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Top Customer Reviews
This was one of the last roles for Sir Ralph Richardson, and he makes the absolute best of it. His scorcerer can stand alonside Merlin or any other.
The period detail is another plus. being made after "Excalibur", (as well as some fine lesser known films of the 70's), the costumes and other effects have a wonderful believeability to them.
So, if your looking for a nice distraction in the fantasy film department, you really can't go wrong with this film!
The plot: For years, the kingdom of Urland has managed to avoid being incinerated by a dragon by offering up maidens as a twice-annual meal. Like the draft during Vietnam, the lottery by which the virgins are chosen is more or less rigged to guarantee that the children of the rich and/ or well-connected aren't conscripted as dragon bait. One thing the movie should have addressed is the question of why the virgins of Urland don't "dodge the draft" in a rather easy and obvious (and fun!) way.
Since there are no slots in the "champagne unit" of the Texas Air Guard available to a young commoner named Valerian, she has spent her youth dressed like a boy. However, she refuses to just sit by as other girls are devoured, so she and other peasants seek out a wizard to kill the dragon.
The only one they find is Ulric (played perfectly as an almost senile hermit by Ralph Richardson), an octogenarian who lives 300 miles away and appears to already have one foot in the grave. He doesn't even look like he can travel all the way to Urland, let alone fight a dragon. He is also handicapped by a a clumsy and dull-witted apprentice, Galen (Peter MacNicol).
Enter Tyrian (Jack Hallam) a wonderfull villain played by a wonderfull actor. He thinks the old magician is a fraud and a troublemaker and calls him out.Read more ›
"Well, I'm glad that magic is fading from this world, the dragons are fading along with it."
It's a little odd to see Peter MacNicol in the hero role after observing his toilet fascination for the last few years on Ally McBeal! Caitlin Clarke plays a girl playing a boy. (The 80's was the decade of cross-dressing! We had TOOTSIE, YENTL, VICTOR VICTORIA and DRAGONSLAYER!) Ralph Richardson is venerable and perfectly wizardly.
The best thing about DRAGONSLAYER is its script. The script unfolds in a smart, concise way. It even brings in the theme of magic vs. Christianity.
The effects still hold up. The dragon's head is obviously a big puppet, but director Matthew Robbins gets around the technical problems and gives us lots of point-of-view shots to hide the dragon until the last part of the movie.
My only gripe with the DVD is the quality of the print used. There are some obvious blue streaks down the middle of the film in several places. The film looks very grainy in several places, too. Otherwise, I'm pleased with the DVD - no extras, though.
Most recent customer reviews
An amazing movie. Considering the age of it, the dragon is remarkable!Published 21 months ago by TNT
Still a special effects thrill and a welcome semi-adult drama addition to the Disney oeuvre.Published 23 months ago by Khufu
my grandsons loved this movie and so did I , it had a lot of action and it stood up to the super heros movies the boys saidPublished on April 25 2014 by Barb M
Loved this old movie and was waiting a long time for it to drop in price. Ended up buying 2 copies one for me and one for my dad!!!Published on March 2 2014 by deborah.mcgrath
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