A Wizard’s Tale
There’s a worthwhile film to found somewhere in A Wizard’s Tale; deep down below its lazy animation, nightmare-inducing character models and generic all-round badness, there is a small nugget of creativity that desperately wants to shine through – and for brief moments it does, but only to be devoured by the movie’s overwhelming mediocrity soon after.
The first thing you’ll notice about this feature is its painful animation. Despite being 3D – and in spite of how far computer animation has come in the last decade alone – everything in this film seems incredibly flat and lifeless. Characters’ eyes are devoid of expression, backgrounds lack detail and particle effects such as smoke, snow and fog are laughable at best. What’s even stranger about the animation is just how inconsistent its quality is as it fluctuates between passable and atrocious. Perhaps some sequences had a smaller budget, or maybe more talented animators worked on them, but the effect is bizarre nonetheless.
When the shock of the digital effects begins to wear off, the second thing that becomes apparent is how unfocused and rushed the plot is. The opening minutes alone contain an extensive prologue about the eponymous good wizard turned bad (voiced by Ian McShane), a spur-of-the-moment dance sequence, jumps between the fantasy realm where the bulk of the movie takes place and the real world and sizeable time skips – all this before we’re even introduced to the protagonists, Terry (Toby Kebbell) and Princess Dawn (Lily Collins). And it takes even longer until we finally get to them tracking down the feature’s central McGuffin to undo a spell cast on the fantasy kingdom. What we have, then, feels more like a series of increasingly strange ideas that have been hurriedly stitched together to create something that resembles a narrative.
At its centre, the picture does have a worthwhile message that pokes fun at the cliché fairy tale structure the film adopts, but even this message is swiftly undone in the climax with a gesture that undermines the minute creativity that was there.
Will A Wizard’s Tale entertain a small child? Definitely. Is it telling them anything harmful or wrong? No, but there are so many better movies that they could watch, and that you could enjoy with them.
A Wizard’s Tale is released in select cinemas on 11th May 2018.
Watch the trailer for A Wizard’s Tale here: