Runtime: 85 minutes
Starring: Amy Acker, Tom Wisdom, John Rhys-Davies
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Final Score: 5/10
When the peaceful kingdom of Carpia is besieged by a monstrous Fire Dragon, Princess Luisa (Amy Acker) searches for a savior to slay the mighty beast. She finds Gabriel (Tom Wisdom), the son of a legendary knight, and the two summon the powerful Ice Dragon, a decision which may prove deadly for them all.
The problem with this movie is that there are moments where it gets dark in tone and would not be suitable for younger audiences but also feels like it would be at home on the Disney channel the rest of the time. There are scenes that are narrated by the main character that try to be serious but come off as childish. That combined with some bad dialogue and a simple plot leaves the story devoid of any gravitas. But the movie isn’t completely empty of life. There are some emotional moments and any humor feels natural. And while the plot is simple, it does end in a plausible way.
The main character is not great. She is a generic female character. She’s determined and has a great spirit Her goal is to save her kingdom, but by the end of the movie she hasn’t done anything helpful. The secondary characters are who carry the story, although they are not given enough screen time to be fleshed out. This goes for the villains as well. They have some motivations, but nothing beyond that. A lot of the dialogue is simple, and mixed with the main character, causes the movie to have a young adult feel. The romance adds to this by being innocent and playful.
There is nothing to say about the action, and that’s mostly because you can’t see any of it. The editing of the sword fights is chaotic and confusing. You can’t see anything happening and just makes each fight an annoyance to sit through. Then we have the dragons’ fight. During the first half of the movie we are only given one dragon, and his scenes are just attacks on the main city. But then the other dragon is introduced, and they immediately attack each other. Their fight is okay, but it drags on, especially because we switch to the human characters multiple times during the fight.
There are few special effects throughout the movie, and most of them are less than impressive with two major offenders. The first misstep would be the forest people. Simply put, they look like people dressed in leaves when they’re supposed to be terrifying. When they appear, it ruins any suspense or tension. The second, and more notable, are the dragons. Dragons are a staple of fantasy. To go and design your own is a bold move. Here it doesn’t quite work out; the design is different, almost kite like, and some people may not like it. This is in addition to the subpar animation of the dragons themselves.
Costume design in the movie takes more inspiration from the medieval era than it does from fantasy. In fact, if not for the dragons, this could have been an historical movie. While not bad, the costumes look great, it doesn’t add anything to the movie. The same thing goes for the set design, with a couple exceptions. A giant ice field where one of the dragons comes from is unique. As well as the semi-hollow mountain where the final showdown takes place. Overall, the sets and costumes are the most solid parts of the movie, although they do not help lift any of the other elements.