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Kiefer Sutherland Headlines Dragonlance Movie 158

Pre-production on the animated Dragonlance film is continuing apace, and the voice casting for the Companions has been completed. Kiefer Sutherland will be headlining as the voice of Raistlin Majere. Other case members will include Michael Rosenbaum (Justice League's Flash) as Tanis Half-Elven, Lucy Lawless as Goldmoon, Michelle Trachtenberg at Tika Waylan, and Jason Marsden as Tasslehoff Burrfoot. From the site: "The film is based on the first book in the Chronicles series, "Dragons of Autumn Twilight". The director is comics and TV animation veteran, Will Meugniot, and the screenplay has been adapted by George Strayton with plenty of involvement from Margaret and Tracy."
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Kiefer Sutherland Headlines Dragonlance Movie

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  • Oh great (Score:5, Funny)

    by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @10:48PM (#15730361)
    How am I supposed to ogle an animated Lucy Lawless?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    He's also Smallville's Lex Luthor! It's a much bigger role.
    • And he actually makes a cool Lex Luthor. I never liked the movie Lexes. They always felt corny. I think the guy who played Lex in Lois and Clark was pretty good too (tough I haven't seen this show in years, it may be that my childhood memories are better than what they actually were)
    • He's also Justice League's Lex Luthor! In that episode where Flash and Lex Luthor switch brains by accident. Good episode. "You gonna wash your hands?" "No... 'cause I'm EVIL."
  • I have a lot of trouble putting Sutherland and Raistlan together. It's probably just the whole Jack Bower thing, but Keifer Sutherland has built such a tough-as-nails, show no mercy personna around himself thanks to 24 that I'm having a lot of trouble picturing him as the sickly, yet sinister Raistlan. Granted it's a voice acting gig, so hopefully that will help with any potential suspension of disbelief issues some may have with this casting choice. :\
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @08:08AM (#15730417) Homepage
    Not one of those names is replete with the required f'antasy punc'tuation.
  • by Asahi Super Dry ( 531752 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @08:14AM (#15730459)
    It's my understanding that the book was basically an edited transcript of a Dungeons and Dragons game run by the authors. Is that in fact the case? Regardless (and this is of course just my opinion) it made me never want to read a book based on a game ever again. I can't think of a single thing I liked about it. If D&D really was the instrument of Satan then the guy has remarkably questionable taste.
    • by AcidLacedPenguiN ( 835552 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @08:52AM (#15730659)
      that is actually true, the entire series apparently spawned from one of the author's theatrical performance of his D&D character one night.

      Personally I found the main arc of the series to be really good (the Dragons of * books, didn't really care for any of the others.) I think I may have enjoyed it only for the characters.
      As far as game related books, I do believe the Battletech book series was spawned by the table top RPG, and I find for the most part they were excellent.

      I think the one thing that makes a successful fantasy/sci-fi book is the authors. I know that Micheal A Stackpole authored many of the Star Wars novels, as well as most of the battletech books I enjoyed.

      now onto another topic, wasn't there already a Dragonlance cartoon in the 80's, and didn't it suck hard (removed violence to make it a kids show or something)? Hopefully this will be more oriented towards a mature audience.
      • As far as I know there wasn't any such cartoon. I was an enormous DL fan when I was an adolescent (28 now). The first book in the series was printed in 1984 (Autumn Twilight), so I guess it's possible, but IMDB has nothing on a Dragonlance entity of any kind, except this one, and a quick google search just brings back this same future release.
      • wasn't there already a Dragonlance cartoon in the 80's, and didn't it suck hard

        You may be thinking of the Dungeons and Dragons [zaksrealm.net] cartoon which aired Saturday Morning from '83 to '85 on CBS.
      • wasn't there already a Dragonlance cartoon in the 80's, and didn't it suck hard (removed violence to make it a kids show or something)?

        There was a Dungeons and Dragons cartoon for Saturday mornings. You can see it from time to time on the Toon Disney Saturday and Sunday at 7PM. In fact, I watched it last night. It was not Dragonlance based as the latter came after the cartoons.
      • Close-ish (Score:3, Informative)

        Raistlin's rasping whisper was the result of one player's characterization.

