A knight is sworn to valour,
His heart knows only virtue,
His blade defends the helpless,
His might upholds the weak,
His word speaks only truth,
His wrath undoes the wicked.
It began in the mid 90's.
One director and his team had a vision of a fantasy romp using the best technology and imagination they could muster from their experience with Jurassic Park and ILM.
It is the 10th century AD in England and though dragons are dwindling and King Arthur is gone their influence is still present. In a revolt a king is killed and his son, while pulling the crown from his father's head, is mortally wounded. Bowen (Dennis Quaid) is a knight of the old code who takes the queen and her dying son to the lair of one of the revered dragons who can share is heart with a mortal (as dragons do) to save him. Dennis Quaid promises to teach the prince the old code and the dragon shares his heart with the prince. Fastforward and the Prince (played by the dude who played Lupin in Harry Potter) is a huge dick. Obviously it’s the Dragon’s fault and Bowen swears to find and kill the dragon that corrupted the prince. Fastforward even further and Bowen is a rugged dragonslayer for profit. But when he meets with the last Dragon (Played by Sean Connery) what will he do with his line then? So a deal is struck, every day the dragon “falls” at Bowen’s hand. Every night they celebrate their con and move to the next village. But a rebelion is rising against the Prince and loyalties are questioned as an epic standoff begins. (There’s also a pretty red haired “warrior princess” and a sassy monk.)
I don’t want to give away too much, because if you’re going to see any of these movies, see the first one. There’s a scene where the ghost of King Arthur appears to Bowen on Avalon to motivate him with the Old Code. Yes, it’s that kind of movie.
So, if you’re not sold by that 90’s Action Fantasy Cheese, there’s no hope for you. It’s a great entertaining movie and, as was pointed out to me by a friend a few years back, I still get choked up in the end. (I’m a sucker for movies about “a boy and his dragon”.)
Now, in the real world, I didn’t find out about this until the mid 00’s when I was reading an article in the paper that was along the lines of “if you like Eragon, try THIS.” This was also around the time I was exposed to Highlander. Good times.
Well, after renting Dragonheart from Blockbuster a couple of times I eventually found the combo pack DVD of Dragonheart and Dragonheart 2: A New Beginning. I was intrigued. Draco was the last dragon after all.
OR SO WE THOUGHT!
Like Highlander (yes, this comparison comes up a lot), the sequel took the finished story and cool concepts of the first movie and expanded the lore into the future through loop holes. Draco’s lair had a dragon egg in it. A stable boy who dreams of becoming a knight (played by the eldest brother from Malcom in the Middle) finds the sheltered new last Dragon (played by the voice of Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast) and they change eachother’s lives. But a clearly evil advisor to the king (who needs to share Drake’s heart for reasons) and two visitors from the east also are interested in the Dragon. Shenanigans happen.
It was… It was a straight-to-video 2000 sequel. The (now) 5 typical roles (knight played by an American, dragon with an iconic British voice, monk, warrior princess, and clearly rotten villain) are present but mostly aged down. And the plot is fine but it’s also quite obviously what it is. The story is “ended again” but on a happier note.
I still like it.
Now, skip ahead a few years and it’s 2015 and the property is (for some reason) gaining steam again as a cult classic. With Netflix and Amazon video being what they are, a direct to digital video is a no-brainer. But if Dragonheart 2 is the kid-friendly cash-grab, then Dragonheart 3 is the movie made for the kids who loved it now that they’re in their late teens and early 20’s. Violence, grit, and PG-13 to the farthest point possible.
Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse is a prequel to the series that reaches father back in the lore to add things. (Oh, and fun fact, Highlander 3 was called The Final Dmension AND Highlander 3: The Sorcerer and also was a “soft” reboot with extra mature stuff.)
So, now the Dragons, who have always been spiritually connected to the stars in both films and a specific constellation are also… magical aliens?
Well, let’s start over.
Many years before the events of Dragonheart, Druids in the north of Britain for see a falling star in a vision and know that it means Dragons are up to something. (There haven’t been Dragons for quite a while. In the past…) It turns out the comet is a meteor carrying a dragon (Voiced by Sir Ben Kingsley) has come to help humanity and watch over a bunch of dragon eggs that were on his magic meteor vessel with him because the world needs Dragons. The Dragon shares his heart with the kind but foolish young knight who defends the eggs and nearly gets himself killed by the actual aweful human being who’s also an evil Druid sorcerer curses the dragon and it’s up to the knight, a good druid, and a red haired kickass warrior princess to save everyone and stop the curse.
Let me show you now the difference in tone of these three movies.
So, you all see now.
I love all these movies. They follow such predictable patterns and are each a clear product of their times, but they’re also just so much fun. I’ll take a cheesy franchise that doesn’t know when to quit any day as long as they stay fun and feature a cool idea and people passionate about it. I called them cash-grabs, and by the studio they probably were, but there is also clear investment of something more by the people making it. The most recent movies feature Ben Kingsley and Patrick Stuart for Draco’s sake!
Which reminds me where we are. Dragonheart: The Battle for the Hearthfire. The sequel to the prequel to the original.
I haven’t seen it yet, but now I’m going to (probably tomorrow night). I wanted to buy both but all I could find was 3 on bluray and the 4-pack on dvd and I already have 1 and 2. So, I’m going to watch it on Netflix, I’ll tell you all what I think of it.
If you’ve got the time, why don’t you too? I’d love to see what you think of these movies and how they touch your hearts (if they haven’t already).
P.S. These two recent seequels are also the testing ground for a possible remake! I also heard a rumor that the original director wanted to have a theatrical release of a movie set in our times with another dragon meteor bringing dragons back to the urf. That would be awesome.)
P.P.S. I put an additional note in the wrong parenthetical last night. That is the edit. I fixed it.