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C'mon Hollywood #147

01.25.2008

... make a decent dragon movie, or stop making bad ones!
by Sturdy

I think fantasy films are the hardest genre of films to make. By the time you build the mythology, establish the world, build interesting characters and then have enough action to keep the audience wanting more., youíve run out of time. Thatís a tall task for a two-hour film. In fact, itís nearly impossible. LOTR had to split it up into three films. Can you imagine how bad the trilogy would have been if they had combined it into one two-hour film?


First off, this isnít even a dragon.

Maybe thatís why thereís never been a decent dragon movie. You gotta give Hollywood some credit for at least trying over the years. It just seems that no matter how hard they try, the film usually seems uninteresting, cheesy, bland, rushed or a combination of all. Itís odd too, because you would think that a movie about a giant, flying, fire-breathing monster would be fun. Unfortunately, itís harder than it sounds.


Yeah, McConaughey was a stud in this one

Looking back through the years, dragon movies have suffered damning fates. REIGN OF FIRE is probably the best dragon movie out there, but didnít you feel like it was a bit of a letdown? DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS is a good example of a film that already had a fan base, but with the cheap effects and comic feel, it was almost unbearable to watch. DRAGONHEART took a shot and even got Sean Connery to voice the dragon, but that ended up making things a little weird. Of course, we have THE NEVERENDING STORY, which I remember being a good film, although I havenít seen it since 1989. Besides, thatís not really the type of dragon film Iím talking about.


Honestly, this is all I could see the entire movie

Most recently, weíve had ERAGON and DRAGON WARS. I actually really liked the dragons in ERAGON. I thought the effects were decent and I thought they looked cool. As it turns out, that was about all I liked in the movie. It missed on every other level and the result was a bad film that was easier to make fun of than to take seriously. DRAGON WARS managed to be even worst, but at 90 minutes, how are you going to make a decent fantasy film? I think the problem with these two films is the lack of commitment from studios to invest the time and money into making a decent dragon movie. Itís easier to throw something together, slap a dragon on the cover and get it to store shelves.


I liked the dragon, but that was about it

Or, maybe the problem is that no director or screenwriter out there has taken the time to create an epic dragon movie. We need someone to take a good dragon story and Peter-Jackson (yes, Iím using his name as a verb) it. Before we can do that, we need a good, epic story that will captivate an audience. How aboutÖwellÖorÖok, I donít read fantasy books, so I donít know. Has anyone out there read a decent dragon tale that would make a good film? If so, let me know.

So címon Hollywood, make a good dragon movie. Dragons are one of the coolest mythological characters around, but every time we get them on the big screen, it turns out to be comically bad. At the very least, if youíre not going to invest the time and money into making a good dragon film, then at least stop making bad dragon movies.

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7:24AM on 01/25/2008
Kind of odd that you didn't mention these little tidbits, Sturdy, but Peter Jackson has not one, but TWO dragon-themed projects on the horizon.

One is THE HOBBIT, which of course directly involves a dragon. Peter Jackson will be producing that, which in itself is awesome. The possibilty of this sucking is low to nil.

Then there's HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON, which is based on the novel by Naomi Novik (the first in a series of four, so far), about the Napoleonic Wars if they were fought with
Kind of odd that you didn't mention these little tidbits, Sturdy, but Peter Jackson has not one, but TWO dragon-themed projects on the horizon.

One is THE HOBBIT, which of course directly involves a dragon. Peter Jackson will be producing that, which in itself is awesome. The possibilty of this sucking is low to nil.

Then there's HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON, which is based on the novel by Naomi Novik (the first in a series of four, so far), about the Napoleonic Wars if they were fought with aerial warfare...DRAGON aerial warfare, to be exact. Peter Jackson would be producing and/or directing this one. So again: the possibilities of this sucking are low to nil.

