Movies and Gaming: Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight

Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, once of the most important novels in the Dragonlance world, was silently slipped into video stores everywhere. WOTC has never been that great at marketing, but man, I had no idea this was coming until I saw it in the store. I had to check it out, even though the reviews were generally negative. So today I watched it, and here are my thoughts:

The Cast:
It was an animated movie, so the cast just supplied their voices. But with Kiefer Sutherland, Lucy Lawless, and Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthur from Smallville), it was more then I expected. Maybe they are closet D&D players? Maybe lending your voice to an animated movie just makes you a quick buck? Regardless, it was impressive to have big names behind a D&D title.

The Graphics:
Wow, it was pretty bad. The overall graphics are average for a cartoon. However, they mixed 2D and 3D CGI together, and it just looked bad. The dragons, especially Takhisis, just looked kind of corny. All of the Dragons and the Draconians were CGI, where the rest of the movie was 2D. They mixed together like a bad acid trip. Remember the old Hobbit/LOTR show from the 70’s? Yeah, it was about as graphically pleasing as that. Low budget.

The show is a little graphic if kids are in the room. They show hangings, people on pikes, and killing galore. No more graphic then say, Lord of the Rings though. However, they couldn’t seem to make up their mind about showing blood. In one scene Tasslehoff jumped on a goblin, stabbed him 3 times with his dagger and there was no blood to be found. But, when Sturm falls against the Draconicans, there is blood everywhere. Just kind of hit or miss whether or not there were blood splatters after a sword was dug into someone’s flesh.

The Women:
It is amazing how all the women, even the background characters, are all how-should-I-say, overflowing with abundance. The Elven women, the human women, from the slaves to the main characters (even the Gully Dwarves) all had HUGE TRACKS OF LAND. No complaints there.

The Novel:
I actually never had read that novel. A lot of the hardcore Dragonlancers disliked the movie because too much of the book was cut out. I feel this movie should have been cut into two parts or made longer, because the it did feel rushed. However, in the history of novel to movie making, parts are ALWAYS cut. So there are no complaints about that. I left feeling that I know the story now; however, it leaves room to still enjoy the book.

Ok, this wasn’t the best movie ever made. It could have been a lot cleaner and have been better produced. But it was D&D in another medium. It will hopefully introduce some fresh blood into the gaming scene and hopefully bring some life back into Dragonlance, which in my opinion has been fairly neglected in WOTCs third edition rule set (I will be first in line to play a 4E Kender!). It was low budget, but at least it was made. I fear that it may have been disliked enough to not make the rest of the series, but hopefully I am wrong.

But all in all, I say it is worth a watching. To either learn a new D&D story you haven’t heard before or to catch up on a classic novel of your past. But most importantly, they should be watched to support the making of these kinds of films. Stories as grand as these should be made into LOTR quality films. People would love them.

The entrails have spoken…
Haaldaar – The Holy Knight of Haruspice

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Trask is a long-time gamer, world traveler and history buff. He hopes that his scribblings will both inform and advance gaming as a hobby.