Game on…!

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

SPYRO


Realm:
Skylands (Currently)
Featured in: Spyro the Dragon, Legends of Spyro, Skylanders, etc.
Voiced By: Elijah Wood (Legend of Spyro) Josh Keaton (Skylanders)

I’m sure that there isn’t a video gamer out there that hasn’t heard the name of Spyro the Dragon. He was, and still kind of, a staple character for the Sony Playstation systems now that a certain bandicoot has gone to the wayside. Whereas Nintendo has Mario, Sega has Sonic, for the longest time, Playstation had Spyro. Up until more recent years at any rate but that’s neither here nor there.

Contrary to Mario, whom has never truly had a straight up storyline from game to game beyond Bowser’s obsession with Peach and locking her in a variety of towers, Spyro does in fact have a storyline and, like Sonic, has more than one to his name.

The first generation of Spyro consists entirely of the games that premiered in my generation, otherwise known as the PS1 to the younger masses. In those particular games, Spyro was simply a dragon whose circumstances allowed him to combat against the various evils attacking his world. In essence, far more like Mario insomuch that little to nothing made sense in the grand scheme of characters and monsters never mind the actual storyline.

Out of everything that came from the original series, the one thing that I remember most above all others was the constant joy one had with sheep. Sheep, in most Spyro games, are a source of income or health depending on the game in question. The one thing that is constant throughout is that they are so far down on the bottom of the totem pole they might as well be sitting under it. Seriously, I played most of the original Spyro games and the only thing that I can remember at all about any of them was how much fun it was chasing those fluffy things down and burning the ever-loving sheepskin out of ‘em.

However, much like Sonic the Hedgehog is currently undergoing, Spyro received a serious makeover/reboot in the form of a trilogy known simply as The Legends of Spyro. Here is where most, if not all, of Spyro’s true character comes to shine and where we get a full understanding as to why he and no other dragon, is capable of combating such great evils.

To put it simply, it’s because he’s purple.

Nope, nothing else, it’s because he’s purple as a grape. Dragons, in the Legends trilogy and in Skylanders are all aligned to certain elements based primarily upon the colors of their scales. Red for fire, blue for ice, green for earth, etc. In the case of the exceedingly rare purple-scaled dragons, they are the essential culmination of all these elements made whole in the form of pure, raw, magic.

Basically, whereas most dragons are only ever capable of learning one particular element and its variety of uses, Spyro can learn and use them all with the only limit being his own experience and stamina. It is even mentioned, and a major plot point, that Spyro can even learn to bend the very sands of time to his bidding, a feat that no one thought possible.

The Legends trilogy is often proclaimed as being the most tedious and unimaginative as far as gameplay is concerned but its story is never doubted as being one of the greats. The voice acting is superb and the story itself is one that I shan’t spoil for anyone beyond saying that it is truly a game trilogy that could have been made into a film. No, seriously, they were plans to make an actual Spyro animated film based on the second generation of games but it eventually fell through when Activision decided to go in an entirely different direction with Spyro.

This of course leads to the current incarnation of Spyro seen in the Skylanders game series. Now, I’m not going to lie, I both love and hate these games. I love them for their original character designs and playability that is, overall, both fun and distinctive. I hate them though because they have made far too many of those little guys for me to keep track of and please forbid any one of them having a name that isn’t something of a pun towards who/what they are.

Spyro himself is both changed and unchanged insomuch that his design is made to fit in with the rest of the characters, making him look more childish but a heck of a lot more draconic in my opinion, but his backstory is… Not really touched upon. All that we learn of it is what can be read either in game or in a game guide, both of which only tell the bare necessities of the events that transpired in the Legends trilogy. Nothing in the games outright indicates anything of Spyro’s character beyond him likely being a favored Skylander to the Portal Master Eon.

That’s another element that I dislike in the Skylanders games frankly. What’s the point of having such a wide variety of character to play as when they are just carbon cutouts in the games? There is nothing, and I mean nothing that ever occurs to make the gameplay distinctive based on the chosen Skylander.

I’d settle for someone shouting, “You the dragon, Spyro!” at this point.

And now, my friends, a dragon’s toast…!

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

BASILGARRAD

Name Meaning: Basil the Great Heart
Titles:
Wings of Peace, The Greatest Dragon of All Time
Realm:
The Great Tree of Avalon
Featured in: Merlin’s Dragon by T.A. Barron

Basilgarrad, or simply Basil to his friends, is a dragon with a remarkable history behind him never mind those closest to him. As the title of his featured book might suggest, Basil is a close friend of Merlin the wizard, specifically the Merlin told of in T.A. Barron’s The Lost Years of Merlin and The Great Tree of Avalon series. More to the point, it was the book Merlin’s Dragon, that begun the trilogy that used the same name. As a whole, the books are in order of: The Lost Years of Merlin Series, Merlin’s Dragon Trilogy, and The Great Tree of Avalon Trilogy though are so incredibly well written that one doesn’t need to strictly read any particular one to understand the gist of what is occurring in any one novel.

Though it certainly does help.

Especially considering that all of the books are a fantastical read the likes of which I’ve yet to see of any writer in this age. I say this because of T.A. Barron’s imagination that lead to an imagining of Avalon I doubt any one else could conceive let alone define so that it makes some lick of sense.

