Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker is an original Anime film based upon the popular RPG videogame series from BioWare. However the film isn’t traditional Anime in its look and design, going for a more westernized style. In addition the film features a unique blend of 3D and 2D animated styles which is nothing new but here the models and textures are in 3D while it appears to have been colored in a traditional cell-animation process. At least that is the best way I can explain it. It features some dynamic lighting and coloring effects which sets it apart from most 3D animated films.
The world of Dragon Age is a European, Medieval setting where the land is ruled over by a woman called “The Divine” which is basically a female Pope who holds a seat of power called The Chantry. There is an order of Templars who protect the land and within the order there is a special group called The Seekers who are the finest and most loyal knights. One of the Seekers is Cassandra, from a line of Dragon Hunters who leads the Seekers in an attack against the evil Blood Mages. The Mages have kidnapped a young Elven girl and plan to use her powers to control dragons and attack The Chantry.
The Seekers are able to rescue Avexis but later she is kidnapped again by the Mages when the Seekers are trying to move her to safety. Cassandra reluctantly joins forces with Galyan a young Circle Mage, (the good mages) when she finds herself hunted by a rival faction of Templar Knights who accuse her of plotting against The Chantry. Together they will test their might against ogres, golems, and dragons to track down Avexis before the Blood Mages can gain control of her.
Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker is a film that just takes you by surprise in so many different ways. The animation is simply a marvel. It has so many subtle touches that I had to rewind a couple of times because I was so busy admiring the scenery. Subtle lighting and shadow effects that could have been ignored add a great depth of detail. In one scene Cassandra and Galyan have taken refuge in a cave and built a fire. The effect of the fire’s reflection, just hinting off the sides of their faces while they talked is a wonderful example of the attention to detail I mentioned. The characters also move with incredible fluidity which is very important in a film that features a great deal of action.
The voice cast is spot on throughout the film. Cassandra is voiced by Colleen Clinkenbeard, a veteran voice actress who voiced dozens of characters in Anime and videogames. There’s no over-projecting because it’s an animated film and all of the actors do an outstanding job of bringing their characters to life. Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker is no kid’s film. It is a brutal, bloody film. No punches or swords are pulled. Heads and limbs are lopped off, monsters are disemboweled, all if gore-filled glory. But all the action would be for nothing if there wasn’t a strong story to fall back on. Whether you have played the Dragon Age Games or not, Dawn of the Seeker is a fantastic fantasy film that should not be missed.
For those interested the film will be having a limited, one night theatrical release in select cities on May 24 before being released on DVD and Blu-Ray on May 29. Details and links below:
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/242610 (Edmonton, AB, Canada)
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/242644 (New York, NY)
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/242653 (San Francisco, CA)
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/243236 (Los Angeles, CA)
BioWare Studio Tour (7:56) – Mike Laidlaw, Creative Director at BioWare leads viewers on a tour of the BioWare offices and shows how the game development process takes place.
Dawn of the Seeker Backstage Pass (20:41) – Laidlaw again is the host as he walks viewers through the evolution of the film and why they decided to produce it as an Anime film versus normal animation. Also includes a look at the character designs.