Directed By: Patrik Syversen
Written By: Matthew Feitshans
As I’m sure many of you recall from my last post concerning the previous Dragonheart film, I love the original. There are far too few films that paint dragons in a positive light and from now until the supposed remake comes out, Draco will always be among my top ten favorite dragons. I had thought that the third film, the supposed “prequel,” would be the worst of the sequels.
Thankfully, I was proven right but it was a close one folks. It was a close one.
Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire by its name alone is a film whose plot is rushed and clearly not thought through. The basic storyline goes that the king, our shared heart hero from the last film, has passed and, surprisingly, Drago still lives and feels that the bond is still there albeit connected to not one but two distinctive individuals, a twin brother and sister who swiftly begin to fight for the right of the throne before ultimately having to put their differences aside in order to regain Drago’s “heartfire.”
Now, as before let me tell you what this film has done right because believe me, it’s a short list.
Though Drago is supposedly the same dragon from the last film, his voice and appearance are drastically different though one can, and should, chalk that up to age. As shown in the film Logan, Patrick Stewart plays an aged, and rightfully ill-tempered, character extremely well.
As to the the grandchildren of Gareth, the man whom Drago shared his heart with, I initially liked the idea of the kids being “dragon cursed” in that because of their grandsire’s unique physiology, it would inevitably show up in further generations. That it skipped their father entirely was a bit odd considering that both of his parents shared hearts with a dragon but I can still believe the whole “skipping generations” debacle.
From here on though we get to a precarious balance of good and bad aspects of being “dragon cursed.” The brother, because blast it all if I care about either of these two twits enough to remember their names, has dragon scales on his back, which later prove to be impervious to most metal weaponry, and the strength of three men. He proves this by bodily tossing a man several blocks through the air to impact a church bell, some two stories off the ground, and fall to his death.
Our “hero” ladies and gentlemen.
The sister though has some scales on her face, though a relatively smaller patch compared to her brother, and somehow is able to manipulate fire but cannot create it herself.
… Question. How is she able to do that? The above normal level of strength I can get, the impervious to weakly made metal weapons to the scales makes sense, but the girl being able to manipulate flames? None, absolutely none of the dragons in any of the films demonstrate anything remotely like this save for the creation of said flame which leads me to one of the biggest bunches of stupid in this whole film.
The “heartfire” in the title? Yeah, it’s literal. It serves as not only the source of a dragon’s fiery breath, which they can demonstrate by way of making their chest and neck glow rather like how Smaug does it in the Hobbit films, but is also their heart. Not literally as the sister manages to steal it from Drago and keep it in a small bottle on her neck so she can “create” her own flames at will and he doesn’t keel over straight away but he does, inevitably, die because of it.
Point of order. One, when the sister does this, she does this whilst Drago is sleeping and he DOES. NOT. NOTICE. It also takes him an extremely long time to start feeling the effects of basically having his heart stolen from right out of his mouth. Second, how in the heck did the sister even know that the bottle she had could contain the flames? More to the point, that is an extremely tiny bottle, we’re talking no bigger than two thumbs here, so how did it contain a full grown dragon’s “heartfire?” Third, she doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary with it.
No. Seriously. Aside from it basically being a mobile source of flame, it doesn’t offer her anything and given that Drago himself proved how easy it is for her to get fire (by way of clacking two rocks together no less!) she has no reason to steal it other than to rob her brother the advantage of having Drago’s flames to aid him against hers, which she can then throw back at him because, hey, pyrokinetic!
This of course leads me to the so-called “conflict” of the two siblings for the throne. If you were expecting an engaging campaign similar, or at least in homage to, the likes of Game of Thrones you WILL be severely disappointed. The brother is readily accepted as king despite the fact that he struts about like a peacock and thinks more with his fists than his brain. The sister made an alliance with vikings (of the pillage and rape variety) to serve as her army but easily takes the throne in less than two “skirmishes” if either of them can be called that.
In fact, neither of them can be called that. The first one was needless posturing and revealing that vikings’ leader was the sister (who allowed them to butcher the first village they arrived at for no other reason than “because”) and the second was her showing off that she had stolen Drago’s fire and had “beaten” him with it. Beaten insomuch that she used it on him and she felt that pain as well. She did this repeatedly and only won because Drago saw the fruitlessness of her actions before she did.