Don't fret or lose hope just yet. A decent (or even f*cking awesome) dragon movie could still yet come. Patience, patience!!
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7:55AM on 01/25/2008

I DON'T KNOW MAN...

Dragons are cool and all, but you can't really do much with them to make a compelling story that'll last through the ages.

At least not without being derrivative (I'm too lazy to spell). I could see a dragon movie working with an E.T. kinda vibe. Like an E.T. meets Transformers...but instead of alien/robots it's dragons...that takes place in [link] don't know.
Dragons are cool and all, but you can't really do much with them to make a compelling story that'll last through the ages.

At least not without being derrivative (I'm too lazy to spell). I could see a dragon movie working with an E.T. kinda vibe. Like an E.T. meets Transformers...but instead of alien/robots it's dragons...that takes place in [link] don't know.
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9:44AM on 01/25/2008

Dragonslayer

I've been lamenting the lack of good dragon films for years. But I recently managed to watch "Dragonslayer," a live action Disney flick from 1981. It's got a decent story, pretty amazing effects, and a surprising amount of violence and nudity for a PG film.
I've been lamenting the lack of good dragon films for years. But I recently managed to watch "Dragonslayer," a live action Disney flick from 1981. It's got a decent story, pretty amazing effects, and a surprising amount of violence and nudity for a PG film.
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9:50AM on 01/25/2008

The Dragon and the George

... was one of my favorite books in my geeky teens. It's still one of my favs as a geeky adult. Wish they would develop this into a major motion pic, but I think the premise may be a little to out there. Basically, a human mind inhabits the body of a dragon. After the initial premise though, it was a good book and might make a good movie.

I agree with theotherness... the ultimate dragon movie may be THE HOBBIT.
... was one of my favorite books in my geeky teens. It's still one of my favs as a geeky adult. Wish they would develop this into a major motion pic, but I think the premise may be a little to out there. Basically, a human mind inhabits the body of a dragon. After the initial premise though, it was a good book and might make a good movie.

I agree with theotherness... the ultimate dragon movie may be THE HOBBIT.
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10:34AM on 01/25/2008
I gotta agree with Higgs on giving props to Dragonslayer. In my opinion, it's pretty much the peak of dragon films.
Also, Dragon Wars? What did you really expect from a Korean made movie with English actors? The last time that happened was the new Yongarry movie (a.k.a. Reptilian) and it was so bad it was impossible to even laugh at it.
I gotta agree with Higgs on giving props to Dragonslayer. In my opinion, it's pretty much the peak of dragon films.
Also, Dragon Wars? What did you really expect from a Korean made movie with English actors? The last time that happened was the new Yongarry movie (a.k.a. Reptilian) and it was so bad it was impossible to even laugh at it.
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10:36AM on 01/25/2008
I hate movies/books where dragons speak. It's lame as hell. Except the Hobbit--that did it well. Smaug kicks ass.
I hate movies/books where dragons speak. It's lame as hell. Except the Hobbit--that did it well. Smaug kicks ass.
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10:38AM on 01/25/2008

"Dawn Treader"

There is an amazing dragon storyline coming up with "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader". No battle sequences, but I anticipate it nevertheless.
There is an amazing dragon storyline coming up with "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader". No battle sequences, but I anticipate it nevertheless.
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12:24PM on 01/25/2008
I liked Reign of Fire. And Dragonheart was ok, definitely a guilty pleasure.
I liked Reign of Fire. And Dragonheart was ok, definitely a guilty pleasure.
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1:19PM on 01/25/2008

Dragonslayer

Sturdy... watch Dragonslayer, then come back and talk about how the special effects are in a decades old dragon movie. Practical trumps CGI as usual.
Sturdy... watch Dragonslayer, then come back and talk about how the special effects are in a decades old dragon movie. Practical trumps CGI as usual.
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3:20PM on 01/25/2008

