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Customer Review

227 of 287 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tentative First Steps in a Greater Journey, December 3, 2007
This review is from: Dragonlance - Dragons Of The Autumn Twilight (DVD)
Dragonlance is a journey ... and was from the beginning.

Dragons of Autumn Twilight was and remains a first in so many ways: it was the first novel together for Margaret and me, it was the first attempt at doing a classic fantasy story for a game setting, and the first book publication for TSR. Looking back on it now, after twenty years of polishing our writing, that first book looks rough and imperfect ... but it was the first step down a road that lead us to great wonders. Flawed as it appears now ... it is deservedly beloved.

Since before the publication of Dragons of Autumn Twilight, we have seen Dragonlance in cinematic terms. We wrote the books visualizing them as movies and dreamed that one day, our visions would be realized on film.
Now, thanks to Paramount Pictures and Epic Entertainment, that dream has been realized and with it, we take our first step down the new road of Dragonlance films.

Recently, Paramount sent to Margaret and me a copy of the film on DVD so that we could preview the final cut. It is quite a thrill watching our characters come to life and hearing the familiar story begin anew. Michael Rosenbaum and Fred Tataciore bring life to the opening scene on their way to meet their friends in Solace. The voice casting in this film is phenomenal. Lucy Lawless gives Goldmoon wonderful depth and even newcomer Caroline Gelbert brings a freshness to Laurana that is breathtaking. The heart of Dragonlance has always been its characters, and the movie shines especially in two of the stories most intriguing personalities, Tasslehoff and Raistlin ... each brought vividly alive by the incredible talents of Jason Marsden and Keiffer Sutherland.

Before our family started our little preview, I presented our audience with a little challenge: to find all the scenes where I can be found in the movie - kind of a personal `Where's Waldo'.

As for finding me in the film ... well, you'll just have to see for yourself.

Does this film have flaws -- absolutely. While the soundtrack is Oscar-worthy and the voice talent is unquestionably perfect, and Will Mineou's direction and art are beautiful, the animation itself is less than I would have hoped it to be. The style is unfortunately inconsistent from shot to shot. Interestingly, the mix of CGI with traditional cell animation worked quite well ... but it was the graphic inconsistencies between cell animation segments that I found problematic. Several sequences used post animation effects over still-motion in lieu of honest animation. My son, Curtis, is a professional After Effects artist as well as a professional magician. As he pointed out, there are only so many times in a piece you can use the same expedient short-cut before the audience begins to see the trick being played. The movie has a major picture sound to which the visuals struggle to keep up.

Dragonlance fans will probably also be shocked to hear my second criticism: I believe including the entire first book in the movie was a mistake. Both the screenwriter and I argued against putting all of Dragons of Autumn Twilight in the first film ... believing that the film should portray essentially the first half of the book and finish with `Solace is burning.' But the `powers that be' adamantly required that the entire book be portrayed. George Strayton did a masterful job of accomplishing that goal and his script is undeniably brilliant - but I still believe the film's structure suffers from the enforced requirement of including the entire novel.

That being said, I am delighted with Dragons of Autumn Twilight and find myself liking it even more with each subsequent viewing. It is the first dragonlance movie and, as such, shares the heritage of tentative first steps ... but in those steps opens up a new road of films before us. `Lord of the Rings' was, after all, first a Ralph Bakshi cartoon.

Dragons of Autumn Twilight is not a destination ... it is the opening of a door and the beginning of a journey. Pop the popcorn, grab your hoopak and come with us down a new road with old friends.
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Showing 1-10 of 36 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 15, 2008 12:28:46 PM PST
cats&kittens says:
I just found out about this and can't wait to see it. I purchased the dvd the moment I heard it was available. I will be watching the movie with my son Raistlin Drake. Needless to say, his father and I loved the books.

Posted on Jan 15, 2008 1:47:40 PM PST
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Tracy. I'm just thrilled your work is being presented in a new medium and will support it, if anything to show the powers that be that there is a strong market for your work in other mediums. How can a studio not see the potential behind a more accessible, movie serial style fantasy genre film series after the big franchises that we've seen recent achieve so much success... it's a no-brainer to me that a live-action film series is the next logical step...
Any word on development of the next book, or are they awaiting "returns" on this one before green-lighting "book 2"?

