Director: Colin Teague
Released: February 2015
Run Time: 97 Minutes
Ben Kingsley: Drago
Julian Morris: Gareth
Tamzin Merchant: Rhonu
Jassa Ahluwalia: Lorne
Jonjo O’Neill: Brude
In the past decade, Universal Studios has released a number of direct-to-video sequels. Many of them for The Scorpion King. Quite frankly, none of them were any good. One of the first DTV sequels that Universal did release was a sequel to the 1996 fantasy adventure film, Dragonheart. Dragonheart: A New Beginning was….eh. It wasn’t bad, but it was clearly inferior to the previous film in every way. The original film was absolutely fantastic. It was a simple story bolstered by a fantastic cast and crew. Starring Dennis Quaid, Pete Postlethwaite, David Thewlis, Dina Meyer, and Sean Connery as the voice of Draco, Dragonheart was one of my favorite films of that decade. It had a simple story, but it was one that had a lot of heart(pun intended). The most spectacular part of the film was the dragon, voiced by the legendary Sean Connery. He not only gave the dragon its voice, but also its personality. So, why didn’t the second film succeed? Well, given the way that the first film ended, there was no real way to make a sequel unless they wrote around the ending of Dragonheart. It was also released directly to home video, which is usually not a good thing. So, 15 years later we get a second sequel: Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse. How does this one fare?
Dragonheart 3 begins its story at Hadrian’s Wall in Britain with young Gareth training to become a knight under the current and greedy knight-commander. After refusing to take protection money from a local potter, Gareth is humiliated and demoted. After learning that a comet had crashed nearby and possibly contained gold, Gareth sets out north of the Wall to find the comet. Find it he does, but when he tries to crack it open, a dragon appears instead. Attacked by savages led by the ruthless sorcerer, Brude, Gareth is mortally wounded, but manages to save one of nine dragon eggs. Impressed by this level of valor, the dragon gives half of his heart to heal Gareth. The two begin to form a unique friendship in order to battle the sorcerer. For a direct-to-video sequel, Dragonheart 3 has a lot going on, narrative-wise. While half of it barely makes any sense, it surprisingly keeps you interested.
There’s actually a good amount of action that permeates the whole film. There’s some pretty decent sword-fighting going on. My real issue is that the camera-work sometimes gets in the way. You have way too many close-ups which really doesn’t help the choreography at all. The explosions are mostly practical with some impressive pyrotechnics at work. There is actually not a ton of CG in scenes that don’t involve Drago. What CG there is, isn’t really bad. Drago himself is actually fairly impressive, far more than the dragon in the second film. What good is a dragon without a great voice? In the original Dragonheart, it was Sean Connery. In this one, we have Sir Ben Kingsley. While I don’t necessarily think he’s at the same level as Connery, his voice-work is nonetheless impressive. He gives the character a noble, yet very cynical vibe which makes the dragon’s interactions with Gareth fairly amusing. Outside of Ben Kingsley, there isn’t an actor here that I’ve heard of or even made an impression on me. Jonjo O’Neill, who plays Brude is the mustache-twirling villain of the film. The guy who plays Lorne is pretty amusing especially when he’s messing around with his spells. Overall, though, the acting is kind of meh all around.
One of the greatest aspects of Dragonheart was its soundtrack. While Sean Connery gave the dragon its voice, Randy Edelman gave the film its heart and soul. It was playful, epic and emotional. Mark Mckenzie, who also did the soundtrack for the second film, utilizes the best parts of Edelman’s score to great effect. The original music that Mckenzie did for his film isn’t too bad. The production values for Dragonheart 3 are decent. The dragon doesn’t look like a miniature of Draco, like the second movie.
Is the film perfect? I’ve asked this question many times, and my answer is almost always no. There are a few problems with The Sorcerer’s Curse. For one, it’s main villain is hilariously terrible. Brude is essentially a mustache-twirling villain like I said above. His motivations for waging war on people don’t go much beyond “I don’t like them, so I’m going to kill them.” He’s got magic, so that has to count for something, right? Not so much. The other “villain” is the knight-commander who “collects” payments from the village that he so “lovingly” protects. He’s a greedy and back-stabbing scumbag. He’s not as over-the-top as Brude, which makes him a far more believable villain, so why isn’t HE the main baddie? The dragon is the best part of the film as far as visual effects go, but even he pales in comparison to Draco from the first film. Drago isn’t badly animated, the film just lacked the budget to really give the dragon the appearance he deserved. The story is a hot mess of cliches. It’s also very predictable.
As far as direct-to-video movies go, you could certainly do worse than Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse. It actually isn’t terrible. It isn’t all that great either, but it’s light-years beyond the second film. They actually put effort into this one. Ben Kingsley helps elevate what is otherwise a very ho-hum script and plot. The use of Randy Edelman’s score is actually pretty good. But at the end of the day, it’s still pretty average as far as movies go. Aside from Mr. Kingsley, the film just doesn’t have the star-power that the first movie did. It’s not unexpected as Dragonheart 3 is a fairly low-budget affair. It’s still better than Scorpion King 4. It has that going for it. It’s definitely worth a rental at least. I can’t recommend buying the Blu-Ray at full price, because the only special feature on the disc is “Bringing Drago to Life.” It shows some insight into how Ben Kingsley gives the character life, but it’s just fluff at the end of the day. Rent it first. Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse gets a 7/10.