Reviewed by Tempest
No alternate review available
Originally called "Dragones: Destino de Fuego", Dragon: Destiny of Fire is a peruvian animation made by Alpamayo Entertainment and directed by Eduardo Schuldt. I have heard little about this director [and not much more about the state of the animation industry in Peru (no offense to anyone living there)] except that he also made Piratas en el Callao (2005), which is another animated movie but not a terribly good one (so I have heard). Both seems to have been intended for a Spanish speaking audience but Dragons - Destiny of Fire has been dubbed in English.
This movie is inded for a younger audience with cartoonish violence and positive themes such as respect of others, the importance of friends and family, etc.
The movie begin with an action-oriented battle scene with two dragon armies fighting each other in what appears to be an underground lair. A battle that quickly reach heroic proportions in which the fantastic creatures duck fireballs and engage in both air and ground combat. It is probably the most memorable part of the movie; it look absolutely terrific and grasp the attention o the audience right away.
Whereas the introduction was hinting to an animation with epic battles such as found in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), the rest of the movie seems to take a whole different pace with a storyline that is more light hearted and that won't keep you on the edge of your seat [something more in line with Antz (1998), Toy Story (1995) and Ice Age (2002)]. Leaving the underground for the moment at least, the story turns toward a family of condors who have find a strange black egg and thinking it's an imperial condor egg, they decide to adopt it as their own. The creature (named Sinchi) who emerge from the egg, doesn't have any feathers, he is vegetarian (the story doesn't tell if it's just him or if all dragons do not like meat), he is unable to fly (his wings are minuscule) and get constantly scorned by his condor siblings. Despite having all the characteristics of a dragon, Sinchi firmly believe that he is a condor. As he try to find a way to fly like other condors, he manages to get friend with a glowworm (though, she really looks like a dragonfly) named Lily and one day, Sinchi receives the visit of Marina, an adult dragon, who reveals that his real name is John-John (a bit weird for a name, no?) and that he is a prince; heir of the underworld and named in a prophecy:"The son of king shall return from the cold land with the locket of John Drake
to liberate his people". Sinshi protest saying he is weak and not even able to fly so how can he be like her? Since dragon seem to love heat and dislike cold, Marina blame the weather as the reasons of him being a weakling and use her magic to instantly turn John-John into an adult... As I have said with Eragon (2006), I don't usually like when the script takes these kind of short-cuts and I'm not making an exception here; it still a lousy way to make a character grow up.
With this said, they both depart to free the underground from the clutch of Vildrok (another dragon much like John-John but bigger, badder and stronger), who apparently was victorious in the battle at the beginning. During their journey, Marina will feel attracted to John-John, not because he is a prince of predestined the throne and to become a liberator of his clan but because she discovers in his character characteristics that was strangers to her: sense of humor, inventive, tenderness and sentimentality while she found other dragons to be too serious, boring and cold hearted. Such feeling will become a sentimental rivalry between her and Lily.
A little side note about Monito Piti (a recurring character that look like a monkey of some sort). It will pop up from time to time to amuse the audience a bit like Scrat do in Ice Age (2002) but I didn't find him to be particularly good at that task despite its ability to survive more hardship that the animal of the glacier and considering that its presence is not even remotely relevant to the story. I can understand that some characters will stick/be around because they don't really have any other option or anywhere else to go but I don't understand how a monkey can cross the path of John-John and Marina so many times when the two of them fly large distance in a matter of minutes. At any rate, if you don't like this character, you can safely ignored it throughout the movie.
I don't think I have seen a movie with such drastic contrast; the underworld battle is detailed, dark, gloomy and it shows that a lot of efforts were put into it while the above-ground is more cartonish and less impressive. The backgrounds are most of the time completely static and this is perhaps why the above-ground (with a lot of tree, leaves, grass, etc) looks a bit unnatural. Most of the time, the characters are generally a bit stiff. The woodsland creatures are simplistic by today's standards while more effort has been put into the main characters; while baby John-John makes chibis look proportioned (with a head way bigger than his own body), things get better with young John-John but still nothing exceptional. However, when he finally reaches his adult form, he will be quite an awesome little dragon.
I mentioned contrast earlier; here too in the animation of the characters the contrast can easily be seen. When the characters are standing or just walking, they can appear as stiff but at the same time this stiffness goes away when the animation become more dynamic, especially during the battles and the matrix-style training scenes.
While there is plenty of good and bad points, I think the overall animation was fine; nothing that compare to the quality of movies done by renown company such as Pixar, but I don't think we are talking about the same kind of budget here either.
Sound & Music:
Generally the music is relatively well done and induces the right feeling at the right moment. There is also more light and "childish" musics during a few scenes at the beginning but I think it's still appropriate for the target audience.
There is no real acting in an animation I would say that the behavior of the characters look credible and they react appropriately when they face different situations... Most of the time, at least.
Note: the overall is not an average, but more a general appreciation of the movie as a whole.
R a t i n g
|Images:||(5.0/10) - Fair|
|Sound & Music:||(6.0/10) - Average|
|Story line:||(6.5/10) - Average|
|Acting:||(6.0/10) - Average|
|Innovation:||(7.0/10) - Good|
|Educational Value or|
Level of Wisdom:
|(7.0/10) - Good|
|Overall:||(7.0/10) - Good
A rating of 5/10 should be considered as something not good but not bad either (# bad points = # good points).