Sunday 19 April 2015

Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer's Curse

Dude, I love Dragonheart. I didn’t see it in the cinema on release, but I’ll always remember watching it on TV in around 1999. With a cup of tea in hand and a box of Bourbons by my side, I was kicking back and watching Dennis Quaid shoot the shit with a Dragon that had the voice of Sean Connery. It’s a really good film, and one that in terms of CGI still stands up today. Seriously, go back and watch it. Alongside the T-Rex in Jurassic Park and the various bugs in Starship Troopers, Draco is personally up there with the best CGI. It was a film that was brim full of charm and adventure, which can’t really be said for its sequel, A New Beginning. Starring Francis from Malcolm in the Middle and Beast from Beauty and the Beast, the film was a mess. The third entry into the franchise is out now, and I gotta say, its existence totally surprised me. I keep up on film news, but I had no idea they were making this. So, after one terrible and unwanted sequel to a fantastic 90’s film, does the third Dragonheart film impress? Put simply, it’s no work of art, but hey, I had fun!

Directed by Colin Teague and out now on Blu-Ray and DVD comes Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer's Curse, an unneeded second sequel to Dragonheart, but one that isn’t as bad as it could have been. The Sorcerer’s Curse focuses on the character of Gareth, a squire and pretty much a rip-off of Rob Stark from Game of Thrones, both in attitude and attire. In his hopeful mission to become a knight, one night Gareth spots a comet in the sky. For some reason Gareth thinks he’ll find gold inside the downed comet, and assuming that will aid him in his dream to achieve the role of a knight, Gareth sets out for the comets final resting place. However, instead of finding gold Gareth finds a Dragon, naturally. The Dragon is called Drago (which yeah, isn’t a very creative name), and the creature teams up with Gareth to defeat an evil sorcerer who hunted him, and who ultimately caused his comet-like descent. The story is easy to follow, and pretty much does its job in the fact that it stands as a basic framework around the Dragon and human relationship that is the key to the Dragonheart series.

One of the best parts about The Sorcerer’s Curse is also what made the original Dragonheart so entertaining- the bond between Bowen and Draco, or in the case of this latest film, he bond between Gareth and Drago. Like the human/dragon bond in the first two films, Gareth and Drago are intrinsically bonded by their hearts, which basically means that if one dies, so does the other. It’s still a great little concept, and it makes for a charming bond between the two vastly different characters here. Ben Kingsley voices the Drago, and while I’m firmly in the “Ben Kingsley is actually kind of a shitty actor” camp, he does a fine job here. Everyone else in the cast do a great job with the material they’re given, and for a cast made largely of newcomers and TV actors they make the film fun, watchable and enjoyable. You’ve got the main badass guy, the girl who may or may not fall in love with him, and the bumbling and funny side-kick- what more do you want?

However, another great part of the original Dragonheart was, of course, the Dragon, right? He was masterfully created by ILM and genius Phil Tippet at the time, and though this new Dragon doesn’t hold a candle to Draco or the work done by ILM back in 1996, it’s still done much better than I anticipated. It doesn’t look that cheap, interacts pretty well with its environment and, most importantly, successfully feels like it has real character and personality. Granted a lot of that is thanks to Ben Kingsley’s performance, but that would mean nothing if the CGI wasn’t there. It is, and it looks great for a direct-to-DVD film. That said I was pretty disappointed that the look of the film was pretty gritty, as if the producers thought, “let’s give it the Games of Thrones treatment”. Subdued colours and muted tones are the order of the day here, but it doesn’t drag The Sorcerer’s Curse down too much.

Overall I actually had a lot of fun watching Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse. It doesn’t have a mark on the original, and Draco is far, far better than Drago. But at the end of the day I found it to be a great light-hearted adventure that at least tried to tap into what made the original film so special. I came away from it wanting to see another one and that, at the very least, should tell you how much this third Dragonheart film surprised me.

Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse gets a fire breathing 4/5.


Denis Murphy

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