MacCaffrey's Dragonriders Would Rock

If they would get a descent director & screenwriter ... and SFX person ... and actors ... if only.
If they would get a descent director & screenwriter ... and SFX person ... and actors ... if only.
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3:40PM on 01/25/2008
I liked Dragon Wars, don't give a damn about what score you give it or not realistic. I don't sit there and piss and moan about how bad a movie is (even people who haven't seen it) I am there to be entertained, if you don't like some of these other movies, then good, there's more room for me....
I liked Dragon Wars, don't give a damn about what score you give it or not realistic. I don't sit there and piss and moan about how bad a movie is (even people who haven't seen it) I am there to be entertained, if you don't like some of these other movies, then good, there's more room for me....
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4:21PM on 01/25/2008

McCaffrey!

I agree with Downhill39. McCaffrey's Dragonriders series would be an awesome movie, given the right circumstances.
I agree with Downhill39. McCaffrey's Dragonriders series would be an awesome movie, given the right circumstances.
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5:23PM on 01/25/2008
Dragon's Blood (trilogy)... a great story and so much dragon mythology tied in with an amazing human storyline... it's been awhile since I read them, but the story still rings in my mind as one of the best (although eragon was a great story and they blew that one...so....)
Dragon's Blood (trilogy)... a great story and so much dragon mythology tied in with an amazing human storyline... it's been awhile since I read them, but the story still rings in my mind as one of the best (although eragon was a great story and they blew that one...so....)
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5:38PM on 01/25/2008

TEMERAIRE

Funny that you mention Peter Jackson, since he bought the rights to Naomi Novik's great TEMERAIRE series of books. Basically, the books are set during the Napoleanic wars, but in an alternate reality where dragons exist in our world and are used by the military as aerial units. So they're essentially war stories, with dragons. Very cool concept and I have a feeling, if Peter directs, it'll be a truly great dragon film.
Funny that you mention Peter Jackson, since he bought the rights to Naomi Novik's great TEMERAIRE series of books. Basically, the books are set during the Napoleanic wars, but in an alternate reality where dragons exist in our world and are used by the military as aerial units. So they're essentially war stories, with dragons. Very cool concept and I have a feeling, if Peter directs, it'll be a truly great dragon film.
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5:50PM on 01/25/2008
I saw Dragonheart ages ago. And while I found it at times laughable, I also think they did a good balancing story and mythology.

As far as I know dragons are, often enough, plot devices a la The Hobbit, given minimal back-story, simply there to scare the crap out of people, and give the hero something to do. And wasn't the thing in The Neverending Story a giant flying dog?

Fantasy films of yore that didn't suffer from an overload of mythology, and still were able to cram it all into a
I saw Dragonheart ages ago. And while I found it at times laughable, I also think they did a good balancing story and mythology.

As far as I know dragons are, often enough, plot devices a la The Hobbit, given minimal back-story, simply there to scare the crap out of people, and give the hero something to do. And wasn't the thing in The Neverending Story a giant flying dog?

Fantasy films of yore that didn't suffer from an overload of mythology, and still were able to cram it all into a reasonable runtime are The Dark Crystal and Willow. They were also dragonless.
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6:16PM on 01/25/2008

reign of fire

is definitely the best of the dragon films, but saying that is like saying TIGERLAND is the best Joel Schumacher film. It's watchable, but somewhere along the way, it does let you down. I remember seeing the poster art for REIGN and I was so fucking stoked with the dragons facing off against Apache helicopters. If that film had a climax that didn't involve just three people and one dragon but an armored division complete with air support vs. a couple dozen dragons shot in a very SAVING PRIVATE
is definitely the best of the dragon films, but saying that is like saying TIGERLAND is the best Joel Schumacher film. It's watchable, but somewhere along the way, it does let you down. I remember seeing the poster art for REIGN and I was so fucking stoked with the dragons facing off against Apache helicopters. If that film had a climax that didn't involve just three people and one dragon but an armored division complete with air support vs. a couple dozen dragons shot in a very SAVING PRIVATE RYAN Omaha Beach way... that would have been the dog's bollocks.

