Wizards (1977) is a cult animated movie by Raph Bakshi which combines the post-apocalyptic and fairy tale setting. The titular ‘Wizards’ are twins that look nothing alike: Avatar is a Ginger Gnome whilst the other, Blackwolf, bears a striking resemblance to an Undead Saruman. And guess what? One is good and one is evil – but which?
Coraline is a Children’s horror film and, unsurprisingly, has been quite controversial within parental forums with some arguing it is too scary for it’s PG rating. The Nightmare Before Christmas – also directed by Henry Selick – provoked a similar reaction yet is a firm family favourite with a strong cult following. It’s very different from a regular children’s film, which may account for its success. Likewise Coraline is a refreshing break from the same-old same-old and pushes the envelope on children’s entertainment. It’s frightening in a surreal, psychological way evocative of nightmares with a sprinkling of creepiness. But by embodying these intangible childhood fears it also tackles how to deal with them, and is ultimately empowering and uplifting.
Coraline is a stop-motion animation and the hand-crafted feel is particularly appropriate to its theme. With the introduction of computer-generated animation stop-motion, which is a painstakingly slow process, is becoming increasingly rare. Coraline’s visuals are breathtaking with minute attention to detail in every frame. It’s a work of art with beautiful, atmospheric scenery and luscious, touchable textures. I could forgive a multitude of sins for something this pretty.
This film is bad. Really bad. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly bad it is. I mean you might have been appalled by The Crystal Skull but that’s just peanuts to this. Listen…
I read the Dragonlance books as a teenager and am, even as we speak, playing through the AD&D Modules. I was dead excited to hear there was a film and even enjoyed watching it for the first ten minutes. It begins at a quite relaxed pace, introducing the characters with some humorous banter and bloodless action. But this is soon replaced by break-neck pacing. The plot feels as if it is on fast-forward, with a lot being told in exposition and chunks of the story being missed out altogether. With a large cast of characters they get no more than a handful of lines each, and several are left standing around with very little to do. Ultimately 90 minutes just isn’t a sufficient run-time to do the story justice.
The animation is mostly 80s style 2D, with the jarring addition of 3D CGI for the Dragons and Draconians. The two styles just don’t mesh and make the production look amateurish. The bloodless action is replaced by amazingly inconsistent gore. One moment we are looking at Hobgoblins dying in pools of blood, the next the ground is perfectly clean! Continuity errors like this persist throughout the film, almost every time the viewpoint changes, and their lip-synching is about as good as mine!
So I was enormously disappointed and appalled to think that this might be anyone’s introduction to Dragonlance. So do yourself a favour and don’t let this film ruin what could be a wonderful experience. Read the books.
Buy the DVD on Amazon (if you must)
Buy the books on Amazon (that’s better)
I’ve made an animated video as a final appeal in these last few promoting days of Frumph’s WAR! This week we can only gain points for promotion done outside the webcomics community, so I’m hoping this’ll get spread around different blogs and websites. Viral videos FTW!
This is my first attempt at lip-syncing. It didn’t go too badly :p
I had some technical difficulties with this, but Dungeonwarden helped me.
I’d also like to thank Dave Brendon for reposting this video alongside a review on his weblog. Cheers!