Avalon, in the works of T.A. Barron is both a place… and a tree. See, the basic backstory of Avalon summed up in as few words as possible is that Merlin planted a seed given to him by powers beyond our mortal comprehension and from that tree grew Avalon: The World Between All Worlds. Avalon itself is split into three distinctive sections: its roots, its trunk, and its branches. The seven roots are the… “Midgard” as it were of Avalon, the various realms that mortal creatures inhabit and are only divided based on whichever of the seven elements empowers their respected environments.

It was deep in the reaches of one root, which properly translated is named “Woodroot” where Basil was hatched from an egg no bigger than a baby’s pinky nail. Throughout his journey to save the life of Merlin the wizard, Basil was tasked to take a swallow of each respected realms soil, its essence, into himself. Something that he didn’t understand at the time but did so regardless and it was a good thing he had, for surely he’d never become what he truly was meant to be.

Upon his hatching, Basil was a creature that no one, not even those who’ve lived long enough to seen just about everything, could name. For you see, despite living for quite some time before his adventure that led to the saving of Merlin and Avalon. Like, no bigger than a butterfly tiny. Like, he looked more like a common lizard with crumpled leafs for wings than a proper dragon of any sort. It was until he saved Merlin’s life and the wizard rewarded him by growing him to Basil’s adult size that the truth of his nature was revealed.

Basilgarrad is not a mere dragon but the first, the last, and likely the only of his kind to ever exist. Whereas most dragons were either of fire or water, Basilgarrad is of élano, the sum of all seven sacred elements combined into one, the most powerful magic to be found in any world, and the very life’s blood of Avalon itself. As a élanodragon, Basilgarrad is incredibly long lived to a point where he will likely be the last living thing on Avalon before the world itself crumbled. His scales are infused with that same emerald green energies, are incredibly sturdy to a point where they can withstand practically anything. Yet what makes Basilgarrad a sight amongst most dragons is his gargantuan size.

Though never outright stated, Basil has been described as being large enough to swallow a village with ease, his chest making most hillsides look small, and earholes large enough for a full grown man to climb into with frightening ease. In point of fact, it has been described on many a page that Basil’s great wings are large enough to literally engulf a fire dragon and toss them away like they were nothing more than fluffs of cotton. A single smack of his tail was all that was needed to completely level a generous length of forest.

Needless to say, Basilgarrad is, if nothing else, the world’s largest dragon.

Yet there is one unbelievable quirk that Basilgarrad possesses. One that actually earned him his original name of Basil and that quirk is his ability to cast smells. Yes, whereas Merlin can cast spells, Basil, the Wings of Peace, can cast forth smells. From the sweet tang of lemongrass to the deliciously sweet scents of freshly poured honey, so long as Basil himself has smelled it, he can recreate it perfectly and in enough abundance to fool even a giant when he was but the size of a butterfly.

However, despite all of Basil’s incredible prowess and feats, nothing is more renown about him than the size of his heart. Whether at his tinier size or his mountainous large stature, Basil has a heart greater than the world itself and cares about everyone in it from the small and meek to the large and gruff. Admittedly, Basil tends to look after the littler ones first before anyone else but considering the majority of his life had been spent at such a size himself, he has a better perspective of what such a life can entail.

While I did say that I was torn between having Kazul or Shimmer as being made in film, I can say wholeheartedly that I would pay top dollar to see Basilgarrad be brought to life be it through a live action or animated retelling. However, I sincerely doubt such a thing could occur simply for the sheer enormity that is the entirety of the Avalon book series that is, at the time of this writing, a sum total of eleven books, not including one informative guide.

Goodness knows how many movies that would become considering the popular trend of stretching out one book into multiple films as of late…

Still… if anyone can do it, Disney could

Dragon up…!

Tags

, , , , ,

JAKE LONG


Full Name:
Jacob Luke Long
Titles:
The American Dragon
Realm:
New York City
Featured in: American Dragon: Jake Long (2005-2007)
Voiced By: Dante Basco

American Dragon: Jake Long was a cartoon that was infamous in two particular ways. The first being that it shared many similarities with another cartoon that aired, quite literally, at the same time on Cartoon Network but that can be blamed more on similar thought processes. That or someone switching teams somewhere but that’s more rumors than actual fact at this point.

The second, and far more obvious, trait was the drastic artistic style change between seasons one and two of the show. Changes that would have been minute, rather a lot like the change of art style for the 90’s Batman cartoons to match that of Superman but unfortunately… Well, we’ll get to that in a minute.

Originally, I hadn’t planned on doing a review for Jake as his particular species of dragon are a bit quirky to say the least. Dragons in his world are more akin to shape-shifters than proper dragons in that they are born and raised as humans that can transform into a more draconic form. However, this ability is not wholly magical nor is it fully genetic as, for reasons that are never really delved into, Jake’s mother can’t turn into a dragon nor does she possess any draconic powers despite her father, Jake’s grandfather, being able to.

