Perfect for those that adore dragons and want to believe the myth, a very mixed bag for everyone else
A skiing accident in Romania uncovers a series of ice caves. The police are called as bodies are found which look like they date back centuries but this discovery is nothing compared to what appears to be a large, comparatively intact beast preserved in the ice. News reaches the London museum about this discovery and it peaks the interest of one Dr Tanner a man mocked by his peers for claiming that attack marks on a T-Rex skull could have come from a dragon. Tanner and his team investigate and find more than they could have ever expected; meanwhile the documentary shows us the history of the beast.
OK, lets get the pointless moaning out of the way "it's not even real". Well, of course it isn't and god love anyone who thought it was. Of course the subject not being real is hardly a criticism given that 99% of the films in cinemas tend to be fictional and the genre of documentary style dramas is hardly something new. However what it does mean is that the documentary style relies very heavily on how interesting it is and also how engaging it is as it folds in with the drama part of the film. In this case the subject is nothing to do with fact or reality at all but yet the special effects in the "nature documentary" side of the film make it interesting enough.
It is all very "Walking With Dinosaurs" but it looks good and Ian Holm's delivery is a good choice for the style of thing that the film is aiming for. Unfortunately though, the "drama" side of the film is roundly poor. It focuses on Dr Tanner excitedly following the modern discovery of our dragon and discovering (rapidly) all manner of things from one corpse right down to "proving" an entire family of dragon species or coming up with an extreme rating ritual from a few burns in the rock! The explanation of how the mythical figure worked and lived is pretty detailed but I found it impossible to forget that it was entirely made up! This is only part of the story though because whatever potential the theorising had is completely undercut by the delivery of the drama part.
The dialogue and acting is average at best, with Hilton miscast and unable to do anything with what he is given. Tanner's narration is also poor; the American accent doesn't help but it is still poor regardless. Hardy's direction clearly focuses on the effects rather than the overall product (as does Foley's script) and he can't help this part of it. This leaves the viewer with the only value being offered from the curio nature of seeing the dragons as if they were real and this was a documentary.
This was barely enough for me although I admit at times I was interested. The drama is terrible nonsense that is badly delivered in many aspects and it is only the novelty of seeing the dragon as a subject of a "Walking with Dinosaurs" nature programme that makes it engaging at all. Perfect for those that adore dragons and want to believe the myth, a very mixed bag for everyone else.
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