Forgotten Gem: Dragonheart

Nerdling Tales takes a mostly spoiler free look at cult classics mostly overlooked by the public, movies that failed so hard they won, and the “what in the hell were they thinking” flicks. Join her as she reminisces about what makes these movies so interesting and full of hopeful sequel potential, and yet the general movie going population tends to forget their existence.

It is the 20th anniversary of the release of Dragonheart and I want to take a look back at the budding bromance between a dragon and a knight.

Released: May 31, 1996
Director: Rob Cohen
Writers: Patrick Read Johnson and Charles Edward Pogue
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Sean Connery, David Thewlis, Dina Meyer, Pete Postlethwaite, Jason Isaacs, Brian Thompson, Julie Christie

Back in medieval times, a noble knight by the name of Bowen (Quaid) works tirelessly to train a young prince Einon (Thewlis) the Old Code of chivalry in hopes that the young man will become a better king than his tyrannical father, but nothing could suppress the black heart the boy possessed. When the king is killed years later during a rebellion, Einon is mortally wounded by a peasant girl, Kara (Meyer). The Queen Aislinn (Christie) takes the dying Einon to a dragon (Connery) and begs for him to save her son’s life. The dragon makes Einon promise that he will be a fair and just ruler before giving the boy half of his heart. Einon immediately goes back on his promise and enslaves the rebels. Bowen, thinking it was the dragon’s heart that poisoned his former pupil, spends his days hunting and killing dragons until he meets the last one in existence and his whole world view is changed.

This was one of my favorite movies as a kid. It had dragons! All things can be made so much better just by adding dragons (just ask the guys from Game of Thrones). It is always better when the dragons are the good guys as this one is. To me, dragons have always been associated with good guy protectors in fantasy like in the Harper Hall Series and Dealing with Dragons. I know they are more often than not associated with greed or chaos like in The Hobbit or just mindless brutes like in the Harry Potter series or A Song of Ice and Fire series, but I didn’t like that narrative as much. To me dragons are the good guys here to supply wisdom or just be our best friend.

Image Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Image Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Going back and watching Dragonheart as an adult, the movie doesn’t stack up to how amazing it is in my memory. Sure there is a dragon and he is awesome, but the action is not as packed as I remember. The dialogue is so bad it pains me to see these great actors spout these lines. The CGI dragon does not hold up with time. Still it was entertaining and it brought be back to a happier place in my youth.

What is funny to me it I never knew there was a sequel to Dragonheart. Actually there are two sequels (one of them stars Academy Award Winner Ben Kingsley). Somehow thru the magic oh-yeah-we-didn’t-mean-he-was-the-very-last-one, one more dragon comes about to show a lowly peasant child how to become a night. Both movies were released direct to DVD.

If you want a nice little piece of bad fantasy movies nostalgia, Dragonheart is definitely one to visit. It serves as a nice reminder as to how much Hollywood didn’t like making movies for nerds. Man times have changed.

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About Nerdling

The Nerdling has an unhealthy obsession with books, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Star Wars. She finds hockey to be the best sport in the world (Go Dallas Stars!) and is working on her first novel, but mostly glowers at a blank screen. You can find her on Twitter @nerdlingstale on Facebook @NerdlingTales or Instagram @nerdling_tales

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