Retrospective Film Review: Dragonheart

dragonheart posterWelcome to Fangirlisms‘ very first Retrospective Review, where we take a look at things of old that have left a lasting impression on our fangirl lives.

Dragonheart is a film directed by Rob Cohen and released in 1996. Set in medieval Europe, the story begins when a dragon saves young Prince Einon (David Thewlis) from certain death by giving him half of its own heart, on the condition that the prince becomes a better ruler than his tyrant father. Sadly, Einon was always just as vile as his father – a fact his mentor, a knight named Bowen (Dennis Quaid), refuses to accept. When Einon begins to exhibit the same kind of cruelty and insanity his late father did,  Bowen blames the dragon for “corrupting” the prince, and  vows to spend the rest of his life hunting it down.

Dragonheart is one of the few films that made a lasting impression on me. Dragons were never that interesting to me when I was a kid, but this movie completely changed my mind.

Dragonheart screencap: Draco

I loved the way Draco came to life on screen. He looked different from the standard long-snouted dragons I saw in cartoons and illustrations, and that made him stand out in my memory. Some people didn’t like having Sean Connery’s distinct voice coming out of a dragon’s mouth, but I honestly thought it worked out pretty well. Sean Connery’s voice has a regal feel to it, which I felt was perfect for Draco’s character.

Dragonheart screencap: David Thewlis as Einon

David Thewlis’ performance as the psychotic Einon has been permanently burned into my memory. The impression he left remained for years after I first watch the film…to the point I freaked out when I first heard he was cast as Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter films. It’s not that I question his acting abilities or anything;  it’s just that my brain typecast him as crazy-evil-psycopath because of how believable he was as a villain in Dragonheart.

Even before I started playing close attention to movies’  music and scores, I knew Dragonheart‘s music was something else.  Years after I last watched the film, I remembered it immediately when I caught the movie on TV. You might recognize the music if you watch the Academy Awards, since they often use To the Stars in movie montages and other parts of the show.

Dragonheart screencap: Draco and Bowen

A knight is sworn to valor.
His heart knows only virtue.
His blade defends the helpless.
His might upholds the weak.
His word speaks only truth.
His wroth undoes the wicked.

— the Old Code

Beyond the technical and musical achievements this movie garnered, Dragonheart is a heartwarming movie that reminds us all about the true meaning of valor, and how important it is to recognize and correct our own mistakes. It’s definitely one movie I’ll keep watching and getting bleary-eyed over no matter how old I get.

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