During her reign, the sister shows that she wants to have an “equal rights among the genders,” which… I’ll touch on a bit more in a moment but needless to say, this does not sit well with her viking second in command who does not care for any such nonsense despite the fact that he literally has female warriors in his army! He was even following a woman as his leader! Sure, she was a “gift from Odin” in his perspective but he and his men had no problem following her, or having women warriors among them, but the moment you talk about gender equality, oh hell no, we got to put a stop to this!
Sigh… I’m all for equality, I really am, but why is it that films that take place in eras where such things were rare or completely nonexistent try and show someone all but shoving it down people’s throats and showing how people react/act so stupidly because of it? Considering that it wasn’t until 1920 when American women were allowed to vote, two years after it was made so in the United Kingdom, change is NOT going to happen in an era where people thought that taking more than one bath a week is bad for one’s health. No matter how much it is so desperately needed.
As to the “conflict” between them? Misunderstanding. Brother thinks sister accidentally killed father and sends her away both for her protection and because he doesn’t want anything to do with her anymore. Sister actually burned father’s body because brother really was the one to kill him by way of not recognizing his own strength and felt betrayed when he sent her off despite knowing that he would, and was right, to do so considering the local village was set to kill her for being a witch.
Moving on to the viking leader, oh boy, where do I start with him? Well, basically, he has the brilliant idea of firstly stealing the “heartfire” from the sister and having her killed whilst she’s not wearing it because he assumes that so long as she’s not wearing it, she can’t control the flames within.
Considering she doesn’t appear to demonstrate a certain range to her control, I would still worry about her setting me aflame whether or not she’s wearing it but that’s just me. Later on, when the brother appears to be beating him, the viking leader does what has got to be the absolute stupidest thing I’ve ever seen anyone do in any work of fiction bar none. He opens the bottle and pours the “heartfire” onto himself.
He absorbs it just enough to scream in agony before he promptly bursts into ashes on the spot.
I… I just… What? Why? How? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS AND NO ONE TO GIVE ME AN INTELLIGENT ANSWER!
Why did he think he could attain anything from what is, essentially, a dragon’s fiery breath? What did he actually think would happen if he somehow, inexplicably, was able to actually absorb said fire? How was he going to utilize it if he had absolutely no idea as to what it would do to him?
Yet, sadly, this is NOT the absolute stupidest thing in this film. This is the stupidest human thing, oh yes, of that there is no doubt but it is not the stupidest. See, the twins’ father? The prince to the king and son of the man who shared Drago’s heart? Hated dragons. Understandably so because, and I quote Drago on this, the man was busy running not only the kingdom but helping raise seven dragons.
What dragons? At the end of the last film there was ONE EGG LEFT out of the NINE that Drago brought with him! Eggs that proved explosive to a point where the “heroes” even use one to deter the pursuit of the villain’s minions at Drago’s own suggestion! Where did these six other eggs come from? The Dragon Heavens? Because if they seriously thought that Drago was still a good candidate of keeping an eye on these eggs and the dragons within them, no wonder the species goes extinct barely a century, or three, later!
That is still not the stupid part involving the dragons though. See, that one egg that still live at the end of the last film? It shared its heart with Gareth’s wife, the twins’ grandmother, who shared the dragon’s fate of a premature death thus furthering the prince’s hatred of dragons though the resulting “dragon curse” in his children was mere icing on the cake. Yet, what was it that killed that dragon as, apparently, dragons are considered as friends to man?
A bolt of lightning.
A bolt of lightning killed a dragon.
Never mind that a majority of dragons in other fictions breathe lightning, the ones in this series are literal stars made flesh and blood! More to the point, we’re talking about a species that is gifted with wings! Birds, flipping birds, are more likely to fly into skyscrapers because of the glass and mirror-like sheen of the windows than be struck by lightning because they, more than dragons apparently, have the common sense to not go for a leisurely flight in the middle of a thunderstorm!
If… If there is truly to be a remake of Dragonheart… Please. PLEASE. Make sure that the writer of this and the last film is in no way, shape, or form responsible for ANYTHING in it.