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Movie review: 'Wish Dragon' (2021)

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (8 votes)

'Wish Dragon' poster Wish Dragon (trailer) is a computer-animated film from the Sony Pictures Animation International Initiative, a fancy way of saying "international co-production", in this case between Sony and several studios in China. Concept art made the rounds in 2018, and they hoped to finish it in 2019. For whatever reason, it didn't get released until January 15, 2021 - in China - so this review is of the Chinese dub with English subtitles.

A little backstory. When Kung Fu Panda came out in 2008, it had so much artistic attention to cultural detail that China kicked their animation industry into high gear. In the twelve years since then, they've become a powerhouse of animation. Recently, there's been a slow-growing effort to make their films more exportable. Some efforts have fallen flat, like the sadly-overlooked Rock Dog; but with Mosley and Wish Dragon I'm optimistic that there'll be more co-productions to come!

Movie review: 'Raya and the Last Dragon' (2021)

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

Raya and the Last Dragon Before we start talking about the movie, due to the pretty unusual circumstances still happening in the world right now, we need to discuss what options are available to watch it. (With apologies to our non-North American readers, for whom none of this may apply.)

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, streaming has been the obvious or only way to watch movies reviewed by Flayrah. Raya and the Last Dragon, however, isn't free to stream right now. You'll have to pay Disney+'s $29.99 'Premier Access' fee, or buy a ticket at a theater.

Currently, this reviewer recommends the Premier Access route. It's more expensive, but factoring in the ability to re-watch it, group watching, and ongoing pandemic concerns, it feels a safer bet.

Anyway, Raya and the Last Dragon is from Walt Disney Animation Studios; directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, it stars Kelly Marie Tran as Raya and Awkwafina as Sisu, the titular last dragon.

Movie review: 'Dragon Rider' (2020)

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (7 votes)

Dragon Rider (trailer) is a 2020 computer-animated children's film, a German production (Drachenreiter) whose UK English dub was recently released online. Adapted from a best-selling children's book by Cornelia Funke, it's the story of a young dragon in the modern-day world, searching for a refuge where dragons can stay safe from mankind. Short version: You can skip this one.

The film was directed by Tomer Eshed (Flamingo Pride) who doesn't seem to have worked on anything this big before. The production company, Constantin Film, appears to have outsourced the animation to several studios, so it's not clear if there was a unified vision. The screenplay was adapted by... John R. Smith? Who, according to IMDB and its scoring system, is the genius behind Gnomeo & Juliet (5.9 out of 10), Sherlock Gnomes (5.2), and The Queen's Corgi (4.8).

Given that The Queen's Corgi is also the rare recipient of a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it's a bit of a red flag. Dragon Rider's IMDB score currently sits at 5.5.

Trailer: 'Raya and the Last Dragon'

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

Disney has posted a trailer (now two) for its next animated movie, Raya and the Last Dragon, which will have a release date of March 5, making it officially Walt Disney Animation Studio's first movie of this exciting new decade. It has a talking Eastern-style dragon in it, so that's furry.

Raya and the Last Dragon will release theatrically, but as actually going to movie theaters is still not really recommended at this point, it'll also be released on the Disney+ streaming service the same day, though with an additional "Premier Access" charge of $29.99 in the US.

The movie features Kelly Marie Tran as the titular Raya, with Awkwafina as the titular last dragon (meanwhile, Disney animation regular voice actor Alan Tudyk will once again be "voicing" a non-anthropomorphic animal; this time, the giant pillbug / armadillo creature Tuk Tuk). The movie is set in the fictional fantasy world of Kumandra.

AlectorFencer wins Rudolph Dirks Award for her comic 'Haunter of Dreams'

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (5 votes)

AlectorFencer (Claudya Schmidt) was recently awarded the Best Artist prize for Artwork in the 2020 Rudolph Dirks Award, named after German-American cartoonist Rudolph Dirks, for her comic Haunter of Dreams.

Haunter of Dreams - released at Eurofurence 25, where she was Guest of Honour - is just one of several comics and illustrations set in the world of Yria which have earned AlectorFencer honours. She received a Rudolph Dirks Award in 2018 for her work on MYRE - Chronicles of Yria Volume 1. Earlier this year, she won a silver Spectrum Award in the comic category for her illustration Flora, depicting a mythical being from Yria.

Missing Tiger?

