Dragon Hunters is a French animated series about an “odd couple” of adventurers, the strong but shy Lian-Chu and the sneaky but cowardly Gwizdo who try to eke out a living hunting the weirdest dragons ever. It’s mostly a comedy and not really remarkable, except for the setting: a land that for some reason is broken up in chunks that float in the sky!
I had already seen some episodes of the series, which is why when I saw the movie (which was made in 2008) being advertised on Hulu, I almost didn’t bother to watch it. But there was nothing else good on, so I did. And boy, am I glad I did!
This movie is great in various way. Not so much the plot, which is pretty basic: the dragon this time is an abomination capable of laying waste to kingdoms, and a little princess mistakes our charming rogues for noble knights and gets them hired to kill the monster before it wakes up. Gwizdo wants to take the money and run, but the princess ends up tagging along. The rest is pretty predictable, except for the way they defeat the dragon, which I admit I did not see coming.
What makes this story great is the characterization. All the characters get moments that show them at their best and their worst. You feel sorry even for Gwizdo! And the storytelling tricks (such as a dream sequence) are pretty clever.
This is helped along by the great voice acting. I particularly liked Princess Zoe, who sounded like a real girl and not an adult pretending to be one.
And the CGI and sound effects are gorgeous! Especially the “End of the World” sequence with the “landmasses” crashing into each other.
If the movie has a flaw, is that it feels stretched out at times. For example the introductory sequence with Lian-Chu battling the worm-dragon could have been much shorter.
By the way, the movie is actually a prequel to the series, which explains the ending.
Overall, Dragon Hunters The Movie is a surprisingly good family film. I recommend it, especially for watching over the holidays.