3 StarsThere has been a recent resurgence of fantasy based movies ever since The Lord of the Rings trilogy hit last decade. Now we have Game of Thrones carrying the torch. But this genre has always been a favorite for B movies. The Crown and the Dragon is an independent fantasy film about a land plagued by a dragon. A young noblewoman, Ellen (Amy De Bhrún), and her aunt are on a mission to bring an ancient relic to the secret coronation of the rightful king. Ellen’s aunt is murdered on their voyage, leaving her to continue the mission. Luckily Ellen is saved by a smuggler, Aedin (David Haydn), and he agrees to accompany her for a price. The two aren’t just dealing with a dragon, but an evil magister who will do anything to get his hand on the relic – and use it for his own evil advancement. Can Ellen fill her aunt’s shoes and become the Paladin, the prophesied dragon slayer?
Normally I’d give this 2 1/2 stars, but the two leads pulled me into the film with nice on-screen chemistry. David Haydn is a B movie version of Gerard Butler, and just as likable. The special effects are a tad better than most at this level, but they still are nowhere near a major Hollywood picture. If you’re willing to suspend your disbelief a little more than usual you’ll find a well-directed and acted film. The script and story are standard fare for fantasy, but they aren’t bad – and in many ways I felt like I was watching a Corman B movie fantasy film from my youth.
As the film progresses it keeps getting better, with scenes we don’t see very often anymore – such as a scene where Ellen’s naked body is curled up in a fetal position as magic symbols are painted on her side. It’s a beautifully fun shot, similar to something out of the mystical world of Conan the Barbarian. One thing that falls flat here is the fight choreography. That can be excused though, as there is blood and physical damage done in the fights, although this isn’t a blood soaked film by any means.
Christian Davis’ score is by far the most brilliant thing here, giving weight to the images and bringing the emotional impact of shots to a new level. Whatever this music cost, it was definitely worth it.
Shot on location in the beautiful countryside of Ireland, The Crown and the Dragon does its real castle sets justice. An issue that can bring down a period production such as this is costumes, something TCatD also excelled at. The film as a whole kept my interest and I’d recommend this to fantasy lovers and B movie aficionados alike.
Director: Anne K. Black
Stars: Vidal Sancho, David Haydn, Amy De Bhrún, Ciaran O’Grady