Dragon Hunters! This french animation was quite a surprising snack! Based on a cartoon series in France, this was a full length (almost, at 80 minutes) 3D film. It is available in english on netflix, however the dialogue and animation works better for the French version as is not surprising. They did a really good job getting it into english, but the effects of something like that will always be felt, especially if you are watching a bit more critically as an animator.
Rather than a usual youtube trailer, I’m going to send you to the movie’s site which will show you some clips of the film in French.
The movie as a piece by itself didn’t execute its story expertly, and there is a bit of a rats nest to get into with that. Therefore… I won’t – just like Tron! As usual (especially with 8 munches waiting to be written and becoming less and less fresh in my mind…). Instead what shines in this film is its uniqeness of design, character, and environment. The world created for this cartoon series and the movie is a nebulous, physics-bending roller coaster ride of floating pieces. Its a treat for the eyes though, and leaves me wanting to know a lot more about it. After all, what says fantasy like floating rocks? Even my thesis (well before seeing this!) has floating rocks.
Its just one of those things.
My main complaint in regards to the imagery is that the characters and environments do not match in style to the degree that it was a bit of a disconnect. Both of them are completely great in their own ways, however they don’t ultimately mesh. If the film’s story was tighter, I might make a bigger issue out of this. The influence of the story being based on a series of cartoon episodes can be felt. I am not saying that it was very bad, nor am I saying that it was good. I most certainly did enjoy it, and appreciated it in the ways which, I think, it was meant to be appreciated. In addition, one must take into account that this is a french film made for french people, and that not all of our tastes are quite the same as they stem largely from our cultures and quirks.
The art direction deserves some healthy applause, though, in regards mainly to the concepts and environments (overlooking at the moment the aforementioned character/environment disconnect as well as other inconsistencies). Fairly good warm/cool lighting (sometimes a little too muted and other times maybe a tad too saturated). I think there were a lot of concept art inspired shots in this film – some really nice effective compositions.
The character designs were also fairly neat, have a look at this guy:
Then there is Sir Lens flare (?!?), which was a pretty hilarious scene. Definitely worth a quick watch.
Over all if you are a student of animation you should check this out for those reasons and just let it be the fun little adventure that it is. The animation itself is generally quite snappy and good.
Dragon Hunter’s Rating: Very well decorated, unique swiss cheese.