A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 134 – Dragonheart

Dragonheart – July 12th, 2010

Let’s play a little game. It’s called Harry Potter Connections! First up, we have Jason Isaacs, who plays Lord Felton and who played Lucius Malfoy in the HP movies. Amusingly enough, Lucius Malfoy’s son, Draco, is played by an actor named Tom Felton. So look at the plethora of connections we have right there! And I haven’t even mentioned David Thewlis! I apologize for going all Potter fangirl for a moment there, but I do find it amusing when these sorts of things happen.

I won’t say I had to search for ways to amuse myself during the movie. After all, it has copious amounts of attempted comic relief. There’s poor Pete Postlethwaite, whom I always expect to be in more serious roles, as a traveling monk who provides a lot of lines that I’m sure are supposed to leave me chortling at his over-educated ineptitude. And there’s the dragon, who’s voiced by Sean Connery. Now, I love Sean Connery, but it’s kind of odd listening to his voice come out of an animated dragon. And the dragon definitely has some groaner lines. Which I think is a real distraction from the later emotional gravity of the movie.

Really, yes, there’s supposed to be emotional gravity here. The whole story is about a tyrannical king with half a dragon’s heart, given to him in the hopes that he would usher in a new era of peace and respect for the old ways, and how the dragon and a rag tag band of peasants led by one rogue knight stand up against him. Really, that sounds pretty good. And if I’m going to stick to my guns and insist on a knight/rogue dynamic, then, well, Bowen, played by Dennis Quaid with one of the worst accents I’ve ever heard, should be the knight (what with Bowen actually being a knight). So since Bowen and Draco (the dragon, of course) are the focus of much of the film, Draco’s got to be the rogue, right? Except no. It’s all muddled. Draco gets all the smart-ass lines and attitude, but he’s also the one upholding the ideals of chivalry and the old traditions. It makes the dynamic messy and not nearly as satisfying as I want it to be.

Regardless of what I want and my ideals, Draco and Bowen pair up to bilk villages out of money by staging dragon slayings until they meet up with Kara, a young woman whose father was killed by the king. She’d like a little revenge, please, with a side of peasant revolt. Toss in the clumsy monk and you’ve got your main characters. Oh, and the evil king, Einon, played by David Thewlis, and his cronies. Einon’s at least got more reason for being a jackass than just that his role is “villain”. He likes power and control and wants as much as he can get into his hands.

I don’t really think it’s all that important to go over how Bowen’s convinced to actually go up against Einon – whom he trained when Einon was young, until Einon was wounded and got the dragon heart and decided to stop pretending to give a shit about chivalry and just go full-fledged asshole. It’s part of the plot, sure, but it meanders a little and it involves a vision in Avalon and eh, I don’t really care why he turned around. He’s a knight. That’s what he’s supposed to do. The important part is that he and Draco and Kara all train a bunch of peasants how to fight, storm the castle and manage to do a bang up job of it all until the climactic showdown between Einon and Bowen, with a twist I saw coming fifteen minutes into the film.

But for all that? I enjoyed it. I can think of plenty of other fantasy movies I’ve enjoyed just as much, and several I enjoy more, but really, I enjoyed it. It was fun enough to make me laugh a few times and really, by the end I got pretty good at ignoring Dennis Quaid’s pseudo-accent enough to just watch the swordfighting. And I’m a sucker for swordfights. It’s not the epic it wanted to be. To be that I think it would have needed to tone down the comic relief and pump up the mythology and grandeur. But every so often, in the middle of a battle or when Einon’s being hateful, or at the end when the not-a-twist is playing out? There are sparks of a pretty good fantasy in there. And being a fantasy lover, that’s good enough for me.

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

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