Universal’s “Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse”
Directed By: Colin Teague
Produced By: Raffaella De Laurentiis
Written By: Matthew Feitshans
Let me begin this film review by stating that I loved the first film, Dragonheart. Its star dragon, Draco, is one of my top ten favorite dragons of all time and though his rank may rise or fall as the years go by, he will never, not ever, lose a place in that tier. That being said, I cannot even begin to count how utterly dissatisfied I was at the attempt of a sequel entitled A New Beginning. There was so much silly involved and special effects that made me cringe that I harbored the thought that a sequel couldn’t possibly get any worse.
I was wrong.
Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse is yet another film that, for whatever reason, is to serve as a prequel to the original and rather than calling it as such it remains entitled as the next in line much like the Fast & Furious franchise has done. However, contrary to that spectacularly action packed series, this prequel is in almost no way, shape, or form connected to the previous two films. In point of fact, the only elements that connect it together with them is the sharing of a dragon’s heart with a human and the Old Code of Knighthood as recited by King Arthur of Camelot or apparently, according to this ridiculous film, dragons and a druid named Merlin.
Admittedly, it would not be the first time that dragons had taught something to humans in fiction or myth as it is a popular belief in Asia that it was dragons that created the written words and even some styles of martial arts. Still, for European dragons to have done such a thing and actually succeed at least in some infinitely small part… A bit of a stretch made longer by making Merlin a druid of all things…
But before I begin to harp on all that is wrong with this picture let me start with the few things that was done right. To start with, the dragon of our story and by God what a dragon! Seven million dollars was put towards creating the dragon and it shows every time he’s on screen in his full glory and even his cursed wraith form is an amazing sight to behold… When it’s not being inconsistent. For you see, dear readers, the design and yes even the voice of the dragon was all that was done spectacularly.
Sadly, everything just goes so rapidly downhill from here on out.
Despite being a prequel, dragons are somehow completely gone from the world up until this dragon’s arrival via falling from the dragon’s Heaven. Now, when I read that summary, I thought, hey, maybe this dragon is one who committed some terrible sin in the afterlife and “fell” from grace or that something he had done in life was coming back to bite the humans down below and he was cast down to deal with it.
None of those are the reasons the dragon falls from Heaven.
He falls because he has a clutch of eggs that he must see hatched to bring dragons back into the world. Eggs that aren’t even his own but that he’s, for whatever reason, supposed to be a “guardian” of.
Alright… Point of order: If dragons are dead and in heaven how can they possibly breed? If dragons can still breed, why on Earth would they send their eggs back down to Earth, the one place that they shouldn’t be sending their young to grow up in? Why would some random dragon be selected to guard over them rather than the actual parents, what makes that dragon more qualified than them?
So many questions and no answers to be found as things only get stupider from here!
The “knight” of our story, and I use that term loosely even at the very end of the film, is a young man named Gareth whose former servitude as squire to a local corrupt lord was brought to an abrupt end via him showing something of a conscience… On that note, why is it that every film that takes place in the past is filled with corrupt nobility? Can’t there ever be one where the nobility is actually good and that it’s perhaps someone amongst the peasantry that’s stirring up trouble for all parties?
But I digress, given the ultimatum of finding enough gold to make up for the quantity he refused to take from the peasants, Gareth goes over the “Great Wall of Britain” to try and mine the meteor containing the dragon in hopes of finding gold. Now, before anyone asks, there was something of a “Great Wall of Britain” insomuch that this wall in question is based on Hadrian’s Wall, which was constructed in the year 122.
Anyway, Gareth goes to meteor, wakes up the dragon within who promptly terrifies him before the beast decides the attacking Scotts are of greater concern, leaving Gareth alone with the eggs. Here’s where things get a bit weird. A small group of Scotts manage to sneak by the dragon and, upon sighting Gareth, promptly shoot him with an arrow before turning tail and running while another separate pair make for the eggs.
… Why? They literally had him outnumbered seven to one and all but two of them run away? One gets cut down by Gareth but the other makes off with an eggs, attracting the dragon’s attention who promptly smacks the thief aside with his tail. Seeing the egg flying through the air, Gareth leaps for it and manages to catch it in his arms. The Scotts either dead or fleeing, the dragon takes the egg from Gareth and upon seeing his mortal wound, shares his heart with him.
That sound you hear is the scratching of a record coming to an abrupt and painful halt.
For you see dear readers, it is later that we learn that the dragon’s reasoning for sharing his heart with Gareth is because of the boy’s kindness in saving the egg. An egg whose shell is made of gold and what the boy needs to buy his knighthood.
Let’s look back at the previous films shall we? Draco shares his heart with a dying prince in the hope of rekindling the relationship between man and dragon and because he knew the boy’s mother since she had been born. He had the boy swear on blade and blood to come to him and the learn the Old Ways and upon sharing his heart uttered the words, “Half my heart to make you whole. Its strength to purify your weakness. Live, and remember your oath.” In the sequel, though Draco’s son, Drake, gave his heart to his friend, Geoff, a boy who taught him the true meaning of valor and of honor.
This dragon does it because the man in question caught an egg that the boy had every intention of buying his knighthood with.
