Dragon Hunters (PG)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner24/09/2010

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 80 mins

Dragon Hunters is impressively animated and has some nice ideas but it never quite catches fire, thanks to an unimaginative script, lacklustre dialogue and a lack of decent gags.

What's it all about?
Directed by Guillaume Ivernel and Arthur Qwak, Dragon Hunters is a dubbed-into-English animated adventure based on a French comic and cartoon series. Set on an imaginary medieval world of floating land masses (they look a bit like the planets in Super Mario Galaxy), the film centres on hulking Dragon Hunter Lian-Chu (Forest Whitaker), his cunning best friend Gwizdo (Rob Paulsen) and their pet dog-slash-rabbit Hector (Dave Wittenberg), who rescue a spirited young girl (Mary Mouser as Zoe) and agree to help her destroy the fearsome World Gobbler dragon.

The Good
The animation is stylish and appealing throughout and some of the character designs are intriguing, particularly blue, sharp-toothed rabbit-dog Hector (who speaks in strange random-word combinations) and some of the dragons - the dragon made of fierce red bats is particularly inspired and provides the film's best sequence.

The Bad
The main problem is the unimaginative script, which never attempts anything more complex than 'Dragon Hunters must destroy a series of dragons' and is often repetitive (there's an awful lot of pointless running, for example). Similarly, the dialogue is poorly written and there's a painful lack of humour, suggesting that either several jokes got lost in translation or that the film was never than funny in the first place.

On top of that, both the Gwizdo character and the Zoe character are frequently irritating (Paulsen's vocal performance is a shrill Steve Buscemi imitation that quickly grates) and Lian-Chu barely has any lines, which is odd, considering Whitaker is the only big name actor involved in the dubbed version. His character is also curiously underwritten and there are several wasted opportunities – more could easily have been made of Lian-Chu's penchant for knitting, for example, while the characters of Lord Arnold (Zoe's uncle) and Gildas (Lord Arnold's haughty assistant) are set up as if they're important but then disappear for most of the film.

Worth seeing?
Dragon Hunters is watchable enough to entertain younger viewers but it's no How to Train Your Dragon and dragged-along adults will most likely be disappointed.

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Content updated: 19/10/2017 06:40

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