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STUDIO: Paramount

MSRP: $19.99

RATED: PG-13

RUNNING TIME: 90 Minutes

SPECIAL FEATURES:

• Trailers


• Character Designs



The
Pitch

It’s The Sword and the Sorcerer at a healthy 8 frames per second.



The Humans

Michael Rosenbaum, Kiefer Sutherland, Lucy Lawless, Michelle Trachtenberg



Dane was always emphatic when it came to telling people how many original jokes he’d written.  Take that, Louis C.K.!


 

The
Nutshell

Set in the D&D Dragonlance universe, Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight is an animated retelling of the bestselling Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman novel.  Dragonlance tells
the story of Tanis, a rugged, half-elven ranger, who embarks on a quest
to protect a magical staff and return faith and order to a dark and
dangerous campaign setting.  Along the way, he’ll join forces with a
stout, bearded dwarf and a lithe, bow-slinging thief, as well as a
mysterious wizard who shops at the same hat store as Gandalf. 
Parenthetically, the wizard’s name is “Fizban”, and when he performs
magic, he hilariously bellows out the name of the spell he wants to
cast, like this:

KNOCK!

Tanis and his Fellowship of the Staff
face off against a horde of goblins, dragons, and gargoyles, as well as
a very buff antagonist who wears a veil for some reason.  Kiefer
Sutherland receives a paycheck.

I’m doing the screencaps a little differently this time around.  I’m juxtaposing a screencap from Dragonlance with a screencap from another film.  Let’s see if you can spot the differences!



In George Orwell’s less successful “1985”, the omnipresent Big Sister emphasized the importance of flossing.


The
Lowdown

To
say that the Dungeons and Dragons property hasn’t had much success in
the cinematic realm is an understatement.  When the best adaptation of
your property includes a member of the Wayans family, it’s probably
best to give up on movies and focus on something more productive.

Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight doesn’t do anything to buck this trend.  It’s a poorly animated, poorly voiced, poorly written, dreadfully plagiaristic
cartoon that shouldn’t have been made.  It’s a shame, since there are
plenty of interesting stories to be told, even out of the Dragonlance
setting. 

FIREBALL!

What’s immediately striking about Dragonlance is
its shoddy animation.  It’s a mix of traditional 2D animation and CGI,
which, in theory, sounds intriguing.  However, the 2D animation looks
worse than almost any I’ve ever seen (and that’s including Heavy Metal 2000), and the 3D animation…  well, the 3D animation is a catastrophe. 

An
illustrative exercise:  Go into your parents’ attic and find your old
Apple IIe.  Bring it down.  Is the “Oregon Trail” floppy disk still in
the drive?  Oregon Trail is irrelevant to this exercise, but you can
certainly play it later.  What about Carmen Sandiego?  Ok, we’re
getting a little sidetracked now.  Enough nonsense.  To illustrate my
point about Dragonlance, I’ll need you to try and install the modern PC game Oblivion on your Apple IIe.  This will require you to somehow copy Oblivion‘s files onto hundreds of floppy disks.  I’ll let you work out the details of this. 

Are you finished?

Run the game.

Oblivion on your Apple IIe probably looks better than Dragonlance‘s
CGI.  It chugs at something like ten frames per second, and looks worse
than even early ’90’s proto-CGI.  It hurts to watch, and I’m shocked
that anyone from Paramount decided to let such a half-baked product out
the door.


Here is where I was instructed to give a plug for chernobylbrides.com.


Dragonlance also
contains a surprising amount of violence, which would be fine, except
for the fact that the characters, writing, and overall tone of the
cartoon feel like something meant for small children.  There’s nothing
especially redeeming or useful about the gore (which accounts for the
PG-13 rating, and isn’t worth checking out even for curiosity’s sake),
but it would have made more sense for Dragonlance‘s creative team to either go full-hog and make this a hard-R Heavy Metal-style
cartoon, or to neuter it completely and market it to children.  As it
stands, it’s in a strange limbo zone, as I can’t see either adults or kids being interested in this film.

STINKING CLOUD!

The
voice acting is sub-par Saturday morning stuff.  Kiefer Sutherland has
a supporting role as a shady wizard character, and while it’s nice to
hear his gruff voice, it’s definitely not his best work.  Lucy Lawless
plays the lead love interest.  I dare you to care about this.  

Perhaps worst of all, as evidenced by my screencap pairings (of which I could have created many more), Dragonlance borrows liberally from The Lord of the Rings
films.  It’s depressing to see Peter Jackson’s iconic imagery being
digested and regurgitated by talentless animators.  Note that I’m not
faulting Dragonlance for including Orcs, dragons, and elves, as Dungeons and Dragons owes its very existence to the works of Tolkien; I’m faulting Dragonlance for literally copying images from Jackson’s film.



Dane attempts to get a refund from his “Vicious Circle” show.



Usually,
I can find a single redeeming quality in even the most worthless media,
but there isn’t a single character, scene, or even an interesting
looking monster in Dragonlance that makes it worth watching.  Avoid this at all costs.

My pull quote for Dragonlance:  Dragons of Autumn Twilight

I’d rather watch someone lance M. Emmet Walsh’s scrotum abscess than lance this dragon!  -Trevor La Pay, CHUD DVD Review

The
Package

There are a handful of trailers, including the great first trailer for Iron Man.  “I AM IRON MAN!”, indeed.  It’s a bit obvious, guys, but I’m still feeling it.  I’m giving Dragonlance a full point for this, as it’s the disc’s only redeeming moment.

The
video transfer is decent, but it only serves to highlight how awful the
animation looks.  The audio is an unimpressive Dolby 2/0.

The box art matches the rest of the product pretty well, as it looks like a middle school art project.

MAGIC MISSILE!

0.1 out of 10