Dragon Hunters (Chasseurs de Dragons)
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although this is an animated adventure story, many of the images are scary and our heroes face great danger in scene after scene. The hunted "dragons" are ugly and vicious, and include a giant skeletal monster with blazing eyes, sinister creatures made of sharp needles, and fire-spitting, swarming insects on the attack. Eerie music combined with visual images of dark caverns, a teeming jungle, and crushed cities to indicate the end of the world create what might be a terrifying experience for the tender-hearted. Some mild "bad words" that kids usually find funny are sprinkled throughout, as well.
What's the story?
It's a fearful time in the kingdom governed by Lord Arnold. The World Gobbler, a terrifying dragon who wreaks destruction wherever he ventures, is set to attack. There are no noble knights left to challenge him. Only Zoe (voiced by Mary Mouser), Lord Arnold's young niece, seems to have the courage and desire to save her homeland. Escaping from her uncle's castle against his wishes, Zoe enlists two wannabe dragon hunters to slay the World Gobbler. Gwizdo (Rob Paulsen), a cunning scam artist, initially agrees to the task motivated only by gold; Lian-Chu (Forest Whitaker) is a soft-centered warrior who questions the motives of his partner. The three set off together and, after a series of battles with other fierce monsters and creatures, make their way to meet their nemesis.
Is it any good?
In the style of the Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke), French animators Arthur Qwak and Guillaume Ivernel have created a stunning visual experience with DRAGON HUNTERS, which began as a French television series. Dazzling images of cities made of floating islands, dense jungles, and wild, dangerous beasts deadly in their quest for power, combine to bring an original look, sensibility, and form to the quickly evolving world of computer animation.
The story is thin, familiar, and predictable. The characters are sketchy and prototypical rather than living, breathing originals. Still, with the playful, imaginative, and brave Zoe; the kindly gentle giant Liu-Shan; and the shady practices of the film's most humorous character, Gwizdo, there's enough to hold the film together as it weaves its visual magic and carries its audiences to places never seen before.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how the animation in this French film is different from the family-friendly animated movies usually seen in the U.S. How does the music add to the feelings that the visual pictures create?
What methods did the filmmakers use to show that the brave, strong warrior Lian-Chu is also a sensitive, caring man?
What did Gwizdo learn about "doing the right thing?"
How did Zoe's presence help the Dragon Hunters?