2 1/2 Stars
A dragon pairs up with a disgraced solider, and a band of outlaws to recover his stolen eggs from an evil sorcerer in Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse. The second sequel to the original is a busy little adventure film with about twice as much plot than is necessary, which is a good thing since it only makes sense half of the time anyway. This is one of the goofiest movies I’ve seen so far this year.
Gareth (Julian Morris) is a fine swordsman, but not much liked among his peers. We meet the young man as he prepares to face off in a tournament of sorts, the winner get promoted to knighthood. While his competition cheats, Gareth stays true to the rules and defeats his fellow combatants. However, these aren’t the saintly knights of Hollywood cinema lore, glamourous, brave and just. This group acts more like hoods, shaking down the local merchants for protection money. Gareth shows sympathy for an elderly shop owner, his act of kindness gets him all but expelled from the academy and demoted, while his more ruthless brothers become full fledge knights.
The outcast penniless solider seeks shelter, only to find it from the same shop keeper that got him into the situation. It is here, Gareth learns of the sacred history of Dragons, the old man tells him of the power and majesty of the once beloved beasts. Then from outer space comes an asteroid like object, hurling through the atmosphere and landing (without any residual impact) on the north side of the kingdom’s outer wall. This is forbidden territory to all citizens, but Gareth seeks 100 coins to reinstate himself amongst the good graces of his former commander.
While out in the wilderness, Gareth is attacked by the marauding savages under the rule of the sorcerer ruler Brude (Jonjo O’Neill). During the battle nine precious eggs are stolen, not before Gareth rescues one from being crushed, earning him the gratitude of Drago, the mammoth full-sized fire-breathing dragon that was inside the asteroid guarding the egg spawn. Still with me?
The voice of Drago has been voiced by Ben Kingsly, and he adds playful intelligence to the cynical, yet exceedingly mannered flying lizard. The beast and the solider team with a gang of rebels to bring down Brude and retrieve the eggs before they hatch and are harvested into weapons. This is all wrapped with a subplot about Drago being attached literally to Gareth’s heart after saving him from a horrific battlefield wound. The bond between the two is deepened not only by their identical fighting spirit but also in a very internal way. The fantastic score recycles the best bits of Randy Edelman’s infamous, and for a while very over-used in trailers, but beautifully written composition. These swelling orchestral movements are cued for maximum effect but the intend effect is never achieved.
The CGI from the original still remains superior to the graphics here, admittedly the work has come along way from older straight-to-DVD releases, but the artistry from two decades ago sill outshines this iteration of Drago. Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse works for the majority of it’s running-time and the manic storyline manages to hold together through the sentimental finale. The first in the series is still the best, but for a mindless bit of solid b-movie filmmaking, Dragonheart 3 packs a lot of heat and heart.
Director: Colin Teague
Stars: Julian Morris, Ben Kingsley, Jonjo O’Neill