Posted on Jan 15, 2008 2:36:55 PM PST
J. Wallace says:
Thank you for captivating me as a child with the Dragonlance Saga. My favorite set is the twins series. I hope those get made into movies one day!

Posted on Jan 15, 2008 6:51:25 PM PST
J. Hermann says:
You could only have the entire book in the movie if it was long as a LOTR movie.

Posted on Jan 16, 2008 5:51:11 AM PST
Noe Pacheco says:
You are correct Tracy. If DragonLance has taught us anything, the journey, not the destination, is what matters. You are also correct in that this movie should have ended at Solace is Burning.

I'm posting a review later, but wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and Margaret for creating what is an incredibly entertaining and moving adventure. While I may be disappointed in this movie, I absolutely loved it because, well, heck, it's DragonLance for my eyes instead of my mind's eye. Regardless of how poor the animation is, I'm still SEEING Krynn and Draconians and Raistlin.

I look forward to the continued journey of DragonLance to the Big Screen. And for what it's worth, the intro to this movie was well done from a story telling perspective to give the background info on the Cataclysm and such.

Posted on Jan 16, 2008 8:52:31 AM PST
A little biased much? I can understand why you would want to post a mostly positive review of this work because it's in your best interest, but do you really think this is the place to drag out your little squabbles with the screenwriter? Sorry but the movie is bad, and now every time I pick up one of the books I will have images of bad animation in my head as I read. If this embarrassing movie were based on a book I had written and loved I wouldn't be "delighted." I would be ashamed.

Posted on Jan 16, 2008 9:01:55 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 16, 2008 9:03:32 AM PST
Tracy, I'd like to say thanks to you and Margaret also for the amazing world you created. These books were a huge part of my high school life. In the yearbook we submitted "In 10 years I'd like to be..." and mine was living on Krynn and hanging with Tasselhoff. I kid you not! Sadly, that didn't really pan out for me ;-)

I actually cried at a few points in the Chronicles when certain characters left the story. In the 20 some odd years in between reading those books, I think that has only ever happened one other time. And Legends? Wooo..what a ride!

I didn't want to write the review I did because the story and characters are so close to my heart even now. As I said it's because I love it so much that I came down so hard. I want people new to the story to love it like I did just from the movie alone.

At any rate, I'm on board for the whole journey...what can I say? I'm a kender at heart! I think until the next one comes out, I'll be cracking out my books again to revisit with some old friends.

PS - I've had the pleasure of doing a few Killer Breakfasts at GenCon, thanks for letting this kender be strangled by Darth Vader :)

Posted on Jan 16, 2008 2:39:59 PM PST
Finalgamers says:
I thank you for your honesty and showing what you hope and want to happen through this work. I have been waiting for your Dragonlance Series to make its way in true epic form to the big screen for a long long time. I just want you to know that you have fans out here that want the same thing as you and are here to support your work! Please keep trying and make it happen. Don't let them make it subpar though if it happens make it good!!! Thanks! ;)

Posted on Jan 16, 2008 3:56:14 PM PST
Ive yet to see this film, and from what Ive read it doesnt sound like its going to compare to the books at all, which I adore! But Thats ok. I want to thank you for the great world you two created and the emotion you shared with the us.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2008 8:17:15 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 17, 2008 8:23:49 AM PST
croll says:
To "a fan of books": Actually, he and the screenwriter agreed with each other and were arguing against some unnamed entity that this movie should have only attempted to cover the first half of the first book (indeed, he called the screenwriter "brilliant" -- they did not "squabble" as you say). If you're going to criticize one of the two people with probably the most emotional investment in the movie, at least get your facts straight.

To Tracy and, if she's reading, the "Dark Queen": While I went with 3 rather than 4 stars, I think what you wrote was pretty much spot on. Dragonlance, for all its 20+ year history, has always been more about the journey than anything else. Thank you both for many years of joy (along with many more to follow). Best of luck to you in your future endeavors and.... any chance there will ever be another Immortals?
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