DVD Review – Age of the Dragons

Age of the Dragons

People who love films about dragons, really love films about dragons. Even if the film is utter bobbins (the memory of Dragonstorm still haunts me) there will always be something to capture the imagination.

So for those of you who like your lizards Winged and firebreathing Age of the Dragons will be right up your street. For the rest of us mere mortals…

Age of the Dragons is a re-imagining of Herman Melville’s classic tale Moby Dick. But with dragons. Let that sink in for a while. A big white dragon, that not only scars and disables Ahab (played with scenery chewing gusto by Danny Glover) but also kills his younger sister. Oh! The humanity!

The story is placed in some unspecified date in the past, when Dragon vitriol powers lamps. (Do you see what they’ve done there…). Ishmael (Corey Sevier), a writer and hunter along with companion sign on with the Peaquod to hunt dragons with Ahab, Starbuck, Stubbs (Vinnie Jones) and…er … Ahab’s adopted daughter Rachel (Sofia Pernas in a fantastic leather corset).

The Peaquod is no longer a boat, more a dragon hunting tank of wood and iron. It is of course utter lunacy, but, I hate to say it, it kind of makes sense.

Using Melville’s basic structure means that the story has a natural flow and pace, and while incidents have changed, it works within the structure. Glover’s performance, all cackles and whispers is risible, but it’s also tremendous fun. Of course it must have Melville oscillating wildly in his grave, but this is entertaining stuff. Reasonably well paced, with a smart line in CGI dragons that are not shown overmuch, in case you can see the join. It’s cheap, yes, but not shoddy. Ahab’s motivations are not solely about revenge either, in a resolution that moves far away from Melville’s work (although Ahab’s fate remains the same).

Sevier plays Ishmael as worthy if naive, while Kepa Kruse as Queequeg tries to add a mystical element as best he can. Age of the Dragons doesn’t really seem to know where it’s set, so it’s not clear if Queequeg is an Eskimo, a Native American or a Maori. To be honest, it probably doesn’t matter over much. You just have to let it all wash over you. And even Jones as Stagg isn’t really awful. Just.. Vinnie Jones with a pipe.

It’s a strange combination of deeply dumb and rather compelling. By the end part of me thought it ridiculous, whilst a greater part of me thought it… almost charming.

And trust me, there will be worse films out this year, because this moves at a fair pace, sticks to it’s internal logic and while Glover’s performance is Razzie worthie, it’s also rather enjoyable. File under silly!fun if you’re not nuts about dragons and a must see if you are.

Age of the Dragons was released on DVD on March 21st.

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~ by moviegrrlreviews on March 24, 2011.

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