An amazing technological achievement is wasted in this rather bland fantasy. Dennis Quaid stars as Sir Bowen, a valorious knight who follows the old code of King Arthur’s round table. He is the tutor for Prince Einon, a bratty little kid who thirsts for his father’s throne (but, of course, Sir Bowen doesn’t recognize this in the kid). Einon is gravely wounded in a battle, and his mother (Julie Christie) makes a deal with a dragon to save his life. The dragon gives Einon half his heart to make him well again. However, now that Einon is king, his true colors shine forth, and Sir Bowen is heartbroken, thinking the dragon’s heart was evil and polluted his young pupil. He leaves the kingdom, swearing to slay every remaining dragon in the world. Flash forward twelve years…King Einon (David Thewlis) still rules in tyranny, and Sir Bowen has tracked down the last remaining dragon (a CGI creation voiced by Sean Connery), unknowing that he is the same one who gave half his heart to the king. The dragon is a marvel to behold, but somehow veers just shy of integrating fully into the picture. Perhaps it is just a bit too fluid and expressive, but even so, it is enjoyable to watch anyway…too bad Dragonheart isn’t. Dennis Quaid suffers from the same problem as Draco the dragon, he never synchs with the movie. His acting is on the wooden side, and he gets no help from the flimsy script. David Thewlis is suitably annoying as the evil king, but Julie Christie is wasted as the regretful queen mother. In other roles, Dina Meyer looks good but never quite acts as the revenge minded love interest, and Pete Postlethwaite humiliates himself to no good effect as the comic relief monk. The director, Rob Cohen, handles directing the scenes with the dragon to good effect, but his battle scenes can’t compete with those in the recent Braveheart, or even First Knight. Also, the production seems to have invested all its effects money into Draco, at the expense of the other effects in the film. What’s with those cheesy star effects anyway? Yet, in an era with spectacular special effects at every turn, the dragon can’t quite lift Dragonheart.
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