A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 361 – Dragon Wars

Dragon Wars – February 24th, 2011

There are some movies, like Sharks in Venice for example, that seem to require a vocabulary all their own. They’re not good movies by any means, but they’re bad in a very particular way. In a way that makes me sit back and go “This is beautiful. This is amazing. I am so glad we own this.” We have a bunch of them. The aforementioned shark movie, Megaforce, and now this. I take full responsibility for us owning this movie and I am so glad I picked it up. I wasn’t expecting a good movie and oh, I didn’t get one. I got exactly what I wanted and so much more.

The FYE closest to us is, sadly, closing. It was always a nice place to drop by and browse, pick out a movie or two. We bought most of our Star Trek: TNG there. Now that it’s closing they’re selling off everything they’ve got. So the other day we went in and I poked through the 80% off bins and found multiple copies of this movie, in special tins, no less. I knew Andy wouldn’t protest. I knew he’d wonder what made me pick it up, but he wouldn’t protest. And he didn’t. I picked it up because I knew it would be pure fantasy cheese. It would be overblown and poorly scripted and utterly ridiculous and I had a good feeling about it. A feeling that said it would somehow have the right combination to be thoroughly enjoyable while also being incredibly bad.

About when the movie flashed back to an ancient Korean folktale that involves an army with mounted velociraptors and huge dinosaurs with rocket launchers on their backs, I knew I was right. Like I said, some movies just need a new vocabulary. Because while I would never describe this as a good movie, it is so very awesome. It is fantastically bad. And it has a bizarre level of self-awareness that doesn’t ever quite dip into parody, but certainly gets close, like when a passer-by sees the baddie walk through a chainlink fence and tries to copy him, succeeding only in bonking her head. Or when the main character’s best friend rolls his eyes and pokes fun at him expecting to narrow down the search for “a woman named Sara, 19 years old, with a tattoo, in LA” to a single person. I don’t have the right words for this movie. They’re all contradictions.

I’m not even sure it’s worth trying to give a rundown of what happens in this movie in any coherent manner. The basic plot supposedly deals with an ancient Korean myth about a young woman born with the power needed for one of two giant serpents to become a dragon and ascend into heaven. And in the myth the young woman dies before she can give her power to a serpent and so five hundred years later in LA she’s reborn as a blonde chick named Sarah and her champion is reborn as a floppy haired reporter named Ethan. A few days before Sarah turns 20 the evil giant serpent and its army show up and smash up the city and I mentioned the dinosaurs with the rocket launchers, right? There’s a lot of talk about destiny, and the FBI is involved somehow and no one believes there’s a giant elephant-eating snake loose in the city even though you’d think they’d notice that sort of thing. Ethan finds Sarah by what could be pure luck or could be the bizarre machinations of the guy who told Ethan the story about the serpents. It doesn’t really matter. It’s not like the movie cares much.

The movie doesn’t seem to care about a lot. Things get handwaved all over the place, there are some massive plot holes (big enough for the snake to slither through) and characterization? What characterization? Who cares about giving character background or any sort of connection to these people when we can have more scenes of a giant serpent attacking people and drinking out of swimming pools? Who cares about cohesive plot when there are fireball breathing pterodactyls attacking military helicopeters over LA? I mean, really? There are two Wilhelms in this movie. Two! Normally, while I could accept mythological dragons and the like, I’d have to draw the line at dewbacks with rocket launchers in ancient Korea, but not here. This here is a special place where such things exist in harmony. And to cap it all off, there’s an absolutely lovely dragon at the end. Okay, so most of the movie is more Snake Wars than Dragon Wars, but there is a dragon, and it’s very pretty and not a dinosaur at all. I’m proud to say I picked this up. I just wish I had the right terminology to describe it.

February 24, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , ,

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