Since we brought Avengers: Endgame home, our son watched it in its entirety once. He’s seen the final 45 minutes about six more times. He wants to get to the good stuff, and who can blame him? I can’t swear to it, but that’s probably how I watched Dragonslayer when it arrived on HBO in 1982-ish. I’d seen the movie once or twice when it was released, but I didn’t remember much of the first two acts of this at all. What happens in Dragonslayer? I couldn’t have told you before this afternoon, other than Peter MacNicol fighting an amazing dragon in a big red cave.
Rewatching it, there is a little more to chew on for grownups. It may be one of those films where the special effects don’t really show up until the third act, but there are some interesting moments and good actors. The photography is gorgeous, the music is interesting, and John Hallam plays a very entertaining villain. It’s one of those movies with American leads and a supporting cast full of recognizable British actors like Emrys James, Ralph Richardson, and Ian McDiarmid, although strangely they picked completely unknown American leads, which isn’t usually the way movies like this were made.
I don’t think we can call this a huge success with our son, though. Yes, the dragon stuff went over very well, and there’s a downright stunning moment of absolute grossness where one of the dragon’s victims is being eaten by two dragon babies, which may well be the most gruesome, gory thing in any film that Disney had anything to do with. (They co-produced it with Paramount and distributed it outside North America.) But much like any kid would have done back in the day, this was a movie to squirm restlessly and get frustrated while the film coyly refuses to show the monster. The beast itself is a triumph of design and execution, but I don’t foresee this being a film that he’ll want to dust off and revisit any time soon, and if he does, it’ll just be the final act.