Dragon Age: The Movie-ing

I ended up watching Dragon Age: Redemption last night because it was a movie available on Hoopla. It was exactly as good as I expected a movie released on the web as six episodes based on a fantasy RPG would be.

The premise is that there’s an evil wizard who escapes wizard prison. An elf assassin, played by Felicia Day, is dispatched by the faction I’ll call The Horns.

Here’s one of the problems with the “movie” is that it spams you with title cards packed with exposition to explain what is going on. You’ll be watching the movie and suddenly it cuts to a title card that’s like:

When people say “qunari” they mean the giant grey skinned guys with horns that believe everyone should be the same thing. And then when people refer to “the chantry” they mean some other stuff that we’ll now meticulously define.

It breaks up the flow of the movie and kind of bombards you with blatant exposition which isn’t fun.

The elf assassin, who has a name but I’ll refer to as Ad-Block, tracks down one of the compatriots of the Evil Wizard, but is intercepted by a Templar. What is a Templar? In D&D terms she meets a Paladin. The Paladin is decked out in plate mail, which is a good point to digress about another gripe of mine. The prop design suffers a problem of transferring the video game designs to the real world and the result is jarring. The weapons look like they come from that one store in the mall that sells fantasy weapons (that are just super jagged and weird shaped). The armor looks fake and besides that, I suspect that a person wearing as much plate mail as the Templar would actually have to be riding a horse because it would be too heavy to hike around in. Also I don’t think he could remove it or put it on without help.

Yes, I’m critiquing that in a fantasy movie. I feel weird about that too.

She and the Templar, who I’ll call Brian of Fake Accent, flirt a lot while they track the Evil Wizard to an elf camp. The movie goes out of its way to explain all kinds of details about the elves that clearly matter in game but don’t matter at all in the movie. The elves are unhappy because the Evil Wizard killed a bunch of them and took their magic hockey mask. This is where Ad-Block and Brian recruit their elf cleric, Josh.

I should point out that the acting is pretty bad at this point, though I think Felicia Day is working with a script that demands her to be alternately flirty, hardcore and tortured so has it the hardest. The character of Josh is whiney. Brian is just wooden with a dash of tormented. They continue on and get beat up in a cave by Evil Wizard’s goons, but Evil Wizard decides to just let them live and walk off. That’s when they recruit the “reaver” who I’ll call Carla. “Reavers” are effectively D&D Barbarians.

They go to a nearby inn and get attacked by randos who they kill after exchanging some backstories. Carla seems to be the most well adjusted all considered since she’s pursuing her career by choice, whereas Brian’s family was murdered by Evil Wizard, and Ad-Block was sold into slavery.

They then find out that it’s Brian’s fault that Evil Wizard escaped, and that’s why he’s pursuing Evil Wizard.

Anyway, they finally track down Evil Wizard. Brian and Ad-Block make out, and Carla tries to get it on with super-wimp Josh but Josh wimps out because she’s so literally out of his league that he dies instantly, but the movie propels his corpse onward.

The final fight begins and nothing happens. I mean some zombies jump out of nowhere but it doesn’t matter. Then Evil Wizard turns on the magic hockey mask, kills Brian (who sacrifices himself to save Ad-Block) and then Ad-Block destroys the hockey mask and kills Evil Wizard.

I know what the movie wants me to think about the characters, but there’s a real disconnect between what they want and what they produced. I think it partially comes down to the fact that the movie makers weren’t very skilled at putting together story for a movie.

What’s really unfortunate is that the movie wasn’t bad enough to be great, but not good enough to be great either. It’s just kind of in a limbo. That being said I do feel like the people making the movie had a blast and really cared, it just didn’t come together.

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