In a mythical world, a series of apocalyptic prophecies are coming true. These events presage the awakening of a world-devouring dragon. Dragon hunters are needed more than ever, but all of the knights of yore are dead or insane. The only game in town is a couple of misfits: Lian-Chu, who still bears the trauma of the night his village was destroyed by the dragon, and his friend Gwizdo, a two-bit con artist. They are accompanied by Hector, a strange little scene-stealer who might be a rabbit or a dog. Zoe, the excitable niece of the decrepit and blind king, recruits the motley crew to defeat the evil, and off they go, journeying to the end of the world to face terrible danger.
This computer-animated effort is French, but only the English language track has been provided, and I can’t help but wonder if something was lost in the translation. Forest Whitaker is top-billed as Lian-Chu, but the character has very few lines, and even less expression. Zoe and Gwizdo have the lion’s share of the dialogue, and these two are overly familiar figures. The dialogue moves the story along, but doesn’t particularly sparkle. What does shine, however, is the look of the film. The world is a stunningly beautiful universe of floating platforms, and the detail work is tremendous. If the story isn’t anything to write home about, the eye candy most certainly is.
I had a moment of alarm as the disc loaded, and the trailer for the dire-looking Donkey Xote was plague by severe aliasing. Fortunately, no such problems occur with the feature. The textures are stunning, as are the colours and contrasts. The image is perfectly sharp. This is purely and simply and absolutely lovely transfer.
The 5.1 soundtrack is blessed with some strong surround FX, notably when a swarm of bats attack our heroes. The score has a strong presence in all speakers, but it isn’t quite as rich as I would like. I wouldn’t go quite so far as to say that it sounds thin, but it isn’t as epic as the composition itself would warrant.
Interview with Forest Whitaker: (4:22) A short featurette about the voice-acting process, with Mary Matilyn Mouser (Zoe) also joining in. Obviously, the piece is too short to get into any sort of depth.
Character Biographies, Dragon Gallery, The Universe of Dragon Hunters. All three are illustrated essays.
Very sparse extras, and not-quite-there script, but still a sight to behold.