We were looking for something else, and we came across this completely by accident! Hidden Dragon is a new animated feature film that’s due this year, according to the IMDB page. We don’t know much about it, but the production crew names are mostly Chinese while the voice actor names are mostly western, so it’s an international production. “In a magical undersea world where dragons rule and humans are feared, a naive young dragon forms an uneasy alliance with the sea’s greatest enemy – a human girl.” We don’t know if they’ll successfully get it out this year, but it should be coming soon.


image c. 2020 Magic Hill Animation

Multiverse, hopes to bridge the communities of Fantasy, Sci-fi, & Horror Fans—Furries included

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (12 votes)

Mutiverse_0.jpgEditors Disclosure: This article has been posted by the communications director of the convention.
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Multiverse, a brand-new convention for fans of science fiction, fantasy, horror, comics, furry culture, and more, will hold its debut event from October 18th to October 20th in Atlanta, GA.

The convention, located at the Hilton Atlanta Airport, will bring together fans, authors, artists, and other creators, all of whom share a common passion⁠—genre fiction. Attendees can expect sci-fi, fantasy, and horror media, tabletop role-playing games, cosplay, and other beloved staples of “geekery” to feature heavily at Multiverse.

“Panel discussions, a fursuit festival, an art gallery, a gaming hall, and even a charity auction for the nonprofit RAICES⁠—it’s going to be so much fun, truly,” says convention chair Allie Charlesworth. “Whether you love Game of Thrones or Black Panther, the movie Get Out or Dungeons and Dragons or even My Little Pony, this is absolutely your con.”

Talk to the Dragons

And now a rather different take on Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon universe, this time in a new Netflix TV series for young viewers. Animation World Network gave us the scoop: “DreamWorks Animation has just unveiled the high-flying trailer and cast of its new animated preschool series, Dragons Rescue Riders. This all-new chapter in the Oscar-nominated How to Train Your Dragon franchise follows the adventures of twins, Dak and Leyla, raised by dragons, who share a unique ability to communicate with them. The brother and sister lead a team of five young dragons, Aggro, Winger, Summer, Cutter, and Burple, with whom they spend their days rescuing other dragons and helping people in their adopted town of Huttsgalor. All 14 episodes of the new series debut September 27 exclusively on Netflix.” Check out the preview trailer as well.


image c. 2019 Dreamworks Animation

Movie review: 'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World'

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (12 votes)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) is the latest film in the HTTYD series, the first of which came out in 2010 and was followed by a second film in 2014. Now, after a four-and-a-half-year gap, we have a third one, presumably (?) the last, but even if DreamWorks decides to keep the film franchise going, The Hidden World feels like the completion of a trilogy, all of which have involved Dean DeBlois as screenwriter and director.

I'm going to try and avoid major spoilers, so I'll summarize the plot points introduced in the early part of the film. I won't be linking to trailers, because they give away some of the locations and scene gags that are better kept a surprise. I watched a 2D screening, and I haven't kept up with any of the franchise spinoffs or shorts. I'm not a fan of most of the dragon designs or of several secondary characters, but regardless, I've happily enjoyed Hiccup and Toothless' adventures together.

Movie review: 'I Am Dragon'

Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (34 votes)

The dragon swoops down on Mira to carry her away from her town. She never stands in that location during the film.I Am Dragon (trailer) is a Russian fantasy/drama film that came out in 2015 and yes I know it's technically a wyvern. When I showed clips of it to dragon furries, that's the first thing they said, in a tone of voice like I'd gotten their hopes up and then betrayed them.

For a live-action film, it uses a lot of computer graphics (around 85%), and looks pretty good! The setting felt very real to me. Production costs were about $18 million, and it flopped at the box office. As movies go, it's... ok. I say this with some reluctance. If you're a fan of dragons, you're not missing much.

Back-story: A line of dragons lives on a secluded island, and in a medieval town, the people perform a ceremony and song with which they offer their maidens as sacrifices. This summons the dragon who flies off with one of them, until one day a warrior decides he's going to rescue the woman he loves. He finds the island (too late to save the maiden), slays the beast, and the sacrificial rite is turned into a local wedding ritual, minus the dragon.

Review: 'The Dragons of Krynn' ('Dragonlance Dragons' #1) anthology edited by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Your rating: None Average: 4 (10 votes)

dragonsofkrynn.jpgAlmost 30 years ago, Dragonlance exploded into the role-playing world with new sets of player characters and a fresh take on monsters. In my circle of friends, reading about Dragonlance proved more interesting than actually playing in the setting.

