There Be Dragons Reviews
Most of the performing is pretty bad, maybe also empowered by the clear difficulties that many of the Spanish actors have to do so in English, their strong accent when speaking and the grandiloquent dialogues and monologues in the script.
Roland Joffés "There Be Dragons" explores themes such as betrayal, forgiveness, friendship, and finding the meaning of life in everyday life during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. "Reconciliation matters" is the main take away message that Joffe expects from the viewers. Life, he said, is an opportunity to love: "It's a choice, and in making that decision you become free. You do not become free when you hate. The weird thing is when you really love, you feel it like a breath of freedom, you think 'Oh my God, I've chosen this, and it's beautiful'." He emphasized that Christianity is about love and the teaching of St. Josemaria "encourages a spiritual relationship with God in 'very simple things', in cooking a meal, being with one's family, or even having a fight." Joffé states that this is "a film about what it means to be a saint in this day and age." The title refers to its theme exploring the unknown territories of hatred, guilt, and forgiveness, said the producer Ignacio G. Sancha. "There be dragons" is a shorter version of the phrase "here there be dragons" from the Latin hic sunt dracones, an ancient way of denoting in maps a place where there is danger, or an unknown place, a place to be explored. Roland Joffé has given us the fantastic "The Mission" and the equally great "The Killing Fields", and therefore it pains me to see this overdramatised and theatrically overacted piece of film from the same man. With a great backdrop of the horrific Spanish Civil War, Joffé manages to transform "There Be Dragons" to an almost comiclike mish mash with sloppy direction and sloppy acting despite the fact that he obviously had a great budget. Sometimes you almost believe the movie has been dubbed as well... With an estimated budget of $36,000,000, during its opening weekend the film collected $705,537 at the US box office, compared to $1,251,124 in Spain, the film is considered a box office flop. Critics generally praised the film's production values but panned Joffé's screenplay and direction. I disliked this movie from scene one and nothing came to its rescue during the running time. I would love to see a proper historical movie in spanish focused on the Spanish Civil War.
Liked this movie. Interesting story based on actual history. Fast paced and thrilling.
Once upon a time, writer-director Roland Joffe had a flair for historical epics when he made sweeping and excellent timeless films such as "The Mission" and "The Killing Fields." Sadly, that was a long time ago and with the exception of neat cinematography(credit to Gabriel Beristain), especially with Manolo coming into focus in a mirror, there is not much to like in "There Be Dragons," as it serves mostly as just a banal distortion of history. For example, in reality, the Catholic Church was on the side of the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War, so at least they were not totally persecuted as shown here.(For the record, if somebody is too good to be true, they most likely are.) That's not to mention a dueling lumbering narrative that does little to advance the movie's central themes of forgiveness. Remember, some times you do have to take a side.