A young boy and a group of misfit friends embark on a quest to find a dark magic item of ultimate power before a diabolical tyrant can.A young boy and a group of misfit friends embark on a quest to find a dark magic item of ultimate power before a diabolical tyrant can.A young boy and a group of misfit friends embark on a quest to find a dark magic item of ultimate power before a diabolical tyrant can.
The movie starts off on the wrong foot. The voices come across as recorded at low fidelity, and when combined with the sometimes hard-to-understand British accents, can be somewhat off-putting. Issues with voice and script become even more pronounced with characters such as Gurgi and his Gollum-esquire speech patterns. Indeed, the second time I watched the DVD I threw the English subtitles on, and not just for Gurgi.
Other problems with voicing include an exceedingly dull lead actor for Taran (he simply can't emote), and an overly chirpy female lead for Eilonwy.
Most other elements of the film proved passable if predictable in the Disney mold of plot, hero design, sidekicks, etc. Where it branches out for the better is in avoiding any and all musical interludes and along the way offering some scenarios and graphic effects that are more mature than most other Disney animated feature films (though later in the '90s the likes of The Lion King, Hunchback, and Tarzan would also tangle with mature themes).
Animation is also spectacularly mixed in quality, an odd distinction among Disney films but a distinction nonetheless. Usually solid, there are high points such as external shots of a dark castle or a visceral chase sequence. There are also low points such as unnatural shifts in hair color that overemphasize different environments, or obvious spots where animation was rushed (a rock slide sequence).
Yet for all these lows and highs, as an animation fan I ended up siding with the high points. Many sequences are inviting to re-watch, even if the entirety of the movie may not be. For all the talk of failure that continues to surround this movie, one can see in the film itself elements of a more mature Disney that could have been extremely promising with a more seasoned batch of animators and a world less hostile to PG animated fare.
- Jun 27, 2006