Wednesday, 27 August 2014


It's classic 80s movie time! And this one is from the start of the decade when we saw a young man who would later be from "the upper vest side". As ever, go check in with Peter and Paul for their views.

What do you do when someone asks you to kill a dragon? Get killed, of course! And then it's up to an upstart apprentice to step into his shoes and get the magician they want. And right royally screw things up. Literally royally too! While this is swords and sorcery, this doesn't go for the standard tropes too much, and people die because the dragon is just that much better, or because people are as competent (or not) as they are supposed to be. No special snowflakes with sudden surges of abilities here. And I also want to make the point here is that this movie does have strong females (within the limited scope of being a medieval fantasy movie). The victim tries to save herself, the princess isn't willing to turn a blind eye, and the main female lead isn't sitting around waiting for guys to do things.

[And I'll admit that yes, for the first time in a movie, I was taken in by her deception.]

And then the MacGuffin steps in to wrap the movie up, but it looks visually nice. Which is one of the unexpected surprises of this movie. The dragon is well realised, the puppet dragon kids are good, the make and other effects are competent... the one weakness is the composition that puts them together sucks a lot. Bad edges everywhere. Otherwise quite successful.

On the acting side, the main leads are fine. The king is a bit off (the crown didn't help), and there's a whole Christian subplot that people aren't committing to and thus hard to follow. The wizard is going full pants on head crazy, but has fun with it. Aside from Peter MacNicol, the other names I note are Ian McDiarmid and John 'Ghost from Ghostlight' Hallum.

A decent movie that holds up well even today.



Jet Simian said...


I didn't add these in but did spot them. Valerian's dad was none other than Emrys 'Aukon' James from Doctor Who's 'State of Decay' and the sacrifical virgin was Yolanda 'Janet' Palfrey from Doctor Who's otherwise-known-as 'Terror of the Vervoids'. Sadly, we lost both her and Cecilia Clarke (Valerian) in recent years - both too soon.

Nice review. I'm glad you liked it, too!

Jet Simian said...

Sorry - that should be Caitlin Clarke, not Cecilia.