Another odd bit of distinction is that dragons are diverse in their shape and coloration with the most obvious differences being shown in Jake and his grandfather Lao Shi. Jake’s grandfather, the former Hong Kong Dragon, has the form of a Chinese dragon, while Jake was, initially, a western dragon. In the world of Jake Long, dragons serve as protectors/mediators of the magical world, which is oftentimes hidden in plain sight rather like the aliens of M.I.B. now that I think about it… What makes it particularly odd, and a bit stupid in my opinion, is that there is only one dragon for any set country designated as the official protector.

More than one dragon can live in that country and should help if the situation calls for it but are otherwise not required to be the one in charge of any SNAFUs that might occur. I can understand the need of designating dragon protectors in set places like Hong Kong or Atlantis but for an entire country? Particularly those who are still in middle school no less?

Jake himself is the stereotypical New York teenager. I say this because due to both Dante Basco’s adlibbing and the writers of the show that wanted to emphasize Jake being a wannabe MTV gangsta. I’m not going to lie, I had to look up a lot of the slang that Jake was using, when I could understand the words that were coming out of his mouth never mind those of his friends. Besides his absurdly overused street slang, he’s the atypical teenager trying to find his place in the world and learning several life lessons along the way. Particularly, if not especially, when he’s trying to use his abilities for personal gain in some manner.

As a dragon, Jake’s form was initially that of a western dragon and is drastically bigger than his human form. That was an aspect of the show that I actually found to be quite humorous really. Jake, as a human, is quite short for his age with most others, humans and magical creatures alike, being quite taller than him whereas his dragon form puts him somewhere close to six or seven feet tall not including his spikes. With season two however…

He became an eastern dragon with wings and rather silly looking as well. In season one, Jake’s dragon form was drastically different than his human body with the only common trait between them being the green highlights in his hair and spikes. In season two, it honestly looks like Jake’s human head was given a beak and placed on the body of an eastern dragon. The main reason that was given for this drastic change was that it was felt that Jake’s initial dragon body was too powerful looking compared to his actual age and experience and so they turned him into a lankier and more inexperienced looking dragon to emphasize this point.

Seriously?

I just… No. No, that makes no sense to me. Jake Long is a dragon, no matter what way you paint it he’s still going to be drastically more powerful than his human form whether you give him a buff body or not. While you can change a cartoon’s art style one cannot change the appearance of its main characters so drastically without serious fallout. It’s one thing to change a hero’s costume but you cannot change a character’s freaking species between seasons.

 

I’m afraid you’re going to have a short—if busy—life with me…

Tags

, , , , , ,

SHIMMER


Titles:
Princess of the Inland Sea
Realm:
The Inland Sea
Featured in: Dragon of the Lost Sea by Laurence Yep

While I will always attribute Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as one of the first true novels I ever read, I cannot in good conscience proclaim it as one of my choosing. It was a gift from my mother and one that sits well worn and well read beside me at my desk with a few other choice tomes, one of those being Dragon of the Lost Sea.

It was the first book that I chose to read way back in the first grade where it sat amongst a pile of other books my teacher wanted us to read over winter break. While most were disgruntled by their choices, never mind the assignment itself, I not only snatched my chosen book up but immediately set forth to finding and reading its sequels.

Written by Laurence Yep, Dragon of the Lost Sea’s titular dragon is a princess named Shimmer. Not altogether an original name as most dragons go but I applaud the use of a name that any first grader can pronounce on the first go and one that fits the mythology. For most of Laurence Yep’s works, dragons are a intermixture of Western and Eastern traits, those being Western in form but oftentimes Eastern in personality and ability. Shimmer’s people specifically call the Inland Sea their home and are, predominately, water dragons with no fiery breath or other such nonsense.

Instead, they have the physical strength atypical of any dragon and magic of the Orient. Contrary to Western styles of magic that involve, to paraphrase an often used quote, silly wand waving and incantations, magic in the works of Laurence Yep oftentimes revolves around drawing specific symbols into the air by one’s own finger followed by a hastily uttered incantation. There is almost no limit to what magic is capable of accomplishing but it is limited by way of its caster.

Shimmer is limited in such a way both by her own limited education and the fact that she, essentially, uses her birthright to aid her in her enchantments and spells. This birthright is known simply as the Dream Pearl, a pearl that shimmers in rainbow hues and whose particular magical talent revolves around illusions so realistic they may as well be physical manifestations of the user’s imagination. However, the Dream Pearl is not without its own limitations and will gladly drink from the life force of its wielder if need be. It was how Shimmer’s own mother died young and what led to her exile in the first place after all.

For you see, Shimmer’s elder brother, the rightful king, sought to take the Dream Pearl for himself despite their mother’s wishes that it be given to Shimmer. Not standing for it in the slightest, Shimmer took the Dream Pearl and ran away, only looking back when her home earned a new name of the Lost Sea. For sometime during her banishment, a witch by name of Civet attacked the Inland Sea by taking all of its waters and placing it in a tiny pebble she wore about her neck. Seeing a means of restoring her honor and place amongst her people, Shimmer set herself to finding and capturing the witch to return the waters of her home.

She is aided by an orphan named Thorn who serves as our mortal foil in the story throughout. The two of them eventually grow as close as family, a true sibling bond if ever there was one. I say sibling because despite Shimmer’s own age being somewhere in the several hundreds, she is still something of a child as far as personality goes.

