Just to jog your memory, the original Dragonheart (1996) was a commercial and critical bomb featuring Dennis Quaid and the voice of Sean Connery as “Draco.” Dragonheart 3 is a direct to video sequel featuring unrecognizable actors and the voice of Ben Kingsley as “Drago.” You’re probably saying, “Oh, boy where can I get in on that action?” Well, let’s fire it up, shall we?
DRAGONHEART III: The Sorcerer’s Curse (2015)
We begin with a whiff of Game of Thrones as animated map pieces fight each other.
Then the movie properly starts with a cabal of robed Celtic Druids in the woods. There’s some sort of prophecy of stars falling from the sky, they’re attacked by an evil wizard, Brude and his mercenaries, and a pretty good magic battle ensues. Brude pulls a boss move when the High Druid shoots fire at him and he uses a teleport spell to switch places with him and the High Druid essentially incinerates himself. Cue flaming titles. This movie is great so far.
Now we meet our hero, a squire named Gareth who’s a bit of a wise-ass. As part of his knight training, he has to duel a jerky blonde guy, sort of a medieval Billy Zabka, with wooden swords. Since Medieval Zabka is a toolbar, he grabs real swords and needs help from his two buddies. “Do you always need two friends to get your sword up?” Gareth chides to taunt Medieval Zabka. Okay, I like Gareth. There’s a little t0o much shaky cam with the sword fighting, but I’ll deal with it.
Gareth wins the duel, but the Knights seem to be running a protection scam on the village. Gareth has to extort payments in order to join the knighthood, but he’s a little short because he has a heart and doesn’t force the kindly, old potter to pay. So despite defeating three dudes with his bare hands and displaying great fighting banter, the Master of the Guards embarrasses him, kicks him out of the knights, and shoves him into the mud just because he didn’t get the proper tribute. “Remember that smell. It’s the smell of the poor and the common.”
Homeless and penniless, Gareth is taken in by the kindly potter. Then the foretold falling star lands, as an asteroid falls outside of the castle. The potter gets excited because the last time he saw an asteroid, it was full of valuable metals. But his wife reminds him, “It’s north of the wall. There are painted flesh-eaters everywhere.”
Gareth decides to hop over the wall to find the meteor, and it turns out to be Drago the Dragon. The dragon effects are pretty impressive for a direct to video sequel. Some Celts rush up and there is a pretty good sword fight where they double-team Gareth and he does some fancy moves. Gareth catches a falling dragon egg to prove he’s a good guy to the dragon. Drago gives some of his glowing dragon heart to heal a critical arrow wound. Damn it, I was really enjoying this movie until they reminded me of the stupid plot of the original Dragonheart and what made it so terrible. Because Gareth gets some Dragon Heart magic, he’s bonded with the dragon and they can chat telepathically and share pain and other dumb things like that. Also, we are treated to the Dragonheart theme, some of the most memorable movie music for a totally forgotten movie. This theme has been used in hundreds of movie trailers and Oscars telecasts and any sort of Hollywood documentary.
So I have some dragon related questions right about now. Since Drago arrives in a meteor, does that mean all dragons are from outer space? Is Drago related to Draco from the original Dragonheart? Does Drago, a clearly male dragon, lay eggs? Why do dragon eggs have gold in them? Do dragons do that Jurassic Park thing where they can change their sex in order to lay eggs? And why didn’t they hire a great British actress to voice Drago so the plot about defending dragon eggs makes more sense? Julie Andrews, Helen Mirren, or Judy Dench could’ve been great dragons.
Back to the film. Brude shows up to steal the Dragon’s eggs, and right in time to answer my question of, “How can Gareth lose? He’s got a freaking fire-breathing dragon to back him up?” Brude casts a spell that banishes Drago from daylight, or something. This effectively neuters the dragon and he has to skulk around as a shadow, therefore saving millions of dollars on dragon effects and creating a dramatic possibility that Brude could win in the end.
Gareth is rescued by a dorky Druid apprentice, who always screws up his magic spells, and they are joined by a sassy Celtic archer lass.
The rest of the movie plays out as Gareth and his B team of adventurers steal back the dragon eggs from Brude, who plans to use them to gain even more magic powers, or whatever. There’s a lot of running away and hiding.
What’s most disconcerting about this movie is that Gareth starts off as a likable scoundrel but, over the course of the movie, becomes a dire jerk-off who wants to use the golden eggs to buy his way back into knighthood. Boo, that’s a terrible idea. So we’ve got a serious script problem where we’re actively rooting for our hero to fail. And then his companions are so incompetent that, in one scene, an egg falls off the cart they’re riding in and it explodes. Oh yeah, dragon eggs apparently explode in this movie.
So despite being tasked to protect ALL of Drago’s precious eggs, Gareth winds up using or losing most of the eggs in their escapes. Then there’s a big battle at the end as there always seems to be in knight movies, and our heroes learn a valuable life lesson.
BOTTOM LINE: Despite my misgivings about the plot, this was a pretty decent fantasy movie. It doesn’t follow a standard knight movie story. It has some interesting ideas and there’s a big, honking dragon in the movie. I wish there was more Wizard duels, but that’s just me. I’d have to say this is possibly better than the original, although I remember kind of enjoying that one when it first came out. This is an fun trifle worth checking out, nonetheless. It has a pretty good budget and doesn’t look like it was shot in somebody’s backyard like other fantasy movies I’ve seen on Netflix.. cough, cough Curse of the Dragon Slayer.