Monday, December 13, 2010


Few things disrupt a homecoming dance like the influx of two ill-tempered, 120-foot fire-breathing dragons.

On the other hand, it's kind of fun to watch the responses of the attendees, as long as you're not on the hook for a couple of hundred bucks on that rental tux or shiny gown.

"Firebreather," a new animated movie, tells the tale of Duncan, who would be a normal high school student, your basic new hot guy on campus, if it weren't for the fact his mother once saved the world from an attack of these dragons - Kaiju - and his father is one of them.

Don't ask how that happened. Please, don't ask.

Duncan just wants to be a normal kid and he looks normal enough so he could pull it off, except for a few genetic markers he inherited from his father. At lunch, for example, instead of pizza and an energy drink, he eats a plate of coal.

That's to feed his inner firebreather. It still tends to draw gazes in the cafeteria.

Duncan soon runs into bigger evils, though, like an epic showdown between humans and Kaiju, who it turns out have been living in caves under the Earth's crust for millions of years and see humans as intruders who are ruining the planet's quality of life.

Humans, naturally, feel the same way about Kaiju, what with the firebreathing and the aptitude to crush several humans at a time just by stepping on them.

Duncan, with a foot in both worlds, unavoidably gets drawn into this dispute, and at the most inconvenient moment.

In the bigger picture, "Firebreather" seems to be aimed at approximately the same age group, though not all the same individuals, who enjoyed the somewhat less violent "High School Musical" series.

There's no explicit performance or language, and while the Kaiju create a high sense of danger, there's nothing graphic in the results.

The dialogue includes a few puberty-level jokes and a few pure budding-romance exchanges, seemingly inserted just to make things interesting for someone other than 10-year-old boys.

In general, it succeeds. Unless you're stuck with a badly singed corsage.


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