Noel's Review of Dragonstorm
[b][size=4][color=Wheat]Review of Dragon Storm (Furst, 2004)[/color][/size][/b]
Overview:[/b][/color] Some movies just really make you wonder. Here they have some rather talented CG animators who can make realistic looking dragons, John Rhys-Davies, fresh of his LOTR performance, and a number of decent medieval looking set pieces - all they need is an even slightly decent script to put out a good product. But unfortunately that doesn't happen in this flawed Scifi channel production. The dragons are pretty close to terrific, but unfortunately, the story brings this thing to the dungeon.
[color=Wheat][b] The Story:[/b][/color] OK, I'll try, but it's truly flawed, both in overall design and in horrid execution. This picture starts with meteorites landing in Great Britain in 1190 AD. The meteors turn out to be dragons who arise and start terrorizing the land. Now even if they'd just focused on this - meaning, how does the populace in the medieval ages deal with real dragons, this could have been a cool movie. But unfortunately, this doesn't happen.
We get a completely bizarre and muddled subplot here where there are two kingdoms - one poor and destitute (although nobody seems hungry) ruled by a selfish and flawed tyrant King Fastrod (John Rhys-Davies), and one prosperous kingdom ruled by an enlightened and caring king who even lets his daughter become a huntress. The dragons destroy the poor kingdom, so Fastrod decides this is his perfect chance to beg mercy on the good king Wednesbury and eventually steal his crown. Unfortunately, while plotting in the forest, they are overheard by a lonely woodsman, who, for some reason, is able to take over the King's entire guard with but a single arrow.
The rest of the movie involves a bizarre combination of these plots - both trying to understand and kill the dragons while Fastrod and his Captain plot to overthrow Wednesbury. Unfortunately, both plots become horribly muddled in the process. Fastrod's motivations rarely make any sense, nor does his orders. Fastrod eventually finds a group of mercenaries who agree to help him overthrow Wednesbury, but ONLY if he kills the woodsman (how they knew about the woodsman, we'll never know).
The "Dragon Slayer" team that is put together includes the woodsman, the princess (who happens to be terrific with a crossbow), the local Chinese trader/kung fu master, who happens to have brought some gun powder with him to trade, the local alchemist, a daughter of the local engineer who just recently completed a completely accurate and powerful ballista before being killed by the dragons, and Fastrod's Captain (who's real goal is to kill the woodsman).
It turns out that these dragons are complete panzies, and tend to die horribly if you even breathe on them. They die from ballista shots, medieval hand grenades, regular arrow shots, etc. Also, even though there are five different dragons, they look completely identical. Their "ominous" quality is lost similar to Reign of Fire.
The FX, Set Pieces and Sound: [/b][/color]The dragons are CLEARLY the highlight of this movie. Truly, these dragons are far far better than they should be for a piece of shit, made for TV movie like this. Additionally, the set pieces, including the castles and keeps are pretty well designed. To add insult to injury, the score fits really well with the movie, and generally keeps to soft, non-intrusive orchestra pieces similar to LOTR.
What the script SHOULD have been: [/b][/color]This production had everything it needed to make a great dragon movie. Had they shit-canned the script and simplified things, this could have been terrific. Even just keeping with the original concept of dragons coming from outer-space, had they just had one kingdom with Rhys-Davies as King, and spent their time just understanding and fighting the dragons, this could have been OK. Granted, the oriental guy and gunpowder would have to go, but the Ballista idea still could have worked. Also, they should have dropped down to one or two dragons and made them far more powerful.
[color=Wheat][b]Bottom Line: [/b][/color]The dragons are terrific, and the set pieces and score are really nice supporting features. The acting for the most part sucks horribly, but looks like the gem of this movie when compared to the script. Truly, I don't know who reads these things at the Scifi channel, but they need to go. This could have been a gritty, realistic struggle in dealing with a mythical creature, but instead, we have this mess.
I give it a 4 out of 10 only because the dragons are so good. without them, this would drop to a 2 or a 3.