        Bupu, the gully dwarf, also was spawned from their sessions.

        To claim it was a transcript, however, is a bit of a reach. The ideas came from the sessions, and the basic outline of the plot was based on the modules, but most of it was their own.

        And the Legends series, AFAIK, was completely independent of the modules. I consider that series to be fantastic, much better than Chronicles. But both were fantastic. Fizban rules.

      • Agreed... although the "Twins" trilogy was very very good also IMO (written by the same authors)... but once other authors started into the setting with the "Tales" book (and the three gazillion books afterwards) i lost all interest.

        However, the first and second trilogy is a great read IMO. Also, "Dragons of Summer Flame" (the uber-long 4th book of the original "trilogy" which came out YEARS after the orginal trilogy and by the original authors) is not too bad either.
  • always been a fan (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kranfer ( 620510 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @08:15AM (#15730470) Homepage Journal
    I have always been a fan of the Dragonlance books. For a year or so I even sat on the Whitestone council who does the new 3rd Edition D&D books for Dragonlance. Went to GenCon met Margaret and Tracy got recognized at the Dragonlance Author Reception etc... was great. Now I am slightly... well I don't like the idea of an animated Dragonlance film. Its something that can do JUST as well at the box office as LOTR did... and I just have a feeling that this MIGHT just MIGHT destroy it for me. I want to see a live action version of the movie.

    Also what happened to Aron Eisenberg playing Tasslehoff? He volunteered to play it years ago and hes being pushed off? WTF? (BTW Aron is Nog on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for those of you who don't know.)

    I am going to take this with a gain of salt for now I suppose. It has potential... but I don't like the idea of animated movies from a book. I didn't even like the animated version of LOTR. Can't connect with it as much. Ah well.
    • by fritzk3 ( 883083 )
      I think an animated/CG version of the film would make it easier, or more cost-effective, to generate the special effects (spells, dragon breath weapons) that come along with any D&D-based story.

      I imagine it also makes it easier to draw the characters in ridiculous proportions (think of an over-muscled Caramon, or a Sturm with layer after layer of armor) without having to come up with the costumes or makeup that would accomplish the same effect.

      I'd watch whatever version came out, just to see how that

  • by Jerk City Troll ( 661616 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @08:16AM (#15730471) Homepage

    Raistlin is a subtle, quiet-spoken, calm, cold and calculating character. Kiefer could not be more different. Based on his antics in 24 and other roles, he does everything over-the-top. His gestures and voice are always exaggerated and phoney. As silly as it may seem, Sir Ian McKellen, speaking softly might do it (I honestly do not mean to type-cast him, but the man is could be perfectly suited for this). (And damn, there is another actor I am thinking of who would be just as good, but I cannot remember the name at the moment.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, 2006 @08:23AM (#15730509)
    How do I know? In browsing their website I found these two little nuggets:

    Who's written the script for the film?
    The script for the film has been adapted from "Dragons of Autumn Twilight" by George Strayton. Strayon has penned several episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and was a key staff writer on Xena: Warrior Princess.

    What will be the running time for the film?
    The movie is an animated feature film and will have a running time of approximately 90-100 minutes.

    So it's written by a guy whose best work is absolute tripe. The dialogue of Xena and Hercules is one of the worst parts of those shows. And 90-100 minutes is not "feature length" for a book adaptation like this. 120 minutes would be a bare minimum, and 150 would make me feel a lot more comfortable. I would love to think this movie is going to be decent, but right now it looks like a disaster.
    • by Achoi77 ( 669484 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @10:15AM (#15731140)
      Here is a quote from Margaret Wies:

      ...Suffice it to say, Tracy and I have been working with the production team for over a year now. They've been wonderful to work with! They've allowed us to have script approval and asked for our suggestions. They've shown us all the art work and allowed us approval on that (as well as the WoTC art director in charge of Dragonlance)...

      Weis and Hickman haven't lost complete control (yet), so let's reserve judgement untill we start seeing more material. They'll have a say on the script, and I don't think they are willing so mess this chance by jumping the shark on their fans.

