DragonLance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight
Reviewed by Brandy Shaul
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2008-01-15 DVD Movie E (Everyone) Paramount Home Entertainment

DragonLance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight might initially seem reserved for only the hardcore D&D fans in the world, but one should not be so quick to pass judgment. With a great mix of animation stylings both old and new, and voice acting from some of Hollywood?s biggest names like Keifer Sutherland, Michael Rosenbaum and Lucy Lawless, Autumn Twilight goes way beyond the simple book-to-film transition and turns into a magical delight for all ages.

For 300 years, the world of Krynn has been at peace, but that all changes when the evil dragon goddess Takhisis makes her triumphant return to the planet.

With the help of her minions, Onyx and Verminaard, Takhisis sets out to dominate all the races of Krynn.

In the past, the people of Krynn would call on the Gods of Light to help them in their times of need, but after receiving their help long ago, they let themselves believe they could be self-sufficient and turned their backs on the Gods that they once worshiped.

Left on their own, a small group of heroes including the half-elven warrior Tanis, one of the few who still believe in the Gods of Light, must somehow try to regain the help of the Gods in order to save their world. The party consists of all the usual characters like warriors, gnomes, and wizards, and grows throughout the film after gaining the help of a Barbarian Priestess named Goldmoon and her protector Riverwind.

Throughout the film, fans of the Dungeons and Dragons universe will be treated to references of some of the game?s restrictions, like the fact that sorcerers can only cast a certain amount of spells each day, but the amount of references does little to take away from the broader appeal found in the film. I could easily see myself showing this movie to my five-year-old nephew, as he would love anything concerning monsters and heroes, but I would just as confidently suggest DragonLance to my 20-something year old gamer friends who may have never even heard of a 20-sided die.

Besides the engaging and thoroughly entertaining storyline found here, the biggest thing to take note of is the style (or rather, styles) of animation used. To put it bluntly, the film initially seems like a random mix of old Captain Planet and David the Gnome television episodes with the latest in computer graphics. However, after watching the film in its entirety, I found that there is, in fact, a real purpose to this change in styles.

Since the majority of the CGI work revolved around the villains in the film, the dragons and draconians appeared to be far more menacing and lifelike than their heroic counterparts, making the overall struggle between the two that much more convincing. And since the entirety of the film is animated, the violence present is actually pretty tame, allowing the film to be more accessible to younger members of the general public.

Even though Dragons of Autumn Twilight may look a bit outdated even with its CGI graphics (presumably due to the low budget available for the film), this should not be looked at as a flaw, as it allows the story to shine through for the entertainment that it provides.

With classic fantasy elements like forbidden romances, magical incantations, and characters that never seem to die, mixed with just the right amount of humor and cliffhangers, DragonLance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight easily earns a recommendation from this girl gamer, whether you're a D&D fan or not.

Special thanks to Brigid Darcy and Paramount Home Entertainment for providing a copy of this movie.