Yes, I’m still doing this! I believe this is the…7th?? entry in this series, where I watch and review a small studio animated film – I say small, some of the studios I review in this series may actually be quite big in the country they’re based, I just mean where I live in the UK, this film was either overlooked or never reached our cinemas.
So anyway! This week; Throne of Elves; a 3D animated, Chinese film released in 2016 and directed by Song Yuefeng. I believe the production company responsible for this film is Mili Pictures, however I’m not 100% certain. Whilst I was watching this film, I couldn’t help thinking how much this film reminded me of some kind of Fantasy RPG game or something and I’ve just found out whilst researching the film that it’s based on the video game; Dragons Nest!
For fans of: Arthur and the Invisibles, Epic, Fantasy RPGs
Mild Spoiler Warning
I believe this was the first film that I added to my list of films to review, If I remember rightly I was flicking through the movie channels a few months ago when I first decided to start this series and I passed Throne of Elves on one of the channels, I had never heard of it before so I added it to the list and didn’t think much more of it, until now! I’ve now watched it fully and I’m disappointed to say that it almost wasn’t worth the wait…
Another thing that I wasn’t aware of is that Throne of Elves is actually a sequel! Which makes so much sense now as there was a lot of elements in the film that weren’t explained, which I guess would have been in the previous film; Dragon Nest: Warrior’s Dawn. I’m sure this is probably a regional thing as this is a Chinese film, perhaps the first film didn’t make it as big over here as Throne of Elves has. I’ve just done some research and I found out that “Due to the expiration of the contract with Shanda, and the disinterest of the company to work with Mili Pictures, Throne of Elves is now being edited and marketed to be released as a standalone film.” Which explains what I mentioned earlier about the backstory that was missing.
Due to the confusion of the film and sequel business, I’ve decided to borrow a plot synopsis from the Dragon Nest Wiki of Throne of Elves as a standalone film; “Human juvenile Little Fish was invited to the distant and mysterious elf kingdom to participate in the elf queen’s wedding. Taking this opportunity, he could finally meet his elf girlfriend Liya. But the dark elves broke into the romantic wedding with army, forcing the queen to hand over the Jade, which was powerful and controlled the elves’ lifeblood. After being met with resistance, the dark elves held the queen as hostage. The whole elf kingdom fell into a panic. In order to protect Liya, Little Fish resolutely joined the elves, and together, they started the adventure of queen rescuing. It was not just a journey full of danger, unexpectedly to Little Fish, it was also a tremendous test to himself and to the love between Liya and him.”
I’m going to be honest about this film, visually it’s so stunning, I know I say that a lot but each character had the most beautiful hair, hair that was shiny, that flows with every twist and turn but that always falls perfectly into place. Even during fight scenes small flicks of hair fell out of place, which is something you don’t often see in animation. Each environment was also so grand and designed so uniquely. There were elements of 2D art within this film too which – of course – was so pretty. Although the characters were animated with the assistance of motion capture, I found that some of the facial acting was slightly off, I couldn’t quite decode the emotion of the characters in some scenes.
Talking of the characters, Throne of Elves has all of your favourites! Legolas, Tinkerbell, Princess Zelda and even the drunk old guy from Tangled! I’m totally kidding but a lot of the characters in this film had similar features to all of those characters. If you’re as lame as I am you’ll notice some of the Disney alumni voice cast featuring in this film; Ryan K Potter who previously voiced Hiro Hamada in Big Hero 6 and Anika Noni Rose who voiced Tiana in The Princess and the Frog both take on prominent roles.
Now for the really honest part; I’ll admit it, I got a little bored whilst watching this film, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a little distracted on my phone whilst watching it and that is yet to happen during any of the other films in this series. I believe this is due to me not being too interested in the story though and not being able to keep track more than the film being bad, as mentioned before the film was edited and cut to be a standalone film and that makes so much sense now as whilst I was watching I found the cuts and transitions from scene to scene so fast and sporadic! I got a little confused at parts due to all the missing backstory and fast cuts. I struggled to figure out each character’s relationship to one an other and this is probably due to me not watching the film released before it.
I don’t regret seeing this film but I don’t think it was really my thing, I got a bit bored and this was due to the confusion and me not being interested. If you’re a fan of these kinds of stories though, this’ll probably be your cup of tea! As always with these reviews, I’m just writing about what I thought about whilst watching this film, it’s never my goal to stop people seeing a film so if you’re interested in Throne of Elves, please do go and see it! Don’t just take my word for it!
Find my other reviews in this series here: Ballerina, My Life As a Zucchini , Capture The Flag, Mary & Max, Ernest and Celestine and The Red Turtle. Find my video game reviews and some of my other articles at nerdoutwordout.com.