Western Animation / Sintel


A young girl by the name of Sintel befriends an injured baby dragon, who she calls Scales, only to have it snatched away one day by an another adult dragon. She goes on a quest to reclaim her friend and endures many hardships along the way.

The third Blender Foundation movie, made to both drive development and showcase the power of Blender, an open source 3D modelling package. You can watch it here. Like previous BF movies Elephant's Dream and Big Buck Bunny, the main drive is the visuals. This time, however, the team focused on telling a much richer story, and it shows, having a very deep story for the short run time. There is a rather tragic twist near the end, though, which has a tendency to upset certain viewers.

This short features examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The city we see in the film is called Ishtar, according to notations in the concept art. They also have names and roles for the gatekeeper barbarians (although only one is seen in the film).
  • Action Girl: Sintel fights off a man trying to kill her in the opening scene, and fights an adult Scales at the climax.
  • Androcles' Lion: Subverted. This is how Sintel meets Scales. It's also why the adult Scales hesitates just long enough for Sintel to deliver the death-blow
  • Bittersweet Ending: At best. Although Scales dies, we see the baby dragon following after Sintel at the end.
  • A Boy and His X: A Girl And Her Dragon. For a while, anyway.
  • Collapsing Lair: The dragon's lair collapses as Sintel escapes.
  • Covered with Scars: Near the ending of the movie, Sintel stares into the reflection of Scale's blood puddle and sees that she's aged significantly. She has also suffered from many wounds and injuries throughout the years on her journey with cuts and wounds all over the upper part of her body.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Sintel
  • Determinator: Sintel, definitely. Deconstructed at the end.
  • Downer Ending: The film ends with Sintel an older woman, Scales slain by Sintel's own hands (albeit by accident), and Scales' baby with no family except maybe Sintel.
  • DVD Bonus Content: And how! Four discs with the film in NTSC, PAL, and HD in multiple formats, 7 commentaries, multiple tutorials about using Blender, an hour long documentary, and all of the source files required to remake the film.
  • Evil Weapon: Sort of. It's not intelligent, but the spear Sintel claims from the barbarian has "shed much innocent blood." Unintentionally, she uses it to shed some more.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Sintel wears these throughout the film.
  • Foreshadowing: See Evil Weapon above.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Sintel herself.
  • Irony: In her eagerness to get back her dragon, Sintel ends up killing an adult dragon, who turns to be none other than Scales himself.
  • Karmic Twist Ending: Sintel is so intent on getting Scales back and taking revenge on the big dragon that she spends 20 years hunting them down and doesn't realize until it's too late that the big dragon is actually Scales. The ending song has a line:
    And when you see all that I have seen / Can you tell me love from pride?
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Killing Scales as an adult causes the cave to crumble, making it absolutely clear that Scales died.
  • Meaningful Name: "Sintel" is the Dutch word for "cinder" or "ember". Ton Roosendaal defined it as meaning "a piece of glowing coal or metal. It glows brightly, burns, and then becomes ashes..." Sintel grows old over the course of the film, though she's apparently ignorant of her own ageing and doesn't realise it until she accidentally kills Scales and is revealed to be a older woman, fading away with nothing left to live for
  • Monster Is a Mommy: Scales is revealed to be this at the end, and very possibly the adult dragon towards the start, as well.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Sintel at the end.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The ending.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Sintel.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Sintel realizes that she just killed Scales.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: It seems that dragons are predatory animals with "earthly" life-spans that tend to breathe fire instead of the "usual" superintelligent creatures that live for thousands of years.
  • Perma-Stubble: The creators had some fun with this in a paint-over of Sintel's concept art.
  • Production Throwback: Characters make appearances from both of the Blender Foundations previous shorts. In the market scene, you can clearly see Proog from Elephant's Dream, and the butterflies in the bamboo forest are just a Palette Swap of the ones from Big Buck Bunny.
  • Rule of Cute: Baby dragons.
  • Scars Are Forever: Scales bore a scar on his wing from the injury he sustained earlier. It's how Sintel identifies him at the very end.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Sintel goes all that way to not only fail in her quest, but accidentally kills Scales herself.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Sintel wears a tank top but not completely sleeveless. She has gloves, a single shoulder pad on her left arm and a tattoo.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: After the cave collapses, Scales' child follows Sintel as she leaves, just before the credits.
  • Tank-Top Tomboy: Sintel wears a spaghetti strap tank top for the entire movie (with the exception of a few scenes of her in a coat.)
  • Tears of Remorse: Sintel sheds them after she realizes that she had killed Scales.
  • Time Skip: A very subtle one.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Sintel doesn't realize how much time has passed until she sees her reflection in Scales' spilt blood.