My Father’s Dragon

Sick day.

This gave me a chance to catch up on some of the Netflix films and other streaming films that came out this week. The first one that I watched was an animated film directed by Nora Twomey from Netflix Animation, Mockingbird Pictures and Cartoon Saloon. Cartoon Saloon was an Irish animation studio that recently release the Oscar nominated animated film Wolfwalkers.

My Father’s Dragon is based on a 1948 children’s novel by Ruth Stiles Gannett.

Elmer Elevator (Jacob Trembley) is a young boy whose mother (Golshifteh Farahani) ran a store. Elmer was a great help during this time, but the store would not last and they had to leave their home. Struggling to make ends meat, they found a rundown attic apartment and started to try to save money for a new store. Unfortunately, things were not going well.

After being frustrated with his mother, Elmer ran off and found a talking cat (Whoopi Goldberg) who told Elmer that the answers to his problems would be on Wild Island in the form of a dragon named Boris (Gaten Matarazzo). However, when Elmer arrived on the island, he discovered that there were a lot of other problems going on.

My Father’s Dragon featured a wonderful cast of voice actors. Along with Jacob Trembly, Gaten Matarazzo, and Whoopi Goldberg, there were also Ian McShane, Chris O’Dowd, Jackie Earle Haley, Rita Moreno, Dianne Wiest, Judy Greer, Alan Cumming, Adam Brody, Charlyne Yi, Yara Shahidi and Mary Kay Place.

The traditional 2D animation style really worked well for this film. The hand drawn images turned out beautifully as the imagery popped from the screen. The 2D animation is a nice change from all the CGI design that dominates the animation today. The design of the characters on Wild Island were remarkably creative and imaginative.

The story has some strong themes that work through the entire film. It is a movie that the story may be simplistic, but it is well executed and should be a tale that both kids and their parents will enjoy.

3.8 stars

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