      I do think, however, that 90-100 minutes will be way too short. I'm actually more worried that the movie is animated! :-( If it looks like a Don Bluth film, I'm gonna cringe.

      • I know from first hand experience that the gentleman who is writing the script is a fantastic RPer and I personally feel confident that he will do the series justice, especially if he is working with Margaret and Tracy.

        Joe H.
      • If it looks like a Don Bluth film, I'm gonna cringe
        Why would you say that exactly? Not that I am disagreeing with you, but "The Land Before Time" was showing at a diner I grabbed lunch at yesterday and I ended up in a conversation about animation styles. I would like to hear your take on the Don Bluth stuff and see if it meshes with my own.
        It is obviously well behind the times, but there were interesting features that marked it as Don Bluth for me. I'm not quite sure if they were actually flaws, or '
      • let's reserve judgement untill we start seeing more material

        Ok, how's this? Lucy Lawless thinks Goldmoon is a Native American [cinescape.com]. Oh and she's doing Xena's voice for Goldmoon. Thanks for turning my wet dreams into nightmares, Hollywood. Why don't you see if you can fark up Woodstock next oh wait nvrmnd
      • Weis and Hickman haven't lost complete control (yet), so let's reserve judgement untill we start seeing more material.

        W&H have, however, clearly lost something, judging by the later Dragonlance books. Not that it's entirely their fault, but the various authors retconning each others works back and forth got out of hand at some point.

        "Takhisis, Paladine and Gilean created the world!" "No, it was actually Chaos who created it!" "No, Chaos was just delusional!" "Takhisis suffered some kind of stroke

    • Certainly the screenwriter is a key player, but I don't think you can judge this guy. It's not that his "best" work was on Hercules/Xena, it's that his only work was on Hercules/Xena. He's essentially an unknown that got a break on a rather cartoony series and it's related shows. That doesn't mean he's a waste of hydrocarbons.

      I'd wait and see what he does with it, and what the director does with it.

      Though, keep in mind that those books weren't exactly Lord of the Rings. I'm expecting a movie that's going to
    1. Neuromancer
    2. Bridge of Birds
    3. Eon
    4. Permutation City
    5. The Shadow of the Torturer
    6. Childhood's End
    7. The Diamond Age
    8. Perdido Street Station
    9. Hyperion
    10. A Fire Upon the Deep

    What all these have in common is that they would be based on original novels, rather than, say, spinoff novels based on a particular campaign setting based on a particular Role Playing Game based loosely on The Lord of the Rings. Really, do we need a movie based on Dragonlance anymore than we need, say, a novelization of the video game Doom? (You've got to hand it to Linaweaver and ab Hugh for written four books based on a game who's actual description would be "He ran. He ran. He shot the monster. He ran. He shot the monster. He flipped a switch. He shot the monster. He got a bigger gun. He shot the monster...")

    How about making a movie based on the best speculative fiction has to offer? Sure, 9 times out of 10 Hollywood is going to screw it up. But that's true of anything Hollywood touches. Why not at least reach for greatness?

    • Most of those are unfilmable - Hyperion certainly is. It'd require a TV series - perhaps several seasons worth of TV series - to work.
      • And in the current religious and political climate, Childhood's End is a total non-starter as well.
      • True. One rule of thumb I have heard that seems to make sense sometimes is that "B" grade books can make "A" films (sometimes), but that "A" books are usually too complicated to transfer successfully. The example usually cited is "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." It was a book first. Worth considering.

      • Some are, but Diamond Age would be a brilliant movie. It would take some work, but it could be Metropolitan with special effects. There's an interesting moral angle to explore and plenty of opportunities for stunning visuals.

        Biggest problem is it would require considerable rework to pare down the number of characters.

        • I'm not sure. Stephenson is so heavily dependent on descriptions of characters' perceptions of their world that I would think it'd be really hard to film his work, even something structurally simpler like Zodiac. Sure, neo-victorians riding diamond airships around could be visually stunning, but the society portrayed is so different from ours it'd be hard to film without a lot of boring speeches.

