Friday, May 25, 2012

Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker (A Nerdy Movie Review)

 Last night Boyfriend and I attended a one-time-only screening of Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker. The movie is a feature-length animated movie produced by Bioware and FUNimation and is set in the Dragon Age universe. The Japanese film was released in February and the English release will come to DVD and Blu-Ray May 29th. The story follows a young Navarran royal Seeker named Cassandra Pentaghast as she uncovers and tries to stop a conspiracy to overthrow the chantry. That's really all you need to know.  Why? Well, to say that this movie was boring is the understatement of the week. Cassandra, the main protagonist is an angry bitter bitch, to say the least. Her family was destroyed by blood mages when she was a child, thus she holds a burning hatred for all mages. I don't know why she was so pissy about mages, none of the mages in the movie used their magic all that much-they fought with sticks and sythes. (Yes really.) The most magic we see is when the circle mage helping her on her journey, Galyan, is healing her injured inner thigh with his "filthy mage magic" in the most awkwardly semi-sensual scene ever. #ThingsThatMakeYouGoBleh

I can't tell you anything about Cassandra as a character other than she is angry and I'm not sure why anyone else likes her.  She's a kick-ass strong fighter, but she's an angry angry bitch. I got tired of her spitting out all of her lines "angrily" the whole movie, but maybe that's just the actor in me.

Speaking as an actor who loves cartoons and video games, all the voice "acting" was appalling.  I didn't care what anyone had to say because I didn't believe they meant the words that were coming out of their mouths. I just kept picturing these tired voice actors in a studio fighting to not roll their eyes while they said the dialogue with as much conviction as they could muster. I'm willing to concede that the dialogue problems may stem from some lost-in-translation issues when converting it to English from Japanese, but I'm being extremely generous there. Especially since the movie was very dialogue and "knowing glances" heavy. Boyfriend and I believe we could have cute down at least 10 minutes of the 90 minute movie just by cutting out all of the "knowing looks" and "pensive face" moments.

This man has no cheek bones and is guilty of far too many "knowing glances"
I did notice that the movie was shot very cinematically.  Then I realized that the reason for that was that all the animation was MOCAP and rotoscoping, which gave the movie a very unique "live-action-anime" look to it. I actually thought it was really interesting and pretty.  However, it would have looked a lot better had the shading and texturing guys spent a little more time on characters' faces, the armour, the horses, etc. There were shiny horses people! Shiny horses! All the horses looked like they were made out of rubber and plastic and were full of helium.  They had no weight to them, it was silly. Also, all of the chracters' faces were white with no shading or shadow. which I know is common in the anime style, so maybe that's what they were going for, but it made it look flat and like each character could only do 3 facial expressions: angry/fierce, pensive/sad, and happy.

Believe it or not, this is "happy" Cassandra
The coolest parts of the movie however, where the monsters and dragons which, for a movie entitled Dragon Age, did not get enough screen time. The final dragon fight scenes were really exciting and crazy (and would have been more so had I cared about any of the characters involved.) Once we got to the big dragon and monster scenes, it became clear what the texture and shading guys were working the most on. The ogres, golems, and dragons looked really scaly and rough and heavy.  They were bad-ass.
The dragon! The dragon! The dragon!
So, was it worst thing any of us had ever spent $10 on? No. Was it worth the $10 and the free t-shirt? Not really. Nevertheless, the overall experience was fun-ish, but the movie itself was lacking a lot.  I would say it was more appropriate for kids with how simplistic, predictable and condescending it was towards the audience.  I would say it's for kids aside from all the violence.  Lots and lots of awesomely glorious violence. And blood.  Goopy goopy blood.  But, what do I know? I'm just a nerd. You can view the trailer here and judge for yourself. Let's see...on my patented rating scale of 5 nerdy objects:

I give this movie 2.5 out of 5 Blood Mage Icons, because I'm feeling generous.
(Did I mention that the mages didn't fight with magic, like, ever?!)


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