Why Dragonheart: A New Beginning Sucked

February 26, 2009

This classic rant was originally written some time ago.

Why ‘Dragonheart: A New Beginning’ Sucked

Well, it didn’t suck. Not really. But if you’re looking for something with a halfway awe-inspiring plot and original characters, look elsewhere.

The problem with ‘A New Beginning’ is simple: virtually all the characters are sad attempts to recreate the cast from the first film, with only negligible differences.

Goph/Joph/Joff/whatever the heck his name is was obviously meant to be the “Kara” character — the driving force behind the characters’ actions. Unlike Kara, however, who was actually interested in the greater good, Joph is interested in Treasure, Adventure and Glory. It makes sense in its own right; he’s lived a sheltered life and really has no idea what real knighthood is like. What stinks is that he never finds out, so he fails in the Token Knight department. And then, despite his “friendship” with Drake, once he gets what he wants he blows off everything in order to Be a Glorious Knight.

Drake – despite being a dragon and Draco’s apparent progeny – is actually the Bowen parallel. As he’s the most awesome guy around, everybody expects him to save the day, even though he’d just rather crawl into a hole and hide from humanity in general. He’s also slightly neurotic, which isn’t too annoying as he never gets too neurotic, but he also is too busy being the Town’s Dragon Defender to be properly deflated when Joff runs off.

That monk kid – what was his name now? – is, of course, the Token Monk Who Chronologues the Story. He’s obviously not as cool as the monk from the first movie (a real poet!) but manages to pull through on his own personality — a boy who tries, but just hasn’t quite got it. He also Knows When to Quit, which is more than can be said for Goff. Unfortunately, at points he does seem just a little too eager to stray off his path, but he probably just wasn’t thinking.

Osric, of all people, is the movie’s best character. He’s a villain with a talent of Making The Law Work For Him, and unlike most of the cast, Harry Van Gorkum can actually act. (It’s not always too bad, but I really expected better from Robby Benson of all people.) He also has a remarkable talent for Taking Advantage Of Naïve Upstarts, and unlike many villains has a clear motive for his villainry.

That old Asian dude is not a repeat, but rather the Token Assistant to the Token Princess-In-Disguise. Fortunately, for the most part he’s just a bodyguard and advisor, rather than an Annoyingly Sage Mentor, and his slippery ways are actually quite entertaining.

Then we have the Token Princess-In-Disguise, also the Token Female-In-Disguise Warrior Who Kicks The Men’s Butts. She, too, can be entertaining, but without fail whenever she opens her can of Whoop-Derriere, the battle degrades from vicious combat into a comedy fest.

Now, let’s see… While ‘Dragonheart’ had its share of sheer comedy, the serious points were actually serious, and the plot meant something. In ‘A New Beginning’, while the plot is apparently supposed to be serious on some level, they spend too much time focused on gags, making the movie feel like a really expensive cartoon. The plot is also far from original; it’s that stale, regurgitated Dissatisfied Young Man Who Suddenly Gets A Break And Grows An Ego The Size of Kuwait, with a villain thrown in for good measure. If you really want to watch this plot, get ‘Merlin’s Apprentice’, where character death feels like character death and not just a Lousy Excuse To Become Effectively Immortal. And if you want a comedy fantasy, get Shrek; it’s even got a dragon.

Which, in closing, isn’t to say you shouldn’t watch ‘A New Beginning’. It’s better than ‘Max Magician and the Legend of the Rings’, and a load better than ‘The Neverending Story III’. Just go into it expecting a typical sequel, and if you’ve seen enough Disney you’ll be pleasantly surprised. At least there’s no Running Away From Over-Protective Parents.

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