Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Dragonlance - Dragons Of The Autumn Twilight|
Actors: Lucy Lawless, Kiefer Sutherland, Michael Rosenbaum, Fred Tatasciore, Michelle Trachtenberg
Director: Will Meugniot
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Animation
After 300 hundred years of peace, the world of Krynn has descended into darkness as the evil goddess Takhisis and her army of dragons threaten to dominate the lands. Can a small band of heroes, including the wizard Raistli... more »
Similarly Requested DVDs
Tentative First Steps in a Greater Journey
Tracy R. Hickman | St. George, UT USA | 12/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Dragonlance is a journey ... and was from the beginning.
Dragons of Autumn Twilight was and remains a first in so many ways: it was the first novel together for Margaret and me, it was the first attempt at doing a classic fantasy story for a game setting, and the first book publication for TSR. Looking back on it now, after twenty years of polishing our writing, that first book looks rough and imperfect ... but it was the first step down a road that lead us to great wonders. Flawed as it appears now ... it is deservedly beloved.
Since before the publication of Dragons of Autumn Twilight, we have seen Dragonlance in cinematic terms. We wrote the books visualizing them as movies and dreamed that one day, our visions would be realized on film.
Now, thanks to Paramount Pictures and Epic Entertainment, that dream has been realized and with it, we take our first step down the new road of Dragonlance films.
Recently, Paramount sent to Margaret and me a copy of the film on DVD so that we could preview the final cut. It is quite a thrill watching our characters come to life and hearing the familiar story begin anew. Michael Rosenbaum and Fred Tataciore bring life to the opening scene on their way to meet their friends in Solace. The voice casting in this film is phenomenal. Lucy Lawless gives Goldmoon wonderful depth and even newcomer Caroline Gelbert brings a freshness to Laurana that is breathtaking. The heart of Dragonlance has always been its characters, and the movie shines especially in two of the stories most intriguing personalities, Tasslehoff and Raistlin ... each brought vividly alive by the incredible talents of Jason Marsden and Keiffer Sutherland.
Before our family started our little preview, I presented our audience with a little challenge: to find all the scenes where I can be found in the movie - kind of a personal `Where's Waldo'.
As for finding me in the film ... well, you'll just have to see for yourself.
Does this film have flaws -- absolutely. While the soundtrack is Oscar-worthy and the voice talent is unquestionably perfect, and Will Mineou's direction and art are beautiful, the animation itself is less than I would have hoped it to be. The style is unfortunately inconsistent from shot to shot. Interestingly, the mix of CGI with traditional cell animation worked quite well ... but it was the graphic inconsistencies between cell animation segments that I found problematic. Several sequences used post animation effects over still-motion in lieu of honest animation. My son, Curtis, is a professional After Effects artist as well as a professional magician. As he pointed out, there are only so many times in a piece you can use the same expedient short-cut before the audience begins to see the trick being played. The movie has a major picture sound to which the visuals struggle to keep up.
Dragonlance fans will probably also be shocked to hear my second criticism: I believe including the entire first book in the movie was a mistake. Both the screenwriter and I argued against putting all of Dragons of Autumn Twilight in the first film ... believing that the film should portray essentially the first half of the book and finish with `Solace is burning.' But the `powers that be' adamantly required that the entire book be portrayed. George Strayton did a masterful job of accomplishing that goal and his script is undeniably brilliant - but I still believe the film's structure suffers from the enforced requirement of including the entire novel.
That being said, I am delighted with Dragons of Autumn Twilight and find myself liking it even more with each subsequent viewing. It is the first dragonlance movie and, as such, shares the heritage of tentative first steps ... but in those steps opens up a new road of films before us. `Lord of the Rings' was, after all, first a Ralph Bakshi cartoon.
Dragons of Autumn Twilight is not a destination ... it is the opening of a door and the beginning of a journey. Pop the popcorn, grab your hoopak and come with us down a new road with old friends.
Rent before you buy
E. T. Dexter | near Salem, MA USA | 01/15/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Whooo..where to start? I've been a fan of these books for about 20 years or so. Needless to say that I was psyched to hear of an animated project based on the books. Unfortunately, this falls prey to the typical "book/video game to movie" standard.
The animation is about on par with late 80s/early 90s Marvel Saturday morning stuff and at times, the original D&D cartoon. It does not work well for the story being told, IMO.