          Perhaps a treatment using a few vignettes, a la Sin City or Mystery Train could work, though.

      • I think Eon could be filmed. Like all of Bear's novels that I've read, it would be a big project, but not impossible. Of his stories, I especially think that one, Anvil of Stars, and Queen of Angels would all make excellent films if done properly.

        A Fire Upon the Deep would be *really* tricky to pull off, although not as much as A Deepness in the Sky.

        Neuromancer and The Diamond Age could both be filmed relatively easily... if they were simplified to the point of losing the things that make them really cool.
    • There is a probably more money in doing this than in what you suggest.

      The game already exists and its sales will be boosted. There may also be more value in boosting sales of the comparatively little read Dragonlance novels that the more successful books you mention.
    • Time of the Twins / War of the Twins / Test of the Twins would have been a better choice than these Chronicles books. It has a more manageable cast that reduces to the members of a love triangle, with everyone else as extras. It has betrayal, scheming, action, and lurking evil. Much more compelling and easier to write a screenplay about.

      Bonus: The Twins is very doable in live action (in the post-Peter Jackson LotR era).
    • Hyperion has been in movie-territory for awhile now. Leonardio DiCaprio had reportedly shown interest and isn't officially attached according to Dan Simmon's page, but Dan does mention a 'top-flight movie star'.

      However, I have heard about this for at least 2 years now, and screenplays do sit on shelves for years in some cases.

      http://www.dansimmons.com/news/movies.htm [dansimmons.com]

    • Hyperion would absolutely rock... but I have a feeling they would try and "tame" it by cutting back on the language, and a lot of the more adult themes in the book.

      That would absolutely suck.
    • I wouldn't mind seeing David Weber's Bahzell [thefifthimperium.com] books made into movies. While they're based on the writer's D&D campaign also, they at least have significantly more serial numbers filed off than Dragonlance, and follow the interesting choice of casting an orc-equivalent as the heroic paladin.

      I'd also enjoy movies based on Elizabeth Moon's Deed of Paksenarrion, which is another D&D-based trilogy...
  • i've been a fan of the Chronicles since i first read them probably 10 years or so ago. they've been the favorite books for me and my group of friends, and I know there are others out there who are just as pumped about this as we are. plus, with 24 star Sutherland aboard, it's bound to get much needed publicity.

    i'm curious as to why they chose to do it in CG... perhaps they're going for a younger demographic? that would be unfortunate, as the Chronicles had a sinister tone to them. (closer to the LotR

    • i'm curious as to why they chose to do it in CG...

      I don't believe it is in CG. Unless I missed something on the site, the director's entire body of work is Saturday-morning style children's cheap TV animation. On the bright side, Larry Elmore, who did the book covers, is listed as Lead Artist on the project.
  • by Canthros ( 5769 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @08:38AM (#15730589)
    It's that, every so often, you guys make me feel like less of a dork, if only by comparison.
  • Chris Lambert should voice Raistlin. Just check out his Raiden in Mortal Combat.
  • Why use "actors"? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mungtor ( 306258 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @08:55AM (#15730676)
    Why bother with Keifer and Lucy at all? Why not hire some real voice actors to bring some personality to the characters? That way we could become involved in the story and the characters without having to think of Xena at all.

    Billy West is right... this is a strange trend of animating characters around who you want to do the voice rather than the other way round.
    • Sutherland's voice credits: The Wild, 24: The Game, The Flight That Fought Back, The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration, Watership Down TV series, Armitage III: Poly Matrix (a dub, I presume), The Nutcracker Prince, NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience.

      He's not new to voice acting, so I don't see why his work in non-voice roles should disqualify him.
      • OK, but you have to admit that none of that is anything that people would remember. The Land Before Time X? Voice work in direct-to-video stuff? Video games? I know that Samuel L Jackson has voice credits in GTA: San Andreas, but I hardly think of his as a voice actor.