She never ceases to state her pride on being a dragon and what she ought to be doing as any proper dragon should do. In hindsight, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the phrase “Excuse me, princess” from The Legend of Zelda television series originated from a writer having read any of these books, the first one in particular. Don’t get me wrong, Shimmer is a bit rough around the edges, wanting to be on her own rather than be accompanied by those she thinks might stab her in the back later, but her attitude is more amusing to me than irritating.

For goodness sake, she complains about how her disguised human nose isn’t of the appropriate size to a dragon’s!

Overall, if I had to pick between Kazul or Shimmer to be given time on the silver, or televised, screen… I honestly think that I would have to flip a coin a hundred and one times. Both series are undeniably refreshing reads to the atypical fantasy genres, particular in concern to its draconic characters, and both feature female leads the likes of which don’t play to the common stereotype of damsels, or in their respected cases, royalty.

I still haven’t had any cider…

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

KAZUL


Titles:
The King of Dragons
Realm:
Mountains of Morning, near the Enchanted Forest
Featured in: Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

As before a bit of backstory… The Enchanted Forest Chronicles are a series of books written by Patricia C. Wrede way back in good old 1990 that primarily features the adventures of a princess named Cimorene who is as far from ordinary as any princess can get. She takes an actual interest in trying to learn such things as fencing, speaking Latin, magic, and cooking before any such activity is put to a halt by either of her parents. Fed up with her life, especially upon learning that she is to be betrothed to a prince whom she finds to be both incredibly annoying and stupid, Cimorene purposefully runs away to become a dragon’s princess.

Kazul’s princess no less whom had not yet become king at the time though she is easily a top candidate amongst her peers even before the old king died. Ah, yes, I suppose I should explain how a female dragon can be entitled as their king… Well, to put it simply, dragons in The Enchanted Forest Chronicles wherein they are far more literal about things than most people and the title of “king” pertains to the office itself rather than the gender of the ruling dragon. Considering that a new king is chosen by a contest where the candidates must carry a special magical stone across a set distance and course, it does make some sense.

Though one has to ask just what it is the “queen” does that no one cares to even try for the position.

Kazul is a most amicable dragon, taking interest in Cimorene when the other dragons initially scoffed at the idea of an unorthodox princess. She was especially delighted to learn that Cimorene knows how to cook her favorite desert, cherries jubilee, and sets the young princess to her paces and is immensely delighted by the results.

For dragons, having a princess is akin to having a serving rare and expensive fruit for dinner or something to that nature, not overly important but still a way to show how rich one is and most princesses aren’t… well, nothing at all like Cimorene who gladly sets to work organizing Kazul’s treasure hoard and library, even taking the spare time to refresh her Latin! Though such things are expected of a dragon’s princess, rarely is it ever done willingly let alone properly.

On a whole Kazul is like… like a person, there’s no other way to properly explain it. She’s no wise creature made so with age, nor is she some manner of beast with unprecedented magical skill or physical prowess. She’s a dragon yes but that’s second only to her name and frankly, if it weren’t mentioned throughout the book, one could easily think otherwise of Kazul.

She has an incredibly diverse number of friends that range from a witch who is both quite young and beautiful with enough sass to fill a barrel, a giantess who acts like a mother hen to friend and family alike, and of course Cimorene whom —SPOILER!— actually asks Kazul to be her maid of honor at her wedding in the book, Searching for Dragons.

Kazul’s species of dragon is distinct amongst all other dragons I’ve seen in literature insomuch that they are not only quite sensible creatures but can be quite literal about things that most aren’t. Like most others in The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, the dragons are only slightly stereotyped to their role as constantly setting themselves against knights and ravaging a village or two but doing so as an actual honest to goodness job. Heck, a dragon happens to be slain by a knight and its just another day in the office and is the same for those poor fools who get gobbled up.

Dragons even use the name “George” as a curse word in these delightfully refreshing books.

Still, there is one particular aspect of these particular dragons that I find intriguing. Dragons are born genderless and when they reach an appropriate age can choose to become male or female. That’s… that’s something that is both incredibly brilliant and undeniably gutsy of the writer to conceive. An entire species that can willingly choose to be male or female upon puberty, and where gender equality is literally hardwired into their very DNA? One who will turn into an ugly, little toad should they grow to become everything that a dragon ought not to be?

Bravo, Patricia C. Wrede, bravo!

Another knight, another name…

Tags

, , , , , ,

DRAGON


Realm:
Far, Far Away (16th Century)
Featured in: Shrek (2001)
Performed By: Frank Welker (Films), Carrie Compere (Broadway Musical)

Now I admit, I like Shrek, both the film and the character, and I thought Shrek 2 was a nice way to expand the universe some but beyond that… Honestly, I’ve not watched any of the other films simply for the fact that the joke had gotten old by that point. The joke being the satirical takes on many a popularized (that is to say Disney) fairy tales.

There were some that I honestly found quite funny but a good number of them became… mildly irritating to me honestly. I’m all for poking fun at the things we adored as children but there’s making fun and outright trying to be derogatory.

