Pssst, want to check out Dragonslayer in our new look?
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A cocky sorcerer's apprentice (Peter MacNicol? the anxious lawyer in Ally McBeal? really!?) undertakes to kill the old dragon terrorizing a kingdom in Dragonslayer, a sword & sorcery movie that seems like family fare, but is at times a little gorier than you expect. Let me first commend the effects. They tease the dragon at first, a claw here, a tail there, and you think, okay, how cheap is this going to be? But it's so it can better surprise you when the animatronic monster actually shows up. The compositing/chromakey shows its age at times, but still makes for pretty great action, whether it's with hand-to-hand weapons or magic spells. As for the story, it's got a couple of interesting characters (like young Valerian) and twists you're not expecting, as well as a healthy dose of religious and political satire. Sure, there's a dragon, but the king's policies regarding that dragon are the real danger to the people we come to care about. It's a little slow at first, granted, and I question whether or not the "hero's journey" works (is Galen's flaw really sold to us, and does he actually overcome it?). There's a lot of stuff like this coming out of the early 80s (somehow even before Conan the Barbarian, which I would have thought would have originated the trend), and little of it is as worthwhile as Dragonslayer.
Vermithrax Pejorative... still the greatest screen dragon after all these years....
Close up dragon effects: awesome. Dragon flying around effects: not so great.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!