murakaz
Tim Bennett   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
 
 
I've been neglecting my Steam library so much... I swear I'm getting better, mostly thanks to my addiction to Steam Trading Cards.
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The French studio Ankama is widely known for their MMORPGs Dofus and its sequel Wakfu. The latter of which got its own TV series produced in-house in the late 2000's to allow the game's creators to retain creative control. This series is how I was eventually introduced to the franchise, as its Kickstarter-backed English dub was brought to Netflix in 2014. Despite the dub being hit or miss at times, I found it hard not to be fascinated by all of the creative ideas that fleshed-out the world. The world of Ankama's Dofus would later get a series as well, which this film is more or less a conclusion to, though its still set nearly 500 years prior to their Wakfu series.

THANKFULLY the film doesn't require the viewer to have brushed-up on their Wakfu history prior to watching it, as the first act moves fairly slowly to allow for the basics to be established. While it doesn't waste time explaining everything, it doesn't really have to when most things boil down to "a magical version of (blank)".

We follow Joris, an odd-looking youth happily enjoying his life as an assistant to his adoptive father Kerubim, who runs a shop full of magic items he has collected over his long life of adventuring. When it is revealed that Joris has a strong connection to a powerful artifact, its keeper pursues him, forcing Joris into an adventure to save everyone he loves.

A majority of the film's art is done in Flash and it is simply beautiful, with the feature-size budget allowing for some gorgeous cityscapes and scenery with loads of detail. While taking some ques from anime, the film's art style takes just as much influence from other European animation to give it a unique look with great potential for character expression.

Another element of the film that highlights the skill of the film's artists is its action sequences. Despite the film containing several of them, they are mostly kept short to prevent the film from becoming overwhelmed with them, allowing for the adventure to feel perilous but also letting slower moments develop characters. The animation bringing the action to life is beautiful and exhilarating, a real treat for fans of animation regardless of their opinions on the film's story.

What will likely keep this film from being a success in the western world is its French sensibilities. While clearly intended to appeal to all ages, there are a few aspects that will likely feel risque to the more conservative American audience, which is unfortunate, though it's nothing genuinely vulgar. Kids will likely enjoy the film for its bright and bouncy animation, quick pace and well-timed physical comedy (once they get past the subtitles).

While adults won't laugh as often as the kids, they'll still get a kick out of its creative world and surprising emotional depth. The story isn't the most surprising, but its well-paced and far from boring. Though the film does have one notable weakness: its ending. Once the final confrontation resolves itself the film fades to black and rolls credits, ending in such an abrupt manner that I doubt anyone will feel completely satisfied with it.

Despite that the Dofus movie surpasses the standards set by the creators' other work and manages to also serve as an easy entry into their world. Fans of the series and animation in general should definitely seek this out, while those looking for something lighthearted and fun won't be disappointed.

Decent to Strong 8, out of 10.
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Comments
CeeJ_CCE Jun 22, 2014 @ 8:57pm 
i aprove of most of this
murakaz Jun 22, 2014 @ 1:54pm 
Games, games, sometimes movies, work, sleep, and eventually more games.
CeeJ_CCE Jun 22, 2014 @ 1:25pm 
what do you even do?