Thankfully, such is not the case with Dragon. While there’s no mistaking the hardships of Shrek and his life as an ogre, Dragon’s circumstances are almost exactly the same if not much worse by comparison. Shrek is an ogre in body yes but he only became one in personality after years of being looked down upon and/or feared by people. Dragon literally had to fill the role of her species and, quite likely, was either bought off or forced to guard Fiona’s tower by the Fairy Godmother.

While she’s “silent” in the films insomuch that she can only communicate with Donkey and Puss, both being animals themselves despite their ability to speak English, such is not the case with the musical. In her song, “Forever,” she goes on to sing of how much she hates and detests her job, going so far as to call herself a glorified babysitter to Fiona.

In fact, there are quite a few words of bitterness towards the young princess and the number of heroes attempting to save her from Dragon. The most telling of them though is the line: “No one wants to rescue me, so yeah I’m a little bitter. I’m no princess, no great beauty. No one wants ever, ever, ever, ever wants me!

Is it any surprise that she went for the first person, a literal donkey, to actually try and flirt with her?

I shan’t spoil the musical number too much but let’s just say that the end result of Donkey having his say, that being what his type of woman actually is, sweeps Dragon right off her feet in a rather schoolgirl like fashion.

As to the movie proper, yeah, Donkey does flirt with her somewhat shamelessly but her affections for him in return were honest-to-goodness genuine. She was weeping, actually weeping, at a riverside for the broken heart that Doneky left her with but she took him back rather than try and barbeque him when he approached her. Now, seriously consider that for a moment. Dragon was so heartbroken that she was unwillingly to return not only to her home but her hoard.

If anyone has had the pleasure of reading, or watching, The Hobbit, then you all know how important a dragon’s hoard is so you can imagine just how much Dragon had to have hated her life at the tower to go that far.

As to Dragon’s design, I admit, I knew instantly that she was a girl by her eyelashes but I also applaud the addition of lipstick to better emphasize her femininity. Honestly, I had initially thought it a bit much back in the original film but with the additional backstory thrown in by the musical, I can actually understand Dragon’s motives to try and make herself look pretty. Not that she technically needs to. As far as dragons go, of the few female dragons I’ve seen in various media, she’s a far better sight than most.

While I admit that her and Donkey’s kids, apparently named “Dronkeys” as a species rather than Dragonkeys as I had thought, were an incredibly startling surprise to me… It was rather nice that Donkey and her could even have kids at all. While I’m sure there are many that argue the biology, please do try and remember we’re talking about a talking donkey paired with a reformed dragon.

More than that, one must remember that, in this world so far, far away, a frog-turned-prince plus human-princess equals princess-with-nightly-curse-to-turn-into-an-ogre…

So yeah, magic trumps science yet again.

But isn’t that what love is anyway?

Blackbird… Blackbird…!

Tags

, , , , , , ,

GALGAMETH

 Galgameth.1996.DVDRip.eng_Sep 4, 2014, 6.47.45 PM

Titles: The Monster of Salvation
Realm:
Kingdom of Donnegold (Medieval Times)
Featured in: The Adventures/Legend of Galgameth (1996)
Performed By: Felix Silla (Little) Doug Jones (Big)

The Adventures/Legend of Galgameth is a film that has… something of an awkward history behind it. Its story is based entirely on the film Pulgasari to a point where I’d claim it outright plagiarized it if not for a few key facts. First and foremost, Sang-ok Shin, the film’s would-have-been director and original story creator, not only welcomed the idea of an American remake but also worked on it under his American pseudonym. Second… Honestly and sincerely, look it up. It was a frightening thing to learn about and one that seriously makes me consider just how much North Korea is in with someone like that in charge…

The film itself is the typical child’s fairy tale and one whose plot has been done nearly to death save of course for the inclusion of the titular character, Galgameth. Though more a kaiju than an actual dragon, I consider Galgameth as such mainly for the fact that his image serves as the coat of arms for the kingdom of Donnegold from whence he hails and the royal family that he protects. Though Galgameth’s origins are not fully explained beyond that he had been part of the royal family long enough to have a few pages denoting his legend in The Book of Ages, there’s no mistaking his prowess, abilities, and his “birth” as it were.

For most of his existence, Galgameth appears as nothing more than a mere statue no larger than half-a-dozen or so inches tall and made of ordinary stone. If the statue—or its pieces—is wept upon though by a member of the royal family, he comes to life.

All of six inches tall and filled to the brim with reptilian cuteness.

Galgameth.1996.DVDRip.eng_Sep 4, 2014, 6.40.34 PM

Of course, upon eating metal, Galgameth grows bigger and bigger in size until he reaches a certain point of maturity wherein he becomes far more draconic in appearance. This generally occurs when he reaches human size and his scales go from looking plump and tender to actual organic knightly bronze armor. Of course, the bigger that Galgameth gets, the more metal he has to eat to continue increasing in size, a resource that is not entirely plentiful even back then. Aside from the ability to limitless grow in size and physical strength by eating more metal Galgameth has a few other, rather peculiar, abilities.

One of the few attempts made to destroy him by the film’s bad guy, El El the Black Knight and no I’m not making that name up that’s really what he’s called and he actually was a black knight under the king who had no way of suspecting that such a character would likely be, I don’t know, EVIL!

