where they are surrounded by undead, after hearing about the blue crystal staff, they eventually let them enter a gate to a place inhabited by centaures. There the Forestmaster give the group a quest to go to the ruined city of Xak Tsaroth and retrieve the Disks of Mishakal; thin, lightweight platinum disks containing the teachings of the gods of good, neutrality and evil. They believe that the Disks could restore the Gods of Light and prevent the world from falling under the shadow of evil and prevent untold number of innocent to die.

So the quest for our heroes is set before them...

For a recent movie, the quality of the animation could have been a lot better; the movements are jerky and it's almost like watching a late '80 cartoon in term of fluidity. Of course background are a bit more elaborate than back then but the style and complexity remain simple by today's standards. Moreover, problem occurs when GCI characters (dragons and draconians) battle with non GCI one. They don't seem to mix very well, like water and oil; the battles for example are following two different dynamics (ie. when grabbing, stabbing or punching each other, they don't seem to interact together in the same way). Also CGI could have been more detailed and less "cut and paste" (ex: the draconians army) but I can understand that this would only have contrasted even more with the traditional cell-animations.

Sound & Music:
Generally, I kinda liked the music, it seemed appropriate and had the right rythm for the situation.

The voice of the human characters are a bit scripted but overall suited. Unfortunately the lips don't always match what it's said and the voice of the draconians and dragons however are exactly like typical human voices so it seem to be a bit odd for the viewer.

Also, while the characters behave in a realistic manner most of the time, their speech are a bit scripted. Some other times it's hard to think that their behavior is believable, such as arguing loudly in a room with a sleeping black dragon (who is actually grey) because it makes little doubt that she will kill them since they are stealing from her treasure.

R a t i n g
Images:(5/10) - Fair
Sound & Music:(8/10) - Very Good
Story line:(5/10) - Fair
Acting:(6/10) - Average
Innovation:(3.5/10) - Poor
Educational Value or
Level of Wisdom:
(4/10) - Shoddy
Overall:(5/10) - Fair
Note: the overall is not an average, but more a general appreciation of the movie as a whole.
A rating of 5/10 should be considered as something not good but not bad either (# bad points = # good points).