Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Notes on Age of the Dragons

This one is for the fantasy cinema lovers.

I am aware that, when watching a movie, we have to suspend our beliefs to some extent, but Age of the Dragons has taken this to the absurd. As a recreation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, this film introduces an element of redemption from Ahab, as when he faced the big white dragon (instead of the white whale) as a child to save his little sister, he ran away instead of helping her. Not that his fleeing really saved him, as he got burned by the dragon, anyway, although he survived. He spends the rest of his life trying to redeem his own childhood cowardice, to the point of harpooning on the back any one who refused to face the beast.

To succinctly describe Age of the Dragons, Ishmael (Corey Sevier) and Queequeg (John Kapa Kruse) joins the crew of the Pequod (a kind of the illegitimate cross between a sailing ship and an armoured personnel carrier, propelled by an unknown power source – dragon power?) in The Dragon tavern with Ahab’s adopted daughter (Sofia Pernas – another departure from the novel, I suppose to add a romantic interest to the story), while Stubbs (Vinnie Jones) and Starbuck (David Morgan) retell their stories. The vitriol found in the dragons is worth a fortune, one single expedition could make the whole crew rich for life. But Ahab (a magnificent Danny Glover) is obsessed to redeem himself, even if doing so means the death of the whole of the crew. Here we witness Ahab giving a speech of Shakespearean dimensions to his crew, Danny Glover excelling himself as an actor, yet I could not stop laughing due to the utter incongruity of the situation.

Yet the photography is stunning, rendering the mountains of Utah Valley in all their magnificence, while the special effects are also superb, the acting being solid throughout. Sofia Pernas gives a nuanced performance as Ahab’s adopted daughter.

However, I just could not suspend my beliefs this far. Any credibility I could have on the story was completely broken.

Revision 9 march 2011: And the token woman does not only takes her top off (thanks to The Guardian for this remark), but also can kick ass like a mule!

My guess is that the younger audience may well like this film, as it is ingenious and well crafted.

Myself? I am still laughing...

Director: Ryan Little
Writers: Anne K. Black (story), McKay Daines
Cast: Danny Glover, Vinnie Jones, Corey Sevier, Sofia Pernas
Distributor: Metrodome Distribution

DVD & Blue Ray UK release date: 21 March 2011
Currently in selected cinemas in the UK.

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