Review by Dan Skip Allen
Elmer Elevator (Jacob Tremblay) is a little boy growing up in Nevergreen with his mother, Della (Golshifteh). They are supposed to start a store together in their new home, but this doesn’t happen due to financial struggles. He gets frustrated with his mother, so he embarks on a trip to a secret wild island with the help of a cat, voiced by Whoopi Goldberg, and a ride from a whale, voiced by Judy Greer. While there, he meets a new friend, a dragon named Boris (Gaten Matarazzo). They go on an adventure to save this island full of creatures.
This island is full of amazing creatures, as well as some normal animals such as a gorilla (Ian McShane) with ulterior motives, a rhino mom (Diane Wiest) and her cub, a crocodile (Alan Cumming), and a monkey (Chris O’Dowd), along with a couple of tigers. The island has so much mystery, and the movie lets the main characters and viewers uncover that on their own.
Cartoon Saloon has made a meteoric rise in the animation game over the last few years. Their films have garnered a lot of critical acclaim, along with a pretty good fan following. Their animation varies from film to film, but with each movie, the stories dictate the various styles in which they are told. For instance, The Breadwinner is entirely different from the Irish trilogy, and those films are different from this one. In a way, it helps distinguish this studio from other animation studios. With the help of local governments, this studio will hopefully continue to succeed in doing great work for years to come.
My Father’s Dragon has a very engaging story with good voice-over work from its entire cast. The financial struggles of the boy and his mom hit home for me. Although different from the other Irish trilogy and The Breadwinner, the animation style is consistent with how this studio does business. It changes the animation for who is paying to make the movie. It’s a very good financial strategy. Netflix is on board this time, and hopefully, families will find this charming little film to watch over the next few weeks and during the holiday season.
My Father’s Dragon hits theaters on November 4 and streams on Netflix beginning November 11.