… Sorry, where was I?

Ah, yes, one of the attempts made to try and destroy Galgameth was done under the assumption that if he eats metal then he must also possess the same weaknesses. The assumption is a sound one that nothing made of metal can pierce his scales as both sword and arrows are quite easily repelled even in his childish form. So playing to Galgameth’s hunger for metal, and the young prince Davin’s need for more in order for Galgameth to reach a size to take back the castle, a trap is made at the kingdom’s foundry. Basically, the bad guys try to melt Galgameth down and they succeed…

In a way…

 Galgameth.1996.DVDRip.eng_Sep 4, 2014, 6.56.37 PM

When Galgameth’s body reaches a certain temperature he will, effectively, become like molten steel where even the slightest touch can set whole trees ablaze in an instant. It’s also the only time when Galgameth is able to breathe fire.

Upon reaching his maximum size shown in the film, Galgameth displayed the ability to withstand a cannonball hitting him directly in the face. In point of fact, when Galgameth just so happens to catch one in his mouth he can, quite literally, chew it up before spitting out a brief machine-gun like spray of bullets. Lastly, and again only displayed in the film so who knows what else Galgameth is capable of, if the Monster of Salvation happens to be struck by lightning, he can redirect it through his arms.

Galgameth.1996.DVDRip.eng_Sep 4, 2014, 7.10.27 PM

Unfortunately, Galgameth is not without his weaknesses. As previously stated, Galgameth needs to eat a lot of metal before he can reach an appropriate size worthy of his title. His most glaring weakness though is that which brings him to life. Now, a romantic would say the very tears that were wept upon him but the realistic truth of it is salt water that acts like acid even at the slightest touch. A simple bucket of the stuff was enough to send Galgameth screaming into the woods and it was by forcing him into the ocean to save Davin that ultimately slew him.

In point of fact, I dare to say that scene was one of the most tragic and heart wrenching scenes in any film, never mind one geared towards children. While the film is campy at best and outright silly at worse, there’s no missing the fact that most, if not all, of the budget went to Galgameth.

I’ve never seen a more expressive face than his own and considering that he is essentially a full body puppet, that’s saying something. The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trilogy looks far more fake than Galgameth does in his best moments and none was greater than his last act of heroism that resulted in his own demise.

Though not perhaps a monster, he is indeed the very personification of Salvation.

Galgameth.1996.DVDRip.eng_Sep 4, 2014, 7.00.30 PM

We just broke the dragons’ cardinal rule!

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

DEVON & CORNWALL

 Quest.for.Camelot.1998.720p.WEB-DL.HDCLUB_Sep 2, 2014, 7.43.51 PM

Realm: Camelot (Warner Bros. Interpretation)
Featured in:
The Quest for Camelot (1998)
Voiced By: Eric Idle & Don Rickles

Once, way back when I was but a child and naïve to the way of film and animation, my classmates and I were given a magazine to read an enjoy. This magazine was quite literally a child’s equivalent to TIMES magazine and in one particular issue, I recall there being some serious talk of challengers rising to try and take the crown of film animation from Disney’s head and the leader of this gang of ruffians was none other than Warner Bros. Animation and their film Quest for Camelot following, quite literally, on the coattails of Fox Animation Studios’ Anastasia.

Where do I even begin?

Aside from Warner Bros. Animation’s The Iron Giant, which debuted in the following year with such commercial success that one is considered to have lived under a rock if they hadn’t caught it on television at some point or another never mind them airing over and over and… Sorry where was I? Ah, yes, anyway, neither Warner Bros. nor Fox truly reached the level to be considered as contenders let alone rivals. Those titles belong firmly to Dreamworks as I’m many can agree. That’s not to say that either studio hadn’t had their share of fantastic films. It’s just that Quest for Camelot isn’t one of them.

For those who’ve seen the Nostalgia Critic’s review on the film, I shall say that I too share in his opinion that the film is severely lacking in any form of rhyme, reason, or explanation towards anything. For those who haven’t seen it, give it a watch, it’s entertaining if nothing else. As far as Arthurian legends go, this film only took the basic staples of which any child could tell. In point of fact, there is very little of Arthur or anyone of import from his legends in this film at all. Then there is of course one of the most obvious attempts at mimicking the success that is Robin Williams’ Genie…

Devin and Cornwall.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love dragons from the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly, but these two… There is nothing strictly wrong with either of them. Nothing that has not been done to the rest of the characters at any rate, that being their numerous references to modern concepts that neither they, nor anyone, should know about. Rather it’s that neither of them… have a point in the film. You could tell the entire story as it is without Devon or Cornwall involved and very little would be made different by their absence.

The two of them had three major moments in the film, they warned Garrett of Kayley’s danger and the threat to Camelot, flew him to Camelot to save Kayley, and beat off the Griffin under Ruber’s employ. The first could have been done by Ayden, Garrett’s hawk who also happened to belong to Merlin, the second and third though… To be fair, it’s not like Camelot wasn’t within running distance by that point and I had honestly hoped for some form of redemption in the Griffin considering it was easily the most hilarious and realistic character in the entire movie.

