Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Price: $34.98 – Available Here
Over the past two decades a new entertainment industry began taking the world by storm and has shown no sign of stopping since its rise to mainstream popularity in the ‘90s. The rise of the video game industry has provided billions of people a chance to take their entertainment to a whole new level. With the rise of video game popularity, certain franchises and developers have become popular enough to receive spinoffs in the forms of books and movies.
One such franchise is EA and BioWare’s Dragon Age. There have been a few books written that take place in the series’ universe and even a webseries. Now even a Dragon Age movie has been created in the form of Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker and FUNimation has brought the movie over for fans in North America. The question is however, while most videogames that are adapted from movies are usually terribly received and offer a minimalistic amount of enjoyment, does a movie derived from a video game franchise offer an enjoyable viewing experience?
Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker follows the story of a Seeker girl named Cassandra Pentaghast. The Seekers are the go-to force for “The Chantry” which is lead by a woman known as “The Divine.” The Chantry protects the people and tries to keep the peace the best that they can, however to do this they must police the mages in the world for they believe that their magic arts could potentially unleash a blight upon the world.
While most mages have accepted Chantry control and have joined the Circle of Magi, there are a number of mages who refuse Chantry rule. These mages have turned to the dark and wicked ways of Blood Magic. While the Chantry possesses a number of Templar soldiers to keep the peace, the Seekers do their best to put a stop to any and all Blood Mage activity.
However order is without corruption… even a holy one. After the Seekers manage to save a young Elven girl named Avexis who had been kidnapped by a cult of Blood Mages who wished to use her special abilities to control dragons, Cassandra’s world begins to twist in on itself. After the Elven girl is kidnapped once again and her mentor is slain Cassandra is forced to join forces with a young Circle Mage named Galyan. The two of them quickly learn that the Blood Mages are working together with someone from inside the Chantry. Learning this fact, the two team up to discover who has betrayed the Chantry and prevent them from using Avexis’ powers to assassinate the heads of the Chantry.
Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker excels at having well defined and simplistic characters which are offered just a hint of backstory. Cassandra may be a powerful warrior who is able to defeat large opponents with acrobatic flair, but there are chinks in her armor. Cassandra’s tragic history not only makes her battle against Blood Mages more personal, but also allows for Galyan to work alongside her and develop beyond their simple “odd-couple” dynamic.
With a number of decent twists as well as enjoyable characters Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker offers an entertaining experience. Obviously fans of the Dragon Age series will derive the most enjoyment out of the movie, and these fans may also be a bit curious as to where Dawn of the Seeker falls in the Dragon Age time-line. Those who have played Dragon Age II may recall that Varric has been captured by the Chantry and was being asked for information about “The Champion” Hawke. It just so happens that the same person doing the questioning is the very same Cassandra Pentaghast from this movie. As such this places the movie before the events of Dragon Age II.
Now those who haven’t played a Dragon Age game before can still find plenty to enjoy as Dawn of the Seeker does a decent job explaining everything in the Dragon Age universe that plays into the movie. Obviously there are a few things that newcomers may miss out on but this is to be expected. Ironically, considering Dragon Age: Origins isn’t specifically linked to Dragon Age II, Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker may be a great jumping-in point for those who wish to get into the franchise.
Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker isn’t quite an anime movie nor is it a video game cutscene, instead it appears as a combination of both. This creates an interesting combination that unfortunately doesn’t always work out in the movies favor. The human characters themselves have plenty of subtle touches in their design but overall appear very superficial and smooth. On the other hand, all of the creatures that we are treated to, especially the dragons, are given extensive detail and look absolutely amazing in motion.
All of the action scenes are well animated and choreographed and most of the environments are exceptionally well designed. It is worth noting that Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker is quite a violent movie as it features plenty of bloody moments. There are plenty of times that enemies will be decapitated or have their limbs cut off and blood will gush forth. There is even a scene where Cassandra runs through a splash of blood and is subsequently covered in blood afterwards, similar to how blood spatter worked in Dragon Age II.
With this release of Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker, FUNimation has released both the English and Japanese dubbed version of the movie, which in the Blu-Ray combo pack features the English and Japanese movies on separate DVDs. The English voice cast is spot on and features subtle accents to match Dragon Age’s European-like setting. Colleen Clinkenbeard handles the voice of Cassandra and does a great job presenting her character while J. Michael Tatum’s performance of Galyan is suitable enough as a secondary lead.
Interestingly enough, the package of Dawn of the Seeker advertises that the show features the song, ‘Desire for Need’ by SEETHER, but the song doesn’t actually play anywhere during the movie and is instead placed at the end credits, followed by “Until the Last Day” by GACKT. These songs are quite enjoyable to listen to and it is unfortunate that there was no way to work these songs into the action sequences of the show. Instead most of the background music is relatively suitable for the situation but doesn’t go much further than that.
Dawn of the Seeker’s special features include a couple of featurettes as well as some production art from the movie itself shown in a video. The first of the featurettes follows Mike Laidlaw, the Creative Director for Dragon Age, as he gives viewers a quick tour of the BioWare Studios in Edmonton. Fans of the franchise may get a kick out of this eight minute video but it ultimately doesn’t offer much.
On the other hand, the other featurette provides us a 21 minute look behind the scenes of the movie in Dawn of the Seeker Backstage Pass. This video includes some backstory on the three main groups presented in the movie which will help make newcomers a bit more welcome to the series as well as how the show was created. Ultimately the special features are a little thin and it is disappointing that FUNimation didn’t try to at least include GACKT’s music video for his song as a special feature.
Fans of Dragon Age may find it a bit strange that the movie focuses on what can be seen as a barely shown side-character in the series, but ultimately following Cassandra’s battle against the Blood Mages and attempts to save The Chantry from potential devastation provides quite an enjoyable viewing experience. With an enjoyable storyline, unique and well done animation and a number of exceptional action scenes against large enemies, Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker provides a thrilling viewing experience that fans and newcomers alike will appreciate.