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DragonHeart (1996)

May. 31,1996
| Adventure Fantasy Action
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In an ancient time when majestic fire-breathers soared through the skies, a knight named Bowen comes face to face and heart to heart with the last dragon on Earth, Draco. Taking up arms to suppress a tyrant king, Bowen soon realizes his task will be harder than he'd imagined: If he kills the king, Draco will die as well.


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Disclaimer: I saw this movie in theaters when I was 6 or 7 and cried my eyes out there. It was the very first movie that I got home and tearfully, hauntingly asked my parents why it had to happen that way. Why did the good dragon have to die? I don't remember what they had to say, but at 25 I still spill whiskey soul tears when I watch this movie to the end. The clear-cut morality of it, the good and bad and how it gets complicated. It's just painful in real and in the best/worst way. I'm quite sure I'll expose my someday kids to this movie, especially because the special effects and Connery's moral, good voice will live up to it. I only wish I live up to the Old Code every day at my hard job and teach my kids to do the same.


I never got around to seeing DRAGONHEART, probably because I thought it looked rather cheesy and at the age of 15 (as I was when this film came out) I was more interested in seeing adult thrillers like RANSOM rather than kiddie flicks like this one. Seeing it all these years later, it's clear that I didn't miss much; this is a film that plays out exactly as you'd expect, which is as ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES with an added dragon.The only good thing DRAGONHEART has going for it is that the plot is fairly unusual, setting up intriguing characters who go on different directions to those you might expect. David Thewlis is clearly going for an Alan Rickman vibe in PRINCE OF THIEVES in this one, but he doesn't really come off all that well, and Dennis Quaid's hero is typically dull. The interest comes from the supporting players: Brian Thompson and Jason Isaacs are always welcome; Dina Meyer is feisty enough to get her the role in STARSHIP TROOPERS; and Pete Postlethwaite is great comic relief.The elephant (or should that be dragon?) in the room is Sean Connery, playing the voice of the dragon. He's pretty good, but the CGI effects are only acceptable in this one. They're fine compared to a lot of the usual SyFy/Asylum nonsense, but they're a far cry from the quality we saw in JURASSIC PARK. And Rob Cohen's direction is typically bland and soulless. If you're in the mood for undemanding family fare then you might enjoy this, but then again you might be like me and not think much of it.


A knight is sworn to valor. His heart knows only virtue. His blade defends the helpless. His might upholds the innocent. His wrath undoes the wicked! Such was the Old Code of the Knights of the Round Table.Fantasy films of now could take some cues from DragonHeart. The story of a Knight, Bowen, who believed in those words, and dreamed of serving a noble King. But the Prince he put his faith into, Einon, let him down, and proved to be a tyrant, despite that a Dragon had given him half his heart, saving his life and hoping to defeat the evil in him that his father also possessed.Bowen then goes out to slay all Dragons as revenge, asking money in return from the folk, and defying King Einon. However, he ends up befriending that said Dragon, who he calls Draco, after the constellation, as well as Brother Gilbert, a wandering and whimsical Monk, and Kara, a Peasant girl whose father was blinded by Einon during a revolt and later murdered. Bowen and his friends triumph against the evil King as his cohorts. The twist? Their Dragon friend had to die for Einon to be killed, they both carried half a heart, and Draco had the one that sustained the other. They shared the pain in life and in death.Draco was then admitted into the Dragons' heaven. According to the movie's story, the Dragons do no harm to men unless attacked, and they must earn going to Heaven by helping Men.Dennis Quaid as Bowen, Sean Connery as Draco, Dina Meyer as Kara, Pete Postlethwaite as the comical Brother Gilbert,and David Thewlis who played the villainous King Einon all did well, and Einon's mother, Aislinn, played by Julie Christie, was an interesting character with a cruel fate. DragonHeart has plenty of lighthearted moments in between the serious themes, but it surely put a spin on the usual fantasy tropes. As a whole, it suffers from budgetary issues, however the charm is there for a wide audience. The film doesn't waste much time to get the point across.


As a child I'd go to my grandmother's house during the summer. She had bought this movie on VHS and my cousins and I would watch it. Then watch it some more and more. I'm amazed we never broke the tape. Dragonheart is, in my humble opinion, one of the best-ever dragon movies I have seen. So what if some of the plot is not 'believable'. It's a fairytale. So, when and if you watch/re-watch this movie, do so with an open heart. Top-notch special effects of the time and the inclusion of Sean Connery and Dennis Quaid, who performed their roles of noble dragon and despairing knight incredibly well. In my view, an amazing film, an amazing cast and an amazing result. This is a must watch and under-rated film in my opinion.