That’s… That’s like giving your kidney to somebody who managed to catch your falling wallet and return it to you only to make off with the money inside it! Oh, but it gets better or worse depending on your perspective on things. See, the dragon didn’t speak earlier not because he didn’t want to but because he couldn’t up until he shared his heart with Gareth and found words in his mouth.
I just… Didn’t anyone watch the first film and its sequel?
The “Sorcerer’s Curse” in the title finally comes into play when said sorcerer shows up and inflicts a curse upon the dragon that goes: “Shade by day, bright by night, to do my will in full moon’s light!”
… Now… Now, I’m not one to say what can and cannot be done with magic. There are so many varieties of ways that I’ve seen magic implemented from age-old wand waving with Latin incantations to enchanted bullets capable of summoning forces of nature and destruction. Yet, if there’s one thing that I personally cannot stand it is the lack of imagination when it comes to implementing magic and its costs/usage. Never mind the childish bit of rhyming with the curse, because that too has been done many a time before, but how utterly specific it is and how that’s all that it takes for it to work on the dragon that irks me.
True, the sorcerer’s “wand” is in hand, and by wand I mean a small curved dagger, but even so a spell of that magnitude, able to actually work so easily on a dragon of all creatures, should not be so easily done without some serious preparation beforehand and costs afterward. Heck, that’s one of the freaking plotlines in this convoluted movie that magic cannot be done without a serious drain on the magic user’s life and this guy casts it multiple times on the dragon, but more on that later, I’ve got two more issues to speak of.
The dragon’s name, contrary to Drake who was named by humans, and Draco who never had a chance to pronounce it in his film this dragon does have the chance with the quip that it is something that he’s called “back home.” … Again, did he fall from Heaven or some hidden planet circulating our own? Anyway, his name is, and I quote, “Hissyoxyillammochogannotoss.”
I’ll give them credit on making the names of World of Warcraft characters seem tame by comparison. Still, the idiot boy Gareth wants for something simpler than that and says because Hissyoxyillammochogannotoss is a dragon, why not call him Drago.
I nearly broke the wall of my house from how hard I started banging against it, especially when the dragon agrees that it’ll do.
Couldn’t call him Hissy or even Oxyilla, or perhaps even Gannatoss, oh no… We get to call him Drago the Dragon!
Just… Just WHY?
Seeing as I’m reaching epic length with this film review, I’ll sum up the only final straw that makes this movie so unbelievably stupid despite how utterly marvelous the dragon is. The whole point of Drago being in this film is to ensure that the dragons return back into the world via the nine eggs he’s brought with him. Do you know, of those nine, how many actually survive until the end?
Questionably two but most definitely one.
How did he botch up the one job he had? Well aside from getting himself cursed, sharing his heart with the thief attempting to make off with one of the eggs, allying himself with a rule 63 version of Braveheart’s titular character and a bumbling druid dressed like a monk… The eggs explode and no, not like those in How to Train Your Dragon. Apparently, dragon eggs have a penchant for being unable to control their fire in the shell and will literally explode with all the force of a freaking hand grenade with right provocation, like being dropped.
I could forgive some of these losses as the bad guys were chasing them all over the place but two of the eggs were purposefully sacrificed for no good reason. The first egg was lost as a means of distracting the sorcerer and attempting to end his threat right then and there. I would of course hate on the humans who thought that this was the right thing to do if it weren’t for Drago suggesting it in the first place! He literally says, “That not all can survive this journey, sacrifice what you must.”
He’s the eggs’ guardian! Out of the entire group, he should be fighting tooth, claw, and fiery breath for their survival but he shrugs off their deaths as collateral in a war that he could have taken care of in an instant! For you see, prior to this “sacrifice,” Drago was able to regain his full form in the sunlight despite the sorcerer’s curse turning him into a shade and rather than blasting the man outright, he actually wastes his time shouting, “Look! I’m back!”
I… I just… What?! Seriously?! Right when it looks like the curse might be broken and you have the chance to rid yourself of the inflictor of said curse you not only waste your breath stating something so undeniably stupid but you don’t even make an attempt at launching some fire?!
As to the second purposefully sacrificed egg, the rule 63 Braveheart girl, Rhonu, is somehow mortally injured by the sorcerer, though we never once see him or anyone else landing so much as a scratch on her, and Drago wordlessly hands one of the last two eggs to Gareth who holds it up to Rhonu’s chest. One brief lightshow later, she’s alive, hallelujah! Congratulations! Either the dragon in the egg somehow, impossibly, shared a heart that likely wasn’t even formed yet or it gave up its own life so that she may live!
This… This movie is just… I was happy to hear of it! I was ecstatic when I saw whom they got to voice Drago though I was loathed to liking the name! Upon actually seeing Drago in the film itself, I was cheering for how marvelous a job they did on him, using a degree of special effects that I’ve never seen on a straight-to-DVD film before and likely won’t ever again. Yet… all of that… all of that does not forgive the transgressions of this film. It’s not the absolute worst film I’ve ever seen, it doesn’t even qualify in the top five, but for a film that’s supposed to be connected to others, one of which was fantastic and the other a simple but humble good, this… This is just sad.
1 out of 5 stars for the film.
10 out of 5 stars for the special effects in concern to Drago.