Runtime: 91 minutes
Director: Anne Black
Starring: Amy de Bhrun, David Hayon, Tim Treloar
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Final Score: 5.5/10
In a war-torn country that is plagued by a vicious dragon, Elenn, a noblewoman, accompanies her aunt on a mission to bring an ancient relic to the secret coronation of the rightful king. When her aunt is murdered on the road, Elenn must take her aunt’s place at the coronation and hires a smuggler to escort her across the volatile country. Elenn must find within herself the strength to fulfill her aunt’s calling to free the people, and become the Paladin – the long foretold dragon slayer.
There are two stories in the movie, but one, although they do mention it, is unfinished at the end. The main story, but no the original, has some twists while also being familiar. While it does have some serious moments most of it is lighthearted fun. It doesn’t have enough time to flesh out the world and the story is straight forward. The dialogue does its job and doesn’t become too cheesy or dramatic. Certain parts will strain some people’s suspension of disbelief with how far someone can push their body.
The two main characters have a little personality, but they don’t get developed. We follow them as they move through the world, but most of their actions are reactive and don’t change their characters. The secondary characters are no better. The main villain has the best arc, if you can call it that, while everyone else is either an obstacle or an ally. The romantic relationship is okay. It forms too quickly though and is cliché (royal woman falls for the man protecting her). But there are some quiet moments between the two characters that gives the relationship some strength. One is sort of uncomfortable, but it ends up alright.
While swordfights are spread throughout the movie, none of them used the titular paladin; but they were still decent. None of them were long and some of them don’t go quite as expected; and they have the usual terrible parts. The dragon was also used throughout the movie, showing up and burning everything, but not much more. There was conflict between the dragon and the paladin, but it didn’t feel thought out and wasn’t explained well. This was a problem with Elenn’s story too. She probably had conflicting thoughts about being the paladin, but we never get to explore any of it.
It’s shown quite a bit so it’s a good thing that the dragon is not the worst in the world. It’s not great though. It just has some okay moments for how long it’s on screen. The fire effects were decent as well but had some problem moments like the dragon. Most of the magic in the movie was subtle and the effects were okay. One of the overt uses of magic was someone who turns into a cloud of ravens. Those effects worked but was bad at times.
The sets are a conundrum. On one hand it looks like they used real castles for the sets and they look great. On the other hand, they used real castles and most of them look like ruins. There are some story elements that can be used to explain everything being ruined, but it is never touched upon in the movie. It makes it seem like everyone lives in ruins. Costumes were the opposite, with everything looking great. It was the usual classic fantasy costume designs. They looked well-made and each faction was easy to tell apart.