Dragonkeeper (2024)

Dragonkeeper Review


Directed by Li Jianping and Salvador Simó

Culture Representation: A human goes on a journey to save dragons from being killed into extinction.

Culture Clash: “Dragonkeeper” takes place in ancient China during the Han Empire.

Culture Audience: This animated film will mainly attract fans of the novel or those who don’t mind watching an inferior quality animated movie with mostly bad voice acting that sounds almost robotic.

“Dragonkeeper” is a terrible adaptation of Carole Wilkinson’s 2003 fantasy novel of the same name. This animated film makes the story unfocused and bland. Most of the voice cast performances are stiff, with no real personality. They’re just reading their lines.

Directed by Directed by Li Jianping and Salvador Simó, “Dragonkeeper” seems to suffer from the effects of “too many cooks in the kitchen” for its watered-down and sloppily constructed screenplay. Wilkinson co-wrote the screenplay with Pablo I. Castrillo, Ignacio Ferreras, Rosanna Cecchini and Wang Xianping. When there are five or more credited writers for a movie screenplay, the movie is usually terrible.

Dragonkeeper” takes place during the Han Empire in ancient China, but you wouldn’t know it because the English-language version of this movie makes no attempt to give the characters Chinese accents. All of the voice actors in the film have British accents. “Dragonkeeper” also do much to show Chinese culture, except for a sequence where a dragon teaches a girl what qi, also known as ch’i (psychic energy), is all about and how to use it.

The movie starts off showing two people whose lives will intersect in an ultimate “good versus evil” battle years later. The story’s heroine is Ping, who is shown being taken as an orphaned baby by a cruel land owner named Master Lan (voiced by Tony Jayawadena) to become an enslaved servant. The story’s chief villain is Diao (voiced by Anthony Howell), a dragon hunter who is determined to kill every last dragon on Earth, or at least every dragon he can find in China.

Master Lan and his entourage are traveling home with baby Ping, but the infant’s loud crying annoys him. The baby is also of no use to Master Lan until the child is old enough to work for him. When Master Lan arrives in his village, an elderly woman named Lao Ma (voiced by Sarah Lam), who lives alone, immediately takes an interest in Ping and decides to raise her as if Ping were her own child.

Meanwhile, Diao has an ailing mother, (voiced by Jaqueline Chan) who is on her deathbed. Diao had been frantically trying to find a cure for his mother’s terminal illness. He believe it’s possible that dragons could hold the secret to healthy immortality. Although Diao is a dragon hunter, he also wants to use and exploit dragons if they can actually have some way to make humans immortal. His mother dies before he can find this miracle cure to death and diseases.

Then the film skips ahead to when Ping, voiced by Mayalinee Griffiths, is about 9 or 10 years old. Master Lan comes to the house where Lao Ma and Ping live and takes Ping with him as his servant. Whilst working for Master Lan and being miserable, she discovers that he has two adult dragons held captive in a secret dungeon.

The two dragons are Long Danzi (Bill Nighy) and Lu Yu (Beth Chalmers), who are among the last of their kind. Secretly, Ping befriends them. She also has a pet rat named Hua, who does not talk in the movie.

Something happens to Lu Yu, and Long Danzi is soon supposed to be sold to the emperor (Paul McEwan), who wants to keep him as a pet for his spoiled prince son (Felix Rosen). Before he’s taken away though, the dragon shows her an egg made of pearl and says there’s an unborn baby dragon in it called Kai. He asks her to look after this unborn dragon until it can hatch.

There’s only one body of water that can dissolve this egg. So guess where she’ll eventually have to go? While they journey together, Long Danzi notices some signs that suggest Ping could be part of a lineage of special Dragon Keepers so Long Danz breathes a laser-like beam onto her chest.

After this point “Dragonkeeper” then moves through its story in such a jumbled way that most scenes feel like cheap-looking unfinished animation tests. All of the vocal performances here save for Nighy’s serviceable but unremarkable work have little-to-no charisma for their characters; these emotions are very flat while simultaneously being very trite and forgettable dialogues.

Also: There are themes and sequences throughout “Dragonkeeper” which may prove too intense or scary for children under seven years old I mean, does any kid actually want to see a story about child enslavement? And then the final scene of “Dragonkeeper” hits with an underwhelming thud, providing no real closure whatsoever around one of its main characters. If people want to watch an animated movie about young girl who befriends and rescued an endangered dragon, skip “Dragonkeeper” and go read Disney’s Oscar-nominated script for “Raya and the Last Dragon.”

Watch Dragonkeeper For Free On Gomovies.

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