Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker ReviewCatharine Trachsel
There aren't many movies that are able to do a classic adventure story and do it well, but Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker manages to take an old story and still make it exciting. Based on the video game, Dragon Age follows the story of Cassandra as she works to save the chantry as it's threatened by traitors and conspirators. The movie follows its own unique story instead of paralleling itself to the game.
The first thing that is seen in a movie is obviously the graphics, and a lot of opinion of the movie is made on those first few moments. I was initially disappointed that the graphics were so low. I was expecting a quality and style closer to Final Fantasy: Advent Children. Instead, what I got was something more like Reboot. It was one of the reasons I had a problem with the game, it was a poorer quality than I wanted. If I'm going to stare at something for hours on end, I want it to be visually scintillating.
However, I did have to give credit to the animators of the film; they had an animation style that stayed true to the game. Instead of choosing a different style that would have strayed away from the movie's roots, they stayed true to the fans and didn't give in to an animation upgrade.
Despite my aversion to the style that they chose, the villains that Cassandra and Galyan fought after Lazarro betrays them were truly frightening and I was Impressed with the creativity that especially went into the horned creatures. Also, I could tell a lot of work and care went into the dragons themselves, especially the High Dragon. I just wish I could say the same for the rest of the characters.
The story itself was fun, and it was easy to tell that it was based on a video game, which had its perks. A good game will have forward motion that will keep the player enthralled for hours, and this crossed over to a story that never went stagnant and had nice development. Also, the intensity of the fight scenes was made better by the fact that they never shied away from violence, which I found to be a plus. It makes the stakes seem that much more dire and the battles that much better.
The downside of this well-developed story was the loss of better character development. Cassandra and Galyan were decently explained, but all the others were lost. The one that I wish had been developed the most was the young captured girl, Avexis. I wanted to feel more sympathy towards her and her plight, but all I ever saw her as was a drugged and possessed child. I never got to see who she actually was, which would have made me feel sorrier for her.
All of the story developments, while I enjoyed them, were pretty typical of a hero story. What I didn't see coming for this style of movie was the reflections of modern day politics and the blatant parallels to Catholicism, right down to the divinity being pope like and the forgiveness in a confessional. Galyan's statement about even the good mages being in it for power deep down no matter what side they claimed to be a part of and that it was really just mages against mages was a very strong statement that I see mirrored in our current arguments about political parties.
The movie cut off with what seems to be a promise of a second film and, despite the issues I had with this first movie, I will definitely look forward to the second film. Overall, I would recommend this to more than a fan of the game. I think anyone who loves classic medieval heroic tales or fantasy stories will enjoy this movie.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.