Runtime: 90 minutes
Director: Andrew Prowse
Starring: Jonathan LaPaglia, Larry Drake, Amber Benson
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Final Score: 7/10
After 300 years, the war between Lockland and Delphi is about to come to an end. In a desperate attempt to turn defeat into victory, the King of Lockland orders the court sorcerer to unleash its ancient protector – the Gryphon – upon the invading armies of Delphi. The wily wizard, however, has other plans, and uses the Gryphon’s supernatural powers to become supreme ruler of both kingdoms. Uniting against their common foe, Lockland’s Princess Amelia and Delphi’s Prince Seth set out in search of the legendary Draconian Pike, the only weapon that can destroy the Gryphon and end the sorcerer’s evil reign.
You cannot go wrong with a quest for a magical weapon. It’s the ultimate fantasy story, and Attack of the Gryphon pulls it off quite well. Of course, magic plays a part in the story, but they don’t let it take over. Magic is used in a supporting role to even the playing field. Sacrifices are made throughout that makes the ending feel earned.
Although we don’t get to sit down with the characters that much during the film, each of them are shown in a way that we can see their personalities. There are a few character changes that come a little abruptly to fit the story and they feel a little forced. This doesn’t take away how lively each character is. There is an energy to these characters.
This film is another victim of instant romance. Amelia leads the party for half the film, with no interest in Seth, when suddenly, boom: sex. They try to pass it off as her trying to get information, but it swiftly grows into love. We get to see Seth show interest in Amelia earlier in the film, but we never see the relationship from Amelia’s side, so it just feels sudden. Seth’s parents on the other hand are shown to have a solid relationship based on trust. Orin is the king, but he loves Cassandra and listens to her advice, even when it hurts him.
There are a few lines that fell short during the film, but for the most part the dialogue is epic. Some may find it overly dramatic, but it fits the tone of the film. It is supposed to be a fantasy and it need lines like that. The sorcerer probably has the cheesiest lines in the movie.
Very little action is person versus person. The main antagonist is the Gryphon, so the main battles are the Gryphon sweeping in for the kill. Those scenes are not the best. The scenes are usually very close to the action and is used to hide the low army count and the low budget effects. The actual sword fights are good, what little we see of the them. They also have close shots throughout. The gryphon was supposed to be very powerful, so soldiers kept running from it, but anytime someone stood up to it, they managed to hurt it. It leaves you asking why they can’t kill it quickly.
The music is all you can ask for. It supports each scene and never forces its way into the film.
From the castles, to the forests, to the tunnels, every location felt old and mystical. The designs are full fantasy. It gives the world an ancient feel as the company journeys across it.
The costumes in the film are great, the Lockland armor especially. There are only a few points that missed the mark. Amelia wears her armor for half the film before it disappears. It’s never explained and just feels wrong. Seth’s armor also feels off. With the great designs of everyone else’s costumes, they decided to go with sleeveless studded black armor for him. He looks like he’s in the wrong film.
The Gryphon is terrible. If you wanted to watch it for a majestic creature out of myth, don’t. Even for people who can suspend their disbelief, the Gryphon will still be hard to watch. The magic is great compared to it. Magic is used throughout, and is okay most of the time. A few of the more active uses are noticeably fake though.
The whole film just felt right. All the elements fit together to create an epic story. The drawbacks may throw some people off, but it’s just a plain fun fantasy. It is not a full-scale epic, with massive armies clashing, but we get scenes with armies facing off against a gryphon while people fight over a magical pike. What’s not to like?