Grouchy Slayer, Scottish Dragon

I merely chewed in self-defense, but I never swallowed - Draco

DragonHeart (1996) Dennis Quaid, David Thewlis, Pete Postlethwaite, Dina Meyer, Jason Isaacs, Brian Thompson, Julie Christie, Sean Connery

"DragonHeart" a fantasy adventure about a Knight and a Dragon lasts the perfect length of 103 minutes, not too long that it feels drawn out, not too short that a storyline can't form. The trouble is that half of those 103 minutes are entertaining and the other half is forgettable in being ordinary and unfortunately it is not a case of a good half and a boring half because we have a very uneven ride of something good followed by something forgettable. And that sadly is what you take away from watching "DragonHeart"; well that is what you take away if you're not a young teenage boy because that is who I am sure "DragonHeart" is made for.

As a Knight of the Old Code, Bowen (Dennis Quaid - Wyatt Earp) believes in doing things the right way and tries to instil the same code into young Prince Einon, the son of the tyrannical King. But when the King is slaughtered in battle and young Einon is mortally injured retrieving the crown things change as Bowen and Queen Aislinn (Julie Christie) take the dying Einon to a dragon to ask him to save him. Whilst Einon lives he grows into a worse leader than his evil father and Bowen declares the dragon must have poisoned the boy he taught and vows to slay every dragon in revenge for turning Einon bad.

Dennis Quaid and Dina Meyer in DragonHeart (1996)

For a movie which I am sure is aimed at children, although one with some less than subtle moments of adult humour, there is a lot of storyline going on. We starts with peasants revolting against the King, we have Einon mortally wounded by a young girl called Kara, the dragon saving Einon, Bowen turned dragon slayer and then becoming a friend to a dragon and I could go on because at this point I have barely covered the first half of the movie. The ironic thing is that after 15 minutes the outcome of "DragonHeart" is pretty obvious or at least in the sense you know there will be a battle, Kara will be involved and some thing important about the dragon will cause a dilemma. Not that I am complaining because the journey from start to finish is packed and entertaining.

But the trouble with "DragonHeart" is that it ends up very uneven going from an entertaining scene to one which seems almost mediocre. It almost feels like a series of false starts because every time you think the story is really going to kick in and take us on a fantasy rollercoaster ride of action it throws something dull into the mix which knocks you back. The daft thing is that all these lulls which knock you back have an important part to play in the storyline but because it is one peak followed by a trough again and again right through the big climax it becomes disappointing.

Aside from the unevenness the rest of the movie is for the most good, okay ignore dodgy accents because Dennis Quaid's wavering accent is as patchy as the movie, but the rest of it is good. In fact Dennis Quaid is well cast as Bowen are hero Knight and Dina Meyer certainly makes for a pleasant distraction as Kara, add to this Pete Postlethwaite as a poetic monk and you have action, beauty and plenty of humour. Although to be honest the star of the movie is Sean Connery who's voicing is perfect for Draco and for a movie which is now 17 years old the CGI stands up reasonably well, not brilliant but effective enough.

What this all boils down to is that "DragonHeart" is entertaining and although the special effects are a bit patchy I am sure young children would still enjoy it. But it is also uneven as action ends up interrupted by some very ordinary scenes.

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