Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight 

2008

Based on a book that itself is part of a series nearly 200 titles strong, "Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight" is a spin-off from the enduring "Dungeons & Dragons" role-play gaming franchise. Because the two live-action "D&D" movies went nowhere, this one smartly takes the animated route.

The feature-length film sets up an intriguing world of fantasy in which half a dozen friends "? including a knight, a dwarf and an elf "? reunite after searching for signs to prove the existence of their gods. Then some stuff happens I couldn't quite follow to get them from Point A to Point B, which is the climatic war with dragons.

"Autumn" is hand-drawn in the traditional (and dying, unfortunately) 2-D method. However, whenever the dragons appear on screen, they're rendered by computers in the tech-savvy 3-D format. The effect should be cool, but it's jarring, as if two separate teams were working on the same thing (and that may be the case). Just because two things are great on their own "? say, peanut butter and orange juice "? doesn't meet they'll be great simultaneously.

Voice work is good, primarily with the unmistakable throaty vocals of Kiefer Sutherland ("24") and the return (albeit animated) of former "Xena: Warrior Princess" Lucy Lawless. But the words that come out of their mouths "? full of invented names and language "? are ludicrous.

Perhaps the full-fledged fantasy fan won't care, but I think "Dragonlance" would work better as a short segment

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