Out today on Netflix is My Father’s Dragon, the latest film from the celebrated animation studio Cartoon Saloon. From director Nora Twomey and starring Jacob Tremblay and Gaten Matarazzo My Father’s Dragon follows a young boy as he tries to save his small family by finding and capturing a dragon.
My Father’s Dragon is one of the most gorgeous and breathtaking films of 2022. This is down to the imaginative world that Twomey and her team have created. The city of Nevergreen is a washed-out city that has in a sense hidden the imaginative wonder of the people that live in it. It’s filled with wonder but it is squashing them down. So once Elmer heads to Wild Island and the world just explodes with colour there is a simultaneous sense of childlike glee.
My Father’s Dragon – An amazing, spectacular, real-life dragon
This glee comes from the fablelike nature of My Father’s Dragon. The author Ruth Stiles Gannett’s trilogy has been condensed into a single story here but it has not lost any of its potency. Gannett’s ethos was never to talk down to her audience and the film reflects that with how young Elmer learns important life lessons on Wild Island. He isn’t alone though, on this journey of self discovery is the titular dragon aka Boris (Matarazzo). Elmer can be best described as the straight man to Boris’ chaotic child.
Though Boris is a century old he is clearly a child. He doesn’t quite understand the weight of his purpose on Wild Island. However much like Elmer by the end of the film he also grows to understand his place in the world. There are harsh lessons in the film and children will likely have many questions when it is all said and done. That to me though is a wonderful effect of this film.
My Father’s Dragon is a beautiful and vibrant film. It continues the pedigree that Cartoon Saloon has crafted over the years without having to rely on a tried and tested formula. The animation style within this film is unique to itself and thanks to Nora Twomey and the team at Cartoon Saloon allows it stay within your mind due to its unique structure.
If you didn’t get the chance to see this in the cinema I highly recommend checking it out with the whole family. Just sit down and show your children this beautiful and emotional epic with lessons that they can take with them out into the world.
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