[Welcome back to the Evolution of Video Game Movies series. Every week, I will be moving forward through time, starting with the earliest and ending with the most recent of video game movies. I will be detailing the histories of the games and how the films came about, and both my and fan reaction to the adaptations. Practically all of my background information is either common knowledge or from Wikipedia. So without further ado, let's move on to the next film on the list.]
After numerous expansion packs, a sequel was released in 2011. The sequel follows a man named Hawke who fled from Ferelden during the events of the first game. Over years, Hawke rises in power and fame and is involved in a handful of political-type battles, including a war waged between Templars and mages. This game also got positive reviews, though it wasn't as widely appreciated and loved as the first.
So after these two recent games became so well loved, it was clear a film was going to be made. But instead of going the live-action route, the game companies decided to take a page from Capcom and make a CG film. The film would follow one of the minor characters involved in the second game, Cassandra. So let's see how they fared, shall we?
Have you ever watched any fantasy or quest film ever? Then you've seen this movie. It's beyond predictable and by-the-numbers. Cassandra is a hot-headed young warrior out to prove herself, and she has a troubling past as her brother was killed by mages. So of course she has to team up with a mage that she hates yet inevitably befriends and might even fall for. And in the end she proves herself worthy and is honored for it. Galyan is the weak yet charming sidekick. There is a high-ranked traitor (who they, thankfully, don't even attempt to make a surprise twist due to its obviousness). There are no surprises in this film, and you've seen everything it has to offer before.
But then, on top of that, there are plot and/or logic issues galore. In an effort to make Cassandra a badass, they completely undermine all villains. She has no trouble single-handedly taking down any Blood Mage or monster thrown in her way, even if 50 of them are thrown in her way simultaneously. The mages don't really fight with magic, yet they are somehow able to take out armies of these Templars and Seekers. Where is this struggling war, again? And then Cassandra is able to take down anything, including dragons and other giant, scary creatures. And not only does she take them down, but she does so--always--in about 1-2 swings of the sword. Five dragons? No problem! Let's just jump on their backs one at a time and stab them in the spine and head and move on to the next one without any kind of reaction from the dragons.
But, believe it or not, my biggest issue was with the animation. A lot of people seem to find this the film's only real perk, but I have to disagree. It's really uneven, with monsters and smaller animals looking nice, but everything else being down in this weird cell-shaded format. It makes it look like PS2 or Gamecube-era video game graphics. So not only is the animation not up to par for movie animation, it's not up to par for video game animation. The film ends up looking like an extended cut scene from an old, cell-shaded PS2 game.
All of that being said, the movie isn't terrible. It's just nothing new, and there's absolutely nothing original or spectacular about it. Hell, with only a few alterations here and there, the plot of the film is almost identical to the Dungeons & Dragons live-action film from 2000 (An evil mage wants to take over, so he attempts to gain the ability to control dragons and overthrow the current leader. From there, it's up to a hard-headed hero to team up with a mage (and he dislikes mages) and others to stop him). And that's not really a great comparison to make. (And the villain is equally stupid.) Overall, I didn't hate it, but I can almost assure you that I won't ever find the need to watch it again.
Feed Me, Seymour!