16 January 2008 | whisega
Better than I hoped and worse than I could have imagined
Alright, a down and dirty(hopefully not bitter) review of Dragonlance DoAT.
Let's start with the Pro's. The story was actually good. I keep hearing faithful thrown around, but what novel did these people read. I did like how they did change it though. Cutting such a rich story down to 90 minutes could not have been easy. If you had not read the books you would not know that 2/3 the book was gutted. That's actually a compliment. Everything made sense with just enough exposition. I also liked the acting. This would have made one heck of an audio book(even better if it were straight from the novel). Tanis didn't seem as haggard as I imagined but I got used to it. I have heard enough of Michael Rosenbaum's work to know this wasn't all his fault. He still does a good job with the voice he uses. The score was also well done. I don't think I would have been nearly as excited in some scenes without the musical uplift. It reminded me a little of Farscape, one of my favorite series, so I may be biased.
Now for the Con's. I feel for the technicians who worked on this. As a props person for the stage I know that these people often toil away thanklessly. They probably worked 70 hour weeks during the SLOW times. This movie was made with blood, sweat, and tears. Unfortunately, it is a soggy mess. The animation is BAD, across the board. I have seen better 2D in TV shows. Consistently jerky or over zoomed. Looks like they filmed some scenes at only 10 frames per second. The 3D was also dated. Someone mentioned Reboot(1994) but I disagree. Reboot was better. Even the few times it did look good(not great), it only served to make the 2D look worse than it already was. Furthermore, some of the blocking(acting term) just didn't match the voice. Some scenes were like watching a high school play, again, stiff and jerky. Also, for a film released solely on DVD, they should have done a better job on the encode. At least the copy I watched had problems with interlacing. And just when you think I am being overly harsh the ultimate example of shoddy workmanship arrives. In the end credits when the characters are shown, THEY MISSPELL ROSENBAUM. Rosenbaun. Who screwed that up?!? They got it right in the scrolling credits but come on, have a little pride in your work.
One final note on the PG-13 rating. Both a Pro and a Con. They took a grown up view of death and violence. Nothing gratuitous and yet nothing spared. Innocents were killed, something not always seen. Refreshing. They did, however, squander the PG-13 rating on the sexual front. Aside from a site-gag with Tika in the beginning, sexual innuendo was curbed big time. Sexual situations were constrained to kissing that got no further than a grade school level. Not that the book had anything way out there but it coincides with my next point to show immaturity. As someone who enjoys anime women, I was disappointed by the flagrant, gratuitous semi-nudity of the female prisoners with tattered clothing. Come on guys. Just put up a sign reading "shameless attempt to woo adolescent boys".
Conclusion: For all my bluster, I still recommend this film. They got the important parts right. Story and voice acting. The rest is just window dressing. How many visually stunning blockbusters have been real stinkers because of a hack story and ham acting. Is it as good as the book? No, but what movie is? Ever? I will fan boy nit pick on the message boards but this was the closest I could come to an objective review.