My Father’s Dragon

Where I Watched It: Netflix

Audio Description Provided By: Deluxe

Written By: Andrea Mozerella

Narrated By: Laura Post

We are going to need to not nominate this one for an Oscar this year. If we could just not, that’d be great. When i first heard of this, I saw a critic asking fans what their favorite Cartoon Saloon film was, and i didn’t get the name recognition. I watched the film, and still didn’t care. Since then, I now know they are the Irish animation studio behind The Secret Of Kells.

This animated offering has a stacked voice cast. Jacob Tremblay, Gaten Matarazzo, Whoopi Goldberg, Rita Moreno, Dianne Wiest, Judy Greer, Ian McShane, and Jackie Earle Haley just to name a few. The story centers around a destitute mother and her son, Elmer, who are trying to live. Really, just live. An apartment would be nice, but the landlord hates kids and pets. Elmer wants to do more to help out, but his mom is on ambien and says she’ll handle it.

That’s when Elmer is nice to a black cat (Hey, didn’t I see this movie already this year?) and the cat turns out to be a talking one (Seriously. Watch Luck.) who tells Elmer all his money problems can be solved by a dragon. but, to get the dragon, Elmer has to ride on a whale, past the island of tangerines, to another island where a dragon is chained to it, trying to keep it afloat and from sinking into the sea. Elmer sees this dragon in trouble, so he sets him free, without any real plan of how to save the island, or get home. Turns out, this dragon is conveniently afraid of water.

Anyway, the film just gets progressively worse,and this is coming from the guy who earlier this year sat through Chicken Hare and the Hamster Of Darkness. I’m happy to discover animation not from Disney/Pixar/Illumination/Dreamworks/Studio Ghibli, but I already did that. The Sea Beast was great.

This is not. it feels like something made for elementary school kids, but with a cast meant to attract adults. I like Matarazzo, but his casting in the role makes him seem like a doofus. Also, he sounds the same age as Tremblay, so how long has he been on the island? Is this a child dragon? You can stilll have a young sounding voice without matching the age of Tremblay. Tremblay is 16, Matarazzo is 20, by the way. They sound the same.

I also do not know who the actress is that voiced the mother, but she had only one emotion the whole film, even when she is reunited at the end, and that is Ambien. Also, the ending is so shitty. it just ends. There’s barely a resolution to the film. Almost as soon as Elmer sets foot back on land, the film is over. We never really find out if any of Elmer’s problems are solved, or if this quest made his life any better, or if it was even real. Who the hell knows. Also, the title makes virtually no sense, considering what this film is actually about. I realize it is an adaptation of a kids book, so they were trapped there, but there are probably a thousand more appropriate names.

The audio description here is fine, and Post does her usual exceptional work for a kids film.

The thing is, I think kids will like it, but I don’t think this is something older kids, or parents will enjoy. So, you can put it on for your five year old. It’s fine, and not offensive. But, you may not want to stay around, or if you do, you’ll enjoy a nice nap.

If this gets an Oscar nomination, we have really lowered the bar this year. I ahven’t even broken into all the silly stuff about After Dragons and this unnecessary exposition this thrusts upon us because this is such a bizarre inconsequential film. It’s not simple, I’ll give it that. But sometimes, less is more. Or, at least, make it make sense. Have the payoff be there. Give this movie a few minutes to end or something. Considering the studio behind this, I’m saying this is The Good Dinosaur for Cartoon Saloon.

Final Grade: C

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