The movie is PG-13, likely due to some of the violence/blood which is not always at the same level for every fight scene. One fight they show people that were impaled on stakes, people being cooked by fire breathing dragons and blood when creatures are killed. Another fight there's no blood and the creatures are kind of just conked around.
Another thing is the too many seconds spent on Tika's bouncy lady lumps. I get that Caremon is checking her out but it just doesn't work, it feels wrong. Maybe I'm too stuck relating the animation to the cartoons of my youth, where this would be way out of place.
And then there are the dragons and draconians which are all done in CGI. I don't know if you've ever seen CGI characters and traditionally animated characters intergrated in the same scene successfully, but here they aren't. It looks like a bad special effect from a live action movie. The CGI is of the kind you'd find in a Hot Wheels commercial.
The voice acting is not too bad. At first I didn't like Keifer Sutherland as Raistlin, but it grew on me as it went on. He really gets the right attitude down.
For 'extras' you get some character designs and a preliminary animation test. Oh, and some trailers!
If you're familiar with the story and you like it, I'd say rent it...and even then get it from Redbox for $1. If you don't know the story, who knows, maybe you'll like it because you won't be hoping for a lot, but the story may lose you because it's not a generic D&D world and you'll be missing out on a lot of the background...just buy the book!
This series was the first, and one of the only, where I have actually shed tears while reading. I love these stories and that is the reason I may seem to be coming down hard on the movie. It's because I want the movie to be just as good as the books so that anyone not familiar with the books will get the same joy I did from reading them.
I'm hoping that the next 2 (or more) installments will improve as they go."
Magic, Monsters, Mayhem, and More: Dragonlance Hits the Big
!! Ravenova Majere !! | Zombie Nation | 07/23/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Based on the much acclaimed novel, Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, the new Dragonlance movie of the same name is both a disappointment and a treasure. The novel Dragons of Autumn Twilight was an instant best seller starting off the Dragonlance series based in the fantastical realm of Krynn with all its dragons, wizards, and light handed kender. As the years have passed, the series has grown and expanded creating a uniquely complex and somewhat logical realm with a solid character base and a penchant for creativity. Along the way, Dragonlance has gained a vast audience of fans varying in ages from young to old. So, of course, it has long been expected that a movie encompassing the delightfully destructive realm of Krynn would be forthcoming. Twenty years later we get a straight to DVD low budget production that, despite the obvious lack of effort, still held a certain magical something that encapsulated the viewers' desperate dreams of dragons.
The story sticks surprisingly close to the novel it was based upon, including all the major events and not deviating from the original storyline even slightly. It begins with rumors of a wicked army, ruled by the evil goddess Takhisis, amassing in the north, ready to end the 300 years of peace that has reigned over Krynn since the Cataclysm. This army has successfully awakened an ancient evil: dragons. Long thought to be creatures of legend, they have returned to Krynn and in the wake of their fiery breath, millions of innocent citizens are dying. But, the gods of good have not forsaken Krynn and in the wake of evil, they send a crystal staff that holds the key to salvation. As the battle between good and evil rages onward, a cast of unwary heroes joins to fight the darkness of dragons. Among these heroes are Tanis, a dispirited half elf who finds himself not only confused by the battle raging around him, but by the battle inside his heart, a heart wrenching emotional battle between two women that he loves and the inevitable choice he must make that will change everything. Also, not to be missed are the two brothers Majere, Raistlin, a sardonic wizard in training whose limited powers belie his heart of darkness and Caramon, his good natured brother. Along for the journey are two mysterious Plainsmen, Riverwind and his paramour Goldmoon, who possesses the staff gifted to her from the Gods. And, not to be forgotten, the grumpy but lovable old dwarf Flint and his kender sidekick whose good natured curiosity often slides into thievery. And, of course, not to be overlooked is Fizban, the doddery old wizard who just never can recall the correct incantation for that fireball spell. None of the beloved cast of characters, both good and evil, from the novel is left out and the viewer is delighted to finally meet their favorites in "person."
Unfortunately, the movie follows the novel so closely that it ends with a cliff hanger, as does the novel leaving the viewer somewhat unsatisfied since it is unlikely that a sequel will ever be made. The novel was originally followed by two sequels, Dragons of Winter Night and Dragons of Spring Dawning which concluded the drama and satisfied the reader. Since the movie did not contain the events that transpired in the novels mentioned above, there is no true conclusion but rather an ominous foreshadowing for the future well being of Krynn.
