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Tuesday, 3 May 2011

52 Dragon Movies Challenge – DragonQuest Review

DragonQuest is the third movie in my challenge, and the third straight to DVD title in a row, so I’m getting used to what to expect from these films! The films major stars are non-existent, but that’s OK, but surely this means there’s more budget for dragon action...? Only time will tell.

Imagine my surprise when I kick this movie off and not only is there NO narration but we’re also straight into the plot. No messing. Nothing like a break in the format from the first two films to instantly pick up the interest levels.

A spooky hooded figure looking nothing like Star Wars’ Darth Maul on Tatooine is seen doing something scary near a volcano or a valley. Either way the music is full on and there’s a lot of smoke and stuff. Not 100 seconds have passed in the movie and before you know it we get our first proper glimpse of a dragon, yey!

It’s a bit early on for our hero to confront the fire dragon...

You quickly learn that the evil hooded villain’s plot was to unleash the evil fire dragon to help him in his plan to control the ancient fantasy lands. Unfortunately, the one man who can step up to the fire dragon and protect all is old. But his grandson is handsome and a potential dragon slayer called The Keeper, despite the fact that no one thinks he’s ready, I think he is.

The grandpa is full of clichés, “Do what I could not. GO!”

Unfortunately the first glimpse we get of our hero Arkadi, he’s smoking on a pipe and perving on a girl getting undressed. Not the best first impression I must admit, so, he better get doing something cool with these dragons sometime soon.

There is a lot of talk confirming some prophecy about the boy and the red son being a sign. My thoughts on the boy being a potential hero are looking quite promising so far...

Soon the dragon is back on screen again and he’s speaking! The first talking dragon in the 52 movie challenge and we’re only on number 3! Yey! Oh wait, no. It’s the hooded guy speaking through the dragon like its some sort of proxy. And the hooded guy looks familiar? Wait, it’s the alien bounty hunter guy from the X-Files! Pure evil, he must be bad.

After having a chat the dragon takes to the skies...

Once the prophecy of the boy has been firmly established and a random but quite impressive 300 style battle between hundreds of soldiers, we get the chance to find out exactly what the full plot of the movie is based on. Another random old man with a very over the top voice (mate of his grand pa’s) and his beautiful princess accomplice (all very Lara Croft in hot pants and low cut top) meet our hero and tell him he has to find a bunch of stones to fill his ancient amulet that his grandpa conveniently left to him. The story is that forced and clichéd the princess even checks if our hero is still paying attention “are you listening?” I did laugh but I think I’d stopped paying attention.

The old man turns out to be quite a warrior and more than a little Master Yoda. “where are we going?” asks our hero, “HOW we are going is equally important as where!” retorts our wise old man.


Anyway, with the training session over it’s time to find our first ancient stone to complete the worryingly large amulet. I quickly check the running time of the movie (85mins) when I notice there are at least 6 stones to collect. Instantly relieved I look back in time to catch a truly bizarre sequence where the hero is repeatedly swallowed by an underwater serpent.

Instead of trying to find a dragon stone he just tries to light up instead!? After the old man convinces him to pack the smoking in (nothing like a giant water serpent to help kick the habit) he quickly discovers the first dragon stone inside the slimy guts of the serpent before being puked back out! One down...

The weird water serpent

The pace of the film is beginning to quicken now as we meet an old lady who puts them up for the night. The attraction between our hot pant wearing combat Xena princess and our hero is building but for some reason there’s a blonde in a bath tub and she’s asking our hero to join him. Where did she come from and what will he do? Luckily he’s awarded a second dragon stone for NOT joining the bathing blonde and going back to bed next to the brunette princess. “you still stink” she says. Arkadi the hero looks gutted.

Our fire dragon in impressive close up

The night’s sleep is rudely interrupting with a cracking sucker punch to Arkadi and he now finds himself in prison. Luckily the combat princess gets all ass kicking again and manages to free both Arkadi and his cell mate. Luckily the random cell mate also has a dragon stone (every stranger has one of these!? Now I can see why the movie is only 85 minutes!)