        I don't think that his non-voice acting should disqualify him simply because he does it. It should disqualify him because he does it poorly, IMO. There are people who are better qualified and will create a better quality product. Gettin
        • Kiefer was great in Armitage III: Polymatrix, which both was and wasn't a dub. (It was a re-edited cinematic version of a 4-episode OAV series, but the movie edit never actually had a Japanese version; it was specifically created to be voiced in English even for its Japanese release.) He did basically play himself for that with no inflectional changes, however.

          But he was also really good in Dark City, where he essentially played a sickly, morally-ambivalent Peter Lorre character, complete with accent and vo
    • Because this is Hollywood, and the thought of making a movie without any stars whose names they can slap on the posters terrifies them. Why would anyone go to see an animated movie with a bunch of voice actors they've never heard of? Because it would be a better movie? Ridiculous!

      This isn't Japan, where voice acting is considered a career unto itself and there are celebrities known for nothing but their voice acting. Sadly.

      Still, there are actors in the States who can voice act well enough, and I think
    • Often it's the stuff the other poster mentioned about they want to put names on the movie posters.

      Pixar doesn't use the actors names on their posters, but they also want certain kinds of voices. As versatile as Billy West, Tom Kenny or Elizabeth Daily might be, they end up either sounding boring or like cartoon voices. Neither is something the movie companies are looking for.

      Billy West is right. And usually the reviewers and attendance respond positively to these techniques. I agree there are downsides to i
    • Raistlin Magere is a character with 22 years of history. Billy West was talking about inventing characters to suit specific actors (Dreamworks in particular does this quite often in their ensemble films.) Big difference. The Dragonlance series of novels started in February of 1984; the Raistlin character is actually older, having begun in game supplements which sparked the establishment of that campaign world. I have one article from Dragon Magazine using the name in 1982, but it may be older than that.
    • Yeah...Keifer Sutherland is kind of a thin, sickly guy, who always plays a devious character, isn't he?

      Wait...no...he's normal size. And he often plays a fighter. Not this kind of character at all.

      Could it be that he's actually a good voice actor as well as being a good actor?

      I don't think you know what to listen for. Like his father (only to a greater degree), he has a great voice, and he brings it to bear when he acts. He speaks in a low, raspy voice when being secretive. He yells in a high pitched v
  • I wonder (Score:2, Funny)

    by skribe ( 26534 )
    I wonder if we'll see a ring of dwarves thrusting hauberks at the heroes.
    Or whether the 'good' priest will disappear for a while just like in the books, where even the authors found him so dull that they forgot to include him for several chapters.
  • Priorities (Score:2, Interesting)

    by samurphy21 ( 193736 )
    I was just scrolling through /. this morning, and I was like "Oh.. Inflatable space station, huh? That sounds kind of interesting, future of mankind and all that.. I'll check that out.. OMG DRAGONLANCE MOVIE FTW!"

    I haven't even read Dragonlance for over a decade, but I'm stoked. Even if the movie is terrible, its like tasting some forgotten candy you haven't had since you were a kid, even if you found the candy in the couch.
    • Re:Priorities (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @10:31AM (#15731226)

      I haven't even read Dragonlance for over a decade, but I'm stoked.

      I have, and I'm scared :(.

      The Chronicles were good, as were the Legends, but after that quality went down faster than a dragon that's been turned to stone mid-flight, and the ending of "War of Souls" had to set some kind of record in sheer stupidity. Constant retcons didn't help either. Or maybe it was because Dragonlance gods were turned into glorified janitors a la Forgotten Realms that it got a bit difficult to take the whole thing seriously. Takhisis, especially, became truly pathetic, in more ways than one... Oh well, another cash cow milked to death and beyond.

      So, this movie might be good, but more likely it's a thinly veiled commercial that sucks harder than the whirpool of the Blood Sea.

    • I exactly agree. It's like candy - it's fun and not very nutritive. Sure, the books weren't LotR but what is? I absolutely loved the characters. I hope the best for this film. I anticipate that the movie will be like the Terry Pratchett movie adaptations, to be honest. Not the best, not the worst. Quirky and fun for those who already loved the world.
  • Intro (Score:2, Funny)

    by Zann ( 989340 )
    My name is Raistlin Majere, and this is the longest day of my life.
  • by rob1980 ( 941751 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @09:23AM (#15730838)
    His lines are all going to be:

    1) Dammit!
    2) We are running out of time!
    3) Dammit, we are running out of time!
    4) DAMMIT!
  • If making this movie is anything like the books, I would half expect the recording studio to explode after the actors leave the building.