As to Devon and Cornwall’s design as a dragon, I’ll give credit to making them distinct on either side rather than just a two-headed dragon. Cornwall is short and squat and somewhat portly arm while Devon is long-necked and possessing a rather impressive pair of curved horns to offset his rather gangly arm. The two are also near complete opposite of the other with Devon being the sophisticated one to Cornwall’s crassness. I’ll also give points to the idea that with the two of them constantly at odds with one another it was nothing short of miraculous that the two of them could even walk. It was only through their mutual cooperation in defense of Kayley that the two brothers became able to fly and breathe fire.

However, there are two other points I must make towards the dragons’ design. The first being that the two of them are, for whatever reason, hatchling sized despite being, at least, over two hundred years old. This is made explicitly obvious when they first appear hiding in the remains of another dragon’s egg and that all the other dragons are easily three to four times bigger than they not including their massive wings or tail.

Second, and most insulting of all, Devon and Cornwall are closer to being humanoid in form and function, walking about on their hind legs with actual hands and arms rather than proper forelimbs. I’d question how such a dragon could come to be but the pair answer that well enough with their introduction of… Well… To quote:

The reason why cousins shouldn’t marry.

Wow.

Just… Wow.

I do not do children’s entertainment…

Tags

, , , , , ,

DRAGON

 jane & the dragon 125 the last of the dragon slayers [tv.dtv.mere]_Aug 31, 2014, 7.59.24 AM

Realm: Kippernium, England (9th Century)
Featured in:
Jane and the Dragon
Voiced By: Adrian Truss

Things are getting obscure now, folks. Jane and the Dragon was a television series that ran for a total of twenty-six episodes on YTV in Canada and Qubo here in America for close to six years and having only recently been taken off the scheduled programming. The series itself was based on a series of books by Martin Baynton with the first two having been written as far back as 1988 and ’89 respectively before the third was put to print in 2000 and books four and five in 2008, well after the series premiered in 2005. While I’ve only been able to judge the book by its cover so to speak, I for one was greatly appreciative that the series stayed true to the illustrations of the titular characters, particular Dragon himself.

That’s not to say that there aren’t elements to the series that I didn’t question or like. While I applaud the use of CGI animation, the human cast was animated via motion capture and many of the “first” season episodes can be a jarring sight to see, particularly the facial expressions. It’s actually rather strange how it can go back and forth between looking like an animated series to a video game cutscene at times, particularly in certain scenery like Dragon’s cave.

That… and darn it, I have to explain why the kingdom is called “Kippernium” don’t I? Sigh… It’s called that because its chief export, to which the king will and has bragged about many a time, is kippers. To those lucky few that don’t know what a kipper is, it’s a small herring split in half down the middle in a butterfly-style fashion and is gutted, salted, and/or seasoned before being cold smoked over smoldering woodchips. Back in the day, it was quite the popular high tea or supper treat.

Unfortunately, this trend of naming convention is not limited to just the kingdom itself. In point of fact, the only ones that are spared from having names that are far too ironic is the castle blacksmith and the royal family and even that’s a bit of a stretch. Don’t believe me? Well we’ve got the titular Jane Turnkey who was initially being trained to be a lady-in-waiting mind you, Drake “Rake” Gardener who is the castle gardener, Verbena “Pepper” Salter who is the head cook, and Jester the… jester… Actually, now that I take a moment to look at it, I just now realized that aside from Jane’s parents, whom we see rather rarely, most of the castle’s inner workings, that is to say the gardens, the kitchens, and the smithy, are all run by kids no older than fourteen and no younger than twelve.

Yeah…

As said by the March Hare, I’ve a brilliant suggestion: let’s change the subject. Rather, lets return to the subject proper.

Dragon, as explained in the series opening intro, had gone and kidnapped the young prince of the kingdom of Kippernia and Jane, a young girl being trained to be a lady-in-waiting with dreams of becoming a knight, set off to rescue the young royal. Though the circumstances are never quite explained fully in the cartoon, Jane and Dragon somehow become the best of friends with Dragon himself being pardoned by the king and Jane herself being granted apprenticeship to one of the kingdom’s knights, Sir Theodore Boarmaster.

Dragon is, by his own admittance, likely the last of his kind and was initially born about three hundred years prior to the series and had been to teach himself how to fly and breathe fire entirely on his own. Unfortunately, most of his childhood was actually spent as… I hesitate to say it but really there’s no better word for it, as “property” for he had been kidnapped and sold about various people before he eventually escaped back to his ancestral home in the mountains near Kippernia Castle.

In fact, it was promptly upon his return to his childhood cave that Dragon discovered a series of draconic runes, one of which he was able to translate as meaning “child” and thus set off to find the one child he thought the rune was indicating. That being the local prince who happens to be all of eight-years-old… Yeah, three hundred years old or not, Dragon himself is likely still young by the standards of his kind, quite possibly a teenager given his love for toilet humor and general teasing about the castle staff both the young and the old.

What I found particularly refreshing about Dragon’s character is that despite his being able to speak English remarkably well, and to sing in a surprisingly falsetto voice, Dragon is more scientific than magical in his make and function. That is to say, the series actually goes on to explain both how he can fly with relatively small wings and how he’s able to breathe fire using the very same methods introduced in the book The Flight of Dragons. Basically, Dragon eats materials that allow his stomach to create methane gas that fills up a pair of air sacs akin to lungs that make him lighter than air but also grant him a fiery breath that can reach temperatures that were all but impossible in that century’s time.

