Science fiction and fantasy
The Dragon Chronicles: Fire and Ice
directed by Pitof
King Augustin of Carpia (Arnold Vosloo) is the kind and somewhat indulgent ruler of a prosperous kingdom. His sole heir, Princess Luisa (Amy Acker), drives her mother mad because she prefers riding and hunting to wearing fancy dresses and deciding which prince to marry. But Augustin doesn't mind, because daddy's girl Luisa simply wants to be more like him. It's all very tame, until a fire dragon shows up to ravage the kingdom, burning buildings and scarfing down barbecued peasants with a dash of brown sauce.
With Carpia on its knees, the neighbouring King Quilok (Ovidiu Nicolescu) is soon offering protection in return for Augustin's kingdom. Quilok's country happens to be unscathed by the dragon. Quilok is quite smug about the situation, in spite of having to wear a crown that looks like it was made in a nursery class. He's also obviously evil. Augustin's advisor Paxion (Razvan Vasilescu) urges him to accept Quilok's terms before time runs out and he has no people left to speak for. But there is one knight who might know how to save them...
Luisa has been warned to steer clear of the forest, which is full of crazy tree-people. But she's incredibly headstrong, and plainly not too bright. She charges into danger in search of Alidor, a disgraced knight who might be able to save the country. On her travels she meets Sangimel (John Rhys Davies), and nice-but-dull heroic type Gabriel (Tom Wisdom). Sangimel is one of the most interesting characters in the film, with his arsenal of inventions and the wry way he delivers his lines. Those lines are often far from inspiring, but Rhys Davies' acting talents turn lead into gold, making Sangimel compelling to watch.
Unfortunately the same can't be said for the other characters, who struggle through lifeless dialogue and predictable plotting with all the enthusiasm of people flushing money down the toilet. The casting is unusual. There's a mix of Romanian actors and those of other nationalities, which results in an odd mixture of accents. It's a small detail, but one of many flaws that chip away at the film's credibility. The effects are another aspect where details have been missed. The dragons themselves aren't the standard creatures we often see, and it's refreshing to see them re-imagined in a slightly different way. Yet production values aren't the highest. The gap between CGI and photography is particularly apparent in the scene on the ice field, where the joins show.
Some of the action is downright laughable, as ineffective minions hurl themselves at the heroes like lemmings jumping off a cliff. Even this might be just about excusable, if it weren't for the gaping plot holes throughout the story. The heroes come up with an initial plan that's so patently bad it beggars belief. There are many more, but in the interests of not giving spoilers I'm not going to list all of them. Just one more thing, to show how slack the attention to detail is: it's supposed to be set in a fantasy land, yet one of the characters talks about the English outlaw Robin Hood.
Michael Konyves and Angela Mancuso's script takes the sense of wonder from epic fantasy and pummels it into hackneyed mush. Thanks to them dragons can add yet another terrible movie to their rap sheet.
If you like this, try:Progeny by Brian Yuzna
A man fears he and his wife have been abducted by aliens, and he wonders if the child is really his.
Eragon by Stefen Fangmeier
A young farm boy discovers a dragon egg, and finds that everything changes. Including most of the original plot of the book.
Dragon by Leigh Scott
A princess makes her way through a forest and past the perils of evil elves and a fire-breathing dragon.
Add your thoughtsAll comments are pre-moderated. Please do not post spoilers or abusive language.