Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Dragonlance Movie

It's funny that Dragonlance was actually the thing that lead me to Dungeons & Dragons, considering I have never actually played it as a roleplaying game. The novels did inform a lot of my early gaming experiences, though, and will always hold a special place in my heart.

Last night the missus and I queued up the animated adaptation of Dragons of Autumn Twilight. It was...bad.

I think that worst part of the movie was the CGI, which looked outdated by about twelve years or so. Not only that, but I am completely baffled as to why they thought it would be a good idea to mix the CGI in with the animated bits. When the animated hobgoblin was leading a pack of CGI draconians, my brain kept telling me that I was somehow watching two different movies simultaneously.

Also... oh with the game mechanics. Raistlin (Kiefer Sutherland?!) pretty much explained every aspect of Vancian casting. I don't remember if they did this in the book, but I found it dreadfully silly. (They were even nice enough to spell out the difference between divine and arcane magic.)

The movie felt very disjointed and I can scarcely imagine watching it without already being familiar with the source material.

I don't usually do "reviews," but I felt the need to say something about it. I think it could have been at least okay if they'd just skipped that wretched CGI.


  1. Yeah, I saw this back in March; freakin' awful. It actually inspired me to reread the Dragonlance chronicles again, though, which was an interesting, if thoroughly mediocre, experience.

    All the things you point out above, also struck me whilst watching it. From what can be ascertained, the production simply ran out of money and just went out the door in the best form they could manage, because reportedly Margaret Weiss was claiming at the preview trailer that the the CGI was at that time unfinished and would be better in its final form.

    No doubt in my mind, it should have been completely animated.

  2. I was warned off it as blasphemous ragebait by friends who enjoy - and can see the cheese appeal in - stuff like Herc+Xena, the D&D movie, or "In the Name of the King". Even they (Dragonlance fans to a man) thought it was a p***-poor effort.

    It looked like sub-Bakshi mixed-media drivel when the puff piece and preview shots were showcased in Dragon. Shame nothing more ever came of it. Bakshi at least had the excuse that he was working with 70s tech!

  3. I want to like this film, but I hear nothing but bad things about it. I guess I'll have to skip it.

  4. I think the key to enjoying this film, which I did, is to not be a fan of Dragonlance, which I'm not. I don't have a clue about Dragonlance actually.

    Fans bring expectations that nothing can live up to. They know the characters and stories inside and out. So, the only thing this movie has to offer them is visuals. Not the movie's strong point.

    I really enjoyed the "evil" wizard and interaction with his dedicated brother. The fighter dude with a lady in every town, the forgetful old wizard, fat coward goblin leader. All great tropes.

  5. @Norman- I think you've got a point. Granted, I haven't read a Dragonlance novel in... hmm, probably 12 years, but I still remembered changes and I still think I had certain expectations of the film, which may have been made worse by nostalgia.