Wow. The first movie to rate a Jon.
This is a Moonbeam movie. Moonbeam is, or was, a small studio that popped up in the early 90’s and released a host of made-for-video movies. These movies were cheap cash-ins on whatever was the popular movie du jour. And at the end of every movie, they had a making-of special, which serves to make you feel very, very sad for everyone involved in making B-movies. They seriously are doing the best job that they possibly can. It’s depressing.
“Dragon World” is the first of a handful of Moonbeam movies that weren’t obvious rips off other, better movies. (This is debatable, I know, but it does predate “Dragonheart” by a few years; more importantly “Dragonheart” didn’t achieve it’s cult hit status until it had been on home video for a while.) Made-for-video movies are notorious for their horrendous acting, and for the first third or so of “Dragon World”, we get to enjoy Courtland Mead as the young John McGowan. You gotta love an annoying child actor, but this kid takes the cake. Check out the scene where he rocks the bagpipes, for that is his one Moment of Glory. Other than that, his performance is almost Jake Lloydsian.
Soon enough, John wishes on a magical tree for a friend and meets Yowler, a Wyvern “pup”. You probably already know this, but a Wyvern is the kind of dragon with wings and two hind legs but no forelegs (think of Vermithrax Pagoritive or the happy critters in “Reign of Fire“). A typical Wyvern’s tail is armed with a nasty spike at the end, and he also sports unusually large fangs. In fact, the very word Wyvern comes from an old word for a poisonous snake; it’s probably the same root of Viper (truly, Wyverns are wonderful playmates for the kiddies).
But you knew that already.
Yowler is played by what appears to be a strung-out “Dark Crystal” extra when he’s young, and as an adult he is brought to life via some downright sloppy stop-motion animation (pay attention to his scary rolling eyes if you dare). Most of the time, he is a crappy puppet. There’s no kindly huntsman to fight him here. Bummer.
As soon as we flash forward to John as an adult, the story gets boring right quick. Turns into “Free Willy” with a mythical creature, it does. Yeah, I should have mentioned that this movie takes place in Scotland, and it’s chock full of annoying stereotypes. Short version of the story: “Dragon World” blows. Don’t bother. Sit the kiddies in front of the StrongBad “Trogdor” short instead.
The Best Parts:
1 minute in – It’s the Hogwarts express!
3 minutes in – Do I ever hate this kid…
6 minutes in – SHEEP!
7 minutes in – Grandpa Angus Annoying MacStereotype quits drinking cold turkey after little Johnny’s guilt trip. Right…
11 minutes in – SHEEP!
15 minutes in – “This is very special to me. I never show ANYONE my Giving Tree.”
(Yeah I know. It’s still funny.)
16 minutes in – JOHNNY ROCKS THE BAGPIPES!!! Seriously, this has to be seen to be believed.
17 minutes in – Crappy Puppet Yowler!
21 minutes in – Oh good. Now we get to watch TWO seriously annoying creatures trash the kitchen.
23 minutes in – So Yowler came from the Land of Spells and Fairies!
25 minutes in – That was a wee bit creepy…
26 minutes in – MULLET!!!
27 minutes in – Crappy Puppet Yowler! Digivolve to… CRAPPY CLAY YOWLER!!!
28 minutes in – Ooh, can this movie end like “the Blair Witch Project”? Bummer.
31 minutes in – Lamest. Meet cute. EVER!
33 minutes in – Dammit, they JUST MET Yowler and they already want to put him in the zoo?
37 minutes in – Woo-hoo. A shout out.
40 minutes in – Mullet on the run!!!
44 minutes in – SHEEP!
45minutes in – That was a might bit creepy as well. I am loving her Chair Dance though.
51 minutes in – Wait, I saw this “Simpsons” episode.
52 minutes in – “We can dance if we want to / we can leave your friends behind…”
1 hour in – Best. Special effects. EVER!!!
1 hour, 9 minutes in – Somewhere, Anne McCaffrey is banging her head against a wall. But not necessarily for this reason…
1 hour, 10 minutes in – Aw, it’s just like “Spirited Away”!
1 hour, 13 minute in – Uh… that was… sad…
1 hour, 20 minutes in – “Ooh, a BABY! The other OTHER white meat!”
1 hour, 30 minutes in (after the end credits) – The making-of special!!! Hoo boy…
Classic Lines of Dialogue:
“Forefathers? Nobody has four fathers!” – John as a Lad
“Chores? I’m too young to do chores!… Don’t you guys have any pizza or hamburgers?” – John as a Lad
“You, Mr. MacIntyre are what’s commonly known as a BUTT-HEAD!!!” – Mr. Armstrong (You HAVE to see his delivery there. Och-aye!!!)
Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever:
* – Watching sheep is exactly that. Watching whatever it is that sheep do.
* – Wyverns speak Vogon.
* – Never leave embarrassing financial papers lying around.
* – Scotland is the Lost World. (I.e. “An ‘elecopteh? Wos an ‘elecopteh?”)
* – Accents are COOL.
* – As the skunk can be de-scented, so the dragon can evidently be de-burninating-ed.
Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures? Wyverns are indeed a cool breed of dragon. Yowler -how to put this gently- must be from the shallow end of the family gene pool.
Good Soundtrack? No.
Hot Guys? No.
Pretty Scenery? Ehhh…..
Nifty Animation/Special Effects? Don’t make me laugh.
Drinking Game Potential? If you’ve any Celtic blood in you, you’re going to want to be drunk through the entire proceedings. Otherwise, take a swig anytime you see an annoying stereotype (count phrases and anytime you hear bagpipes including the soundtrack).
Head Movie Potential? Too boring.
Jon. Stupid traitor troll Jon. And that imaginary horse that broke his leg and ruined the reunion plans.
A Full Moon Entertainment film made in 1994. Released in the United States by the dread Moonbeam Entertainment. Directed by Ted Nicoleau. Who looks so proud in the making-of documentary, you just want to cry.
Sam Mackenzie, Courtland Mead, Andrew Kier, and a Ray Harryhausen brain fart.
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