Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker Is A Cheap Cash In With Dragons
By Alex Cranz
Film adaptations of video games are rarely good. The non-sensical Silent Hill and the racist as hell Prince of Persia are the cream of the crop. At the other end of the spectrum are Super Mario Brothers and Final Fantasy: Spirits Within. I wish, oh how I wish, that Dragon Age was at the Silent Hill side of things.
They try. The voice acting (directed by the good folks at Funimation) is excellent. The sound design is superb. I close my eyes and am delighted. Even the script is solid for the most part. But man oh man did something go terribly wrong with the direction/animation. You know those weird Taiwanese news animations? That look like drunk Sims trying to act? Yeah, okay this is worse. I just–I am having difficulty fathoming how this went so wrong. This animation is just…that bad. Horses race across the scene with no regard for natural movement or physics. They’re slick plastic looking monstrosities that will haunt children’s dreams. Like toy ones brought to life.
The people are a little better. Director Fumihiko Sori also produced the popular CGI film Appleseed and uses that blend of cel-shading and computer graphic, but he doesn’t use it well. Appleseed works because half the creations in it were CGI robots which Michael Bay has taught us are super easy to design and make believable on film. But applying that technology to knights in armor and horses? Doesn’t work as well. I’m not sure what they used as references to animate these things. Possibly dead animals bound up like marionettes and hung from a hanger in the animator’s closet.
It all just feels cheap, like watching a cut scene from a bad video game ten years ago. Only it is 90 minutes long and makes no sense whatsoever. There are maybe three occasions where people are being chased through forests by guys on horseback and then the chasers just randomly dismount to chase on foot while wearing enough armor to see them drowned in a bathtub. Also a sequence involving a bunch of orcs watching as this woman fights them one on one. GUYS YOU ARE GIANT BEASTS BRED FROM THE DARKNESS GROUP UP AND BRING HER DOWN. They don’t.
Because she is Cassandra, a Seeker who is a part a holy order of badass knights charged with being the Chantry’s Secret Service and CIA all wrapped up in one (the Chantry is the Dragon Age‘s version of the Catholic Church). She gets wrapped up in having to stop a plot to destroy the leadership of the Chantry and is joined by a roguish mage with whom she has sexy tension and let’s take a sidebar here internet.
Why is it that every time a woman joins up with a guy to battle things she has to be uptight and passionate and earnest and he gets to be wise and sardonic and “fun” (he’s actually not very fun in this just written as “fun”). I was looking at my watch between well voice acted but terrible fight scene after fight scene and had a lot of time to think about this.
Seriously. Can you think of a partnership since Bringing Up Baby where she got to be fun and he was the uptight one? It’s like Princess Leia showed up on the scene and now EVERY woman has to be a fairly serious, hyper competent badass and every dude has to be a sexy rogue with great hair and a penchant for breaking rules and getting shit done. Where the rule breaking ladies at? Where are the determined dudes at? Let’s mix it up!
Cassandra is just a straight up zealot and while I appreciate the film showing that religious people can be sane and rational and not evil I still question some of what Cassandra does in the film. Like how she turns stupid when the plot requires it of her. Above I said the script was solid, and the dialogue itself is, but man, there are some leaps of logic going on here that suggest the story itself wasn’t very well thought out.
BUT ALEX, you say, THIS IS CALLED DRAGON AGE STOP RIPPING ON THE MYRIAD OF AWFUL THINGS AND TALK ABOUT THE DRAGONS. I praise the dragons and dragon designs in the film instead of continuing to bash everything else, because bashing stuff is easy and always makes me feel icky but praising things is harder. These dragons are gorgeous. Light moves through the skin of their wings naturally and they soar through the air as you’d imagine 2 ton flying reptiles might actually soar. Their skin, eyes and even the spit pouring from their mouths is infinitely detailed.
I suppose that’s why everything else looks like a college freshman’s animation project. All the time, money and effort was put into making really amazing looking dragons. But they show up late in the game and by that point I’ve had to watch 70 something minutes of film that make the sex scene in Team America look dramatic and I was done.
Especially because those gorgeous dragons? Only as good as the ones that are featured in cut scenes for the Dragon Age games. That’s right, if you’re really into Dragon Age your time and money would be better spent doing another play through of the games currently available. This is a cheap looking cash in that’s tickles your fangirl bone but leaves you wholly unsatisfied.
- The film I saw was the English dubbing. Dawn of the Seeker was originally released in Japan with a Japanese soundtrack.
- Reportedly this is a prequel to Dragon Age 2. Except they make references to Kirkwall. Which suggests it happened after that.
- Only the Cassandra of the game is also the Cassandra of the film? I am so confused internet. At least she got a haircut between the film and the game (or grew her hair out). Game Cassandra is better.
- There’s a different voice actress for Cassandra as well. Further confusing things.
- If you’re still feeling the need to watch this then it is coming out May 25th. But I warned you. So there.