It's my understanding that there are over 200 novels and collections in the Dragonlance universe. I believe the last new Dragonlance novel was released in 2010, with the last reprint released in 2011. Along with Dungeons & Dragon's world of the Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance was one of the most popular shared worlds in fiction. I wouldn't be surprised if there were more of these books waiting for us in the future.

When I last set foot on Mount To-Be-Read (what I call my queue of unread books) this old classic was waiting for me. I have had mixed experiences with the Dragonlance books and I hesitated at reading it for a moment.

But then I wondered how the dragons of Dragonlance would stand up to a furry eye? That made me curious as I tended to read the TSR novels as I would read any other fantasy novel. Maybe I shouldn't have a different mind set when reading different sub-genres but I do. I look for more logic and more relationship in furry stories either with the environment or with other people/creatures. While in a different sword and sorcery fantasy realm, I care more about mood and the character's struggle to reach his goal.

So, I set out to read The Dragons of Kyrnn with a furry eye, looking and hoping for anthropomorphic tales that elevated a dragon from monster to character.

Interestingly enough, some of the best of the stories had very little dragon in them. Still, there were five stories in the collection that I will recommend to my fellow furries and scalies.

Wizards of the Coast (TSR), March 1, 1994; trade paperback (390 pages, 15 stories, 3 poems).

Review: 'dʒrægɛn: A game about a Dragon'

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

d?ræg?n: A game about a DragonAs I was looking for a furry game to review this month, I didn't have to go too far before I ran into a promotional video that caught my attention. Despite the simplistic voice acting there was something about the aesthetic and the sense of humor that dʒrægɛn: A game about a Dragon held about itself that seemed to garner immediate interest and curiosity.

So what is this game about a dragon? Let's take a look and find out.

Big News from Dreamworks

Dreamworks Animation have released the first preview of their new How To Train Your Dragon tie-in TV series, Dragons: Race to the Edge. It’s coming to Netflix on June 26th. Interestingly, it’s all coming on that date: All 13 episodes will be available at once. In this latest iteration, “Hiccup and Toothless lead the Dragon Riders as they soar beyond the borders of Berk and discover the mysterious Dragon Eye — an ancient artifact filled with secrets that will lead them to new lands filled with undiscovered dragons. But the heroes find themselves pursued by marauding dragon hunters, who will stop at nothing to seize the power of the Dragon Eye.” Check it out over at Comingsoon.net. Meanwhile, just today came another Dreamworks announcement: Kung Fu Panda 3’s release date has been moved. Again. This time they’ve moved it up from March 18th to January 29th. We still gotta wait until 2016, but at least it’s coming sooner!

image c. 2015 Dreamworks Animation

image c. 2015 Dreamworks Animation

They Will Change the World of Dragons

Here’s another one of those “how did we miss this?” young-adult fantasy book series. Tui T. Sutherland is part of the author collective that, under the name Erin Hunter, created the Seekers and Warriors series of cat-based fantasies. In 2012 though, she returned to her own name to bring us the Wings of Fire series, beginning with The Dragonet Prophecy (published by Scholastic, Inc.) “The seven dragon tribes have been at war for generations, locked in an endless battle over an ancient, lost treasure. A secret movement called the Talons of Peace is determined to bring an end to the fighting, with the help of a prophecy — a foretelling that calls for great sacrifice. Five dragonets are collected to fulfill the prophecy, raised in a hidden cave and enlisted, against their will, to end the terrible war.” As you can well imagine, things don’t turn out as planned when the five young dragons escape. Their adventures have thus far lead us through six books in the series, and at least two more books are being written even now. Check out the first book over at Barnes & Noble.

Guide the Dragons of the Sun

More new dragon fantasy books: Spirits of the Sun, Book One in the new Diego’s Dragon series by Kevin Gerard (published by Crying Cougar Press). “An eleven-year-old Latino boy wins a district-wide writing contest for sixth graders. When an author visits his school to award his prize, Diego Ramirez has no idea how much his life is about to change. Nathan Sullivan hands Diego his statue, a handsome, glistening black dragon. After hearing the name Magnifico spoken aloud by family and friends, Diego awards it to his new dragon. If he only knew how fitting the name was, he might have known what lay ahead: Magnifico is the leader of the Sol Dragones, dragons that live within the magical fires of the sun. Nathan Sullivan is the earth’s connection to the mysterious creatures. It is his task to find Magnifico’s guide. As Magnifico comes to life he becomes quite mischievous, playing tricks on Diego to embarrass him. As he discovers his bloodline, however, Diego assumes greater control over his dragon and his destiny.” There’s a video on YouTube introducing you to the series, and more information over on the official web site.