Anybody who has spent a couple hours creating characters for Dungeons and Dragons has heard of a Wyvern. But what I learned, thanks to this movie, is that it’s a symbol of some sort of Ragnarok in Norse Mythology and it’s appearance means the end of times. Sounds pretty interesting, huh? We’ll see if this SYFY-Channel Movie budget can actually pay off on its world-ending disaster ambitions. Let’s check it out, shall we?
Apparently that story about a Wyvern and the apocalypse is hogwash. It fooled me, and I’m pretty knowledgeable about this stuff. So that’s at least inventive. But the script raises interesting questions and pays off none of them. Most importantly for these kinds of movies, the CGI-rific Wyvern monster is not that bad. Apparently the tech has caught up to the world of Direct-to-Video cheesy monster movies and the days of effects so bad it’s funny-terrible, like Sharknado, should be history. Now, can the filmmaking and storytelling of these movies improve to meet the computer graphics? Not in this one.
We start off intriguingly with some stock footage of polar ice caps melting. Ooh, topical. Then a close-up of a wyvern eyeball opens and, oh yeah, it’s on… in about 20 minutes.
First we are introduced to the goofy yokels in this small town in Alaska. I appreciate the effort to create interesting characters. I’d say they got about halfway there. The thing is, none of them are important as they are all cannon fodder for the hungry beast that looks like a dragon, flies like a dragon, but doesn’t breath fire or anything out of the ordinary like a dragon would. The one remarkable characteristic about a wyvern is that it has a poisonous barbed tail. Uhh, is that it? That’s not particularly scary. And I’m not sure how a Wyvern is supposed to bring about the end of the world stabbing one person at a time with its tail.
Then we meet our alleged protagonist, block of wood actor Nick Chinlund whose highest profile role was the 9th or 10th billed con in Con Air. Nick is a disgraced truck driver who gets to deliver a monologue about his horrible truck accident that sent his life into a spiral.
The real star of the movie, aside from the CGI Wyvern of course, is veteran character Barry Corbin as a cantankerous coot who gets all the best lines. Barry also gets the Wyvern version of the USS Indianapolis speech from Jaws, explaining how the Wyvern signals certain doom for the world. Barry is most famous for appearing on Northern Exposure, and he even brings in his co-star from that show, Elaine Miles, to play the deputy here. Elaine is an oddball actress who gets the best death in the movie as she’s chomped by the Wyvern in front of the entire town to horrified reactions. Barry gets the dramatic old coot death towards the end when he gets Wyvern-tail stabbed. Oops, spoiler. At least they let him hang around and add some entertainment value for most of the movie, because Nick Chinlund gives us nothing.Anyways, there’s not much plot going on. A lot of cannon fodder yokels get chomped by the Wyvern. A running joke is that the wyvern is a messy eater so chunks of flesh, limbs and moose heads keep falling from the sky. That should be funnier than it is. The movie is silly most of the time, but doesn’t quite get to funny. Points for effort though, since the premise is that a station wagon-sized flying monster is eating people, it’s a good idea not to take the plot too seriously. That’s where a lot of these cheesy monster movies fail, and why Sharknado, despite being complete crap, succeeded.
There’s enough going on here to keep the movie interesting. There are regular attacks. The monster has no qualms about swooping in and snacking on people in broad daylight. Unfortunately, the whole movie takes place in broad daylight, which reduces the fear factor considerably. But come on, who’s afraid of a Wyvern? That’s not exactly irrational fear number 1 through 100 on anybody’s list.
My attention started to waver around the midpoint of the movie as there was no forward momentum and the movie is just a series of Wyvern attacks. Eventually Nick Chinlund decides to man up and he drives his 18-wheeler full of Wyvern eggs to draw the Wyvern out of town in a less than thrilling climactic showdown.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This was a by the numbers monster movie. I was amused by most of it but a little bored by the end. If you are a fan of Wyverns, then this is the only movie that can scratch that itch for you. And unless you’re a Northern Exposure cast completist or you have nothing better to do, then by all means, this isn’t the worst SYFY channel type movie I’ve never seen. And by default, it’s the best Wyvern film ever made.
The Wyvern lands on Nick Chinlund’s truck for some reason, and the Chinlunder drives it off a cliff and it explodes. Dropping a Wyvern off a cliff is a dubious way to kill a winged monster, but the damn movie needed to end. I’d say it was about a 3 out of 10 on the Monster Kill-o-Meter.