Netflix My Father’s Dragon Movie Review

The latest film from Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon, my father’s dragon — which premieres Nov. 11 on Netflix — is a lovely entry to their impressive cinematic canon. Although its somewhat simplistic story and basic characters keep it from exceeding the standard set by previous films from the studio, my father’s dragon it’s a solid movie for younger audiences and older fans of animation alike.


Based on the children’s book of the same name, my father’s dragon follows Elmer (Jacob Tremblay), who has just moved to the town of NeverGreen with his mother (Golshifteh Farahani). Lacking the funds to open his own store and furious at his mother for lying about his plans, Elmer runs off and is greeted by a talking cat (Whoopi Goldberg) who directs him to go to Wild Island and help free to the young dragon. Boris (Strange things star Gaten Matarazzo). Along the way, they meet numerous island residents, including the excitable whale Soda (Judy Greer), the good-natured rhino Iris (Dianne Wiest), and the dangerous crocodile Cornelius (Alan Cumming), who fear the island is going to sink at once. once for all for everyone if Boris can’t lift it.

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Things are further complicated by Saiwa (john wick veteran Ian McShane), the leader of the animals on Wild Island. The island is constantly on the verge of sinking, and Saiwa has captured Boris to force him to keep the island afloat by any means necessary. Tensions were already running high in his camp as Tamir (Jackie Earle Haley) and his ape lieutenant Kwan (Chris O’Dowd) panicked before Elmer found Boris and freed him. By doing so, Elmer hastens the possible sinking of the island. Quickly befriending Boris, Elmer decides that they need to work together to try and save the island, and in the process help Boris achieve his true final form as an Elder Dragon.

Like any movie from Cartoon Saloon, the animation studio that produced other impressive 2D animated movies like wolf walkers Y Kell’s Secret, my father’s dragon proves to be an astonishingly lively production. The world is given a bright and colorful presentation, more akin to a storybook than anything else. The movement of the individual characters may not always be perfectly fluid, but the smaller and larger beats flow equally with artistic flair. There is a smooth and elegant look to the animation of my father’s dragoneven compared to his previous films like song of the sea, giving the characters very cute and cartoonish designs. In contrast, the human characters (including Elmer himself, to an extent) feel static, which seems partly by design, but detracts from some of the film’s quieter moments.

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This lightness is also present in the tone of the film, which seems more aimed at children than its misleading stories for all ages like wolf walkers and proves to be a far cry from the heavy themes explored in movies like the breadwinner. my father’s dragon It touches on very adult fears but presents them all through a very open and childish perspective. The friendship between Elmer and Boris reflects the heightened connection between Elmer and his mother, and serves as an easy-to-understand metaphor for younger audiences. Tremblay’s performance does much of the film’s heavy lifting, infusing Elmer with a mix of childlike wonder, adolescent fear, and burgeoning maturity. Most of the characters are well played by talented actors, but the characters lack enough depth to truly stand out, except for McShane’s Saiwa, whose dedication to genuine leadership turns a potentially one-note villain into a complex character.

my father’s dragon is arguably the simplest of the Cartoon Saloon movies yet, even if the impressive animation hints at his background and craft. It is a straightforward morality story that is ideally designed and constructed for young viewers, lacking the more violent and tragic elements present in his other films. It’s not a detriment to the film by any stretch of the imagination, as it comes across as a heartwarming storybook in the best way. The Cartoon Saloon production is one of the best examples of what modern animation has to offer, and my father’s dragon it’s a worthy (if not overly ambitious) entry into the canon.

My Father’s Dragon debuts on Netflix on November 11.

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