Age Of The Dragons - DVD Review

'the CGI dragon is so lame in construction and small of stature that it wouldn't even make it on to the set of Batman as a bat'

Given the trend for making tongue-in-cheek, B-movie monster nonsense at the moment (Sharktopus, Mega Piranha, et al), Age Of The Dragons seems to have been delivered at precisely the wrong moment in time. Eschewing the deliberately camp, over-the-top, tone of its modern contemporaries, Ryan Little's film instead shoots straight for the erstwhile and the honest; this might be a film about hunting dragons in what looks like a medieval version of an amphibious landing craft, but that isn't going to stop Dragons from taking itself as seriously as cancer.

As such, it is of course, absolute tosh. The script is plumped up with some occasionally well-written narration, delivered by Corey Sevier's Ishamael, but any moment where characters are actually required to speak to one another feels painful and drawn-out. Although working with mediocre-to-awful dialogue from McKay Daines' script, the actors don't seem to even attempt delivering it in a believable way. Even Kepa Kruse, who is basically required to scowl at the camera for long periods, rings false and at times actually physically appears to hide from Little's camera.

If the film proves one thing it's that this sort of low-budget genre flick just isn't possible to do on this tonal basis. If you really want to tell a serious story about dragon-hunting then you're going to have to do it with a decent budget and some meaty special effects. If you don't have either of those elements (and Dragons doesn't), then your only option is to throw your hat in with the tongue-in-cheek brigade and hope your audience gets the joke. The alternative is to have three of your leads throwing spears at a CGI dragon so lame in construction and small of stature that it wouldn't even make it on to the set of Batman as a bat.

What good work there is here comes from the sets, which are well dressed and designed by Debbie Farrer. The cold and anonymous wasteland feels distinct, distant and relatively realistic. Until Little puts a glorified bat in the middle of it. Other 'highlights' include Vinnie Jones as the ship's second mate, Danny Glover as the scenery-chewing captain and Sofia Pernas as the obligatory tough-and-strong-female-character-who-still-needs-a-male-to-show-her-the-way. If it's pulpy B-movie rubbish that you're after then there's pulpy B-movie rubbish around, executed to a much higher standard than this.

Age Of The Dragons is out in selected cinemas now and is released on DVD in the UK on 21st March 2011

Look further...

'dark, mean and its body count is considerable' - Every Film In 2011, 3/10

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