    It drove me nuts in Margaret Weiss' books. Every friggen place blows up the instant the heroes leave. Even if they win it blows up. "Yahoo, we just defeated the 'more baddest creature yet', for good measure, lets set it on fire, taking out everything in a 30 mile radius as well. Also, I peed in the well. Before we go, lets stab this guy trying to build a road."
  • This opens the gates for a more D&D movies Dark Elf Trilogy [wikipedia.org] or IceWind Dale [wikipedia.org] movie. Or Magic The Gathering [wikipedia.org] movies would be cool, too.
    • Magic the Gathering is hardly ready to be a movie given that it has such trouble even generating readable novels. The novels went through a brief period of being somewhat less dreadful, but unfortunately this translated predictably badly across to the actual card game.
  • Dragonlance is a big deal - can't wait to see it but I was personally hoping for some Raymond E. Feist action coming to the big screen. Ever since Dragon Heart came out I'd been thinking that it was now possible to bring all of these great books to the screen - hopefully this opens more doors (just like lord of the rings did).
    • I agree! Raymond Feist books will make for a great series of movies...
    • I think Feist's books would make good all around fantasy entertainment for the masses if done well. The stories are good and the characterization is decent if not particularly deep. If it was successful they sure have a number of stories to pull from. In some ways I found the Serpent War sage to be more entertaining than Rift war and it would make for some cool battle scenes.
      For something a bit deeper, I'd love to see the first trilogy of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever done in film. It would have to be R-ra
  • One of the first CRPGs I ever played was a Dragonlance game. I recognise all of these names, but I can't remember what the name of the game was. I remember that the goal of the game was to take your paltry band of adventurers (including Tanis, Goldmoon, and so forth), make your way down this hexagonal grid, finding items and rescuing refugees along the way, and then fight your way through a mountain cave that was only open certain times during the day. Does anyone have any idea what the name of the game wa
  • he played Littlefoot's daddy in The Land Before Time X. Don't ask me how I know...
  • David: Now you know what we are, now you know what you are. You'll never grow old, Michael, and you'll never die. But you must feed! , the creepy doctor from Dark City, and the son of Donald Sutherland. I think his voice will match.
  • I remember reading the first book when I was fifteen. It had a nice cover and the story was engaging enough. Nothing spectacular, but worth the cover price I suppose.

    I tried reading the next one in the series, but I just sort of stopped caring about half way through. "The writers actually recorded their own play sessions? Really? No, seriously. --They write these books from their game notes? Really? You're joking, right?"

    I just couldn't get past this aspect, and I don't know if my response was entir
  • Caramon: There is a big dragon coming towards us!
    Raistlin: Caramon, you and Sturm get the sword protocols! I will open a socket to the magic protocols while Tanis handles the arrow protocols!
    • Everyone knows only Chloey gets to touch the protocols. Tony, Michelle, and Edgar have all THOUGHT they could initiate a protocol... and we know what happened to them. I don't care if Raistlin is the demigod of supercool or whatever he is, you just don't mess with the protocols. Its like a computerized Hand of Vecna -- great if you Vecna, great way to get yourself killed if you're anyone else.
  • On a related and, to my mind, more interesting note, this [conanrednails.com] animated film is supposed to be coming out later this year, based on one of R.E. Howard's final Conan stories, with Ron Perlman (as Conan) and Mark Hamill providing voices-- both of whom have actually done extensive voice work, for that matter.

    More here [imdb.com].

  • as the worst fantasy series I had read to date. It was just bad writing with no suspense or irony, cardboard cutout characters who were only defined by some vague labels and the magic items they carried, the cracks filled with an alphabet soup of terms that were somehow supposed to impress me. It was the crappiest writing I had ever read.

    But to be fair, I hadn't read Dune yet.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27