As of typing this post and doing research on the film/ franchise, I found out that the original creator of Dominator and founder of Renegade Arts Entertainment, Tony Luke had sadly passed away in 2016 from a long battle from cancer. My sympathies goes out for the family, friends and the loss of a very talented creator.
If you haven’t heard of Doninator the movie, well your in luck! Created by Tony Luke, Dominator a story about a rouge Demon who deserted his master, Lord Desecrater, with the key that can unlock the gates of hell. Summoned by a girl rock band who used a satanic book as lyrics for their song, Dominator was sent to the mortal plane of earth where he must (begrudgingly) protect against paranormal and demonic horrors. Lord Desecrater, in his rage, has sent his greatest warriors to retrieve back the key in order to traverse from hell to take over earth.
Whilst for its time the film was a good attempt at bringing British talent to produce an anime film (or Brit-anime to be exact). This film is actually a big mark on British media history, as it was a self run Brit-anime company that produced a low budget film, the first British made anime to U.K. audiences. After the success of Archangel Thunderbird TV movie, Tony Luke would go on to make the first Dominator movie, based on his manga series back in the 80’s.
Looking back on the film, it hasn’t aged well, with terrible CGI mixed with some cheesy dialogue (but most of it was funny) doesn’t quite fit well to today’s standards. However, I thought the plot was a fairly decent story with a good mix of comedy and lore.
A notable voice talent for the film was Dani Filth (frontman of Cradle of Filth) who played as the protagonist anti hero, Dominator. His intro when he arrives on earth was seriously a good laugh!
The film also featured the voice talent of Doug Bradley who starred as Dr Payne, one of the most British Exorcist I’ve ever seen!
But is the movie qualifies as a bad movie?
Well, comparing it to other CGI films like Food Wars, it’s far better in standards for consistent story telling and interesting lore for it’s mythos. However, considering the deadlines that the team behind the film had to reach, it’s understandable why the CGI looked unfinished. Taking into account that this film was done on a low budget, in a front room rather than a studio, it was a new and unknown territory that Renga media (set up by the creator, Tony Luke) was treading on was a big step to make.
But In all fairness there are a few good stuff to see in the film, like the sweat heavy metal tracks and some funny comedic moments. The film did at least gave Britain a start with CGI animation industry, which has evolved over the years to amazing quality we see today.
This Brit-anime film in my opinion, is a very special piece of history because it shows us not only the early days of British animation (although Toy Story does beat this film by a long way). But it’s also interesting to watch, yeah, I still enjoy watching this film! The characters are interesting, the plot is interesting and at least it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
It’s not easily available to purchase anywhere else (Amazon has a few copies for under £6) and not a widely known franchise outside of the original comic strips from Metal Hammer magazine. Which as of this year it will be Dominators 30th anniversary since his debut in the magazine back in 1988.
Tony Luke isn’t like most creators, there’s clearly been a lot of work being done on Dominator the Movie. With communication between voice actors, staff and the creator himself, to produce a good film for it’s time.
From looking at the extras on the dvd with interviews of Tony, Doug Bradly and Alan Grant show, there was an effort and motivational force behind the film. Although the film is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and I wouldn’t blame you for not liking it.
There were two more films of Dominator, on being a short crossover with another character from Metal Hammer magazine comic strip. Dominator’s last appearance would be the now abandoned reboot, Dominator X, which, based on it’s trailer, would have looked amazing if it had been completed.
Overall, if you like heavy metal with a mix of comedy and a decent film to watch on a Sunday, this film is just right for you. However, I wouldn’t say it’s a must see film with its outdated visuals and animation.
I think it’s fitting to end this post using the quote from the movie “If you think rock is dead, you will be”.
My research sources links: