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Reviewed by Gash
UK PG, USA PG-13
103 minutes long
Draco................................... SEAN CONNERY
Einon................................... DAVID THEWLIS
Gilbert................................. PETE POSTLETHWAITE
Queen Aislinn........................... JULIE CHRISTIE
Kara.................................... DINA MEYER
Lord Felton............................. JASON ISAACS
Broc.................................... BRIAN THOMPSON
Young Einon............................. LEE OAKES
by: ROB COHEN
action-packed blend of adventure, romance, humour and visual effects
spectacle, Dragonheart is the story of an incredible alliance between
a man of honour and a creature of legend - the very last dragon.
Set in the war-torn 10th century, the tale begins with a 14-year-old
prince (Lee Oakes) stepping into the bloody fray of a peasant revolt
after witnessing his father, a vengeful and violent king, killed
in battle. An eager pupil, Prince Einon has been well trained in
the way of the sword by his protector, Bowen (Dennis Quaid), a powerful,
noble knight dedicated to the lofty ideals of The Old Code - the
creed of honour in the Arthurian tradition. But on this day, Bowen's
watchful eye is not enough to protect his young charge, who is seriously
wounded in the revolt.
desperate mother, Queen Aislinn (Julie Christie) leads the dying
prince, in Bowen's arms, to a dark cave. Here she invokes the Celtic
religious belief in the divine omniscient power of dragons, as she
pleads for the supernatural intervention of one particular flying,
fire-breathing creature to heal her son's wounds and save his life.
It is not until Einon swears that he will rule with mercy, that
tyranny and bloodlust will be forever buried with his father, that
the dragon severs his chest and gives half his life force to Einon
so he might live to fulfill this promise.
does live, but emerges as a far more evil despot than his late father.
Bowen, believing it was the dragon's heart that poisoned his young
charge, vows to spend the rest of his life ridding the land of dragons.
Twelve years later, accompanied by Gilbert (Pete Postlethwaite),
a kindly monk with literary ambitions, Bowen has become a bitter,
cynical nomad consumed by his obsession with dragon-slaying, and
apathetic to the misery and suffering caused by the older and more
ruthless King Einon (David Thewlis). Turning his back on The Old
Code he once embodied, he's transformed his mission into money,
slaying dragons simply for gold. After his many conquests, he finally
encounters the only dragon left for him to slay. Equal in cunning
and skills, neither dragon nor dragon-slayer is able to vanquish
the other and their confrontation end is in stalemate - and a bargain:
the last dragon and the last dragon-slayer go into business for
travel the land together, with the dragon ferociously poised to
"attack" the various villages, with Bowen always on the
spot, offering to "slay" the dragon and save the village
- for a price. This way, Bowen can sustain his line of work and
earn his living, and the dragon, by pretending to be slain, can
remain alive. Inspired by a constellation in the sky, Bowen gives
his new companion the name Draco. Together, they survive on nothing
more than their faded glory and the easy lure of getting by until
they encounter Kara (Dina Meyer), daughter of the leader of the
peasant revolt against Einon's father, a feisty girl hell-bent on
destroying the king.
Bowen discovers that Draco is the same dragon who years earlier
gave half his heart to save Einon, but that it wasn't the dragon's
heart that poisoned the young man' s soul. Guided by Draco, Bowen
is forced to finally reconcile himself to the fundamentals of The
to restore the kingdom to the days when truth and honour prevailed,
Bowen and Draco resolve to join Kara and take on the overwhelming
forces of Einon himself. However, they soon discover that a complete
victory over Einon comes with its own heavy price, as the fate of
the king is inextricably bound with the fate of the dragon.
saw films like Dragonheart in excess. Depth of plot and characters
were sacrificed in favour of special effects - designed to bring
genres such as sci-fi and fantasy, traditionally boasting smaller
fan bases, to mainstream public cinema goers.
hard-core fantasy fans still say that the diluting of the genre
has weakened it; but when faced with multi-million dollar budgets
and big money players in the cast, who is complaining?
not me. From the outset you cannot help but feel charmed by the
chemistry there is between Quaid and Connery, the witty dialogue
they engage in is both fast and hard hitting, making for some great
scenes together, most memorably when Bowen gives Draco his name.
cast is strengthened by the choice of David Thewlis for King Einon,
and Thewlis pulls of the evil king figure very convincingly, and
almost carries entire scenes on his back when interacting with minor
cast members. This is because the 'evil' characters in the story
are rather cliché and stereotypical (i.e.; there is strong
one, the clever one, the slimy one etc.)
of them unfortunately is the love interest. This seems hastily added
and Quaid and Meyer seem to create friction in their scenes. Kara
is of course the strong, sword swinging feminist and Bowen is the
rough and ready rogue who wins her over in the end. It all seems
a bit rushed and feels like the director didn't want to include
it, which would've been a wiser choice.
Postlethwaite provides the comic relief in the story and does so
with considerable skill. The fumbling bard-monk is very entertaining
when mixed with Quaid's hard-hitting hero, and the two enjoy several
great moments together.
despite this weakness Dragonheart delivers the goods; a light, fantasy
story that if you watch with an open mind and no old school fantasy
reverence, you will enjoy it. If however you watch Dragonheart looking
for faults, cracks start to appear.