Saturday, July 23, 2016

Dragon Hunters (2008)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Every so often, I like to watch movies.  I have a preference for animated movies.  When I saw Dragon Hunters, I thought it was How to Train Your Dragon and recorded it.  It wasn’t until months later, when I wanted to watch the movie, that I realized my mistake.  This doesn’t mean that I was disappointed.  (I’ll just have to keep scanning the various Encore movie channels and hope that How to Train Your Dragon comes on.)

Dragon Hunters was released in 2008 and, like How to Train Your Dragon, is animated.  As you might expect, it’s not about hunting dragons.  Instead, it’s about Lian-Chu, who hunts dragons, and Gwizdo, who tends to handle things like getting paid for dispatching dragons.  Along for the ride Hector, a little dog-like thing that can make fire come from something other than his mouth.

Now, when the movie says dragons, it apparently means a wide variety of creatures.  The movie starts with Lian-Chu fighting something that looks more like a giant caterpillar.  It takes him a while, but he is able to kill the creature.  When Gwizdo tries to collect payment, their clients try to back out.  It isn’t until Hector does his thing that they run away in fear.  Alas, poor Lian-Chu isn’t taken seriously enough.

As luck would have it, though, they happen upon Lord Arthur, who’s predicting the return of the World Gobbler.  He’s willing to pay a large amount of gold if they can get the job done.  Gwizdo is even able to secure an advance, which he intends to just take while disregarding their mission.  Lian-Chu, on the other hand, wants to fight the dragon.  He has dreams of living on a farm one day and the reward would go a long way to helping.  The only complication is Zoe, the Lord’s niece.  She idolizes a fictional dragon hunter and hopes to become one some day.

The movie is 80 minutes and most of that is their journey from the castle to the end of the world, where the World Gobbler is doing his thing.  What the movie lacks in plot, it makes up for in great animation.  This is one of the few movies where I think it might be worth it to see it on a better TV set.  I’m sorry that I didn’t see this in theaters.

I don’t think that this movie will win a lot of fans for animated movies.  It’s set in a medieval-looking world with some very interesting physics.  There are islands that float in the air, where people can hop on and go for a ride.  They range from small islands, big enough for a few people, to very large islands, containing parts of castles.  There are even spheroid islands that have their own gravity pointing towards the center.  (People and other objects seem to be of normal weight.)

One big complaint I’ve seen is a lack of plot, which I can’t argue with.  There are maybe a dozen or so people shown throughout the entire movie.  It was also a little confusing at times.  It might make more sense on a second viewing.  I think most of the problem is that it’s based on a TV series and may have been condensed quite a bit.  I’d like to look into renting the TV series, partly to see if this is true, but mostly because I liked the movie that much.

For the most part, it’s relatively kid-friendly.  The only thing I could see being scary is the World Gobbler, which is a giant undead dragon.  The scene is only a few minutes long, but small children may have issues.  It should be safe for teenagers and above, though.

As for the rest of the characters, they tend to have an exaggerated look.  If you can see the cover art, you should get a good idea of what I mean.  Lian-Chu is very big and top-heavy.  Hector is very hyperactive and bounces around a lot.  For those that like animation, I’d definitely recommend this movie.  For those that aren’t, all I can say is to go in with an open mind. 

IMDb page

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