The characters, while represented by shoddy animation, were nevertheless presented appropriately, perfectly mirroring the characters in the novel. The voices chosen for each character were perfect, enabling the viewer to immerse themselves into the characters' personas even deeper. The main actors that lent their voice acting to the film are the ever talented Kiefer Sutherland, Lucy Lawless, and Michael Rosenbaum. In this presentation lies the beauty and the satisfaction of the movie. The major events that shocked and delighted the reader were presented magnificently, reminding the viewer vividly of the happy hours spent immersed in the novel. Likewise, the characters we have come to love are brought to a vivid life, drawing the viewer into the world of Krynn once again. Because of this seemingly incidental evocation of a realm we have come to love, the movie succeeds with the viewer despite its flaws.
But, what of the cons? Firstly, I must complain loud and long about the presentation of this film. We, the avid fans, have waited years for this moment when Dragonlance finally hit the big screen. So, image the instant irritation when I accidentally discovered this film, floating around aimlessly on Amazon. There was no press, no trailers, no effort. The movie was released without any pomp, going straight to DVD and into the realms of instant anonymity. Once I watched the film, I instantly realized why. Obviously, this film had a budget of approximately fifteen dollars; while the voice over actors who were hired were extremely talented, the animation was pure rubbish. I was not terribly pleased that the creators of the film choose animation. Why not take Dragonlance to the big screen, fill it with real actors and incredible effects such as the much acclaimed Eragon? Why must the film be relegated to the realms of animation? Animation is intended to amuse children, not to present a serious drama. That prejudice aside, the animation itself was the poorest quality that I have ever seen. It was stiff, jerky, and contained minimal details. It appeared more like a slow moving comic strip, with entire frames missing causing the film to be a jerky mess that hesitantly and unexpectedly jumped from frame to frame and scene to scene. Very, very poor Dragonlance. Must do better.
And what of the uninitiated viewer who has no pervious knowledge of the Dragonlance saga? If you discover yourself to be one of these individuals, then skip this film. The movie was obviously intended to please the adamant fan's need to collect more overpriced Dragonlance memorabilia. For those who are just looking for a fun fantasy adventure, the Dragonlance movie will prove more of a slapdash effort that follows a set pattern established by a novel that relied heavily on sequels. The ending will prove abrupt to those who are not familiar with the novels ending. If you are searching for a fun, but serious fantasy film then look elsewhere.
The special features included on the DVD are, like the entire production, sparse. They include the original test animation and the initial character design and nothing else. Once again, the creators opted for the inexpensive instead of the impressive.
To Watch or not to Watch?
With all its myriad flaws, the Dragonlance movie still proves an enjoyable sojourn into the wonderful realm of Krynn that will remind adamant Dragonlance fans of the long hours spent bent over the latest novel, dreaming of the characters and trying to out guess the authors' serpentine plot. For this reason, it is definitely worth watching for the already established Dragonlance fan. However, a viewer with no prior knowledge of this realm will be disappointed and instantly disinterested. Recommended to Dragonlance fans only.
Flawed incarnation of beloved classic
SereneNight | California, USA | 02/01/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Dragons of Autumn Twilight is an animated film based on the bestselling roleplaying fiction epic by Weis and Hickman. The film follows the heroes of the lance from their earliest incarnation as low level characters battling against the oppressive dragon armies of the queen of darkness.
Although I hadn't read a Dragonlance novel in years, I picked this film up for old times sake. Let me preface this by saying I didn't expect much from a direct to video release. I found the opening credits pretty cheesy. I did like the character design- the heroes look pretty much the same as they looked on the covers drawn by Elmore with the exception of Laurana (who looks nothing like her original incarnation) and her brother Gilthanas whose features are a bit too lined. I appreciated the level of detail which went into making Sturm look like the stuffy knight he was and to bring out the handsomeness of Caramon and Goldmoon's turquoise earrings. Unfortunately, the low frame rate of the animation, the jerky movement of the characters and yes, the awful CGI rendered the intricacy of the character design a moot point.
The plot was fairly involved, and yes there were some adult elements. (Caramon ogles Tika), people die, there is blood, monsters kill humans and each others etc. This is not a film for the small kiddies, although I suspect they would probably enjoy it.
There were some animation blunders as well. For instance Laurana is shown in different scenes with and without her armor, the Highlord's mace is shown moving through his own body etc. Overall if they had animated the Draconians and the dragons normally and spent a bit more time upping the frame rate of the animation, I'd probably give it a higher rating. It was still watchable, but the CGI and poor quality animation made it look cheap instead of the cult classic it should've been.