A fun romp.
DragonHeart (1996): 7 out of 10: DragonHeart is a tale of a disillusioned knight who takes it upon himself to slay dragons. Through circumstances and adventures, he befriends the last dragon, and they join to rescue the kingdom from an evil king and reinstate the glory of King Arthur.
The Good: DragonHeart has a great cast. For starters, I like Dennis Quaid; he is always very watchable in whatever movie he is in. He has that great smirk that, like Chris Pratt, can speak volumes and save scenes. Sean Connery is terrific in his voice work for the Dragon. He does not phone this one in. David Thewlis is excellent and slimy as the evil boy king, and it is always a pleasure to see Pete Postlethwaite in a decent part.
But I have saved the best for last. Who is that redhead love interest? She seems so familiar. Could it be? Yay, it is Dizzy from Starship Troopers. Dina Meyer improves any film she is in. She has worked steadily, but I have always wondered why she wasn’t more of a household name. She is wonderful in this role.
The special effects hold up better than most films from the era. Kudos to the filmmakers for filming in the sunshine. Too many effects-heavy movies in the nineties shot only at night or in the rain (or both) I am looking your way Matthew Broderick’s Godzilla.
The Bad: While David Thewlis does a great job as the evil king, his transformation into said king makes little or no sense. He gives the “I was always evil but just pretending to be good so you would teach me” speech, but as the prince, he hardly needed to pretend to be anything to get what he wanted. Also, since his father was a tyrant, it would have been expected for him to emulate the current king. It is also hard to hide your true nature with those who are in your life, especially at that age.
While the effects often hold up well, there is a feeling of larping among some extras and battle scenes. It seems as if the filmmakers came upon a renaissance festival and said yeah let us film that. While some villagers work well (the cannibal pig farmers), others are indistinguishable from generic tv medieval village number 42.
The Ugly: Allegedly there is a whole movie worth of deleted scenes for the film that helps flesh out the characters Tv Tropes has a complete rundown. The excessive editing of the story becomes clear as many motivations in the movie seem a touch half baked.
In Conclusion: This is not a severe or dark film. It is a fun romp suitable for the wee ones (cannibal pig farmers not withstanding). With that in mind and the general fun to be had, one has to give DragonHeart a lot of slack. With a great cast, special effects that still hold up, and a plot that moves at a decent pace, DragonHeart has entertainment for the whole family.