When I was ten years old, I loved the Dragonlance books. I devoured those motherfuckers and I didn't care that they were cheesy, derivative fantasy pulp; to me they were like gifts from a really badass God.
Today I learned that they made a movie out of the first one and I knew it would suck right off the bat, especially when I read that the animation style was a blend of 80s cartoon and CGI and that Kiefer Fucking Sutherland was doing Raistlin's voice. But no, I was curious. I had to watch it. And while I concede that maybe the books aren't as great as I remembered them, they certainly did not deserve this treatment.
The first matter of business is the voice acting, which is by far the shittiest I've ever heard in an animation. Tanis's voice actor sounds like he is experiencing the most depressing time of his life (and really, I wouldn't be surprised if this was it). Raistlin, voiced as mentioned above by Kiefer Fucking Sutherland, sounds completely bizarre. I love the way he pronounces the spells too - he sounds like a schizoid speaking fake Hebrew. Everyone else is so boring that I've forgotten what they sound like already.
Second issue: the animation. Sure, I can appreciate that this was done on a shoestring budget (they probably spent all their money on Kiefer Fucking Sutherland), but there is no excuse for this bastardization of the cartoon image. Someone thought it would be a great idea to mimic the familiar 80s style of action cartooning; that is to say, cheap and styleless and done primarily in Korea. Think Thundercats or He-Man or basically anything made in that era. The characters all look like they have cerebral palsy, with their stiff-gaited walking and unmoving faces. Their expressions are truly terrifying, frozen into surreal masks that depict no emotions I've ever seen in real life.
I guess this was okay twenty years ago, but it obviously doesn't cut the mustard these days, so that same genius had the AWESOME idea to put CGI in the movie. Hideous fucking CGI. The result is this laughable cocktail of shit and lose, so ugly and sterile that it is unapproachable at any angle.
We all know that just because something is made on the cheap doesn't necessarily make it bad, but sadly, the final nail in the coffin: Dragonlance is just a poorly-done movie. It's unbalanced, cheesy, trite and directed with all the skill of an elementary school pageant. I love how the camera randomly zooms in on characters' faces for no reason at all; it really heightens the dramatic effect. Ugh, I can hardly bring myself to be sarcastically appreciative of this movie.
But in a sick sort of way, I actually am a little. It did have two subtle benefits:
a) It's good that Dragonlance is getting more exposure, even if it's in this form. Hopefully this will serve as a stepping stone to a badass live-action movie. What am I saying? There will never be one, and even if there is, it'll probably suck too. Fuck that.
b) I laughed so hard at this movie I woke up my dogs and brother.
So yeah. Uh. Do yourself a favor and skip this one unless you are so blindly devoted to the series that you can see past how shitty this movie is. In which case...I kind of envy you.