In point of fact, there’s something once mentioned in the series that really intrigued me when I first watched it and to this day, I still wish that the series had kept going to solve this mystery. For you see gentlemen and ladies, young Jane had been granted a gift by Dragon, a sword that happened to be amongst the small and meager hoard of treasures deep in his cave.

A sword that can actually pierce Dragon’s tough skin while most other weapons cannot and bears a remarkable resemblance to one belonging to Jane’s teacher, Sir Ivon. The knight would later confess to Dragon himself that he is a descendant of dragonslayers and that his sword, much like Jane’s, was forged ten lifetime’s past with the fiery breath of a dragon so that it may pierce a dragon’s skin.

Now, think on that a moment folks.

A sword forged in dragon’s breath and used to slay dragons somewhere about ten human lifetimes ago.

Contrary to popular belief, the average human lifespan back then is not the same as it is now. In point of fact, if the average human lived beyond the age of fifty at best. Considering the profession of Sir Ivon’s line, and Sir Ivon himself, I’d say that perhaps they are close to around forty if they were lucky and proficient with the sword, against man and dragon alike. That would mean that the sword had to have been forged roughly a hundred or so years before Dragon was hatched and more to the point, that it is was a dragon that helped to make it.

Why?

The world will never know…

 

 

 

The apocalypse of which legend speaks…

Tags

, , , , , ,

SHENDU

Title: Demon Sorcerer of Fire
Formerly Ruled:
Hong Kong, China
Imprisoned: Demon Netherworld
Featured in:
Jackie Chan Adventures (2000-2005)
Performed By: James Sie

I doubt that there’s a child of the 80’s or 90’s out there that hasn’t seen at least a few episodes of the series featuring a cartoon version of the action star Jackie Chan but to those that haven’t… Jackie Chan Adventures was a series that featured Jackie Chan as an amateur archeologist who, by a severe twist of fate, stumbles upon a magic talisman sought after by a criminal organization known simply as the Dark Hand. In essence, the series focuses on Jackie and his immediate family, those being his uncle and niece, assisting him in finding/securing various magical items/beings throughout the series run.

In point of fact, each season can be, roughly, divided up based on what the theme of whatever items the “J-Team” as they’re eventually named. Though not strictly the main antagonist throughout the series, Shendu is easily the biggest thorn in Jackie’s side throughout the seasons and is oftentimes the driving force behind whatever vexation happens to be plaguing him that season.

Shendu is one of eight Demon Sorcerers, creatures that while not wholly demonic in the literal sense were such by their very disposition. What earns Shendu his title is that he was, essentially, “born” alongside seven others whose dominion was over various elements of life with his own being fire. It is arguable whether or not Shendu is the strongest of the Demon Sorcerers as he was seen cowering before their collected wrath many a time though that was when he had been reduced to a literal ghost of his former self.

Though the Demon Sorcerer of Fire, Shendu has shown a mastery over different powers as well though it is uncertain whether these are his own inherent abilities as a draconic Demon Sorcerer or ones that he created and grafted into his very being. For though he had been nearly vanquished into the Demon Netherworld alongside his brothers and sisters, Shendu managed to avoid this imprisonment and was given another in its place. Cursed into being a statue with his twelve powers transformed into Twelve Talismans of the Zodiac, Shendu was forced to wait nine hundred years before he regained his body.

Before promptly being destroyed and “killed” by Jade Chan, Jackie’s twelve-year-old-niece.

That had to hurt in more ways than one.

The Twelve Talismans of the Zodiac, as their name might imply, are based on the animals of the Chinese Zodiac and have a distinctive power. Many of them can be argued as being Shendu’s natural powers as a Demon Sorcerer of Fire but a few could be argued as being a byproduct of the curse. Case in point, the talismans for Rat and Tiger that bring “motion to the motionless” and “spiritual balance” respectively. The moment the Rat Talisman is removed from Shendu’s body, regardless if he possesses any of the other Talismans within himself, he is immediately returned back to the form of a statue.

As to whether or not Shendu is a dragon… It’s kind of left up in the air as to whether or not he is a natural dragon that became a demon or a demon trying to become a dragon. Given that he is from the Orient, particularly China, I sincerely doubt that he was a dragon that turned demonic given how inherently good dragons are in that part of the world. Regardless, Shendu fits enough of the criteria to be labeled as a “dragon” if only so that he could also be called the “Noble Inheritor” of the Dragon Talisman’s power of combustion.

Overall, Shendu was a great villain for the show and one whose character actually develops throughout the seasons to a point where we see him grow and change to fit the current circumstances that befall him. In fact, the one and only thing I ever truly disliked about Shendu was his voice. Originally, he had a thin, raspy voice in his statue form before regaining his body and getting a deep, almost primordial one before being stuck permanently with the rasp for the remaining seasons. It just sounds… not really bad but blast if it’s not difficult to take him seriously at times when he sounds in need of a lozenge.

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers