Friday, April 13, 2012
Movie Appraisal: Dragonheart (1996)
I have to say that I love this movie up and down. It's a fantasy film that works in every conceivable way. It has a freaking dragon, who's actually a good guy. It has a knight that actually acts and seems like a knight. It has a tough '90's-styled female character who can take care of herself despite this movie taking place in 984 in England. Hell, it even looks really good. The CGI, although early CGI, is actually ridiculously good and works better than it ever should have. Oh, and the movie even has a message to take home, that the guy that you think you know may just be an absolute jerk and you might not know it.
Dennis Quaid is so good in this movie as Bowen. I mean, I'm certainly not the biggest fan of Dennis Quaid, but he was great in Pandorum and he's fantastic in this movie. I could watch him running around getting into trouble all day long. Hell, give me a series based off of him doing stuff, and I'd be ridiculously happy. Sean Connery shines as Draco the dragon. His voice coming out of the dragon's mouth, just seems to work against all logic and rational thought. And I love it. Pete Postlethwaite plays Brother Gilbert, a somewhat poetic traveling monk who helps Bowen at various points in the adventure. He is seriously amazing in the movie, showing off both seriousness and comedy. And the best part is that both make sense when it comes to the character. Dina Meyer plays Kara, the tough female of the movie, and she's very fun to watch at times even if her character's motivation can be summed up by nothing more than It's the 1990s! Julie Christie and David Thewlis also star as the mother of the king and the King of the kingdom in the movie. David Thewlis shines as the villain of the piece. He really does a great job at making the watcher hate him.
Anyway, the movie is a typical fantasy story about rebels taking over a kingdom with the help of a dragon. There's some good morality, some '90s humor, very good characterizations and acting, a great soundtrack, and in general one of the best tones from any movie that I grew up on. I mean, the film really does hold up quite well even after sixteen years. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it again, laughing at bits, feeling sad at other bits, and I simply had a great time reliving the experience of watching it.
This movie is one that I can certainly recommend to anybody who's willing to watch it with an open-mind. It was a good kid's movie back in my day (even though it's rated PG-13), and I think it works as a kid's movie just as much as The Lord of the Rings does. The humor and brilliant storytelling would really make any child look up at this film and be interested. It really is one of the movies that defined my childhood. Hell, along with Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Aladdin, and Jumanji it is probably one of the best movie memories of my childhood.
Anyway, this isn't going to be a long review. Not much more I can say. It's a standard fantasy film that works incredibly well, and looks and sounds absolutely fantastic. This movie is the very definition, for me, of what a fantasy film should be along with The Lord of the Rings and maybe Willow.