That’s about the only appropriate response to a movie like Dragonheart (1996). When I decided to write a blog post about the film for the Bond, Not Bond Blogathon, I didn’t remember just how bad a movie it was. This afternoon, I sat down to watch it with my little brothers–and it didn’t take very long before I started fast-forwarding scenes. Not because of inappropriate content or anything like that. No, it’s just that Dragonheart is so DULL. 😛
But bad movies can make for entertaining blog posts, so I thought I’d share a few ways in which Dragonheart wasted the chance it had to be an actually awesome film.
How can a story about revenge, betrayal, and a dragon-human life bond be this boring?
Here’s the basic plot of Dragonheart: Bowen, a knight of the Old Code (think: code of chivalry), is tasked with training Prince Einon. Einon is wounded in the same battle that kills his father, and is taken to a dragon who heals Einon by giving Einon half of its heart (just go with it). Twelve years later, Einon has become a horrible, despotic king. Bowen is convinced that Einon’s evil is the dragon’s fault, and he sets himself the task of killing all dragons. Finally, he comes to the very last dragon, Draco. An unlikely bond ends up forming between them and Bowen leads a rebellion against Einon. The only catch is that because Einon and Draco share a heart, they can feel each other’s pain…and the death of one will lead to the death of the other.
There are SO MANY opportunities for juicy, riveting, heartbreaking drama with a story like that. Like, Revenge of the Sith-level tragedy and angst and betrayal. One example: what if the filmmakers had really dug deep into Bowen’s guilt over Einon going bad (since Bowen was the prince’s teacher)? But instead of doing that, Dragonheart teeters between a lighthearted (and cringy) comedy and the (potentially) devastating, emotional story that I would have liked to see. There’s no tonal coherence. And, above all, it’s a very monotonous film. I don’t feel a connection to any of the characters, and that’s probably because of bad directing, bad dialogue, and bad delivery of that dialogue. Which leads into my next point.
Acting? What’s acting?
Dragonheart contains some good actors, no doubt about that: Dennis Quaid, David Thewlis, Jason Isaacs, and, y’know, Sean Connery. And yet, it also contains some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen in a Hollywood film. I love Quaid in The Parent Trap and I Can Only Imagine, but he is both grating and flat as Bowen. David Thewlis turns in the best performance, as the thoroughly awful Einon, but the character is so awful that he’s not a lot of fun to watch. And Sean Connery? He does a pretty good job voicing Draco, but there were still some awkward moments. His voice acting could have been better, but I suppose it could have been worse too. *shrugs*
And that’s the thing about almost any aspect of Dragonheart: I just end up feeling kind of meh about it. However, there is one part of the film I do really love…
Can a truly wonderful musical score save Dragonheart?
Okay, the answer to that question is ‘no’. If anything, Dragonheart’s amazing soundtrack only highlights the mediocrity of everything else onscreen (and teases us with the idea of what might have been, if the movie had lived up to its music). But still. I LOVE the soundtrack. I listened to it on repeat while writing King’s Winter, so it will always be associated with that. Honestly, I think it’s a better association than the original movie. 😉
There! I’ve written about Dragonheart! Even without the blogathon, I’ve been kinda wanting to revisit the film and talk about it on this blog. I’m glad I did so, if only to know for certain that it’s not a movie I need to rewatch any time soon. I do hope I haven’t greatly offended any fans of the film! Dragonheart does have a certain charm (despite all the negative things I’ve said). And I can especially see it being a nostalgic favorite. ❤
Have you watched Dragonheart? What did you think of it?