The biggest compliment I can give MY FATHER’S DRAGON is that it opened, and I instantly felt like I was about to embark on a Hayao Miyazaki film. The story of a little boy leaving the sunny countryside with his mom to the always rainy city felt like the opposite of the SPIRITED AWAY opening.

It’s no surprise that this film has such a distinct look. It comes from Cartoon Saloon, known for WOLFWALKER, THE SECRET OF KELLS, SONG OF THE SEA, and THE BREADWINNER. Of those films, MY FATHER’S DRAGON is the second best, behind WOLFWALKER, and easily the most approachable. It has an animation style that’s easier on the eyes and a story, written by Meg “INSIDE-OUT” LeFauve, that isn’t as difficult for kids to understand as Cartoon Saloon’s previous films.

This movie is broken down into two halves. I loved the dynamic of the mom trying to keep her son, Elmer (Jacob Tremblay), safe, and he’s doing the same for his mom. That opening and the bookend are the emotional hook to help audiences get through the bananas mid-section on Wild Island. Once the film arrives on the island, it’s a sixty-minute Studio Ghibli assault of creativity. Sadly not all of it works. But for the most part, it’s a visual and audio feast for animation fans to enjoy.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly animated film that’s conventional while being different, MY FATHER’S DRAGON is for you. Although it may not soar to the height, it sets out to. It’s good enough and worth your time to watch with your kids.

It’s available on Netflix.

Aaron "Dobler" Goldstein

Aaron Goldstein is a Product Manager by day, ludicrous speed content consumer by night. He’s a LA Film School Alumni and TV Academy / Producers Guild of America member. Aaron is a proud parent and dad joke enthusiast.

Latest from Aaron "Dobler" Goldstein