Another failed clichéd line is delivered before we’re off on the hunt for dragon stone number 3.

“We are always weakest when we feel strongest.” (Is it just me or do these not make sense?)

Our hero suddenly finds himself in some caves with a massive LOTR style spider. Luckily he stays still and the spider passes him by. Guess what’s on the floor? A dragon stone! I’ve no idea where the cave came from, what the purpose of the spider was or why there was a dragon stone on the floor. But suffice to say, things are turning out great for the kid.

Next up he’s donating some gold to a random stranger and HE has a dragon stone too! How they heck of these things remained hidden? They’re everywhere! All his grandpa had to do was take a Sunday afternoon stroll and he could have completed this amulet himself.

There are some great swordplay scenes and a cool magic mirror that Disney would be proud of before another random stranger gives Arkadi his final dragon stone. With the powers of his dragon amulet, dragon stones, but most importantly virtue, (which must have been mentioned about 20 times and could be a good drinking game) the hero gets himself a magic dragon...

Look what you can achieve with some stones...a magic dragon!

Our hammy old man does some great fighting before one last effort to make me wince and then it’s down to Katya (the ass kicking princess) and Arkadi to take on the soldiers and the hooded dragon conjurer once and for all.

The conclusion to the film is an exciting affair and a grand old effects finale that the straight to DVD movie should be pretty proud of. The screenshot below looks like a deleted scene from Harry Potter of Episode 1, as our hero faces off against that Alien Bounty Hunter X-Files man.

All very Harry Potter now with magic beams...

Of course, it couldn’t just be magic beams. This is a dragon film after all! Now let’s see that same screenshot again, but with ADDED DRAGONS!

As the fight heats up we’ve got our princess hitting countless droves of faceless and characterless guards in her short shorts and we’ve got out hero learning how to control his magic bright blue dragon to fight against the dark lord, I mean, to fight against the hooded bad guy.

Dragon fight! Last week was fire and Ice, now fire and magic!

The special effects really do shine in these last few moments of the film as our main payoff for all this stone hunting and mumbo-jumbo talk is a laser beam fight between two out held hands, and er... a dragon fight, which is cool.

Our prince and princess in not so typical attire

So the battle soon wraps up after some nifty laser beam work, and the film finishes almost without one last Star Wars nod, but not quite. I’ve got to keep reminding myself that I’m watching these movies because they feature dragons, and not necessarily because they have to be any good.

Awesome first date...

Well this one does feature dragons, but isn’t very good. Sure the dragon looks good for a low budget affair, but the unknown cast and the crazy awful cheesy horrible dialogue really do ruin this movie. Oh well, I think I’m going to treat myself to an A-list dragon movie next week. For now, I’ll wrap up this review with a quick final verdict.

Final Score: Overall this dragon movie gets a 4/10.

For all the cool dragon special effects and magical laser beams, it just can’t make up for the fact that the unknown stars of the film really do love to over-act and ruin every scene they’re in. I’m definitely going to jump out of straight to DVD territory for my next Dragon Movie Review otherwise I may not complete this challenge!

If you live in the UK, you can purchase the DVD of DragonQuest from our preferred DVD retailer, Play.com, at the link here

All Images in this blog are copyright of The Global Asylum 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Alternatively, you can enter our raffle to win all 52 DVD's used in the making of this blog. All DVD's will be second hand (as i've watched them) and mostly region 2.

If you want a chance to grab ALL 52 Dragon Movie DVDs that I've used in completing this challenge you can!

All donations to Dragon Zoo through PayPal will get automatically added to our raffle!

At the end of the year we'll pick out one email address that has donated to Dragon Zoo on PayPal and the winner gets all 52 Dragon Movies!! How cool is that?

Every donation equal to £1 (UK) or $1.50 (US) gets an entry into our raffle. All donations need to be approved by a paying adult!
All donations will be used to build a better website for Dragon Zoo and to contribute to future offers and dragon challenges!

(The winner of the raffle will be notified via email at the end of the dragon challenge, all DVDs will be sent via recorded delivery)

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