This is why all the Godzilla films are either partial or total failures. We want to see films about giant monsters where they're fucking shit up at least 85% of the film and we deal with the human element for the other 15. Not to slam on the big G, but come on... Imagine how awesome DESTROY ALL MONSTERS or FINAL WARS would have been if it was mostly the monster battles. People don't watch boxing matches for the interplay between the fighters; they want to see one beat the fuck out of the other.
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6:42PM on 01/25/2008

damn u matthew

Reign of Fire was good, except for when Matthew McConaughey was flying threw the air and then just got eaten by the dragon. So anticlimactic. It looked to be so epic in the trailer and then BAM! He was dead. He could have at least latched onto the dragon's side with his axe and eventually died or something. Lame
Reign of Fire was good, except for when Matthew McConaughey was flying threw the air and then just got eaten by the dragon. So anticlimactic. It looked to be so epic in the trailer and then BAM! He was dead. He could have at least latched onto the dragon's side with his axe and eventually died or something. Lame
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7:02PM on 01/25/2008

PJ all the way!

There's a dragon in THE HOBBIT, so when that hits screens (whenever that will be) I'm sure we'll finally have a cool dragon AND a cool film.
There's a dragon in THE HOBBIT, so when that hits screens (whenever that will be) I'm sure we'll finally have a cool dragon AND a cool film.
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8:45PM on 01/25/2008
The first thing I thought of was "Dragonslayer" while reading this....and as I read further, I saw that others had the same thought.
If you haven't checked it out...it's worth a watch. It does have a lot of violence and nudity for a PG film. Infact, this is one of the few...and I mean very few movies I could see redone...but only by someone the level of Jackson or Spielberg in quality.
The first thing I thought of was "Dragonslayer" while reading this....and as I read further, I saw that others had the same thought.
If you haven't checked it out...it's worth a watch. It does have a lot of violence and nudity for a PG film. Infact, this is one of the few...and I mean very few movies I could see redone...but only by someone the level of Jackson or Spielberg in quality.
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9:20PM on 01/25/2008

Oi!

There was nothing offensively wrong with 'Reign of Fire' thanks very much. It was a solid piece of entertainment, sure it wasn't brilliant or for the die hard fanboys that dominate this site, but I had a fantastic time.
There was nothing offensively wrong with 'Reign of Fire' thanks very much. It was a solid piece of entertainment, sure it wasn't brilliant or for the die hard fanboys that dominate this site, but I had a fantastic time.
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9:11AM on 01/26/2008
I love that pic of the Connery-Dragon :) That said, Dragonheart wasn't half bad; definitely up there with Dragonslayer as the best of the dragon flicks.
I love that pic of the Connery-Dragon :) That said, Dragonheart wasn't half bad; definitely up there with Dragonslayer as the best of the dragon flicks.
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5:00AM on 01/30/2008

The Hobbit

Wait Smaug in the upcoming Hobbit, i'm sure u'll love it
Wait Smaug in the upcoming Hobbit, i'm sure u'll love it
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10:47PM on 02/05/2008

Don't forget Dragonslayer

Walt Disney's Dragonslayer was a very good movie. I hope at least that Smaug looks more interesting than the fell beasts nazgŻl was riding. Not saying they looked bad, and they're not really dragons either, but maybe they could've been improved. I don't know.
Walt Disney's Dragonslayer was a very good movie. I hope at least that Smaug looks more interesting than the fell beasts nazgŻl was riding. Not saying they looked bad, and they're not really dragons either, but maybe they could've been improved. I don't know.
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3:52PM on 04/15/2008
Cant believe you went through that little article and left out the best Dragon movie ever made...Dragonslayer.
Cant believe you went through that little article and left out the best Dragon movie ever made...Dragonslayer.
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