Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Forest Whitaker, Rob Paulsen, Mary Matilyn Mouser, Jean-Marc Lentretien
Director: Guillaume Ivernel & Arthur Qwak
Release Date: 20 March 2008
Length: 80 minutes
Movie Rating: PG
View Format: DVD
My Rating: 4/5 stars
“Purporting to be gallant dragon hunters, con artists Lian-Chu and Gwizdo agree to take on the fearsome World Gobbler in the hopes of collecting a huge reward. Fortunately, the brave niece of a real dragon hunter is on hand to give them pointers. Forest Whitaker provides the voice of Lian-Chu and Rob Paulsen voices Gwizdo in this English-language version of the charming and beautifully animated French series.” — Netflix.com
I found this movie surprisingly enjoyable and don’t really know why I had not heard of it before or missed it when it came out in theatres. The only reason why I can think that this movie would not do well in the movie theatres is that it is pretty scary and probably did not appeal to kids and their moms. This is tough as this movie is animated in a CGI style that makes it appear kid friendly. It is not. This movie reminded me more of a video game in that there are some scenes of intense, scary action and the dragon/monster/creature is big, makes sudden moves and can be pretty frightening. As I am an adult with no children, I was totally into the action and had a great time!
The animation is really top notch in this movie and I cannot say enough about the creativity of the world and the unexpected surprises around every corner. Pieces of the kingdom are literally floating away or being destroyed by the great dragon who has come back to the land. The king sends out two knights to slay the great beast, having no idea that they are really charlatans who are merely pretending to be knights to get the money. But then the princess starts tagging along and they have to play their parts. This leads to a lot of comedy, which helped lighten up the serious plot and made me smile. I liked the 3 lead characters and found myself rooting for them each to find what they were looking for: Gwizdo to find his courage and stick with his friends even though the going got rough; Lian-chu for the skills needed to save the kingdom and for the heart to believe that he could do it; and Zoe to still believe in heroes and in the best in people even when they let you down. There are lots of little life lessons that could be learned by watching this movie and I appreciate that the creators slid in some morals, but didn’t spend most of their time dwelling on it.
So this movie is mainly for older viewers, due to some of the intense sequences, but I definitely think that it is worth renting. There are laughs, frights, adventure and an amazing world to explore and enjoy. If you have older children at home who are looking for something a little bit more intense than your typical animated movie, you can’t go wrong with this sleeper hit. I really had a fun time watching it and look forward to seeing it again!
This movie has a dragon that pops up unexpectedly, shoots flame at everyone, and is known to destroy and/or drive mad any knight who comes to fight him. Many of the battle sequences and fight scenes will be too intense for young children, even though the animated makes this feature appear kid friendly. Recommended for ages 8 and up.