Dragons of Autumn Twilight… Ugh

Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn TwilightImage via Wikipedia

Hi all…

Ok, so by now most of you know that there are a few things on my top 10 list… Among them are roleplaying games (like Dungeons and Dragons), cartoons, and movies. Well, I found a combination of the three that just made me want to cry, and not in a good way.

Yes, I’d read the reviews. Yes, I’d seen all the negative press… But it’s like being drawn to the scene of an accident like a rubber-necker… I couldn’t help but watch.

So when Netflix delivered Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight to my mailbox, I was hopeful but knew deep inside it was a mistake to watch it. I should’ve listened to myself. It was a mistake. Ugh.

Here‘s the IMDB link.

Let’s set the stage…

In the mid-1980s, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman created a new series of novels for TSR at the time, who was the steward of the Dungeons and Dragons franchise. This new series of novels focused on a small set of heroes in the land of Krynn who were fighting against evil dragons and gods. It was initially a trilogy — Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter night, and Dragons of Spring Dawning. They were a sensation in the 80s. I have to admit to enjoying them in high school and college myself. And of course the authors went on to create other series in the Dragonlance worlds over the years, including the Lost Chronicles trilogy which started in 2006 and has its third book coming out this year.

[rating:1/4]

Now, I have also talked about the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon series from the 1980s that was pretty cheesy, yet had a good following. You can read my article about that series here. But that was the 1980s — full of grand stories, bad animation, and it was the norm for cartoons on television.

We’re now in 2008. We’ve had amazing series come and go over the years. The Batman and Superman Animated series from the 1990s as a good example. And we seem to be in the waning period of great animation where companies are more interested in quantity than quality.

That unfortunately is what happened with this Dragonlance movie. It’s definitely one of those cases where the books are SO much better than the movie.

You’d think that with a voice cast like they had, it would’ve turned out better. But I have to say that I suspect it was more the script than the actors (though they didn’t do anything for me).

The voice acting included: Michael Rosenbaum, Kiefer Sutherland, Lucy Lawless, Michelle Trachtenberg, Jason Marsden, and Phil LaMarr. And for some reason they all just fell flat. I liked Tasslehoff Burrfoot (Marsden) and Fitzban (Neil Ross) but everyone else seemed to be sleepwalking.

The thing that really irked me though was the HORRID merging of 3D and 2D animation styles. I was watching a Justice League Unlimited episode the other night and struck by how smooth the 3D/2D transitions were as opposed to the Dragonlance movie.

The other thing that irked me was the fact that there was a lot of adult suggestive content in this movie. I really didn’t need to see jiggling bosoms on an animated bar wench or really exposing clothing on some of the ladies in the background. Not that I’m a prude, but this is a cartoon for D&D, not Heavy Metal!!

Anyway… If you can’t tell by now, I was totally disappointed in this movie. It blew chunks. I give it 1 out of 4 stars just for trying and failing by so large a margin.

What do you guys think? Let me know. Leave some comments!

–Fitz

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One thought on “Dragons of Autumn Twilight… Ugh”

  1. Heavy Metal meets D&D … might make an interesting distraction …. but not necessarily a good adaptation of a particular trilogy of books.

    I probably won’t bother seeing this one, as I have pretty much avoided all the D&D related movies.

    In general though, I think certain ideas work better in certain media contexts and not others. Although I have seen the same idea work well in books, comics, and animation media, this one may have just fallen flat due to execution.

    Oh well, plenty of other fish in the sea. Thanks for the warning though.

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