L.O.R.D.: Legend of the Ravaging Dynasties is a Chinese computer animated motion capture action fantasy film about supernatural warriors clashing with the dark forces of evil. In a distant future, seven lords who have power beyond imagination all share dominion over a world. The lords must stop a ravaging war caused by one of the seven lords who falls from grace. A young bus boy, Qi Ling, has power that he never knew possible and he must team up with Yi Chen to bring out his abilities. While discovering his true potential, Qi Ling gets embroiled in the battle of the seven lords.
L.O.R.D.: Legend of the Ravaging Dynasties reminds me of the classic Final Fantasy video games and movies with its style of animation. L.O.R.D. utilizes the animation style where it looks like animation but also attempts to look like real life. To be honest, I’m not a fan of that style of animation as it often looks poorly executed despite the time and effort put into it. At times, the story is fantastic but the animation fails to capture any facial expression for all the characters. The movie did a fine job capturing the look of the actors portraying these CGI characters but the lack of any facial expressions really hurt this film a lot. The so-called bad guys acted just the same as the good guys and it was hard to categorize them.
The story seems like a simple one on paper about a lord who wants to challenge his fellow lords and a young boy who must step in and fight alongside the remaining lords to maintain peace in the world. What results is a terribly convoluted film. The movie does a horrendous job at establishing a protagonist and antagonist as they are constantly switching around. Within the first 30 minutes of the animated adventure film, more and more characters with limited backgrounds are added to this already overly complex storyline. The issue with adding these characters is that none of them feel important to the storyline and I don’t care about any of them. I never really understood the plot as it tries to balance two plot lines of a lord and a young boy and never fully reaches a clear moment for each. So many new elements are added to this film like blood weapons, spirit worlds, ice beasts, and more and mixing these elements just added more confusion to the already convoluted film.
The dialog seems like it was written by a three-year-old and never reaches any amount of maturity. The interactions don’t seem very natural, more scripted and one-note. The dialog is very quick moving and doesn’t seem to add to the conversation or foster any engaging interactions. I watched the English dubbed version and the voice acting at times did not match the characters and seemed to have been crammed in. It almost feels as if the voice actors couldn’t remember their lines and instead just read off a piece paper.
L.O.R.D. is structured like a video game where each scene feels like a cut away moment right before you play the game. It’s similar in looks to Final Fantasy and this movie would have flowed a lot more if it was an actual video game. The transitions are frequent and drag on for way too long. It’s apparent when the movie wants to shift gears because of the long cutaways to the sky or zooming in very slowly to the character who had the last word. Throughout the almost 2-hour run-time, there are several attempts at a climactic moment with a big reveal or a pointless action scene. There is hardly any depth to the characters or scenes as its focus is to constantly dump new information or plot lines on its viewers.
The presentation and audio for this release is rather generic. The animation focuses on trying to be clean and mostly works. The background for the film is surprisingly very detailed but can be a bit distracting at times because it draws your attention more than the actual story. The movie never gets loud or exciting even with my television turned all the way up.
There are no special features provided for this DVD release from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. I think a behind the scenes featurette would have been at least a pleasing extra to watch.
L.O.R.D.: Legend of the Ravaging Dynasties seems like an interesting film but what baffled me was the endless amount of new characters, monsters, information, and reveals that never really feel important. There is a certain point in this film where I ultimately gave up trying to comprehend what the movie was generally about. The CGI never fully works either as no facial expressions were given to the characters.
Lionsgate generously provided Hotchka with a DVD of the film for reviewing purposes.