A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Dragonheart

July 12, 2010

Dragonheart

In the summer after I saw Jurassic Park in the theaters I thought that it would be really cool to have a big exciting fantasy movie that used the same technology to create wondrous massive dragons. I still do. Sadly, this movie is not the one to realize that dream. Yes it has a big computer-animated dragon, and with the voice of the inimitable Sean Connery no less, but the movie lacks something.

Wonder, maybe. Draco, the dragon, last of his kind, should be a creature of magic and awe, but in an attempt to make him relateable the film makers have converted him largely to comic relief. He’s all “ready or not, here I come!” and bad singing and huge expressive smiles. I understand the relationship that they’re trying to forge between the dragon and the disgraced knight, and maybe if there was some chemistry there between the two of them I could forgive it. But there’s not. Dennis Quaid’s character Bowen, once the two have started adventuring together rather than fighting, claims to care for Draco, but I never felt there was any truth to it.

The story is pretty straight forward. An evil despotic king was, as a young wormy lad, gravely wounded when a peasant uprising resulted in his father’s death. A dragon gifted him with half his heart to keep him alive, hoping that with that noble heart beating in the boy’s chest he could create a noble king, but the lad turned into a hateful bastard anyhow. The kid’s tutor in battle, the “knight of the old ways” Bowen, blamed the dragon for the way the kid turned out and became a dragon slayer.

Years later he has killed every dragon but one. And that one (the one that gave his heart to evil king Einon) he befriends. The two of them bum around for a while fleecing people by doing the old “only I can rid you of this Dragon menace” con. Then they get mixed up in another peasant uprising. Of course they have sidekicks. There’s the feisty red-head daughter of the leader of the first rebellion (Dina Meyer.) There’s the priest with his bad poetry who turns out to be a crack shot (Pete Postlethwaite.)

The effects of the dragon are really quite good. Most of the time it’s very well inserted into the movie and feels almost as though it’s on set with the actors. (There are a few times when the lighting doesn’t quite match up, but they’re pretty rare.) I just don’t agree with the performance that the animators gave him because his gamboling and goofing leaves the movie with no emotional impact whatsoever. The dragon is meant to be the heart of the film, and for me it never worked.

I’m not fond of Dennis Quaid’s performance either. Thankfully he doesn’t try to do a Scottish accent, because he attempts a brogue early on in the film and I nearly laughed out loud. Instead he adopts a gritty gravelly voice, which affectation just made me roll my eyes. He feels more pirate than knight to me. All “Arr – follow the old ways, Jim me lad.”

By the end of the movie I can clearly see how I am SUPPOSED to feel. I just don’t feel it. At all. And I kind of feel bad that I don’t, because a lot of people worked really hard to make this movie. Still… it means that someday I still have the chance to make the dragon movie of my dreams without being accused of plagiarism.

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July 12, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , ,

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