When I first found out about this event, I was floored. Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker was going to be played in four theaters around the U.S. and Canada and one of those theaters was only a twenty minute bus ride from me? I quickly snatched up a ticket and made plans to be there early enough to be one of the first 100 people to receive a free T-Shirt.
Finally, the day came. Yesterday I visited the Downtown Independent to be a part of this historic Dragon Age moment. I arrived about thirty minutes early so I could be sure to snag a shirt. I needn’t have worried. I would say less than 50 people actually showed up. They only had size Large through XXL which made me a little sad, being as I am a petite 5 ft tall lady. Ah well, only five or six other ladies showed up so FUNimation could feel safe in their choice to go with men’s sizes.
Linda, from FUNimation seemed to be in charge of the event, passing out T-Shirts and running the small giveaway before the movie started. A few lucky people had red stickers on their tags, and got to go to the front of the theater. They were each given a very random DVD (ranging from Full Metal Alchemist to Girls on Bravo) and then a bright orange envelope. One envelope contained the winning ticket to get a free Blu-Ray copy of Dawn of the Seeker.
It was very small and kind of cheap but Linda had a lot of spirit, and tried to make it as fun as possible. Interestingly enough, she also mentioned that the writer was there, but that she wasn’t going to reveal him, obviously at his request. I figured he was one of the two old guys in the front, since they both were old and acting suspicious. As old folks often do.
Finally, the movie started. Everyone let loose a little ‘squee’ of joy as the blood soaked logo with it’s familiar bass sound flashed over the scene.
Dawn of the Seeker
“In the land of Orlais, where battles are fought with swords and magic, a young heroine rises as templars, mages, and dragons clash. Cassandra, a brash and beautiful Seeker, must stop a conspiracy that threatens the realm’s most powerful religious order, the Chantry of Andraste. Accused of treasonous crimes and hunted by friend and foe, Cassandra must clear her name and overcome her raging emotions in order to save the day and take her place in legend.”
The plot was fairly stable, but entirely predictable. It was as if they made an extremely gory cartoon for kids. Everything was spelled out and heavily foreshadowed. It was nearly impossible to reconcile this plodding, simple plot with the vast conspiracies for the Dragon Age games and books. All of the mystery, humor, and complexity are missing in this film.
The art was by far the weakest link. It was horrible. The rendering looked half-finished, the lighting was off, it was ugly, and it looked like it was made by amateurs to be honest. It was a style that was neither anime; nor cartoon; nor traditional cartoon CGI. Instead it was some sort of CG cell-shaded anime hybrid.
All of the characters are one dimensional. Even the growth of Cassandra isn’t really a growth. It just magically happens at the end of the movie. I liked that she was a strong female warrior, but her hot-headedness was overplayed, shown more by people specifically saying “you’re so hot-headed” than anything else.
The worst character was the main evil mage. He was so one-dimensional that every line out of his mouth was a direct quote from some other bad guy in some other movie.
I can’t say that I really grew attached to any of the characters at all. The ending scene with all the heroes was so bad that half the audience LAUGHED at the ridiculousness of it all.
There was a little bit of flap going on. Even more annoying: the Orleisan accent Cassandra is known for kept going in and out! It was very distracting. Also, not all of the characters had the accent, which was strange and unexplained.
Some of the voice acting was also just plain bad. They sounded like people on a stage, over-projecting their voices and tones. It was almost as if someone worried we wouldn’t get the “complicated plot” and so had to throw some “sneaky traitor” voices on us.
The acting was not at all helped by the stiff and childish dialogue. I swear to you: one bad guy even said “Well, well, well.” 0_o
If there was anything good about the film, it was the action. The fight scenes were awesome. The camera angles would switch around so you really got the feeling of flying through a battlefield. Cassandra mowed down her foes like a warrior on Speed. There’s even a moment when a surprise Darkspawn appears, and I was literally on the edge of my seat in excitement as it began to tear through the heroes.
The ending battle is also spectacular, although if you are a Borderlands fan you may find yourself, as I did, yelling, “CATCH A RIIIIIDE.” Again, it was wholly predictable, but very fun to watch nevertheless.
Overall this movie seemed like it was written for five-year-olds. Where was the dark humor (or humor at all)? Where was the horrible decisions, and heartbreaking story? Where were the layers? And dear Maker why was the dialogue straight out of a James Bond movie? I wouldn’t have been surprised if they suspended her over a vat of man-eating sharks next!
As it says in my notes: the people behind me were more entertaining than the film. After the movie I asked everyone I could how they felt about it. All of the opinions were negative, with words ranging from “boring” to “unintentionally funny”
I even managed to catch up to the writer, who, as I predicted, was one of the elderly gentlemen in the front. He said he didn’t think the movie was bad but that the director cut most of the humor out of his script.
All was not lost, however. I met some great people, and we’ve promised to stay in contact. And I got a free pajama shirt!
So what are you to do? Should you give up on Dragon Age outside of the games? No! The latest book by David Gaider, Dragon Age: Asunder, is excellent, as are his two previous books, Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne and Dragon Age: The Calling. The comics are also great, both the new one Dragon Age: The Silent Grove and the first round Dragon Age. Or, if movie format is really what you’re after, try Felicia Day’s mini-series Dragon Age: Redemption which, while short and with cheesy effects, is great fun, and definitely made me wish it was longer. Redemption stayed much truer to the heart of the Dragon Age universe.